Monday, 14 September 2015

Tree-Hugging Hippie Mum

I'm that mum, or rather, we're those parents. We didn't seek out this path but here we are.

I breastfed my son until he self-weaned at three, I still breastfeed my one-year-old daughter, we bed-share, we don't do babysitters and now, we homeschool.

But What Will People Say???
I know some people think all of this is incredibly strange. I've seen enough reaction both online and in person to understand how many molds we're breaking and how offended people are by it. I'm still not quite sure why but if you know us, you also know that popular opinion isn't going to affect our life decisions.

We didn't plan any of this.

Our son was a very sensitive baby; the only thing that kept him happy was breastfeeding and the only way he would sleep was on or beside, but touching me. For the first three months we fought this because, as many well-meaning people pointed out, it just isn't "normal". He should be in his crib, crying it out and with a bottle. That didn't feel right for us, though, so we stopped fighting our baby and did what did feel right and it worked. Happy baby, happy parents.

Our daughter is a very happy baby but still breastfeeds for both her main nutritional needs and for comfort. It helps her calm down if she's upset and it helps her sleep at nap time and bedtime. She slept pretty much through the night from day one yet still prefers to be beside me or on my lap -- that is to say, she will fight sleep and cry and fuss if she's tired and I'm not able to feed her on my lap.

My husband and I have always been very self-reliant. We prefer to take responsibility for ourselves whenever possible. We have been fortunate enough to have had help from family and friends many times over the years and are so appreciative to have an amazing support system BUT we prefer to do things for ourselves. When we finally chose to become parents, we did so with the intention of being wholly responsible for our family. Again, that's not to say we haven't needed help from time to time or that we don't appreciate offers of help -- just that we feel it's our responsibility to take care of our kids. We don't do date nights or vacations or boys/girls nights out. We do the drive-in so we can watch movies without worrying about the kids' noise levels. We don't usually eat out but when we do it's never fancier than Swiss Chalet or Boston Pizza. We do camping trips and comic-cons and family-friendly events.

Homeschooling is our latest endeavour. Our son was four when we had our daughter and he could have gone to school that year but we didn't want him to feel pushed out of the family only days after a new baby. What would that say to him, psychologically? You were replaced? Well, this year we have decided to keep him home again and it wasn't a decision made lightly. I could go in depth into the decision and maybe I will in a separate blog but for the purposes of wrapping this up before it's a novel, just know it was not a simple coin toss.

With every decision we've made along the way we've tried to ensure we've been as educated as possible -- done endless amounts of research, consulted doctors when necessary, talked for hours and at the end of the day have chosen to do what we've felt is best for our kids. I know our choices are oftentimes against popular opinion and there are those out there who, for whatever reason, are personally offended by our choices but as I said earlier, we have never been interested in popular opinion.

So what does all this mean? It means we often have a hard time making plans with others. For me it means I am often absent on social media for weeks at a time as I am also trying to juggle all the household things and when I do have a few minutes to sit down, I generally just play a game or I'll read an article, maybe a comic. It also means we are working on our kids the best way we can for us. One thing being a parent has taught me is that life is more fluid than we expect and in a few years I'm sure things will be drastically different again and I kind of look forward to seeing how.