August 17, 2009

Who is the Quintoople Mama?.... The Parenting Edition.

Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.
~John Wilmot

I was reading a notable blog the other day, and I was thinking about how clearly she has herself defined. I giggled to myself because while that's good, I am not sure I am really definable. So I thought I would write a post in an effort to more clearly define myself....

I WILL say that before I had children, notably before I had many small children, I was a "perfect parent" with a strict set of blanket, black and white do's and do not's. Reagan dented into the armor of perfection with her colic, I started trying things like (gasp!) pacifiers to get some sanity. Then Ethan came along 364 days later, and I realized that Sesame Street would give me an hour with Ethan...uninterrupted. Then the triad of destruction came, and while they won our hearts....they COMPLETELY overturned what we thought we knew about parenting.

Once upon a time I used to consider myself strictly an AP, or attachment parenting, mom.

Then triplets happened, and AP + triplets = unattainable. Though I did as much AP'ing as possible!

Once upon a time we used to eat only organic food, but then we decided that inspiring to live debt free on the Ramsay program was more important......

So we are saving a LOT of money and eating "normal" food, though I still buy organic when I am able.

Once upon a time I severely limited my children's exposure to TV.

Now, when the noise limits are in excess, I GLADLY turn to "Dora", "Arthur", "Little Bear", Franklin", or "Clifford" to quiet the noise....if only for 1/2 hour....or more.

Once upon a time I would have NEVER used an "icky" disposable diaper on my babies.

Now I thank GOD for disposables, because even cloth diapering part time is a chore with three at once.

Once upon a time I looked down on mom's who formula fed their infants, I felt sorry for those babies that were being bottle fed at the grocery store. I wanted to educate the world on the many wonderful benefits of breast milk!!! If only they knew the truth....!!!

Now, while I am still a HUGE breast milk advocate, I am grateful that we have a substitute that allowed my triplets to thrive when I was sick in the hospital. I am not so quick to judge others when I see a bottle of formula, remembering the devastation I felt when I was told that I should start bottle feeding.

Once upon a time I said that I would only ever use positive discipline, and that I did not like to use the word "No".......

.........then I had a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and 3 newborns.....suddenly the word "No." seemed necessary. Now I have no trouble saying it!

So then....what exactly are my personal parenting beliefs?

  • every child deserves to be treated, talked to, and even disciplined as an individual.
  • parents are *marriage partners FIRST!* and after the first year of life, a bedtime of 8pm is strictly enforced. It gives us a chance to talk, plan, and catch up. For us, it's absolutely necessary.
  • every child has a distinct and unique spot in our family.
  • parents have needs too- if things are too stressful and overwhelming then the other parent/support person needs to recognize this and take over....if only for a little while.
  • we are impressed with, and try to follow the Love and Logic parenting style.
  • we, as parents, are capable of error and often apologize to our children or the family as a whole.
  • we, as parents, are shaping our children....but they have their own God driven paths. We will try to stay out of the way and let the Lord lead them.
  • We still delay vaccines, and have our own schedule, but we hold no judgment against people who vax on schedule. This is a deeply personal, and educational decision.

Every set of parents is different, and as long as there is love, acceptance, and safety... I say that the rest is just what makes us different. Am I more likely to be friends with people who are like-minded, or who have similar circumstances??? Yes, of course! Does that mean I am judgmental of those who have chosen different??? No. Never again.