Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yep, thats my opinion!

I’m an opinionated mother. Now, I would like to think that I’m tactful in my opinions. I don’t believe that I shove them down anyone’s throats. Despite my desire to jump and give most people my 2 cents about whatever subject may be up for discussion, I feel I usually do a good job biting my tongue and displaying great physical restraints by not saying anything at all (although if you’ve hit a subject of passion, I may start twitching or hold my breath as I as I work on this “restraint”). But today, I wish to state my opinions bluntly.

Why? Because, I have the right to. Guess what? So do you! One thing I can say, you don’t have to share my opinion for me to like you. There are many people I adore, whom have opinions and ideals that I disagree with very passionately. I don’t have to agree with you, to love you. If there is a quality about myself that I do love, that would be the top one. Sometimes it frustrates me that in “real life” I can’t express MY opinions without being labeled as “judgmental” or “extreme”. I have my opinions, I believe in them, but I also believe that you have the right to believe what you believe and the right to live your life as you choose to. None of these opinions seem to clash so wildly then in a place called “Cafe mom” There you utter the words “exclusively breastfeed”, or “extended rear facing” and you are bound to meet opposition. I enjoy cafĂ© mom mostly for the breastfeeding support through a forum made up of awesome moms who support each other through this difficult but blessed stage in our lives and our children’s lives. Well tonight I feel like expressing my opinions bluntly, I want people to know what I believe. So here it comes.

I breastfeed. Breast milk was designed for babies, formula is inadequate, breast is best. Period. IF your children are “fine” and they were formula fed.. good for you, breast milk is still best, and until formula is designed by God, then it’s still second rate.

We do NOT circumcise. It has no medical benefits. And it destroys nerve ending in the head of the penis. Today’s circumcision is not like biblical circumcision. I do not feel that it is a requirement for my children to have a relationship with God, nor is it required of me to circumcise my sons for me to peruse a relationship with God. We are not under the old covenant; we are covered by the blood of Christ. He looks at the heart.. not my sons penis. Yes, it requires them to clean it, but not till it retracts on its own as they grow. And guess what.. my teeth require cleaning as well, I refuse to prevent tooth decay by pulling my teeth out. In my mind, it’s the same concept.

My kids forward face in the car after 1 yr. Now, to be honest, I have considered turning them around, And I still do, but at this point they still forward face, and that’s my choice, and I’m not ashamed of it.

Occasionally, we spank. Why? Because when they are young they are not always able to break down a lecture and standing in time outs does not work for actions that require immediate discipline. I see it work in my kids, and no one can convince me otherwise.

I teach my kids the real words for their body parts. My sons have penises; not peepers, or peepees, or whatever. We call them penises. That’s what they are. I don’t see why children should be ashamed of their body parts. And I don’t understand why a parent would be embarrassed if their child was to say penis in public. That is what it is. And Princess knows that she has a vagina. And that’s what she calls it. And all the kids (okay barak doesn’t understand or care yet) know that boys have penises and girls have vaginas. And to them it’s not that big of a deal. It’s just a normal part of life.

Kids should see birth. We live in a society were birth is hidden behind “sterile” doors in “safety”. Birth is normal part of life. If it wasn’t, you and I wouldn’t be here. Girls should witness someone having birth well before they ever start to think about having kids. They need to see the reality. And they need to see the strength. They need to know what an amazing creation their body is. They are subjected to seeing their bodies sexualize from an early age. They need to see that their body provides a function; a beautiful, amazing function. That their bodies are amazing- regardless of shape, size or color. That their bodies are capable of sustaining life as it grows, birthing a life into this world, and providing all the nutrients that life needs to grows. Girls need to see birth, not to scare them, but to empower them.

Hospital births should only be for high risk pregnancies. Woman should birth in the comfort of their home or in a birthing center. America’s medical high jacking of a midwife assisted birth in the safety and comfort of home is horrible. If you have not researched the progression of maternal care in America, you should. But caution, it’s not for the faint of heart. Home or birthing center births are safe. And guess what, America’s c-section rate is 33% compared to the world average of 13%.. and we have the second highest death rate among industrialized nations. Yeah, 2nd.

Woman should nurse in public. They should not retreat to the restroom and only retreat to a nursing room if it’s convenient for them. Breastfeeding should be a NORMAL part of our culture, not a taboo subject. And I disgusts me to hear people say that breastfeeding in public is gross. No what is gross is seeing people who are 10x overweight squeeze into tiny skin tight close and show their bodies off. Its gross to see teenagers walk around in shorts that really should classify as underwear, its disgusting to see bikinis in size 3-6 mo, its gross to see parade their bodies around like sexualized objects. Breastfeeding is beautiful, its powerful, it’s amazing… and guess what the human race would not be here without it.

I am not convinced of the safety of vaccinations. Nor will I be till a study comparing non vaccinated and vaccinated adults and children living within similar culture groups are performed…. Oh wait there has been yet those studies are thrown aside and sited as invalid because they weren’t done by a clinical study group. Well if the cdc or any one of the pharmaceutical companies would take the initiative to do a few perhaps they can start addressing the mounting concerns by thousands and thousands of parents. Instead they spend more money pushing the “safety” of vaccinations. I’ve researched this subject since before Zeke was born, and guess what, I stand firm. More testing is needed, period.

This isn’t about parenting, but it’s something I feel strongly about. Do you recycle? IF yes great, if no.. Then stop complaining about what the government is not doing for our environment. If you’re not willing to do your part, the stop whining. That’s called being a hypocrite. Don’t state what they should be doing if you’re not even willing to do what you should be doing.

No question about parenting annoys me the most then this “my toddler will not eat anything but junk food”… Really? So your 2yr old has a job, and a car? So HE drives to the store and buys the junk food? You have NO means of intervention? Yeah.. didn’t think so. HE EATS IT BECAUSE YOU PROVIDE IT!! Kids aren’t dumb. If they know that you will give in and give them the pop tart, then guess what, they will whine and throw a fit till they either exhaust themselves or you give in. But here is a secret.. if you don’t give it to them, they won’t starve. IF faced with starvation or a plate of veggies, human instinct will kick in and he will eat the veggies. Yes some food strikes are scary and some children will go a day or so without eating anything of real sustenance, but they will eat. Don’t ask a question that seems to blame a child for his bad eating habits. That’s YOUR bad habit, not theirs. They just happen to be the victim.

I hate comments when I go to the store. “Boy you have your hands full don’t you” (really, state the obvious much), “wow, are they all yours” (nope, they just started following me around, can’t get rid of the little buggers), “do they have the same father” (really, where does anyone get off asking that of a complete stranger? Seriously?) “You do know what causes that, don’t you?” (No.. would you like to explain it to me? Because after 5 kids I have NO idea how the female body works. Seriously, right here next to the apples, would you give me a sex education course? Or, how about you scurry off to the deli and mind your own freaking business)!! In case anyone didn’t know this.. I am 100% aware that I have 5 kids. YES 1,2,3,4,5. I can count. In fact I count their little head several times a day. And guess what? I LOVE IT! I love the sound of all five of them giggling together, I love waking up to all five of them in my bed, I love watching them grow and learn. I love each and every one of them. And they are here for a reason. I don’t know it, God does. He gave them to me for a reason (although I question his sanity there =p). I wouldn’t give anyone of them up for a reason. I almost every day hear “ I don’t know how you do it”, Well, I don’t know how I would do anything without them. They are my very existence. They give me purpose, love and have built me as a person. God knew that I needed each and every one of them and somewhere it that huge tapestry of a plan he has, they have a great purpose for life. And as inadequate as I feel, God gave them to Me and James to raise.

Oh, and if you don’t like that I have five kids. Say it to my face. Don’t talk about it behind my back. Many people have given me enough respect to do so. Guess what, I respect and even like them for their ability to be open and honest with me.

And finally, don’t make assumptions. I HATE that. The other day I jumped on a mom on an assumption she made. After having a hard day at the store with her toddler she stated that everyone was looking at her like “she was one of those poor young single moms who doesn’t know what she is in for”… really? Yes, she got a piece of my mind. Most single moms I know are kick a$$ awesome moms and deserve a lot of respect. You think its hard being a mom when you have a husband or partner on board? Try spending a day in those “young single moms” shoes. I bet you’d be on your knees crying by mid morning snack!! The single moms I know are strong, loving, hard working and awesome at parenting. They have to be. I’ve only had a small taste of what they do, and now, I look at them with admiration.

Okay so there is my rant. I am not ashamed of my opinions. They are part of who I am. I find it refreshing to be around people who just say it like they see it. Honesty is like a cool glass of water on a hot day. I love it. Even if you don’t agree with me, and I with you; I still love it.

So yes, I’m opinionated!! What’s your opinion on that?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Confession

So I have struggled as to what my first blog should be about. First I thought a hot topic item that I’m passionate about … Like breastfeeding, would be great, but that just didn’t seem to be the right start. Perhaps a heartwarming story of how parenting has made me a better person? Someday I will, but this time I wanted to dig deeper. To begin my blogging experience I have decided to start with a confession.

I am a judgmental person. I wish I could sit here and say that I never look at person with pre-conceived stereotypes or the “pshhh, I could do way better then that” attitude, but that just wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is I am and have been a very judgmental person. And nowhere have those judgments been more misguided then in my views of parenting.

I remember, after Zeke was born, seeing a mother in the store with toddler who was screaming in the front of the cart, and a preschooler wearing a filthy worn out shirt with jeans that had holes the size of Texas in the knees. She looked tiered, and exasperated, but gently kissed her screaming toddler… my gut reaction was “Why is she not disciplining him?”, “How could any mom dress her child like a slob?” I remember avoiding her looks as I smiled at Zeke and doted over how cute he looked in his overalls. While they were second hand they were clean and newer and he looked adorable as he sat there quietly in the cart. Flash forward six years and I feel shame for my judgment. Today Gabe wore the same Thomas the Tank engine shirt he wore several days in a row, it is dirty and stained beyond any hope, but he loves it none the less. Mikhaela’s hair was thrown into messy buns because her cowering at the sight of a hairbrush is too much for me to take, after all a day of messy hair killed no one… I promise. Barak threw fit after fit this morning. Why? Who knows? Maybe he is tiered, or teething, or growing, or the gloomy day had him down in the dumps? It happens, he is two, we have time to teach self control, and after all I’m pretty sure I threw a similar fit the other day.

I worked at a daycare a about 4 years ago. It used to drive me nuts to see moms bring their kids to the daycare in their PJ’s, with a doughnut for breakfast. I really felt like I was better them most of them. MY sons, after all, were nicely dressed, ready for the day, and already had a healthy breakfast. Course now after knowing so many moms from so many different situations I realize most of those moms were single moms, and they probably had already figured out something that I was too stubborn to learn till just recently: Don’t sweat the small stuff. A day in pajamas will do no long term damage to a child. A quick, not so healthy breakfast is sometimes the only thing to get the morning going. That looking at the big picture and letting go of the little things, is sometimes all you can do to get through the day.

It was my goal to get parenting “right”. I’ve carried the burden of this idea that if I didn’t get it “right” I would ruin my children forever. I can’t tell you exactly were that misguided notion began to change. I think it has been in my opportunity to meet more people over the last year and have come to realize that regardless of how their parents raised them, ultimately it’s up to each individual as to who they become. I don’t have to get it “right”, because there is no “right”. Most moms are doing the best they can with what they have. Most of us question and judge ourselves enough, we don’t need complete strangers adding to that burden. So far most of my “I will never…” predetermined thoughts on parenting have been forced back in my mouth with a bitter taste. 6 years ago I would have thought that by now I’d have the answers; I probably thought I would know it all. Now all I can say is that I hope have just enough experience to get me through tomorrow and I really don’t know much at all.

Slowly I am trying to be less of a judgmental person. I see other moms and wonder what it would be like to be in their shoes. That helps me remember that I know nothing about where they are, and the challenges they face on a daily basis. Some people are content with who they are… I am not, I want to be, but I have things that need to change first. One thing I am content with is the knowledge that I need to change. It gives me something to move forward with, something to strive for. Every day I strive to throw judgments aside and become a more understanding and accepting person. I think I am on the right track (but don’t ask my husband, poor man gets the worst of my worst!!). Maybe it’s only baby steps. I still see a screaming toddler in the store and want to inform the mother that my children would never do such a thing, course I am quickly jolted out of that judgment by my own screaming toddler. But its been a while since I have finished a judgment in my head without stopping myself and saying “Do you really think you know better?” Again; small steps, but at least those steps are in the right direction.