There are so many ways to be a good parent, so many ways to get it “right” (or right enough), and while many of these ways may be different, even contradictory, they are all equally valid.
I want to focus on this point of view rather than the usual ‘this way is the right way’ rhetoric. I feel that we have got to a point where there is a standoff between what may be called ‘routine’ or ‘traditional’ parenting, and ‘alternative’ or ‘attachment’ parenting. When did we start to put ourselves on one side of the parenting fence or another? Is there really a need for there to be a ‘fence’ at all?
I think parents as a community could think much more about the ‘many ways to be right theory’. After all, we want to live in a society were we can all be different but equal, and equally accepted. Why shouldn’t it be thus whilst raising our kids?
Therefore I propose that whether you birthed at home or at hospital, bottle, or breastfed, cried it out or bed-shared, made the baby food or bought it, carried your baby in a sling or a buggy, wherever the hell you schooled your kids, whatever childcare arrangements you made, whatever you do and did was simply one of the many right ways to do it. Enough with the polarised views, up with supporting the myriad of choices.
Far from being stressful, it can be an exciting and enriching exercise to look at all these different perspectives and ways of doing things. We don’t need to have to the upper hand, to compare against our own experiences, in actual fact there is no competition, just observed difference. We can all be happy knowing that we ‘did it right’ even when we did it differently to someone else, because there are so many right ways to do it right.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be concerned about your children and how you raise them. I’m saying that most parents are concerned, very much so, just concerned in different ways about different things…and that is ok. Kids can turn out pretty much ok in pretty much most circumstances. So let’s take a journey looking at life through the lens of inclusiveness, observing even celebrating different approaches, and creating a compassionate view of our own and others’ parenting journey.