Skip to Content

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!

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?”

PARENTING CHOICES PEOPLE HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT

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. 

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 sights, 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

Tasha

Thursday 28th of February 2019

So true, the most bizarre part of parenting to me is how opinionated and judgemental people are, especially complete strangers! I love your posts. We are thinking of doing a trip to somewhere in Asia with our 3yr old soon so reading your posts for inspiration.

Travel Mad Mum

Sunday 3rd of March 2019

I agree, it is so crazy when people thing they can have an opinion on your parenting choices! Enjoy your trip, we have a few Asia posts you should check out! https://travelmadmum.com/destinations/ and of course make sure to consult our flying with a toddler post! https://travelmadmum.com/flying-with-a-toddler/

Holly

Thursday 17th of January 2019

Late to this, but I thought I'd comment all the same. I think the problem is that, because raising children is the most important thing any parent will ever do, we tend to get very very attached to whatever works for us. That's fine, but when it comes to talking about it, that can very easily turn into (sometimes inadvertently) talking down other people's choices - because we have to tell believe that we're doing the very best for our babies, so therefore if someone else is doing the opposite we have to tell ourselves that it's not as good as our choice.

Sleeping arrangements are a case in point. People who don't co-sleep CONSTANTLY go on about the dangers and insist that outweighs any potential benefits, while people who DO co-sleep are generally incapable of talking about it without at the very least implying that anyone who doesn't is cold-hearted, distant and doesn't really care about their children's emotional development. It might not be the intentional, it might not even be consciously done, and in fact it might not even be actively implied - it may just be inferred by the person reading it. But we always seem unable to talk about what works for us without criticising people for doing what works for them.

At the end of the day, as long as you're not actively harming anyone we should all just ignore each other and do what works for us and our children.

Karen

Saturday 18th of August 2018

Fantastic! Very enjoyable read, you hit the nail on the head. I am a tour director/guide & single parent with two girls aged 4 & 7 now. When I had my 1st child was told I wouldnt continue in my job for long.. I proved the critics wrong.. I went back on the road when my first was 4 mths old and my 2nd was 8 weeks old. I breastfed both until they were just over two.. they travelled with me behind scenes with a carer. Today, we travel at least 4 times a year overseas (from Australia) and I find cosleeping is not a big deal as room rate works out better. I have noticed the independence that my children have gained from all their travel experiences which is now reflected in their maturity at the beginning of their schooling lives. Oh by the way, I still continue in my job going on 19 years!!! Solo parent, 2 children and successfully juggling to enrich our family life with ongoing travels.

hiraina

Friday 27th of July 2018

I love that a kiwi guy is the stay-at-home dad breaking all the stereotypes. It impresses me we do cool stuff in other countries and yet at home...

Ron Stefanski

Tuesday 26th of June 2018

This is a great post, Karen. I find it so interesting how people have so much to say about the way other people should raise their children, as if they have it all figured out. I personally think your point about travel is a great one. While a baby may not remember everything, there's a good chance they'll remember some things and when you grow a child up in a transient environment, it almost always makes them more outgoing in the future.

Comments are closed.