I was a determined teenager. I moved out of home at 16. I lived by my own rules. I forged my own way through life, refusing to follow in any man, woman or childs footsteps. I drove my poor mother crazy. I did things my way. I thought I knew everything. I thought I was grown up. I was there, on the edge of the world, screaming into the wind at the top of my lungs – this is MY life.
In the past ten years life has dealt me some pretty hard blows. I was knocked down time and time again and I became humble. I became beaten, but not broken. I still stand on the edge of the world, determined to live MY life, MY way. I still call out to the wind. But one very important thing has changed in the past ten years, for every year I get older, I become aware of [at least] a hundred things that I don’t know. Every new thing I learn brings light to ten things that I don’t know anything about.
Having Bo was this experience times a thousand.
I always knew I wanted babies. I always knew that being a mama is one of [but not the only] things that I was emotionally [not only physically] designed to do. Before I had Bo I had strong ideas of how I wanted to parent. I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I knew that I wanted to be a gentle parent, to be a hands on parent – to give her the best that I could. What I didn’t know could fill the thousands of parenting books out there that I refuse to read. I’m learning every day how to be a parent to my child. And one day, when another one comes along, I’ll be learning all over again. I was raised in a very kid-friendly household. We were encouraged to play, to paint and to read. We were encouraged to be outside, to explore our world and to be active.
We are on the verge of giving Bo food… and I realise now that I have a very steep learning curve ahead of me. I have always been a bit of a hippy in my approach to life. I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit, a bit alternative [not the “classification” but instead the true meaning of the word – different to the norm] but now I have a child to feed and all of a sudden I’m looking at food in a whole different way. What is it that I am putting in my body? What is it that I want to put into the body of my child? What do we eat? What should we [not] eat? Why? How do I give Bo the best shot at life by feeding her body and her mind with the right kind of food.
We’ve had to make lots of decisions already. We chose cloth over disposables, breast over bottle, sling over stroller [mostly] and the list goes on – we chose to vaccinate, we chose to take Bo back to the village… I could go on for hours about our choices. OUR choices. These are the choices we made because they are right for us [all three of us] and we stand by them. However, and this is a big one, I support those friends of mine who have chosen to formula feed, I support my friends who use disposable nappies etc. Some of my closest friends follow Tizzie Hall or Babywise baby routines, I don’t, and it doesn’t have any affect on our friendship whatsoever – why should it? The list goes on and on… Why get involved in “mommy wars”? There will always be “mommy wars” of course, because the debate on the way we CHOOSE to raise our children has at its heart two exceptionally emotional issues – what it means to be a woman and the best interests of our children. Of course it’s going to get heated, but just because some people get heated, doesn’t mean all of us have to weigh in or get involved. We can CHOOSE to support each other, just like we CHOOSE how to take care of our children.
I look at my child now and I find there are thousands of questions. How will we feed her? What will we teach her? How do we want her educated? What do we want to encourage her to learn? What should she play with? What should she read? What battles are worth fighting? Every day there is something new that springs to my mind and I can’t help think about that sixteen year old fire cracker I was once and wish that I still had her confidence [defiance?]… back in the day when I knew everything and I always had an answer. Now, at 26, every answer I have leads to many questions I’ve never even considered.
I know nothing, and I’m okay with it [mostly] – some days I feel totally overwhelmed by this incredible responsibility and other days I feel completely at ease in the unknown…