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    ad1978 posted:
    I've been thinking about the different parenting styles/attitudes out there, and how ppl get very passionate about their specific styles. Sometimes it seems to me that the real issue is that everyone has different expecations regarding how much Sacrifice is needed to be a good mom.

    Some on one extreme side believe you need to sacrifice as much of yourself as possible:
    EBF for as long as possible,
    buying a smaller home/cars so that you can remain a SAHM and/or homeschooling,
    rocking/co-sleeping or other soothing efforts for long periods of time (at the expense of the parents' sleep),
    never buying jarred/convenience food,
    wearing baby as much as possible,
    not using the clock to determine a schedule and only using LO's cues,
    not going out without LO for dates/social events, etc.

    This extreme group is focused on changing their way of life for the LO.

    The other extreme wouldn't consider BF at all (or not for long period of time),
    work b/c they want to (even if they don't have to) and possibly work many hours,
    use some type of method to get LO to sleep alone/throughout the night (usually involving crying/ferberizing, etc),
    use rigid schedules for LO solely based on the clock,
    think LO should spend "independent time" such as playing in a pack n play while chores are getting done,
    have regular date night/going out without LO, etc.

    This extreme group is focused on resuming as much of their former lives as possible, integrating LO into their world.

    I think MOST moms are somewhere in between (I am!). I'm sure we all agree that being a parent certainly requires a life-long committment and much sacrifice (goodbye flat abs! lol), but I guess we all vary in our opinions as to HOW MUCH sacrifice is enough? Is it EVER enough? Can we reduce our self-imposed expectations and decide we are doing "good enough"?

    I think we moms have a lot of pressure on us (mostly from ourselves!) to be Perfect. We want to do the best for our children, husbands, family, friends, and work. But are we getting stretched too thin? Do some of us have more capacity to "stretch" than others? Are we all capable of the same things, but pick and choose which areas we can afford to spend our energy?

    Just food for thought...I'm not saying any style is right or wrong, though I'm sure we all struggle to have some balance our lives.

    Wherever you land on the Sacrifice spectrum, I hope you are happy and confident in your plan, since everyone is different and needs a different plan!
    tamliz08 responded:
    Hmmm... that is interesting. I've never looked at it like that before. I guess for some people it is about sacrifice, but I don't know exactly. I think there is much more to it than that.

    I'm definitely somewhere in the middle when it comes to parenting, but for example, the reason I didn't do the babywearing thing was not because I wasn't willing to sacrifice my own freedom for my DD, but because I felt it was important for her to be able to sit and play by herself, or be held by other people besides myself. There are always many factors behind why we make the parenting decisions we do.

    I definitely agree about stretching yourself thin. One point you didn't mention, was how sometimes we sacrifice other aspects of our lives for our children (not just ourselves). Relationships for example. I really wish I would have tried harder from the beginning to keep up my relationship with my husband. It is not fair that I constantly put him on the back burner for our daughter.

    So yes, it's all about finding a balance. In the end it doesn't matter which route you choose, so long as you find something that works!
    smileysmom responded:
    It is funny you should bring this up because my best friend and I just had a similar conversation. She is a SAHM, living by the penny with one car and a tiny house so she can stay home and does not allow others to even babysit for her. She schedules her life around her kids' nap schedule and WILL NOT deviate.

    I am the opposite... I work 2 jobs, am financially comfortable, and DD goes to a daycare provider part-time and stays with MIL part-time. I try to keep DD on a regular schedule, but guess what??? Life happens, too! I just roll with it! :-)

    She called me the other night bawling because she just had a total breakdown. She literally spends 24 hours a day with 2 kids under 2... she has little adult contact (either her mother or her DH) and will not allow even me (BFF of 17 years) to babysit for her. Her and her husband have never been out just the two of them since her DD was born 2 years ago.

    I'm not saying that one way or another is right, but I totally agree that a certain balance between the two extremes is necessary for the mental health of the parents and their ability to care for their children. Now, I'm not saying I've never had a breaking point but at least I do get breaks and a mental re-charge when I need it!

    Great post! Definitely food for thought!
    MontanaMama2009 responded:
    I think every woman/mom is different, so she does or should do what's right for her...and her children, of course.

    I was a SAHM with my first two for nearly 10 years. We lived in a small home, drove used cars, saved every penny. I breastfed exclusively, attachment parenting, homeschooling, etc...the whole nine yards. It was a great way of life for my children and for that time in my life.

    Yes, I felt a bit isolated and at times stretched to the max.

    Currently, I work FT and I have a retired woman come into my home to watch my Nettie. We live in a beautiful home, drive newer cars, and don't have to watch every penny like we did before. But it's STILL a good way of life for me and my THIS time in our lives.

    And yes, I STILL feel stretched to the max at times, as well.

    I think so long as there is love, food, and shelter, our children will matter what type of mother we are.
    leftcoastgirl responded:
    Very interesting perspective! I think the key thing you hit on is finding balance. It's important to give to your children without losing site of your own needs.

    Although I fit mostly into the "sacrifice" side of things, I would definitely say that the things I do on that list (co-sleeping, EBF, babywearing) I do not because I see them as a necessary sacrifice - but because they are parts of parenting that I love and cherish. I adore coming home at the end of the work day and nursing DD. We sit quietly for five lovely minutes or so and just relax and reconnect. For me, it's the exact opposite of a sacrifice. The same with snuggling up with her in bed at night.

    You're so right - we all just need to find the style that's right for us. And I think the most important thing is to truly choose our own style BECAUSE it's right for us and not because it's what we think we should be doing.
    ad1978 replied to leftcoastgirl's response:
    Glad to see all of your responses! Excellent points by everyone. Especially about doing what feels right for you (at that particular time), and not trying to fit in to one particular style. And yes, you can also end up sacrificing relationships as well. I find it very hard to keep working at relationships (DH, close friends) with such limited time and energy.

    On one hand, I didn't BF (due to complications) and enjoyed having DH and our moms help with night time feedings. I rarely co-slept. I didn't wear LO much (b/c neither of us seemed comfortable with it--she would much rather either be held in my arms or left to sit comfortably on the floor.

    But on the other hand I don't like to take away from LO's time...I very often turn down social invites so I can spend more time with LO (but similar to as Leftcoast mentioned, I suppose this isn't really a Sacrifice since I enjoy our time!). I also try to schedule my life around LO's sleeping patterns (though it really only affects our weekends since I work during the week). If we're out and about and she's getting cranky, we're outta there! lol.

    Creating balance in our lives will probably a life-long goal!
    DDK2005 responded:
    What a great post!! It kind of brings an interesting perspective even to understand the differences between us on these boards. Maybe that's why we get into such crazy heated discussions on the simplest topics like wedding gifts :)

    I too think I'm somewhat in the middle of both. I'm a FTWM, I would love to be SAHM but I know that I could not live pay check to pay check - that would stress me out too much. But one day - I promise we will be able to do it!
    Im thinking most of us make the decisions we do based on our own experiences.

    I think I will always question and think I can do better, but as long as Im doing the best I can at the time - Im happy with that. I know I will make mistakes, i know I don't know everything, I know life cannot always be planned & I know that sometime life takes a crazy course. I just try to keep this I mind when something doesn't go my way. All in all I believe all mom's should pat themselves on the back every once in awhile because like the pp said "so long as there is love, food, and shelter, our children will thrive..."

    Great post!
    CateG1973 responded:
    Hiya ad1978,

    I agree with the other gals that this is indeed a great post.

    Although it would be fair to say I touch the middle, I'm comfortable admitting I lean mostly to your second extreme. My "toughing" toward the middle would be the three weeks I tried breast feeding after my son was born, but to spare my sanity and his health, I made the best decision for both of us and went 100% formula. But otherwise:

    • I work because I love my career. I spent a lot of time in school, a lot of money on my education (undergrad and MBA program--self-funded) and much time building up experience in my field. Dropping that--or even disrupting it for a few years--doesn't interest me at all. That's the beauty of good daycare!
    • I have never been one to co-sleep. We have incidents of SIDS on both sided of our families so we took every single precaution to prevent it.
    • We've used Dr. Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child method for sleep since Joey was 8 months old. It works wonderfully for our family. My husband and I both have busy schedules, so it allows us to stick to a schedule and get things done (be it work in the evening, household chores, or just time with each other).
    • Joey does indeed spend time independent of us playing with his toys of sitting in his high chair watching "Your Baby Can Read" DVDs or Noggin when only one of us is home with him and we need to get something done. This happens almost every day--not as much on weekends.
    • Joe and I don't have as many "dates" as we'd like, but we do take Joey out with us. He has been going to nice restaurants with us since he was an infant. Last summer, we did go to Europe for 10 days and left Joey in my parents' care. It worked out well for everyone. My husband and I had a great time. We missed him terribly, but it was a needed vacation!
    • We really incorporate Joey into our lives. He listens to and recognizes bands like Pixies, Velvet Underground, White Stripes, Enon because that's what we play. He is comfortable around a lot of people because Joe and I like to host parties and we haven't stopped just because we have a kid. He's an added bonus to our gatherings.

    For our family, I don't really feel like we've "sacrificed" much at all. We've just incorporated this little dude into our lives and found our "new normal".

    Thanks for the post ad1978. I don't respond here much, but this one was a good one! I definitely feel I'm in the minority, considering what I read here on a regular basis. :)
    MontanaMama2009 replied to CateG1973's response:
    How did you get your bullet points?
    roni090909 responded:
    That is very interesting.

    I think I fall mostly in the "sacrifice" side of things but not necessarily because I have strong beliefs about them. They just happened to work best for our family. But there are a couple things on the other list that I do too.

    All thats important is that you do what works for your family and every family is different.
    CateG1973 replied to MontanaMama2009's response:
    At the top of my text box are a few style icons. I just highlighted the area and clicked the bullet box--fourth one from the left between strikethrough and numbers.
    NicoleCoy01 responded:
    I must agree fantastic post! I think I fall right in the middle too

    • I do not have to work nor do I want to work. My husband makes very good money so we live great. We both have new cars, we own a house in Utah (currently we live in Colorado so we rent) but plan on buying a home here next year.
    • I never breastfed, never tried and never want to. That being said Savana had a bad milk allergy as an infant and drank goats milk until she was a week shy of 11 months.
    • I've never made baby food and don't plan on it. I buy organic baby food at the store and its very convenient for us.
    • I've never even knew what baby wearing was until a couple months ago, so nope didn't do that. I don't think my daughter would let me anyways she loves to run, sit and play.
    • We don't have a set schedule but because I am home everyday we have a routine sort of. Savana wakes between 6-7 am, naps from 1-3 and goes to bed between 9-9:30. Its ok if we get off track one day. This is just the routine she has set up for herself on her own.
    • I did co-sleep and I enjoyed it, but now she sleeps in her crib. She still does NOT sleep through the night, I'm starting to wonder if she ever will lol. I do not and can not do CIO. It just didn't work the few times I tried so it made no sense for me to keep trying.
    • We go out alot but as a family. I could have a date night and find someone to watch Savana but we don't want to go without her. We have family dates very often.
    • Savana does have independent time but I don't make her. She is just very independent and likes to do things on her own. Makes me not feel so guilty that she watches a Yo Gabba Gabba show while I cook dinner or mop floors.
    I love that after I typed all this out its crazy how I take a few from this ground and a few from that group. I am definately smack in the middle! Thanks for the post!
    NicoleCoy01 replied to NicoleCoy01's response:
    I don't know why its says ground, I meant a few from this group and a few from that group!
    KatieS83 responded:
    awesome post! I'd like to think i'm in between too. I want whats best for child, but i also look at it this way, If i'm in poor health (mentally or physically) how can i give the best to my child? I do feel that i stretch myself way to thin, and put myself in that area where i feel like i'm a bad mom because i forgot this or that. I cling to this: my son is happy, he is healthy, and he doesnt miss out on much. I plan on teaching him to be grounded not greedy, and to remember that there are people in this world that have less then him (even though i feel he deserves a lot more then he's gotten) <-- i'm not talking material things.

    A very well thought out post, i truly feel this hit the nail on the head for me :) thank you!
    peachyisthelife responded:
    Interesting thoughts from everyone. I do things from both of your lists there. I see my role as a parent, as one who "molds" my kids. Everything I do affects them, teaches them, makes them who they are. Especially at this young of an age. Of course besides the traits they're born with. Yeah a lot of what a parent does is a sacrifice-on either of your lists. I look at it as more of what my child needs. I am a SAHM b/c I want to be home with my kids and do the majority of raising them. DH doesn't make tons of money, so I guess that's a sacrifice, but I don't even really look at it as that. It's just life. I don't expect nice things. I think a lot of the things we do as mothers, depends on how we were raised, you know? Anyway, I'm a fairly strict parent much of the time. My kids don't get away with much. I like routines-they make my children feel secure, I prefer breastfeeding although I did formula feed one of my children. I teach my babies to fall asleep on their own so THEY learn that skill. I admit I'm not one that can be stretched real, real thin. So there are things I'm not perfect at in my life. My house isn't perfectly clean. I have my priorities, though, and feel good about how I'm leading my life and family's life.

    I think what's important is you honestly feel good about what you're doing. If we feel guilt about something we're doing/not doing, whether we admit it or not, maybe there's a reason for that guilt. I know I feel guilt on some things I know I could do better in, but me being a not perfect person, can be selfish sometimes. I always need improving. But for my stage in my life right now-it's all about my kids. I definitely make sure to take care of myself and my marriage-those are just as important. That's why my house isn't always clean lol. If I cleaned as much as it may need to be cleaned, I wouldn't be as good of a mommy to my kids.

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