The biggest problem I have struggled with, not just since becoming a parent, but my entire life is feeling inferior to others. Being the youngest child with siblings 5, 8, and 10 years older kind of does that to you. So I've become accustomed to a LOT of second guessing myself and criticism. So naturally I have become pretty unsure of myself with everything I do. My coping mechanism for this has been research. I can't use my own experiences to make points because historically they have been shot down and minimized. I would never say that any abuse I have experienced (primarily emotional) is a positive thing, but I am grateful for the drive I have had to do the research and actually become so sure of myself that I can be liberated. I can actually say that I DON'T CARE!!!!!!!!! If someone disagrees with the way I parent, I have enough confidence that the choices I make are well thought out, researched, and are NOT based on just what I grew up believing that it doesn't matter to me if you think I am crazy! I can finally understand what free thinking is. Free from the thought prison others are trying to put me in by telling me I am young and stupid.
I grew up with a deep understanding that experience is everything. You can be knowledgeable, but without experience, your knowledge is useless. I could never have more experience than the people around me being younger, so I think that's what drove me to look different directions. Subconsciously I set out to have different experiences than those around me. My first step was moving away to go to college. Different. I met someone that didn't grow up in Utah which was a big reason I was drawn to him. Different. Then I decided I wanted to try natural birth. Different. That didn't happen so I decided in order to achieve that, I had to have a home birth. Different. I didn't reject the idea of home school when Phil brought it up the first time when Nate was 1, I was unsure, but didn't reject it. Different. I couldn't stand the republican ideals everyone around me preached, nor the liberal ideals everyone else preached and immediately clung to the libertarian/anarchist ideals the minute it was presented to me. Different. I started cosleeping with my daughter. Different. I breastfed her past 1 year. Past 2 years. Different. The minute I heard the phrase 'peaceful parenting' I knew I never wanted to spank or intentionally hurt or punish my children again. Different. When the doctor asked me if I wanted to circumcise Isaac I told her no. Different. Nate never had a first day of kindergarten. Different.
I will always be younger, but I will always be more experienced in the things I have chosen to do and that matters to me. And I'm not scared. I'm not scared to be different because I feel deeply about what I am doing. And let me tell you a not-secret. I don't care if your different is not the same as mine. I do NOT care how you parent as long as it is non-violent. I don't care how you feed, clothe, sleep, birth, play, school, etc. I don't. Just as long as you are not hitting your kids. I don't think it's ok for you to hit your pets, your spouse, your neighbor, and especially not your kids. But however else you decide to care for them is your business and you should feel confident and wonderful that you are taking care of your kids! Relish the idea of being different because different is interesting and makes the world a better place!