Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

In the last few months, I have hardly written.  It isn't that I don't have ideas floating around in my mind, its just that I don't know how to say what I want to say.  

About a month ago, I had a falling out with a friend of mine.  We were friends for 5-6 years.  I sent her a message, as I had before.  In this particular message, I mentioned something I noticed about the shoulder straps on her daughter's car seat.  I explained that I had to adjust A's when I read about shoulder strap placement for rear-facing (at or BELOW the shoulder) versus forward facing (at or ABOVE the shoulder...so many rules).  This 'friend' proceeded to tell me how annoying I was, among various other remarks.  I was hurt, and I was offended.  I had to step back and evaluate: did I say something to be right or to be helpful?  At the end of the day, I removed this friend from my Facebook because I know my intentions.  I meant well, I meant to be helpful.  I said something because I love my friend and care about her and her family.  After everything was said and done, I concluded that a friend who really knew me would understand my intentions.  Perhaps this friend and I had just grown apart.  Of course, given the many conversations we'd had prior, I wasn't aware of this distance because we had great conversations, and I always made it a point to support this friend in any way I could.  But it wasn't enough. Realizing that sometimes your best isn't enough or that sometimes your best intentions are misunderstood, well, that just sucks.

Just a couple weeks ago, I had another instance where someone very close to me and I had an exchange regarding views on spanking/hitting as discipline.  I don't believe in it.  I can't justify it.  I think it is wrong.  This is not meant to hurt those who believe differently, but I am never going to share the same viewpoint.  I believe in natural and logical consequences, none of which involve spanking to "teach" or "guide."  

Lastly, at my bridal shower, I had a sweet friend of mine make a remark in passing about attachment parenting, which she said is "where the parents don't ever let the kids cry and the kids are with the parents 24/7."  Being my bridal shower, I just carried on with the events of the day and had a great time.  But, I wished at that time, I could've pulled up Dr. Sears' article about what Attachment Parenting (AP) is NOT.  Attached parenting takes on various forms, as each parent/child partnership is different.  To me, AP means knowing how to respond your child in an authentic, meaningful, nurturing way.  As Dr. Sears says, it is about "attentive" parenting-not being indulgent/permissive, but not being a "smother mother" either (and trust me, I have seen those kind of parents). 

So, yes...I've come to realize that my parenting styles will not always be aligned to those around me.  It is going to cause friction, and it is going to cause divides at times between those I love and myself.  

On the other hand, parenting has connected me so much to those around me.  I've formed bonds and friendships with people that I always liked and respected, but never had a true "connection" with.  Now, these parents and I have a common bond.  The ways we believe in parenting and raising our children are similar.  We contribute advice and support to one another, and we focus on encouraging each other as mothers, wives, and women.  I am grateful for that.  As I learned on our wedding day, 2-1/2 weeks ago, a storm can totally change what you've planned.  However, sometimes the results of that storm (even when faced with one disaster after another) are even more beautiful than planned.  

This one is for all mothers, wives, and women out there.  Here's to being authentic, brave, and genuine, even when it would be so much easier to give up to the turning of the tide.  Just remember: you're amazing...be proud of the mother/wive/woman you are becoming with each passing moment.