I Just Can’t Resist!

This has been an eventful week. President Obama gave his two thumbs up in support for gay marriage while the entire state of North Carolina gave all gays the middle finger. (Interesting tidbit, courtesy of my smarty-pants husband: You can marry your cousin in North Carolina. But not if you and your cousin are gay!)

While this was happening, there were other fascinating events going on across the country, like breast-feeding. Since I am somewhat newly pregnant, anything regarding pregnancy, child-birth or kids in general has piqued my interest, at least more than it did before. You would have to be living under a rock to miss this story in Time Magazine.

I have only been aware of attachment parenting for the past year or so, but I didn’t know it had an official name until this week. I also found that if you want to create a black hole of chaos amongst women, start a conversation about breast-feeding, co-sleeping, vaccinations or “baby-wearing.”

And since it’s hard for me to stay quiet about controversial subjects, here’s my two cents (or maybe a few dollars worth . . .) on the topics at hand.

Breast Feeding

I am hoping breast-feeding works for me. I know it is best for the baby, it’s a great way to lose weight and it’s much cheaper than formula. However, if it doesn’t work, my child isn’t getting proper nutrition and I’m crying myself to sleep every night, I’m going to stop trying. I don’t think you are a bad mom if you don’t breast feed. I don’t think you’re a bad mom if you breast feed until your child is 6. I do, however, disagree with breast-feeding past the age of 1 or 2. Do you need my approval to let your child unbutton your blouse and suckle away? No, you don’t. Just like I don’t need your approval to have my opinions. I can disagree with something without thinking you are a horrible person (it’s a rare gift).

I feel that once my child is a certain age, it’s time to start weaning. Here’s why:

  • There are plenty of healthy ways to provide a child with nutrition.
  • I wonder what extended breast-feeding does to the psychology or personality of a child over the age of 2 (I said wonder, not assume, but I would prefer to not find out).
  • It is a serious commitment that will be difficult to keep up with while working full-time.
  • I only want to abuse my body for so long. (Yup, I said it! Go ahead and judge!)

That is how I feel, but I do not judge women who feel the opposite way. All I ask is for you to not judge me for the way I feel, and hopefully we can all get along.

Baby-wearing

I have zero problem with this concept, except when it gets to the point where the child is never put down. My concern is a developmental issue with walking or crawling at a later age. But if you want to hold your baby all the live long day, go for it!

I don’t feel like I can say, with authority, how I will handle the “cry it out” method. I would love to say “I’m strong! Cry, baby, cry!” But I’m a huge softie.

However, I crate my dogs, and there were many days I cried the entire way to work because they were crying in their crates. I hope this helps me be strong with a human child. Only time will tell!

Co-sleeping

I may appear slightly judgmental with this one, but I promise, that is not my intention. I think my problem is I just don’t understand it. This is coming from someone who sleeps with two 50-pound dogs. So believe me, I know there are millions of you who don’t understand what I do, and probably think I’m slightly crazy. That’s okay!

My reasoning behind the “Dogs-in-the-bed-is-okay, kids-in-the-bed-is-not” theory:

  • My dogs are not going to grow up and one day leave the nest. They will not be going off to college, or buying their own homes, or bringing little granddoggies home for me to meet.
  • My child, however, will eventually leave the nest and become an independent person (dear Lord, let’s hope so). I would like to start the independence early, like the first day (just with sleeping, I don’t plan on abandoning the poor kid).
  • I am too scared about rolling over onto the baby (they say you won’t, but I am Kaptain Klutz).
  • I need sleep, darn it.

I have several friends and acquaintances who swear by co-sleeping, and if it works for you, more power to you! You aren’t sleeping in my house, affecting my ZZZ’s, so I really don’t care. I will say, however, that not one of them had a husband 100% on board with the idea. In my life, in my marriage, I would consider that a problem that needed to be solved.

They say “Happy Wife, Happy Life,” and that statement is true. But if my husband isn’t happy, my house isn’t happy either. I spoke with my boss, and asked him, as a doctor, what he thought about all these things. The only solid medical evidence is this: Breast feeding is good for mother and child. Everything else is about what works for you and your family.

He had good advice, and it reminded me of the card he included with his wedding gift: “Keep doing all the things you did when you were falling in love, and you will stay in love.”

I loved that line so much! I thought it was wise, completely reasonable and perfectly attainable. Basically, the same thing applies when you have a child.

Wives, keep your husbands happy. Continue to take care of him, even after a child comes. He needs you.

Husbands, keep your wives happy. Give her a break, especially in the beginning, when she is sleep-deprived, self-conscious and wonderfully hormonal. She needs you.

And kids? If you have two parents (gay, straight, alien or purple-people-eaters included) who love each other that much, that they continue to always put each other first, you will have a happy, loving life, with a security that money can never buy.

Be confident in your decisions! There will always be someone who disagrees or judges. Aren’t we glad Breyers puts three whole flavors in the same container?

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Can We Legalize Morality?

I was never into politics. The first time I was able to vote, I voted Republican, because that’s what my mom did, what my church leaders did, and what I really thought was the best decision for me. That ushered in the first year of George W. Bush, and I was too naive (lazy?) to really pay attention to what was happening to our country. When the chance rolled around to vote for him again, I faithfully remained a member of the GOP.

Thankfully, during his second term, I started to awaken inside. There were some who accused me of being brainwashed by my parents, and I fiercely defended my faith. It took years for me to see that I could keep the faith I held dear, the faith that had always come so easily, and still be my own person. A person who was smart, who could think for herself, who could listen to the little voice (voices?) inside that said something was clearly not as it should be.

John McCain made it easy for me to vote for Barack Obama when he introduced Sarah Palin as his choice for Vice President. But this time, I paid more attention, and I grew to really like Obama. Even my mom liked him! She too, was learning that being a Christian didn’t automatically equal Republican, and I was happy because I was doing something with her blessing, but didn’t require that blessing to make my own choices anymore.

For the upcoming election, I have been diligent in following all parties. Before it all started I knew I would vote for Obama again, but still, educating myself was important. Suddenly I felt like a politics-obsessed feminist, and I hated feminists! I watched, angry, as women who used birth control were called sluts. I watched, confused, wondering why men could engage in whatever sexual activities they chose and were not judged the same way. I grew increasingly impatient when Ann Romney chose to be an offended stay-at-home mom, then said she was happy that so many women had no choice but to work.

Through it all, I was aware that the fellow Christians I used to rally with now left me questioning my “religion.” My faith will never change, but the category I cast myself in has. I feel that simply stating “I am a Christian” is too vague, leaves too much open for eye-rolling, and does not fully explain the Man whose teachings I follow.

I remember a family in my church who removed the television from their home. They were tired of flipping channels when suggestive commercials came on, so they removed the object of concern completely. Whether you agree with this or not doesn’t matter. It was their choice and they weren’t harming anyone in making this choice.

Doesn’t that make more sense than to write to every network, every company, every advertiser that produces a program that you don’t agree with? How much time and energy does One Million Mom spend on condemning everyone around them, when they could be spending time with these precious children they are so determined to protect?

Maybe you think being gay is a sin. You are entitled to that opinion. Must you hate, ridicule, bully those who are gay? Is this worth launching a campaign, trying to “beat the gay” out of people? Wouldn’t it make more sense to love, live your life with a smile, and honestly answer when questioned about your beliefs? If someone wants to be angry at you for what you believe, that is now on them.

Maybe you think abortion is murder, that it’s an unforgivable sin. So don’t have one! You answer to God for your actions and your actions alone. Bombing abortion clinics, killing doctors, shouting words of anger; this does not prove that you serve a loving God. This makes people turn and run the other direction every time they hear the word “Christian.”

You know what shows you serve a loving God? Comforting the girl who just had an abortion. Putting your arm around your gay friend and showing them that you aren’t ashamed to love them, as a human being. Making difficult choices about your own life but standing behind those choices with integrity and strength.

I have chosen to never shove my faith down someone’s throat, but I don’t hide it either. I’m not ashamed, I will answer questions and I welcome a good debate. I argued with an atheist for an hour one day, and at the end of the conversation he laughed. He said, “I still don’t agree with you and I never will, but I respect you for not just throwing Scripture at me. You have actually researched these topics and your knowledge is impressive.” Score! One more person that could have an intelligent conversation with a Christian and not walk away thinking she was a total moron.

Can we ever legalize morality? No. It’s foolish to think we can. I know what the Bible says about sharing our faith, but I’m pretty sure it says nothing about doing it with a heart filled with hate. I have met so many who turn their backs on religion simply because of the religious folk they have encountered, and that makes me sad. They are missing out on a pretty awesome Savior, but their preview of Him leaves much to be desired.

We, as “Christians,” have become so focused on our path that we’ve forgotten Who we are following. If you follow the “Take over the world” mentality, doesn’t it make more sense to maybe use a little honey, instead of pouring vinegar over the open wounds of our struggling country?

Jesus ate dinner with the scum of the earth. He didn’t turn anyone away. He stopped the stoning of a prostitute, famously saying, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

Until I can say without question that I am without sin, I will be casting no stones.