Recently I was scrolling through Facebook and came across an article that was shared by one of my friends. The article advocated for one side of a hot topic parenting choice. After reading the article, I glanced at the comments this friend had received, only to find some rather disturbing remarks.
One mom in particular didn’t agree with the article’s position, and didn’t even seem to care about how much of it my friend (or anyone else, for that matter) agreed or disagreed with.
As the conversation escalated, this individual went on to label anyone who disagreed with her as irresponsible, incompetent parents. The implication was clear that she believed anyone making this albeit unpopular parenting choice was making a big mistake.
Which got me thinking.
The conversation I viewed on my friend’s post isn’t the only negative, mom shaming talk/argument happening today. I see this all the time. I see it on posts about mental health, c-section vs vaginal deliveries, sleep training methods, nutrition choices, breastfeeding vs formula feeding, and the list goes on and on.
What’s deemed an “appropriate, responsible, or correct” parenting choice varies so much depending on your circle of family and friends, the culture of the area you live, and so many other factors.
This probably isn’t going to be a popular opinion, but I’d like to say that making an unpopular parenting choice isn’t necessarily a mistake.
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Making An Unpopular Parenting Choice Isn’t Necessarily A Mistake
Before we get into my reasoning here on this idea, let me first say that there are two sides to this coin. Not every unpopular parenting choice is a mistake, but not ever popular choice is beneficial, either.
Now, hang in here with me. I will probably step on a few toes here, but I think this needs to be said, and I will try to do so in the most loving way that I can.
There isn’t one way to parent
Not every parenting method will work for every parent, child, or family.
Why? Because every parent and child is different. Every family situation is unique, with different factors playing into the dynamics. And you know what? That’s okay.
There doesn’t need to be one single way to parent. It’s okay to do what works best for you and your family. And it’s okay if that looks completely different from the family next door.
It’s okay if one mom decides that working out of the house is best for her family, and another decides staying at home all day is what is best for hers.
Not every choice will be right for you
Not every parenting choice will be a good fit for you and your family.
Let’s use baby crying and sleep training as an example. Some moms absolutely cannot stand to let their baby cry for even a second. And that’s perfectly okay. Some will stay right next to their baby day and night, every second of every day if that’s what it takes.
For others, standing that kind of vigilance would be mentally harmful. Some moms will try gentle sleep training, where they allow their baby to cry and self sooth for a few minutes at a time in order to teach them to put themselves to sleep quietly. And some may try to sleep train only to discover that a particular method simply won’t work for them or their baby, for whatever reason.
It’s okay. It’s okay to figure out what works for you, and it’s okay if it doesn’t look the same as someone else’s choice.
Side note: If you’re actually having trouble getting your baby to sleep, I highly recommend the baby sleep course Baby, We’re Home! Now Let’s Sleep!
What works for you might not work for someone else
One of the biggest things I think are forgotten is that what works for you might not work for someone else. A parenting choice that was best for you and your family, might not be what’s best for someone else and their family.
Too often we get trapped into this mindset that it’s “my way or the highway.”
But this mindset eventually leads to nothing but controversy and arguments. Not educated discussions, but mean, ugly arguments.
If you really stop and think about it, it’s a bit absurd to think that every single parenting choice you make is the one and only way that it should be done.
There’s more than one right way to parent
Let’s take breastfeeding for example (don’t crucify me just yet!). Many moms believe that breastfeeding is best, and in many cases they may be right. But what about when the baby has a milk allergy and physically/medically cannot have breast milk?
Obviously in that scenario, breastfeeding would be a poor decision, as it would negatively affect that baby’s health. Or perhaps the scenario is vice versa, and the baby is allergic to an ingredient in formula, making breast milk a necessity.
The point here is to show grace when someone else’s parenting choices don’t mesh with yours.
Remember that not every choice you have made will be the best choice for someone else. Remember that another family’s dynamics will be different, and give them the grace and freedom to make the choices that are most beneficial for their family, even if it’s not the same choice you would have made.
Unpopular parenting choices aren’t necessarily mistakes
So then, are all unpopular parenting choices mistakes, then? If a parent chooses to go down a road that few are taking, is it necessarily the wrong way?
I don’t think so.
Yes, there are many parenting choices and decisions that are popular for a reason. Many are popular because they have been researched and found to be very beneficial for babies, children, moms, and families. Others, are popular because it just happens to be a trend.
I think the most important thing here is to make informed decisions. When an important decision comes up (or even a seemingly unimportant one), take the time to research both sides of it–and there are often more than two sides, by the way.
Research the pros, and the cons. Read information from both sides, and talk with your partner about it. Ultimately, the best thing you can do for your family and for your child is to be informed about the decisions you are making. And just because the decision you come to is an unpopular one, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the wrong one.
Have you ever made unpopular parenting choices?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments below! Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision that wasn’t popular with your friends or friends. I’d love to hear from you—but please, do keep all conversation and discussion civil and respectful of others.
Leah Miller says
I couldn’t agree with you more. Assuming that we are talking about healthy adults that make decisions with the best interest of their family and children at heart, there is no “one size fits all” parenting. The pressure to do so is unhealthy at best. Parents that shame others because their philosophies and practices differ from others need to remember that there are little eyes watching even when these parents think that their own children are too young to understand. At the end of the day, they are teaching their own children to be inflexible, rigid and intolerant of anyone who has a different point of view.
Abby | theMomCorner says
Yes, exactly! Most of the shaming I see happening is one parent shaming another for a choice they made with their family’s best interests in mind, and after plenty of research and consideration of the pros and cons. It drives me crazy that a lot of shamed parents have put in a ton of work to research a particular choice, and then have to take a ton of backlash for it just because it wasn’t the same decision someone else came to. And it’s very true–we all need to be aware of what are kids are learning from us just by watching and listening!