Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hey, Do You Have My Cool? I Seem To Have Lost Mine.

So you guys. Here's a fun fact about yours truly: I HATE conflict. I hate it so much that I will be patient with you for an inordinate amount of time even if you're mean to me or call me names or insult me. I avoid confrontation at (almost) all costs. This is the story of today. When I didn't avoid it. Because I got so mad it made me feel like I had a little, angry alien baby fighting to get out of my stomach in order to strangle something.
So once upon a time, I got called out on my parenting by someone on facebook. Not once, not twice, not even three times. In fact, it was frequent enough that I kind of lost count. And got more and more annoyed about it. And finally, I snapped. Because my telling this person that "I feel good about the decisions I've made here" wasn't enough. They would not let it die. They continued to berate and quiz me on my knowledge of 'fill-in-chosen-parenting-style-here'. 
Here's how I decided to respond. If you should ever need one, this can be used as a form letter addressed to whoever it is in your life that feels like they should be raising your kids:

Dear Person Who Thinks They Have All The Answers,

Quite honestly, this is not about [fill-in-chosen-parenting-style-here] to me anymore; it's about the lack of confidence you seem to have in my ability to make informed decisions in regards to my children. I find it insulting that you feel the need to abrasively defend your point of view when I was never attacking your opinion; I was merely stating mine. It was fine for you to tell me what you believed about it at first, but when I countered by saying I'd made my mind up about this and felt in harmony with the Lord, it would have been nice for you to then just allow me to make my decision instead of continuing to challenge my choice.
This subject is not one that I'm as passionate about as you are, which results in my not being as thoroughly researched as you. I don't believe that because I haven't researched as much as you have in this area, that I am making an uninformed or unintelligent decision. There are many parenting methods out there that I choose not to practice even though 'research' has shown that it's the 'right' thing to do. I don't believe in absolutes. I believe that since every child and parent are different, results will vary regardless of whether or not you co-sleep or don't co-sleep or exclusively breast-feed or use formula or cry-it-out or don't. There is no one right way to parent.
The choice to [participate in 'fill-in-the-blank-parenting-style-here] is my choice to make. And I get to also choose HOW I make that choice. It's okay that you feel like I'm not in harmony with the will of the Lord because I haven't researched 'enough' or haven't landed on the same side as you have on this or other issues, but I just don't really want to hear about your disapproval. I am far too hard on myself in regards to parenting as it is and I don't need other people scrutinizing and disapproving of the decisions I make.
I know this comes across as being harsh and I feel badly about that; but I've sort of reached the end of my ability to stay patient. I was patient 2 and a half years ago when you messaged me with a ton of information about why I shouldn't circumcise my son when I didn't even know you and hadn't asked for your opinion about it. (By the way, I'd already reached my decision about that by the time I received your message so my 'limited' research at least allowed The Lord to inspire me with a decision that aligned with yours in that area.) I was patient again a few years later when you turned my 'I need encouragement about breastfeeding because I think my milk is making my baby sick' post into a lecture as to why formula will make my son unintelligent and/or suffer from a long list of possible side-effects. And I was patient again when you refuted my claim that my oldest was exclusively formula fed from 4 months old and hasn't suffered AT ALL by informing me that 'effects aren't always immediately seen' as though I now have something horrible to look forward to because I fed my firstborn formula.
I appreciate your passion. I think you are an amazing parent. I respect and admire the decisions you are making for your family and I have every confidence that you will do your best for your babies, even though I don't agree with everything you choose to do. I hold my tongue when you post articles about parenting which differ greatly from the way that I do things. Why? Because I don't think that the way I parent is automatically absolutely right for everyone! I believe that you will be inspired to do for your children what is best FOR YOUR CHILDREN. And I wish you believed the same, but it doesn't seem like you do.
I hope that you can believe that my babies are in good hands. I hope that you will know how much they are loved. I hope you know how seriously I take parenting and how desperately I want to do the best for my boys. But even if you forget all of that, or just choose not to believe it, I hope you will remember that when I do mess up, the Lord- who loves those babies infinitely more than you or I can comprehend- will make up the difference.