Geesh, parenting these days is a complicated matter.
To vaccinate on schedule, to delay vaccinations, to selectively vaccinate, or not to vaccinate at all?
To breast feed or formula feed? (and if you choose the bottle route...BPA free or glass or regular bottles?)
To cloth diaper, use disposable diapers, or practice elimination communication.
Co sleep or crib?
Stay at home or work at home or work outside of the home?
To schedule or go with the flow?
and my personal favorite (because it gets everyone's panties in a wad)...to let your child cry it out or not?
Of course then there are all the side issues once you get out of the baby stage:
Twinkies or dried camp berries?
PBS or Pixar or nothin' ?
Public school or private school or homeschool or unschool or .... ?
And so on and so forth. A blessed myriad of choices.
Obviously, since I am the mom of three (soon to be four) kids, I have been faced with a lot of the above mentioned choices. And while I do feel pretty passionately about some of the choices we have made, the goal of this post isn't to expound on why I feel my choices are the best.
The goal of this post is to recognize the fact that I get to parent the way I do because I am privileged.
In fact, just about every parent in America and the rest of the modernized world is extremely privileged. We not only have choices, we have the legitimate means for researching our choices. We have pediatricians. We have on call nurses available 24/7. We have books. We have support groups. We have support groups for our support groups. And of course, we have the inestimable power of google and Gramma.
Moms in Haiti aren't choosing not to feed their kids organically, or choosing not to let them watch television, or losing sleep worrying about the fact that their children might get autism from a mmr vaccination. They are too busy surviving. Food. Clean water. And glory be, a roof over their heads. Those are the things that consume a moms mind in Haiti. Choices aren't even on their radar. They are too busy surviving.
Our good friend Sherrie Faussey, missionary in Haiti, just wrote of a mumps outbreak among their orphanage.
Yes, I had to go google what mumps are. Mumps aren't even on my radar. Or my kids.
And these issues aren't contained to Haiti but repeated and repeated (and repeated) all over the world.
It's not that I care what choices you makes as a parent.
You may do things one way.
I may do things another.
Chances are you have your reasons.
So do I.
Its that I have been plagued with this overwhelming sense that maybe our privileged first world way of over complicated parenting choices is creating a generation of parents that are:
1) parenting with an impaired sense of perspective
2) too adamant about the particulars of their parenting choices
3) are too sure every decision will set their kids on an unalterable trajectory.
There are a lot of ways to legitimately screw up your kids...and I don't really think it has anything to do with the above written choices.
Feeling guilty because we live in a privileged world isn't the answer either. A lotta good that does. Instead of feeling guilty...pray about what God would have you do to make a difference in the lives of others. And then act on it.
So lets take the opportunity to stop judging other moms for the choices they make, garner some perspective, be thankful that we even have these choices, and remember that ultimately your kids will remember your character and what you did to alleviate the suffering of others WAY MORE than your rules regarding television and high fructose corn syrup.