*I would like to welcome Ariadne who is generous enough to guest post for me today, enjoy!*
In my experience, pretty much the day the pregnancy test has two lines on it, parenting advice will be dished out as rapidly as those little cells that are replicating and transforming inside the womb. Decisions about pre-natal care, delivery options, how to feed, where to put baby to sleep, what “method” works and so on… the information comes overflowing, the advice abundant and no sooner will you be sure of your decisions, someone will disagree with you, it may shake your confidence, make you wonder aboutyour choices. On the other hand, watching others parent in ways that are so contrary to one’s own can be difficult, even infuriating at times and lead to passing judgment.
In my first year of motherhood, insecure and “green” I put my foot in my mouth more often than a five month old discovering his little toes, and I’ll admit it – I sometimes judged other mama’s all too quickly. But it wasn’t so much that I thought they were totally wrong. It was more that I was wondering if I was doing anything right.
Judging and feeling judged however I have learned often comes from a place of insecurity or perhaps a sense of being out of control. On the other hand, when we are feeling secure, open hearted and at ease, it is much more difficult for that judge/judgment mentality to enter our thoughts much less weaken our hearts.
Over the past five years, I have worked on finding my way, learning to listen to recommendations, drop judgment and how to deal with potentially bad advice. To maintain inner peace and not lose sight of what is important to me and my family I try to practice these five things:
Being Centered: Regardless if being on the receiving end of the judgment or feeling the need to judge others, taking time to re-center and focus my thoughts on love and compassion and act from a place of peace helps me regain inner balance.
“Run your fingers through my soul. For once, just once, feel exactly what I feel, believe what I believe, perceive as I perceive, look, experience, examine, and for once; just once, understand.” -unknown
Being Empathetic: Parents go through so many of the same situations, trying to step into another parents shoes and trying to understand what they are going through is a sure fire way to erase judgment and replace it with empathy, understanding and care. It is easy to get caught up on “I will nevers” just to find ourselves in that very situation contemplating the very thing we would never do. As such, I have replaced the “I would never” thinking with empathy and try to keep an open mind.
Being Authentic: Modifying my parenting style just to please a family member or “public” pressure is a trap I have learned to avoid. For the most part I like to follow my instincts and the needs of my family, so although we are adventurous and flexible, being authentic and true to my parenting style is important too.
Being Neutral: In my first year of motherhood I quickly realized that certain parenting topics, are like religion and politics, and best not discussed in certain circles or circumstances. I will not discuss my views on intactivism, CIO, or breastfeeding or non-punitive discipline certain places as I know it will just create upheaval. This is not to mean that I cannot be passionate about these topics, just that I choose where to discuss them.
Being Confident: Being confident in my own parenting choices and trusting my instincts means that I feel content and peaceful about my choices and therefore I don’t need to be confrontational, justify, explain, judge or feel judged when others disagree. Although confident, I don’t think my parenting style is the best and only way to parent because families are unique parenting is too complex to be a one size fits all type of deal. Sometimes listening to other points of view, agreeing to disagree and moving on is a good way to avoid conflict and not feel judged.
What parenting topic has the potential to throw you off your confidence or make you feel judged?
Peace & Be Well.
Ariadne has three children; she practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting. She is a certified positive discipline parenting educator, passionate about parenting and chocolate. Ariadne is a contributing writer at Authentic Parenting and also the creator of The Positive Parenting