First off, have you seen this video?!  If not, watch it now.  It's a perfect intro into my post.

Ignoring the fact that it's actually a commercial for Similac formula, this video is spot on as to what I feel like parenting is nowadays, especially in the social media heavy world we live in.  Parenting is judgmental, plain and simple.  Everything that parents do--no, choose to do--for their kids gets judged all the time.  From vaccinations vs. anti, to circumcision vs. leaving 'em intact, to breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, to cloth vs. disposables, to babywearing vs. strollers, to co-sleeping vs. crib, to organic food vs. non-organic, it is all judged.  But you know what?!  It doesn't matter.  Neither way is better than the other.  You know why?  Cause you do what's best for your kid and family, and that is the correct way to parent.  As long as your kid is loved, provided for, and well-taken care of, you're doing it right.

I'm so sick of reading in these mom groups I'm in the constant judging and mom-bashing that is going on, mostly over silly, petty things that are clearly a choice that has been made by a mom (parents) in the best interest of her family and kid.  Why can't people just see that and stop feeling the need to preach that their way of parenting is by far the best and only way to do it?!

It's no secret that we love cloth diapers.  Probably excessively and a little obsessively, but whatever.  It's our choice as parents to use cloth, because that's what we think is the best for our little guy and family.  However, I by no means force cloth on others, nor judge them for using disposables.  That is 100% their choice and I respect that, because I know they chose that as the best means for their kid(s) and family.  I will talk to friends about cloth and how much we love it, but I always do so with an open mind, knowing that our way may not be their way, and that is okay.  Because, again, you do what's best for your kid and family.  Period.

Obviously, as any mother (or father) does, I have my opinions on certain parenting things that I think are the best--but they're the best for us, for our situation, and for our family.  But I always regard these as my personal opinion(s) for us, and never as what should be done by all with their families, which, unfortunately, it seems (as shown in the beginning of the above video) so many do.  I love the mom groups I'm in on social media, because they do provide a wealth of knowledge and ideas for all realms of life, parenting, and kids, but when they spin off into a judgmental tangent about what's best and bashing others for not doing something "right", that's where I draw the line.  If someone asks about the process weaning her breastfed baby, she should not be attacked and made to feel bad about it.  Instead, her question should be respected and answered with the responses she's seeking out: how do you wean your breasfed baby.  Plain and simple.  I honestly am afraid to post nearly anything on these groups in fear that my simple question may be hijacked, judged, and someone else's "best" shoved down my throat.  Is that really what parenting is all about?!  Making ourselves seem like we are the best parents ever and everyone else is the worst?!  It needs to stop.

Without going too much further on my soap box, I am going to pose this challenge, just as the video did at the end, put your personal beliefs aside, because all parents are just that: they are parents first.  They are doing what's best for their kid(s) and family.  Instead of attacking, try encouraging.  Preface your "best" parenting advice with the fact that it is your opinion and what worked for your family, but also realize that it may not work for the advice seeker and theirs, and that is okay.  Parents are all on the same playing field with the same goal: raise our kids the best way we see fit so that they can grow and mature from littles to adults.

And to end this post on a lighter note, some of my favorite parenthood memes that all are so.darn.true.  Remember, we're all in this together!

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