I know that some of the parenting choices I make are pretty far from ‘mainstream’, and a lot of people probably think I am a bit crazy, but I’m sure you will agree that as Oliver is my child they are my choices to make (along with my other half of course!). We all make decisions that other people don’t get, be it professionally, personally or as parents. The problem is, some people seem to think it is OK to ignore everything I have ever said about how I want my child to be raised, that I clearly don’t know what I’m doing because I have less experience than them. Or this is how I perceive the lack of respect they show for my parenting at least. I’m writing this knowing full well the person I am talking about won’t be reading it, and if they are, well then you know the honest truth about how you have made me feel…
Oliver came back from a sleepover on Sunday morning as my other half and I went to a wedding on Saturday night. We were invited to the evening party only so we couldn’t have taken him with us, it was fairly local to us which meant we could drop Oliver off just before dinner (or tea, depending on what you call it) time and he could be returned to us the following morning. We’ve had many a discussion about the way we parent and one thing that is non negotiable is that we DO NOT agree with leaving a child to cry, Oliver is cuddled to sleep, he is comforted and secured for as long as he needs to be – be that 20 minutes, an hour or even longer, it was 1:15am before I got to bed a few nights ago because he was so unsettled. Under no circumstances should he ever be left to cry unless you desperately need the loo or other extenuating circumstances. If this is not OK, then Oliver will not stay. To me, leaving my child to cry is like giving a vegetarian meat.
I know my views on this are pretty strong, please don’t think I am judging anybody that chooses to do controlled crying etc – that is your choice, that is your child, that is your life. These are the choices I have made and I just want people to respect them.
Back to the story – Oliver came back on Sunday morning and I was told that after 20 minutes of cuddling he wouldn’t go in his travel cot, so he was left to cry, for 10 minutes. He then “eventually gave up and went to sleep”. I cannot describe how much my heart broke. I called my other half and I cried. I actually cried. The thought of my boy in this place he wasn’t used to without us feeling confused and anxious and crying to show his feelings and he was completely ignored. Because obviously he just wanted attention…. (insert raised eyebrow here) After a phone call discussing this the result was an ‘agree to disagree’ stalemate, which to me shows a complete lack of respect of the choices we have made.
The worst part is I felt like I needed some kind of study or research to back up why I have made the choices I have made (there are a few out there by the way), but I shouldn’t have to feel like this, I shouldn’t panic that I need to find strong scientific evidence about why I have chosen this parenting route. My instincts as a mother should be enough. So why aren’t they?
So my question is this, if I can respect the choices that other people make whether I agree or disagree with them, why can the same not be reserved for me? Do you think it’s fair to say that you are a better parent because you have more experience?
Has anyone ever made you feel judged? Like you have to justify the reason you parent the way you do? Has anyone shown you a complete lack of respect for the choices you have made? How did you deal with it?