Thursday, March 19, 2015

sorry, not sorry.

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We all have moments (or months) of doubting ourselves and our parenting actions, right? You missed the big soccer game or the toddler fell out of his crib or we used the TV as a baby-sitter - again…you know what I’m talking about.

But there’s a flip side to that guilt: the sorry-not-sorrys of parenting. These are choices you make that you know some people would chastise you for, but that you just don't feel guilty about. Things like ate ice cream for dinner last night, or still uses a bottle at age two. It got me thinking: What are the choices I make as a mom that I'm so not sorry about? There are lots of things that I could probably convince myself to feel guilty about, or that someone else could criticize me for, if given the chance - but that I'm actually totally comfortable with.

It's a good exercise for parents to do, I think, because it's just so easy to get caught up in the guilt vortex, or to lose yourself in comparisons to someone else’s carefully-curated Instagram life. And, because, let's face it, there's always something to feel guilty about when you're in charge of growing and socializing a human freakin' being. So why not celebrate the choices, purposeful ones and accidental ones alike, that shape your parenting style?

Here are seven of my "Sorry-Not-Sorry"s:

  1. I let Rowan play in her crib when she wakes up from a nap for as long as we're both happy. I'll go up if she starts crying, but otherwise? Nah. What's the harm in letting her play happily, safely, and independently for a half hour (or longer)?
  2. EVEN THOUGH pacifiers were on my unofficial "I'll never" list before I had kids, she uses them for naps and nights, and I'm in no rush to wean her from them.
  3. I plan to wait as long as possible before potty training with Rowan. I was a preschool teacher. I've dealt with the effects of training kids too early. It's not pretty, people. And I bet it's even less pretty when you don't have a few co-teachers to corral the kids away from the accident, and grab clean clothes for you, and laugh about it with later. Sure, we have a little training potty chilling in the bathroom for her to explore and become familiar with, but the longer I can postpone official potty training (and the inevitable public potty accidents), the better.
  4. I'm still pretty anti-character in general, meaning I try to limit the effects of mass marketing in our household. I don't want Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh on every damn thing she owns. But? The girl loves Elmo and Spiderman. And I love watching her love them. So it goes.
  5. She has the same thing for lunch pretty much every day: a cheese sandwich, a yogurt & veggie pouch, and fresh fruits or veggies. Her diet overall offers a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients, so I'm not feeling bad about the fact that we kind of fell into a lunch rut. I make it easily, she eats it happily, and it cuts down the number of daily meal decisions I need to make by a third. Win.
  6. Speaking of those pouches - I know they're expensive and supposedly not good for teeth, but since Rowan doesn't walk around sucking on one (or a sippy cup, for that matter - both of those are confined to sitting down for a snack or meal), and since they're chock-full of healthy fruits, veggies, and grains, and since they're convenient as hell...yeah. Sorry, not sorry.
  7. I'm not ready to add to our family crew yet. All three of us are thriving and happy. We're satisfied with not rocking the boat for the time being.

What are some of your Sorry-Not-Sorrys? And I'm not talking about humble-brags, like, "Sorry-not-sorry that my child speaks seven languages, even though that will make him stand out," or, "Sorry-not-sorry that I sometimes allow my daughter to binge on fresh organic spinach from our backyard garden." I mean confessing the un-confessions, the things you know Ms. Sanctimommy down the street gives you the side-eye for. Spill! And in spilling, know that someone else is reading your Sorry-Not-Sorry and nodding her head in understanding and connection.

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