My son is approaching his second birthday, and as he gears up for such a huge milestone (terrible twos, here we come), I can't help but think about how much I've grown as his mom over the same amount of time. As a new parent, I was inundated with a million different definitions of what was the "right" way to raise my son, and the information overload paired with the immense pressure I felt to be the perfect mom to my little boy was completely overwhelming.
As a result, I've had to teach myself to set firm boundaries about who I trust for information, and which resources are right for me when I have a question about my son's wellbeing. Parenthood is hard at any stage, but it can feel especially difficult the first time around when you're experiencing a huge learning curve, and there are very well going to be some "rules" that you'll want to pretend like you never even heard to begin with. That's why we've partnered with Baby Dove to talk to five moms about the parenting rules they're actively choosing not to follow. It isn't always easy, but it's always worth it to stand up for your right to choose how to raise your child, and these inspiring moms are living proof:
"I'm breaking the rule that says I'm supposed to feed my kid 100 percent all-natural, organic foods. I definitely feed my daughter packaged, pre-made toddler meals, because at this age it's hard to get her to eat a wide variety of foods!"
"I was told that with new babies, you needed to keep them in seclusion for the first weeks, both to establish a feeding routine and to protect them from exposure to germs. That was definitely what we did with our first child, but with the second we just couldn’t deal with the self-imposed isolation — especially with an active 4-year-old in the mix. So, on a crazy whim, just two weeks after the baby was born, we accepted an invitation to a Fourth of July beach barbecue that we’d previously dismissed. It did all our souls a world of good to get out, breathe the salty sea air, and be part of the world again — and the baby was just fine!"
"I have newborn twins and the 'rule' I plan to break is forcing them onto a schedule. It will be hard enough for them to adjust to the changes that come with being born. I plan to follow their lead and see what works best for them."
"I don't use 'stranger danger,' and I don't make my kids speak when they meet a relative. I raised them to follow their instincts and go with a feeling they get from bad people. The FBI stats on child abduction say that strangers rarely commit such crimes. I was also harmed as a child by someone my family knew very well and forced me to interact with, despite my overwhelming feelings as a kid that this person was not OK."
"We have two children and we do our best to speak to them like they are small adults instead of babies. My youngest is less than a year old, so she doesn’t understand a lot things yet. But with our oldest, we don’t coddle and we don’t sugarcoat things. I believe it's important so he understands how the real world functions."