Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mature or Educated?

After telling me how much of treasure little E was one day last week, his day care provider added that I am very mature (despite my young age) in my parenting style and know-how. As I travel along this parenting journey I am finding that it is extremely important to be educated and informed and I am proud that this shows.

Stereotypically, young mothers are bad mothers making bad choices. In my own experience I have met a lot of young mothers that just listen to what their elders and peers tell them or raise their children the way they were raised rather than doing their own research. I am sure in a lot of cases these mothers are doing what works for them, which I encourage - but only once you know all the facts behind each decision.

This past weekend I stopped on my way home to the farm to make two separate visits with two great friends that also happen to be new, young, informed and educated mothers. It is just so refreshing to sit and chat with them about different parenting choices and ideals. I love that they share many of the same passions as me. The three of us come from very different backgrounds and experienced very different pregnancies and births but we are united in our passion for educated and informed parenting. I can't wait for my next visit!

Doing my own research has spared me many headaches so far...

If I listened to little E's Great-Nanny, I wouldn't tickle him for fear of making him stutter.

If I listened to his Grandma I would just feed him milk and soy products because "his body will get used to it" or I would have circumcised him because that's what she did.

If I followed what my Mother did (and what the Dr's recommended to her back when my oldest siblings were born) I would have started solids at 6 weeks rather than 6 months.

I often hear my elders say, "Jeez, I wish I had that when my children were young", or "I got by just fine without that". But in most cases I think a lot of our elders parenting choices have fallen into the I wish I knew then, what I know now category. How can all the research and evidence out there be ignored? It's easy I guess if you don't look.

I often refer to myself as an "information junkie" because I love reading about new things. It's how I become comfortable in a new stage or event in my life.

For my wedding, we had a year and a half long engagement and married soon after college. During this time, I researched and read every book and website published about wedding planning. We were so young and broke and I made every last dime count, but I wouldn't have been able to do that if I hadn't found a way to make it work. That day went off without a hitch and the lead-up only included a couple true bridezilla moments.

Then the next huge step was our first child three years later and I read and read even before trying to conceive. Damn if I do something, I'm going to do it right baby (yeah, that's the Dutch in me that I get from my Dad along with the sugar addiction). We planned everything to a tee, but that didn't mean we didn't hit bumps in the road. I was fortunate to have had a healthy pregnancy and a natural birth, but I really put in a lot of time and effort.

Not to sound too cliche, but these were the two best days of my life. Not only because I married my best friend and was blessed with a little angel, but because I was so prepared and educated about these events that I was able to relax and enjoy them to the fullest. Because I created this level of comfort, I was successful in my plans.

Like I've mentioned before, when we first brought little E home, I was trying to be perfect. It took me awhile and a lot of books to figure that this was unattainable. But I'm glad I found this out on my own and now I can embrace it.

So what I am trying to get at here is that I don't think age should be a factor in parenting. Mothers need to be more educated period. They need to go out and find what works for them. And they most definitely shouldn't follow each and every thing Grandma or Aunt Paula is telling them to do.

So my answer to little E's day care provider and her Husband? My strong parenting ethic or values should not be measured by my age. I simply have a passion to be educated and informed on what is best for our family. Thank you, for this I am proud.

2 comments:

  1. I think you're right - age is not a factor in good parenting. Being an informed parent is.

    Aside from parenting books, there are plenty of free resources online that can help. And as always - take what you read and the advice people give you with a grain of salt.

    I totally agree with what you're saying here. Know your options and go with your instincts on what is an appropriate parenting style for your family.

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  2. Very well written, I couldn't have said it better myself. You should absolutely be proud of yourself, a lot of work goes into not only being a great parent/mother, but learning and self education as well. You're inspirational! We truly enjoy the visits and also find it EXTREMELY refreshing to share some of the same values and love for education/information regarding parenting and many other things (not to mention, you and little E are great company)! I fondly remember the wedding planning! You put a great deal of work into that special day and it turned out beautifully! I don't recall any "bridezilla" moments, you were as calm and cool as could be!

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