Our Parenting Style

photo There was a recurring question that popped into my head during Rooney's first year of life:

What kind of parents are we going to be???

There's pinball parenting, attachment parenting, helicopter parenting, Babywise parenting, French parenting, Montessori parenting...and the list goes on. I don't necessarily desire to fall into one of these categories for how we parent, but I feel like as a parent there are so many decisions to make and at times it can be really overwhelming. I did a lot of research during Roo's first year...a lot of worrying, a lot of laying in bed awake wondering if we were doing the right thing.

I think I always had an idea of what we might be like as parents, but it took us a while to settle into our parenting practices. Often we'd try something and then decide it didn't feel right for our family, so we'd make changes and repeat the process. It's all a big experiment, and there's certainly no right way to do things.

Many times I wished we had the perfect answer - or at least a list of things that would be right for our family. But that would have been taking the easy way out, which is never quite as rewarding. So after a year of parenting, I created a list of the things that worked best for us the first time around. We've dabbled in different philosophies and created our own way: the Williams family way!

We are parents who:

  • Choose happiness over breastfeeding, if they are mutually exclusive
  • Find comfort in routines and schedules
  • Don't enjoy rocking babies to sleep
  • Sent Rooney to the nursery both nights we spent in the hospital after she was born
  • Let our baby glance at the TV when she was a baby, but turned it off if it became a distraction
  • Highly value sleep
  • Do not feel comfortable co-sleeping
  • Moved our baby to her own room at 9 weeks
  • Use disposable diapers and wipes
  • Are big fans of swaddles, sleep sacks and pacifiers
  • Practice cry-it-out on occasion
  • Give lots of hugs and kisses
  • Use a crib (and we plan to keep her in it for as long as possible!)
  • Don't wipe down the shopping cart or restaurant high chair before use
  • Believe in chiropractic care
  • Serve mostly organic fruits and veggies
  • Drop our baby off at the nursery before church
  • Research vaccinations but have chosen to follow the recommended schedule
  • Love hand-me-downs
  • Occasionally shop in the boy's clothing section for our daughter
  • Use many natural and homeopathic remedies and products
  • Want our kids to be independent and unique individuals
  • Use a (breathable) bumper in the crib (it keeps the pacifiers in!)
  • Tell Roo she's fine when she falls down and encourage her to get back up and try again
  • Let our daughter fail and learn on her own
  • Don't pierce baby's ears
  • Prefer to have me work part-time

In addition, this list will grow and change as Rooney grows, and as we add children to our family. We'll have to figure out how we deal with tantrums in Target, if we'll let her come sleep with us in the middle of the night, how we react when she gets good grades (or don't), how we'll deal with picky eating, and how many activities we'll allow her to participate in at one time (among MANY more that I can't even anticipate).

Your parenting style is likely different from ours, and that's great! And certainly, the number and temperament of your children can affect the way you parent (as it should).

If I've learned anything since becoming a mom, it's that there's no one way to do things, and each family has to do what works best for them. I've found that I personally enjoy learning about the many different ways people do things, experimenting with them at our own pace, and then settling into our own parenting style and beliefs. I believe I'm the best parent I can be when I follow my gut instincts!