This is a guest post, written by my sister. I would like to thank her for guest blogging on Momtactics. I hope you enjoy her rant as much as I did! You can follow her on twitter @MommyTwoShoes.
So, it takes a fair amount to get me all up in a tither! But an article I read in Today’s Parent, June 2013 issue, got my blood boiling. Enough that I actually took to pen and paper to write this response, something new to me. The article is titled, “Should you use a leash to control your toddler?” and took up both sides of the argument, yes and no. It’s not even the issue of using a toddler leash that got me so riled up. It was the judgment passed on those that do. Even the author of the “yes” argument admitted that although she wanted to, for fear of being judged for her decision, she chose not to use one and avoided situations where she might have benefited from using one.
When is this unnecessary judgment of all things parenting going to stop? We are all great, and we all have our low moments too. In this world of unrealistic expectations, we need to start supporting each other, not pass judgments simply because we choose to parent differently. Quite simply, my way is no better or worse than yours. My way is perfect for my family, and your way is perfect for your family.
I chose to use a toddler leash for my son. I received quite a few disapproving looks too. But I did it for my sanity and his safety. He started running as soon as his little legs could figure out how to go one foot in front of the other and he hasn’t stopped. He didn’t want to hold my hand and I feared sometimes I might hurt him trying so hard to hang on to his sweaty little fingers so he didn’t dart into the street. I could have used a stroller I suppose, but he wanted to walk. In our society filled with cautions around getting enough exercise and tips to conquer obesity, I think walking, even with a leash, is a better option, for us. And I may use one with my daughter too…
This is me…I didn’t say, “no” to my son for probably the first 3 years of his life. Instead, I gave him a solid idea of what he should do and distracted him from what he shouldn’t. My children didn’t sleep in cribs, they sleep (present tense…yup…that means last night, and tonight too!) with me. (Gasp!) I am still nursing my daughter and she is almost 18 months old. (Double gasp!) I don’t make my children say sorry, I help them make amends. My son had a bottle until 4 years of age. And he has perfect teeth, because we also brush them! My house is not spotless. We talk about our day. We read every night. We hug…a lot! And all of this works for us!
And I am raising creative, smart, kind, social, healthy (yes they eat broccoli…by choice!) children. The kind of child you want your child to be friends with. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
So please, STOP JUDGING! Let’s form a circle of support around all of the moms you know and have yet to meet out there. Give a kind, knowing smile to the mom dealing with preschooler having a temper tantrum in the grocery store. Don’t give “that” look…you know the one…to the next parent you see keeping their child safe on a toddler leash. Because parenting is hard. We all do the best we can with what we have. In the end we are all just trying to survive another day in paradise.