Real Talk: Perspective
Our kiddos enjoy watching Disney (yes, we allow them to watch TV) and one of their fav shows is Good Luck Charlie. I think it is in part because they are a wild and crazy big family and our kids relate well to that.
So tonight while watching an episode where the new baby has recently arrived, our 11 year old says...
"I don't understand why Toby doesn't sleep with his parents?"
Tom says, "Well, not everyone sleeps with their kids." Zach replies with astonishment, "Really?!?! Why not? Oh, is it because they just don't have enough room?"
I thought it was interesting in light of all the hoopla over our family bed. In his mind, it never occurred to him that everyone wasn't just like us. And it isn't like we haven't had times of no family bed. But we have almost always had the baby with us.
It is so important to remember how our own experiences color our perspective on our own lives and the lives of others. It is easy to judge their life when all we know is ours!
One of our goals in raising our children is to create adults that are aware of their world. Not just the beauty, the grace, the love and kindness... but also the hardwork, heartache, poverty, waste, etc. Without balance in our lives, without something to compare it to, we can never fully appreciate the good and beautiful things!! They become mundane and normal and expected. And then you miss out on something amazing.
In blogging about our REAL lives, I hope to continue to help change others perspectives as well. In a world of perfect pinterest pictures, we forget what real life looks like. And not to say that Pinterest isn't SOMEONE'S real life. It just isn't ours! So while you may see a beautiful photo of our family bed, you should also know that I had to lock the screaming baby out of the room, put clean "matching" pillowcases on the pillows, tuck in all the comforters and get my "nice" quilt out of storage to take this photo. My goal was to make it look nice enough to end up on Ikea Hacker! Who knew! So I promise you won't always see only gorgeous photos. I promise to include the awful ones too.
Not only that, but you will also find that we do a little bit of everything. I quickly learned that I was a happier mom of many when I could be flexible. Some things are not (our faith, our committment to our marriage and family, etc.) but everything else could be. I learned to rule my life by my core values. They are the unchanging important things to me. I won't even list them, because they aren't YOUR core values. But mine dictate how I live. So when I get asked the following questions, these are my answers...
Do you co-sleep? Yes and No- We have tired it all. Single beds, kid shared beds, cry it out, co-sleeping, palettes on the floor, you name it.
Do you baby wear? Yes and No- Yes, I love it. But Tom can't. So we have also used a stroller, a baby bucket carseat, a sibling, a sled, oh wait, no.
Do you breastfeed? Yes and No- Yes, I have been blessed with abundant milk and easy breastfeeding. But I also work full time. So I pump and bottle feed. And if I needed to, I would formula feed. Most importantly, I feed my baby.
Do you Homeschool? Yes and No- We have! We may in the future, but right now our kids are at an amazing project based Charter school that works well for us.
Do you have college funds for all your kids? No... we are only saving for the therapy they will need because we raised them.
Do you pay an allowance? Yes and No- Not typically, but if I am desperate or Tom can't wash dishes, I have totally paid them to do it.
Do you allow sleepovers? Yes and No- Generally no, but the two oldest have very close best friends and we feel comfortable with them having sleepovers.
Do you gender sterotype? Yes and No- We let our boys dress as fairies for Halloween. We also let them buy guns. Really, it doesn't matter what they like. Expressing your preferences (boy or girl) without worrying about what others think is a great skill to have!
Do you eat only organic food? No... do you know how freaking expensive that would be!!
Do you see a pattern here? The reality is that we are always changing, adapting, adjusting our needs, expectations, plans to fit our family. Each kid is so unique and different and requires different things from us.
So the next time you judge (even unintentionally) a choice another person or family makes, remember that you have no idea of the whole story. Your perspective is limited to your life experiences. That changes it completely!!