The following No-Guilt Manifesto is not mine; repeat, these are not my words (that's for Hillary Clinton) but I love the sisterhood they can inspire. They are taken verbatim from a fantastic, anonymous post yesterday on the DC Urban Moms and Dads' Forums. My response is at the end.
"I do not feel guilty!
I do not feel guilty that my 10 month old still has a pacifier and I am not going to take it away because you, random woman at the pizza place, told me she didn't need it anymore.
I do not feel guilty that I work three days a week and send my daughter to daycare and I am not going to change my lifestyle because you, friend of a friend that I just met, made a whiney "awwww" sound when you found that information out.
I do not feel guilty that my daughter was fed from a bottle from the day she was born and that I switched to Target brand after my Doctor told me that they're all the same.
I do not feel guilty that only some of the foods she eats are organic.
I do not feel guilty that I didn't even once make her babyfood.
I do not feel guilty that my daughter watched TV sometimes and I watch it nearly all day while she plays and I play with her.
I do not feel guilty that my daughter has no set sleeping schedule except at night, and that even then she stays up later if we're doing something.
I do not feel guilty that I let her cry it out to get her to sleep at night. Not Ferber....CIO.....she now sleeps from 7:30PM - 8AM on average.
I do not feel bad when my baby cries while I am changing her diaper to go to sleep, this is to everyone that has seen her cry while I put her sleeper on and looked at her with pity as if something bad is happening to her. I am TAKING CARE OF HER. It's not like I'm smacking her in the face. I'm changing her diaper, putting cream on her and putting on her sleeper, so stop looking at me like she's being punished.
I only feel a little guilty that my house is not babyproofed at all even though my daughter is crawling. I'm watching her like a hawk to see what she's interested in getting into so that I know how to babyproof it. My nephew figured out how to open the "locked" kitchen cabinets about 1/2 a minute after he figured out how to stand next to them. I can't figure out what to do!
I will not feel guilty either. All that giving me dirty looks and nasty comments is going to do is make me irritated with you. I love my child and my child loves me and I am only trying to be as good a Parent as my Parents....who bottle fed me, sent me to daycare, fed me prepared baby food, didn't baby proof (although I do feel like I have to get on that!) and let us do CIO.
Please stop giving people dirty looks. We all do what we think is best. My baby is clean, fed, loved, played with, snuggled and most importantly of all....she is happy!" --Anonymous
SurelyYouNest to Anonymous:
SPEAKING of not feeling guilty, I want to chime in and say that if I *feel* like making homemade baby food in my fair-trade, egalitarian-wood-toys, Bisphenol-A-free, omega-3 sustainable fish-eating, Mother Cruncha household (slight exaggeration but you get my drift), stop feeling so pressured to BE like me.
The world's a big place, and I honestly don't have time (what with all the steaming of organic, locavore vegetables and grinding of the whole wheat kernels to soak and ferment to get the maximum nutrition) to give two scoops of sugar what YOU'RE up to, except maybe being your own funny, witty self with your own values. I probably have a lot to learn from you, so tell me about the fun stuff you're doing. Or avoid me like the plague if I am not your type. Stop presuming that people who make different choices are judging YOU and relax.
Most of us are not prosyletizing. If people are really giving you dirty looks, fire away. But if someone's talking about something she loves (and trust me, I like plenty besides nutrition and health, but I am really into that too), she may just be excited about what she's up to. Not telling you that you have to drink the preservative-free, no artificial sweeteners, no synthetic dyes Kool-Aid. Just a thought.
And I also *love* your no-guilt manifesto. Just think it should apply across the board (even if I decide to nurse my kids until they are in junior high).