While we live in a world of convenience and “easy living”, our family has chosen a path where the motto is “if it’s not an option, we can’t choose it”. It may sound odd and it is definitely not for everyone, but the idea is one worth exploring. Instead of buying into a lot of claims about what is best for your family and your child, it’s important to find what works for the individual family, their beliefs, and their values. For us, environmentalism is a very important factor, so is quality time, safety, and living more closely with out roots. This all means we choose “inconvenient parenting” and make decisions that don’t necessarily make our lives easier, but they work for us and we have deemed them to be best for our children.
7 ways we have decided that we will not choose another parenting option
No Infant Car Seat – We chose not to buy an infant car seat, but to find one that we loved that was crashed tested with preemies to older children. This was not just to save money, but also for other reasons as well. One was because carrying a car seat is not good fora parent’s back, so this eliminated that worry. Also, leaving a child in their infant seat, even if asleep, is not recommended for more than 15 minutes unless in a moving car. This is because it causes unnecessary stress their their developing spines. Car seats also
should not be purchased used; therefore, it’s a waste of resources and buying another seemed so pointless. On top of it all, the only time I could really see myself taking the car seat out would be for shopping, but placing the seat on top of a cart is a dangerous practice. So instead, we always take out child in and out of the seat, leaving the seat in the car. In the winter, this mean providing a warming pad in the seat a few minutes before we leave (taken out before placing child in) and bringing it with us if needed).
Babywearing – This all leads to babywearing. If we needed to take our child somewhere, especially as an infant, then we would just wear her. It was less stress on the back because of the ergonomic structure, and it was more calming to baby because she could feel us breath and hear our heart beat. Just more cuddle time for her. 😉 And in reality, babywearing has been a convenience on some occaisions because of getting things done I otherwise would not have been able to accomplish!
Extended Rear-facing Car Seat – My daughter is almost 2 and we have no intentions of turning her around anytime soon. This is because of safety. No it’s not helicopter parenting, it is a physiological issue. Even the AAP recommends to not turn a child around until they are over the age of two and best practice is not until after 4 or as long as possible. The spine is not completely formed until age 8 with the first main two events being at 2 and 4. Rear-facing is therefore 200% safer on developing spines and there is less likely to be spinal injury or decapitation while rear-facing in the car seat. (Please visit the link above for more info on this, including research and a video).
No Plastic Toys/Battery operated toys – This goes along with our ideas on being minimalistic with baby items. We adhere to the $1,000 baby budget and do not buy things like swings, exersaucers, and other gizmos and gadgets. This again, is not just to save money, but to ensure that we are not using resources when it’s about connecting with a child rather than putting them in something and because many of these toys have been seen to not actually help, but hinder development. Rocking in our recliner while snuggling has always been far more effective than her being distracted in some “entertaining” toy. We also just want to be wise stewards of our planet in that we don’t like the use or production of plastic, plus it can be harmful to developing health. Same goes for batteries; they are no a resource we want to exploit, no matter how alluring those toys might be to young senses.
Bed sharing – While I was not always on board with this, it is something our family has grown to love. It time we get to spend together as a family and definitely the right choice for our family. For reasons why we love it and how we adopted safe bedsharing practices, see more on our family bed post.
Cloth Diapering – While I have more laundry and can’t just throw them away when I am done, cloth diapering means less waste, less contamination in the water supply, less in the landfill, and really most importantly, less chemicals on my child’s skin.
In the end, these decisions are ones we have made not because we are helicopter parents or are crazy. They are very carefully thought out and executed based on our family’s needs. While we have had friends and family say “they won’t last a week doing that” or “good luck trying that, you will hate it”… in the end we sat down, understood where our convictions were and decided that no matter how hard our choices were or how inconvenient parenting might become, we could not choose another option.
What seemingly inconvenient choices have you made that are right for your family?
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!