I recently read an article about “When did parenting become so difficult” (I possibly butchered that title, but it was something along those lines). It discussed how it seems like these days parents live with extreme amounts of outside pressure to be the “Pinterest-worthy” parent, where the lunches are all organic, cut into cute shapes, and decorated with an uplifting message, or where birthday parties have become a community event of keeping up with the Jones rather than celebrating the child, or even that every spare minute of a child’s upbringing must be filled with parent induced educational activities.
I agree that there seems to be a standard out there now that is propagated by our connection to social media. It is this factor though that promotes this style of superhero parenting. I personally think that most of us are doing the best that we can do within our individual situations. I do not blame my parents at all for letting me sit in front of the TV for a few hours on Saturday mornings while they slept in (in fact, I rather enjoyed it); or for them telling me to go play outside and entertain myself until supper was ready. And, in my opinion I turned out fine.
Four years ago, when we found out we were pregnant, we had high aspirations for all the wonderful things we would do to provide our child with a healthy lifestyle, and to help minimize our carbon footprint. We had planned on cloth diapering, we were going to make all of her baby food, we were going to cosleep, nurse on demand, and “baby wear.” Most of these were huge successes for our small family, and others were, admittedly, epic fails. I don’t believe it was because our parenting skills were lacking but more so that life took its course. We keep a pretty upbeat lifestyle and I just couldn’t find time to be cooking all of her baby food from scratch, let alone making sure it was all organic. We ensured that she was eating well, nursing on demand, and were reassured in our lifestyle choices by seeing that we had one happy little baby.
We have kept living our dream, even with two girls now, and are living on our sailboat in the Caribbean. As you would assume not everything is as readily available here as it was back in Canada, and so we make due with what we can get and strive for a healthy and happy family. Our desire for a more natural lifestyle is never anything that is forced, but rather an option; if it is available and feasible for us, we will consider it, if not we will go with the best available alternative. Some things just seem logical with our lifestyle, such as with the amount of sun exposure we get on a daily basis, that using a natural, chemical free sunscreen on our babies, especially a good one like Trukid’s (yes a shameless plug, but we really love their stuff) was the best way to go. Other options are not always so easy because of time, access, or money restraints.
We are fortunate that where we currently are staying there is an abundance of fresh produce and our daughters eat like Delmonte princesses, but they’ve also both had their fair share of sugary treats. Unfortunately cloth diapering on the boat was a pass for us, although we managed to do it while living in land and loved it. Out here I didn’t feel I had the amenities or the energy for it. Pampers now receives our dough. Cosleeping was voluntary and wanted at first, and then was almost forced on the boat simply due to the size of our ship and sleeping berths. We still loved the late night and early morning snuggles but man can a small child ever hog an abnormally large portion of a bed. And the nursing and baby wearing came naturally to me.
We have gone as natural as is feasible for our family of four and are glad to be reaping the benefits of those choices. Our oldest daughter no longer gets facial rashes from wearing a sunscreen chalked full of chemicals, she is also the child that benefited from cloth diapering reducing the amounts of diaper rashes she got on her sensitive skin, both children got all night cuddles from their parents in the family bed, both nursed until they cared not to, and both are growing big and strong on a diet that contains some additives and preservatives, but on the whole is healthy.
So most of those things that we had hoped for have come to fruition, but I still cannot bake a pie, macramé, or make a wreath like anything I see posted online, and that’s ok, I accept that and my children still love me. I congratulate you if you do manage these extras on top of the regular parenting necessities, and I also congratulate you if you don’t; parenting is not always easy, especially if we’re expected to reach superhero status. Good parenting alone deserves congrats.
Genevieve Stolz of It’s a Necessity
Disclaimer: This is a guest blog post and any views expressed may not be that of TruKid’s.