All You Need is Love (No, Really)
The internet can be a great place to amplify your message.
Social media can be a great tool for this sort of amplification.
As a newly minted social media strategist and consultant, I know this. (Did I mention that I was doing this now? I’m totally doing it. Totally donning my twenty-thousandth hat.)
But one of the unfortunate things about the internet and social media is that they can amplify the bad just as easily as they can amplify the good. Perhaps especially when it comes to parenting practices and the judging, shaming, and guilt-tripping that surrounds them.
I see it all the time. You see it all the time, I’m sure. Some of us (myself included, I won’t lie) are even complicit in perpetuating it.
Don’t you know that __________ is best for your baby? Why aren’t you doing what’s best for your baby?
Can you BELIEVE that those parents do _____________?
He’s doing _____________ all wrong. Why are people so stupid?!
This was the best thing for my family, why aren’t you doing it too??
If you’re not doing _____________, then you don’t love your child.
UR DOIN’ IT WRONG!!!!! UR DOIN’ IT WRONG!!!! UR DOIN’ IT WRONG!!!!
You’re doing it wrong: that’s what many of us hear, no matter what parenting choices we make.
As I was fretting over a few issues and parenting choices with my pediatrician today, however, she shared the following words of wisdom with me: words that let me know that even if Tim and I aren’t perfect parents, we’re still doing some things right.
“One of the things I’ve learned in my years of experience is that there isn’t one right way to parent. The most important thing is simple: it’s love. That’s the one commonality that I notice among all the well-adjusted kids I see: their homes are full of love.”
This isn’t to say that there aren’t healthier and less healthy parenting choices, and it’s not to say that there aren’t certain parenting practices that are more and less evidence-based.
We know this. We can teach this and we can share this, and we should do it with a heart full of compassion and open-mindedness and not a hint of judgment or shame.
But you know what else there are besides healthier and more evidence-based and what-have-you parenting choices? There are radically unique family situations. And there are steep learning curves. And there are widely varying levels of comfort and ability for each parent-and-child combination out there.
And despite the grand delusions of some, no one is doing this whole parenting gig perfectly. No one.
So know this: the judgy-mc-judgypants are off when you’re in my space. We should all feel safe here. Safe to learn more, safe to express our thoughts, and safe to share the way that we and our families parent.
Because if you are coming from a place of love? If you are really, truly making your choices out of love for your children, and if you fill your home with love, and if you know that this love is paramount and that it’s not canceled out when you feel frazzled or overwhelmed or even resentful–if you are parenting out of love, then UR NOT DOIN’ IT WRONG.
You’re doing it right.