Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I don't really fit in to any parenting "boxes." I'm not sure why I would be surprised, given that I never fit in to any other "boxes" either. Even my MS doesn't fit in to a "box" which is always fun to talk about with my neurologist.

Because of my physical limitations, I have had to make decisions and compromises in every aspect of my life. I have learned how to navigate my challenges and I have learned how to quickly assess a situation and look for the best outcome. That's what I am always trying to achieve; not the perfect outcome, but the best I can manage. Living your life with a chronic, disabling medical conditions forces you to reach a point of acceptance. I accept that I have disabilities and that I can't always be the kind of person I want to be. But I try very hard to be the BEST I can be. Whatever my BEST may be.

I am not a "crunchy" or "Attachment Parenting" parent. There are things that I do from these "boxes" to be sure. But I do not fit the label and I am not really welcome in their secret meetings. I formula-fed my child, for one. I tried to breastfeed, but it was far too much stress and pain. I needed to go back on medications for my MS. I was a better mom because of it, you know, being that I could actually move and hold my child.

The list goes on. I stopped wearing him when he was young because he didn't seem to like it and it was more painful for me. He has watched tv from a young age because he liked it and it gave me something to do when I was up for hours with him. We stopped cosleeping because I needed to get more sleep or I was going to fall apart; I was getting to the point where I was in so much constant pain and could hardly move that I didn't want to live, let alone take care of a baby.

My point is, I did what worked for us, because being able to label myself wasn't worth more than my health and my sanity. 

But, well, "non-crunchy" parents and I don't really get along, either. I cloth diaper. I believe in natural childbirth and homebirth. I disagree with the practice of circumcision. We did baby-led-weaning; that is, my child was eating whatever we ate by the time he was 9 months old, and feeding himself to boot. We never let our child cry it out. he was cuddled to sleep until he was around 18 months old, when he finally decided he wanted to put himself to bed. I don't spank.

In every aspect of my life I follow whatever path works. I don't concern myself with labels, because there's no point. I can either do something or I can't. So I do things my way.

My child plays outside and gets filthy. Or he wants to watch "Queen and Mater!" and we chill on the couch.

I think my style of parenting could best be described as "balancing act." Some days it's about survival by whatever means necessary. I can't move well and I'm hurting, so whatever is going to get us both out of the day alive wins. Some days it's about doing as much as I can while I'm feeling good, so I play on the floor and invent games for us to play together. Most days it's in the middle.

I didn't realize it was going to be so hard to be a mom. Much less how difficult it was going to be to be a disabled mom. But I'm blazing my trail and doing the best I can. I look at the "boxes" around me, and I'm happy to navigate my way through them. Who needs labels? I'm already an outlier, so why change now?

It was hard to accept my MS diagnosis almost 6 years ago. But since coming to terms with it I have learned to be a lot more comfortable in my own skin and I have learned to be a lot more accepting. I know who I am and I know what I am capable of. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or does.

1 comment:

  1. Do what you do! :) You're doing great! your boy is an awesome, fabulous kid! and I hope him and Roland get to hang out someday!