Occasionally, my mom and I have parenting discussions, and they never seem to go that well. We have some fundamental differences in how we view children and discipline. I respect my mom a lot, and in many things, I’m happy for her opinion, but I’ll admit that I can quickly become defensive about parenting because Ben and I do things pretty different than the mainstream. I allow my insecurities as a mother to get the better of me sometimes, which leads to me feeling like others are judging me, when most often, I’m sure they’re not. And even if they are, who cares, right? People pleaser that I am, I care, more than I should.
I’m not suggesting that I don’t want my mom’s advice when it comes to Jonas. I guess I just haven’t figured out how to have a real conversation with her about it. I know I can learn a lot from her. It’s not her intention, but I just always feel like I have to defend myself on this topic, and when I raise objections, she tends to disagree, usually sighting her own experience with us, and her observations of her friends’ and families’ children, as support. There is certainly a lot to be said for personal experience, but at the same time, children are all so different, and I don’t think that it is fair to use personal experience as ultimate support for one’s position, and to so quickly dismiss everything else on that ground.
I am thankful that our disagreements generally don’t extend beyond discipline issues. It is great that she is so supportive of our birthing choices, our views on vaccinations, and many other important topics in parenting. I want to be able to talk more freely about discipline, because I think, to this point, she doesn’t really understand the whole of my position, even though I suspect that she might think she does – or at least for the most part.
And don’t get me wrong, she is, and always has been, a fantastic mom, and she is amazing with Jonas. She provided me a very loving and secure home environment, and we have a good relationship as adults. I’m not rejecting any of her parenting tools because of a bad childhood. I just see some things differently, and want to do some things differently. That doesn’t mean that I reject her way as wrong, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t want her help. I just haven’t figured out how to converse with her about it in a positive manner.
I’ve never been a fast thinker in conversation, so I rarely explain myself well. Plus, these conversations only crop up once in a while, and they always catch me off guard. I feel that I have a rather well reasoned view of parenting, yet I can’t seem to express it well to others in discussions. I’ve held my opinions for some time now, and in the day to day of parenting, I suppose it is easy to forget why I choose to do some things the way I do. I realized yesterday that maybe I need to take some time to really examine my parenting philosophy and put words to it. I need some clarity, both as a way of affirming the way I parent and discovering ways that I can be a better mom, and also as a way to explain myself to others more fully.
I’m not going to try to do all that right now, but I’ll be laying out my parenting philosophy in coming posts.