5 OF OUR PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

I’m not easily annoyed or offended for that matter. I have a relatively strong personality when it comes to something I’ve made a decision about. I only worry about someone else’s opinion if its related to my performance in the workplace. Then of course, I would take it very seriously. I have to say the same about parenting. I couldn’t give two hoots what others think, but so many people feel they have the right to give you their opinion.

I mean don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can be helpful and other times its just obstructive and annoying. It can range from family and friends, to acquaintances and random strangers. The sly little comment, or the outright opinion, I’m eye rolling at the thought of it. It drives me crazy thinking of an excuse, or trying to explain our reasoning, when really we shouldn’t have to!

PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

CO-SLEEPING

Now this has to be the number one controversial parenting choice that has caused many a conversation with our nearest and dearest. Both my parents, Shaun’s parents, and other people have voiced their opinions loud and clear about this. “But he’ll need his own bed’. “How do you make sure you don’t cover his face with blankets”. “You’ll never get him out”. “You need your own space”. “Isn’t that dangerous?”

The endless questions and feeling like you need to give an excuse is draining. Esme use to keep us awake all night because she was desperate to co-sleep. She still wants to now! She wakes up every night without fail looking for one of us. Likewise, Quinn only goes down by himself for a while before he’s looking for us. Since I breastfeed and co-sleep, I have to admit, I feel way less sleep deprived this time around. I was a total zombie with Esme. That is a huge benefit in itself, and he’s happier, so thats the main thing. PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

We have never been into the ‘crying it out’ approach. It’s not something we are willing to do. I kind of feel this early stage of neediness is only going to go on for so long, before they no longer want us. We may as well cherish the cuddles for now! Why do people feel they need tell you this is wrong?! Obviously we take all the necessary precautions for safe co-sleeping.

PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

DIET

I have been on and off vegetarian for sometime now. The only ‘off’ was when I was pregnant with Quinn randomly. I still wonder how I ever went back to eating it for a while. My sister is vegan and I remember initially thinking it was extreme when she made the transition. Thinking back, that was ridiculous. More and more information is surfacing about the ill effects of consuming animals. From hormones to antibiotic pumped into meat. I really feel its best not to give my kids animal products. Obviously this is not a dig at any other family that do eat meat, it’s not for me.

At the moment we are working on eliminating all animal products. However it’s certainly a process. The amount of people that ask “where do they get their protein from?” or “what do they eat?” is a little bit crazy. I feel like I have to constantly make an excuse or educate people about the sources of protein, because there are plenty. Although I know the questioning is predominantly sarcastic, I still feel I need to tell them. More to the point why does anyone care about what we eat?!

Disclaimer: Shaun is not vegetarian but is very supportive and understanding with my wishes. 

PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

BREASTFEEDING

Before I start on breastfeeding, I am not the sort of person that has a problem with how any other mother feeds their child. This is not an attack on formula feeding mums. Everyone is free to make their own choice. That said, as a nurse, I have always been fascinated by the thousands of benefits of breastfeeding. I guess you could say I am in the public eye to a certain extent, so I like people to know I am pro-breastfeeding and it’s absolutely A-ok to feed your babe anywhere!

In my home country of Ireland, breastfeeding rates are one of the worst in the world. I know some of that is related to old ‘catholic’ Ireland and boobs being sexualised, women being made to feel dirty for feeding their babies, and unsupportive families. I would love to think we’ve helped someone along the way with making the decision to breast feed. Knowing that it’s ‘ok’ and totally normally to do so. There are loads and loads of women who breastfeed at home but the rates  still could be better.

I have to say its never been a follower thats said anything about it. It’s generally people asking ‘how much longer are you going to do that for?’ as they look at the giant baby, the size of a toddler hanging off me. Our boy has been a baby gorilla from the get go, he never looked like a newborn. People do make me feel like he’s getting too big for it? I cant understand why people feel breastfeeding has to stop at such an early age and the almost shaming when you tell them , “I don’t know, whenever”. When I say shaming it’s the confused look, followed by an ‘oh’.

PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

TRAVEL

Many people wonder why we ‘waste’ travel on our babies? We often have people tell us, ‘they won’t remember’, or, ‘its selfish’ of us. The most common criticism is they ‘might’ get sick. We’ve never been of the mind that we shouldn’t give our kids experiences because they won’t remember. I wrote a post recently about how its enhanced their development.  All of the sties, smell and sounds. Not to mention the different faces throughout the trip.

Likewise, as parents, we are developing fond memories, and having quality family time together. It’s really good for our sanity. As the saying goes ‘happy mum, happy child’. I don’t believe that its selfish. Of course we plan everything and take precautions as necessary. People just see crazed hippies dragging kids around the world. They don’t see the special moments we have as a family. For the most part, people are very warm and positive, but there are the usual few ‘Daily Fail’ readers that like to write vindictive comments.

UNTRADITIONAL SET-UP

We don’t get too many comments about Shaun being the parent that stays at home. He’s actually the absolute linch pin to our entire family. Before I went on maternity leave, he looked after Esme, mostly by himself, and renovated our property when I was on my days off. Not to mention managing the household. He achieves a lot more for our future than I could ever do in a year. However, people look at us funny when we say I am the one that goes to work. Don’t get me wrong, I would love if roles were reversed, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Like I said, we really don’t care what others think. I just find it crazy that people try to give you unwanted opinions and unhelpful comments. We are both strong willed, but I worry more so for those that take things to heart. Or the unsure new mum that that has gut feelings to do things one way but people telling her to do it another.

Hands up if you experience similar? I love to hear from you and interact, leave a comment.

PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

By | 2018-05-12T14:42:55+00:00 May 12th, 2018|parenting|29 Comments

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29 Comments on "5 OF OUR PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT"

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Archana
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Well said!

Gillian Edwards
Guest

Thanks so much for sharing Karen. I don’t know why people feel they have he authority to question other people’s decisions as a family. It’s totally bizzare. Just because certain parents do things differently or their own way doesn’t automatically mean we disagree or are judging how others do it. Not sure if I’m explaining myself very well. But this piece I’m sure will resonate with a lot of mums out there x

Hayley
Guest

Great post! I co sleep and travel a lot too and I don’t understand why people have such a problem with either! It really annoys me, especially now that baby is a bit older and I don’t want their advice or opinions anymore, I know what’s best for my baby!

Claire
Guest

Love this blog. I’m in Cork and you are so spot on about the breastfeeding and Co sleeping. I only fed my daughter ml for a measly five weeks due to, well, mastitis, and a serious lack of support from family and friends! I really admire you two, having the balls to just do what ye want, the way ye want to! Well done and don’t mind the nosebags. ☺

Trish
Guest

Sounds like you are caring and informed parents giving your kids an amazing opportunity to experience childhood in fun and inspiring environment. Rock on, keep doing what’s best for your family, and let the naysayers have no effect on you. I moved to Nicaragua for a year with my 4 month old – healthiest happiest months of his life. Came back to the states, at the doctors office every week. Is it safe? If you are prepared and follow your intuition, and connect to the community you are in, you have take care of your family anywhere. Happy Mothers Day!

Emily
Guest

I find your travelling awe-inspiring (I have yet to leave the country with my two year old!). I co-slept and breast-fed for over a year until he stopped wanting milk. Keep doing what makes you happy.

Laura O'Keefe
Guest

Oh my goodness Karen, don’t people love to tell you how to parent your own children!!! Brilliantly put, you have to do what is right for you and your family and what feels right in your gut!!😍

Lucy Strong
Guest
I take so much inspiration from your journey to date and how you have used the time to travel with your little ones. Both me and my husband are seeking to do something similar next year and already we have come up against some stupid comments. It seems in society you are only really ok if you fit yourself into the oppressive box of the family home, school and job… that no one ever stated was correct anyway! I remember being pregnant and going around Europe on a travelling road trip, best thing i did with my husband and bump.… Read more »
Gillian
Guest

I had someone say they thought it was weird to breastfeed longer than, say 6 mths, in case the child remembered doing it. This made me really sad as I thought – why wouldn’t I want my baby to remember something as precious as b’feeding her?
Also if I hadn’t coslept or bedshared I’m fairly certain I’d have died of exhaustion by now!
Regarding the travel – I look at your pics and think wow I wish I could do that!

Clair
Guest
Totally agree!! So many people commented on the cosleeping!! When travelling & BFing it’s great to not have to make sure there is a crappy travel cot or try and drag one with you! Same for breast feeding… my son is 17 months and I was told last week, “he’s not a baby any more!” I was shocked! He still wears nappies, can only say a handful of words and is still extremely dependent on us so actually he is still a baby, just a big one who runs about and who loves his mamas milk! I’d rather give him… Read more »
nomad_mamma
Guest

I share with you guys most of the things on the list, and got also tired of explain to random people why we do what we do… but you know what? it is a long run so we’ll see how well we did to our kids on the future, I’m sure!

Katie
Guest

Great post! I wish I had read more stuff like this when my daughter was an infant because I spent way too long in the depths of sleep deprivation to finally start co-sleeping because everyone told me it was the wrong choice. When I turned forty this year I decided to have the goal of not feeling the need to defend myself to others. I can offer an explanation but not a defence. It’s not easy but it’s important to me and your post helps reaffirm that, so thanks!

Aida
Guest

I just wanted to applaud you on taking this on with such eloquence! So proud that you are such a strong woman who is brave enough to voice the points you’ve touched, especially for those who may be too timid to do so. If all they get out of this is to back off and respect the rights parents have it will be huge! Well done and Thank you! #championsdontneedapproval

Sara
Guest

What’s right for you is what’s important! I love your free and easy lifestyle. You do you!

Jamie
Guest

There are so many things I could say in an article just like this. It’s mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting to have to constantly explain myself. I’m a grown, educated adult. My kids are taken care of, clean, and fed. I work and pay my bills and spend time with my kids. Who cares about anything else?

Linda
Guest
I totally agree on everything! Our daughter is soon 6months and I only breastfeed still. We are on our first trip with her in the states and in few months going to do a longer trip to south east Asia. We also co sleep. I have been told that families with babies should stay home and don’t we think of all the diseases she could get. Also my choice to only breastfeed until she turns 6months has been criticized. “She needs to have some potato, can’t you see how hungry she is” yeah, sure. “There will not be any milk… Read more »
Amy
Guest

I have followed you and your sister from the start and you amaze me. I can’t even put words to it. I wish I was as brave as you are. I wish my life had planned out differently so I could travel with my children like you do. You are giving your children the best life experiences. Instilling in them that the sky is the limit. You are amazing parents!

Sabine
Guest
Thank you for this! Your stories give me so much inspiration! I am only 5 month pregnant and ALREADY people try to tell me what to do/think/buy/feel/etc. when it comes to our unborn baby. Worst situation happened recently at the airport. The security lady gave me a full speech about the high risks of flying and asked if my doctor didnt tell me how dangerous it is taking a flight while being pregnant (actually, I talked about it with her and she told me to enjoy my travels). I was so shocked I couldn’t even react to these offensive words,… Read more »
Family of 3 from Sweden
Guest
Family of 3 from Sweden

Well said! Your such an inspiration. We truly want to do something like you in the future! / Family of 3 from Sweden

Olivia Powell
Guest
I am pregnant with my first baby and have already faced criticism from family about my desire to co-sleep and plans to travel with a small child. My partner is Italian and someone tried to tell me I would have to wait 6 months before I could take the baby to visit his family. I mean…seriously! I think you and you’re family are inspirational and I see you as the kind of parent I hope to be! Keep travelling and doing things your way, you’re kids will never have a greater gift that happy parents who are able and want… Read more »
Denise gillespie
Guest
You are my inspiration 💞😂 I absolutely love your blog and think it’s amazing that you can travel to so many places and give the kids the amazing memories as it’s photos that the children will cherish in years to come and have something to look back on and how amazing will Quinn and same photos be! We have only got our little girl who’s 2 on holidays once for her second birthday due to different things happening in our life and its still one of the memories she talks about now! She’s only 2 and half so well have… Read more »
Rhona Fitzpatrick
Guest
Hi Karen, I’ve only been following you guys for a short while. I’m a fellow Irish woman and a very new mum to a 5 month old who is exclusively breastfeed and bed shares with me! I think you guys do it all perfectly and I get inspiration from you as I really want my little girl to grow up used to travelling! We’ve bed shares since she was born and has slept through the night from 3 wks and 12 hours per night from 6 weeks old so no one can tell me it’s wrong! If people did even… Read more »
Ayla
Guest

Yes yes yes to every single one of these points! I co-sleep with Evie because she’s never slept unless I’m next to her, I still breastfeed at 13 months because it’s what she wants and needs, she only eats fish because I was brought up not eating red meat and I think it’s far healthier that way, and I travel with her because the memories you create for yourself are amazing and it definitely helps their development without a doubt. Every time we go away Evie comes back having learnt something new. You do what you gotta do!

Natalie
Guest

Oh man so much resonates… I was videoing with my mam in England and she’s like are you still breastfeeding him (he’s also got a vital infection atm), er yes. Well you’ll have to stop that soon, why? Well cos he’ll keep doing it til he’s at school and stuff! Give me strength! Don’t get me started on why he never had his own bed…

Amber P.
Guest

I did not co-sleep with my oldest son, and I had to go back to work when he was 12 weeks old. I don’t know how I survived, I was so sleep deprived! I co-slept with my second until he was six months old and it was a total game changer. I felt like a normal human being even during the crazy newborn phase. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for saying that you don’t care what others think. Every family is different; you have to do what is best for you!

Ivi
Guest
I’m not a mom yet, so I don’t really have an option on the most topics 😉 I know from my friends with kids that they all do things differently and as long as it works for them it’s fine! Everybody is different, every child is different and I believe that good parents will know their children and act in their best interest and not in the interest of the society maybe… but I love reading your blog and I adore how you share the whole world with your babies and I hope one day I could be at least… Read more »
Alice
Guest
I’m 30 and lost my Mum 15 years ago. Family and friends still comment on the fact that she breastfed me for over a year as if it was completely ridiculous of her. Kind of thought they’d be over it by now…. I’m recently pregnant and my husband and I are lucky enough that our jobs allow us to work remotely. We’ve not done it until now but are using maternity leave as the starting to point to go travelling (while working too – no way to afford it otherwise). I mentioned it casually to family and everyone keeps telling… Read more »
Kerry
Guest

I love following your adventures and you are such an inspiration! We too are travelling around the world with our little ones for a year. We co-sleep, I breastfeed both my girls and I don’t eat red meat. Didn’t realise how much we had in common! Although one thing I really struggle with is everyone else’s opinion. I’m a sensitive soul and I take way to much to heart but I’m trying to learn to be stronger in my beliefs and not care too much about others opionion. It’s not easy!
Happy travels to you and your family