Vallette Family

Vallette Family

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why I Don't Talk About Breastfeeding Anymore

I was scared to write this post, so I figured it meant I needed to. I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I stopped sharing articles about breastfeeding and being a stay at home mom (SAHM). 

I still think breastfeeding is wonderful and I still get teary eyed when I think about the fact that I had to quit a job I LOVED because my family needed me to. So, what changed? I realized I was creating controversy when I should've been creating comradery. Sometimes my intention was pure and kind, and some of the time I wanted to shout from the roof top (and my rooftop is Facebook) that I am a mom doing things "the right way" snark snark snark. If I'm doing things the right way, then that must mean that someone out there is doing things the wrong way--if breast is best, then formula must be NOT best. 

I don't think there's any one out there in the big, bad world of social media and internet that is confused about the benefits of breastmilk, if there is, you must've been under a rock all this time. We all know, guys. We all know that #breastisbest. We don't need to be reminded. We don't need a "Breastfeeding Awareness Week". We don't need a hashtag. (I can feel all of the breastfeeding moms painting me a traitor and kicking me out of the groups and hating me, and it's ok.)

Do you wanna know why we don't need to be reminded? Because it hurts people's feelings. Not just a few people, not just the highly sensitive, not just someone I know or someone you know, but a big, fat group of people hate it when you or I post 30 articles back to back about our style of parenting or what you and I do with our kids and how it's the right way. Because it comes across like you're judging and deeming yourself better than them, and no one wants to feel like someone else is saying they're sucking at this mom thing--we tell ourselves that enough.

There's no Formula Feeding Awareness Week. That would be weird. Shouldn't it be weird that there's one for breastfeeding? Here, where we're lucky enough to always have food available for our baby (whether it's from your breast, from the formula you buy or the formula WIC aids you in purchasing), do we really need to talk so much about HOW and WHAT we feed our kids? If the way we're shoving our lactating boobs in other people's faces is making them feel put down or judged or guilty, is it necessary? Well, maybe it's necessary for you, and that's ok--no really, it is--, but it's not necessary for me anymore.

I must be a slow learner because I accidentally hosted a lot of debates between the breastfeeders and the formula feeders and between the SAHMs and the working moms before I got a clue. The groups that I'm not a part of told me OVER and OVER that they felt picked on, and rather than listen I told them they were wrong. "No, you're not offended, you're just sensitive. I'm just talking about me--you're making it about you." 

They were right. I was SO making it about them. I wasn't sharing the article about the benefits of breastfeeding so that I would know them or so that other breastfeeders would know them. I was sharing the article (at least on some level) so the formula feeders would read it and come over to the RIGHT way of feeding a child. "Oh, the mom passes immunity to some diseases through her milk? Well, let me throw away this canister and start breastfeeding STAT." Or so they would know how much better what I was doing was than the "easy" route they were taking.

If someone in a group you're not in tells you that something you do is unkind or offensive you aren't allowed to disagree with them. You can choose to do it any way, sure, but you can't discount their feelings, you don't know, you're not allowed a vote.

So, you won't see me share any memes or articles about one particular style of parenting or feeding anymore because now I think about how it might make others feel. They told me over and over and over that it was hurtful and I ignored them. I hope no one ignores me when I tell them that something they do OVER and OVER is hurtful.

We're ALL just parents trying our very best, hoping and praying that it's enough. We don't need to be inundated with what we're doing that's not QUITE best. We already know. Everyone knows.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Perfect Kids?

I am almost finished reading a new parenting book, and I have alot of ideas and feelings about it. It's called "Parenting with Grace: The Catholic Parents' Guide to Raising Almost Perfect Kids". The woman who suggested it said that if I "was really a good Catholic I probably wouldn't need it". Well, I don't consider myself a "good Catholic" so I needed the book. I bought the book. I read the book. I hate the book. Well, kind of.

First of all, I hate the title-- "almost perfect kids" just irks me for some reason. All children are perfect in that they are a perfect gift from God, but they don't BECOME perfect because of your parenting (and they definitely don't become perfect because of MY parenting). 

The book basically explains how to use attachment parenting (a phrase I didn't even know existed until after Elaina was born) in a way that will produce well behaved children that will "make other people jealous". I also hated that notion--making others jealous. I have zero desire to make others jealous of the way my children behave. I hope other people look at my children and breathe a little easier "oh, look! her kids do x too!" not "oh my, her kids are perfect, how do I do that? what's wrong with me/my kids". Jealousy is not something I hope to instill in my fellow mamas!

Attachment parenting (from what little I've come across-- I haven't specifically searched it and I don't wish to) means breastfeeding for as long as your child wants to, bed sharing, baby wearing and not spanking. I'm sure there's more to the story and maybe there's a checklist or something, I don't know!

I don't know if there's an opposite to attachment parenting. Like, if you don't "attachment parent" then you..... " detachment parent"? I have no idea, y'all. And I usually don't write about something without familiarizing myself with it first, but I just do not have any desire to fill my brain with this information. 

This book also goes on to tell the reader that doing parenting this way is the way to raise children who are generous and virtous and who are less susceptible to peer pressure and who are less likely to be promiscuous and are less likely to do drugs. Basically, attachment parenting is the RIGHT way to raise children. You're supposed to let children self wean and let them stay in your room until they're ready to leave and not leave the child (even for a few hours, think: date night) until the child is ready to be separated--age 3. 

Why is there a need for labels? I like to call our parenting style "Diana and Marvin's parenting style". That's it. I breastfeed. We room share with our babies (and occasionally bed share if that's the only way to sleep, but I sleep much better without sharing the bed), we ship our kiddos out into their own room at some point in the first year, I wean when I feel ready to be done breastfeeding, I leave them for a date night when I feel like my husband and I need a recharge--way before age 3! I don't hold myself to a checklist standard or a specific parenting style.

Marvin and I's main goal is to raise children who are self sufficient and kind. Kids who are loving and responsible. Kids who will make it to heaven one day. 

I think it's important that you give your kids the best version of yourself, and I wouldn't be the best version of myself if I was breastfeeding a 3 year old who I never had a moment away from. That's just not good for me. Now, I'm not saying parenting is all about me--about what I want or how I feel, because of course it's not! But, I don't think parenting is all about my kids either! We are a family. A family that works together for the good of one another. A team. And that means sacrifice sometimes. Sometimes I sacrifice and sometimes they do! That's life!

Please understand that I'm not knocking AP. I'm not. If AP is the way you parent and it's good for you, and you're the best version of yourself, then keep on trucking, girl! I'm just saying it's not for everyone. And, I don't think ANY style of parenting is THE way to parent. There are different parents, different kids, different dynamics, differences! And different things work. And there is NO "one size fits all".

Now, I said I "sort of" hated the book. "Sort of" because it had some great, thought provoking points that I hope will make for a stronger Vallette Team. One of them was developing a family mission statement. A few sentences that outline what virtues the family should be striving to exhibit. How we should be acting individually and reminding and helping one another to act. The book helps you identify the virtues you need the most work on. We'll be working on patience (cough, cough Diana!), kindness, gentleness (give ya one guess), solidarity, responsibility and love.

The book was also a good reminder of our (and our children's) innate dignity. A good reminder that we need to exhibit the behavior and virtues we wish to pass on to our children. That we need to work on being good people--not just work on raising them. It also reminded me that we're here to help one another. That we're here to work for the good of our neighbor, and I always welcome a reminder to stop being so selfish--something I struggle with a lot.

Some of you know I recently had a conversion experience. (I write about that here.) Well, the conversion high has worn off and now I'm back down to Earth and I want to go deeper into my faith and become the person -specifically wife and mother- God wants me to be. I love to read. Reading and prayer were really what helped to cultivate my conversion experience, so this book was a great kick off in that it got my brain back into gear. 

I've been asking around for good book suggestions. I want books that will be easy for my baby Catholic brain to read and so far I've gotten suggestions that are way too advanced for where I am right now. So, if you have a book that you read and really enjoyed, please send your suggestions my way!

Would I suggest reading the book? Yeah, I guess. If you're one of those people who is ok sifting through things that won't help. It's not a book I'd live or die by. If you're looking for a good parenting book, I suggest "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk". That book has some great tools!