what "type" of mom and I?

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In Bringing Up Bebe, the author says one of the nice things about raising a child in France is the homogeneity of parenting philosophy. Everyone does basically the same thing. There's no controversy about being strict, scheduling your child's meals, putting your child in daycare, or not breastfeeding for long. Because moms and dads are unanimous about these things. 
(FYI: they are strict, do schedule, opt for daycare, and don't breastfeed for long)

She compared this to the US (and could have easily to Canada) where there are "types" of parents all along the spectrum. Parenting styles and philosophies range so drastically that it's hard for moms to know where they fit and find support from their peers (who likely don't do the same thing). I'd definitely agree, though I don't feel isolated because some of my friends parent differently. I think there are many ways to parent well, and the "types" are based more so on preference, location, family size, life experience, etc. Not wrong or right, but certainly different

Personally, I'm all over the map. I do a few things that may lead you to believe I'm a granola mama, and others to suggest I'm all about innovation and comfort (read: luxury to past generations). Here goes:

We cloth diaper + make our own baby food... But we are happy to be using formula

We buy 75% of our kids clothing secondhand... But our stroller is top of the line 

We want to give our kids a lot of freedom... But we did sleep training (and loved it!) and try to schedule meals consistently

We value me being an at-home mom... But aren't into attachment parenting

We bring our kids to church and teach them about Jesus (knowing we can't control what they'll believe)... But are 100% public school fans (not Christian school, private school, or home school)

I did prenatal massage, yoga, and ate the choicest health foods when pregnant... But welcomed the epidural when the time came

We have two great biological kids... But are jumping head first into Adopting our next kid(s).

These things don't have to be mutually exclusive, but sometimes it seems that way. Like when I went to the cloth diaper store to get detergent and made Oli a formula bottle (to the surprise + seeming disappointment of the moms there). Or when I tell people we're adopting and they say "why? you can have your own!"

I really have no idea what "type" of mom I am but I have a deep proclivity to want to label myself. Classify myself. Explain myself. But sometimes, you just can't. Sometimes you just don't fit. Except exactly where you're supposed to be and where you've been lead.

Can you relate?
Or are pretty consistent in your techniques + philosophies?
Do you have a "type" you identify with?
Or are you all over the map, like me?


  1. I don't know all the types/categories of parents but I am probably am a combination of a few types but I mostly fit into the "attachment parenting" & granola camps, which seem to overlap a lot!

    Attachment parenting because of: breastfeeding into toddlerhood, babywearing (use stroller 1/month or something...quite seldom), cloth diapering, some co-sleeping (when traveling, when he's sick, in the mornings), structure but quite loose (allow him to nap in carrier or in bed, sometimes 1 nap a day & sometimes 2, approximate bedtime), didn't let cry to fall asleep till over a year old.

    Hippie/granola parenting style came along in large part due to Sebby's allergies & me desiring to find alternative solutions to steroid creams. I much prefer herbals over conventional meds, have tried crazy, special diets & now eat gluten free by choice at home, use soap nuts for laundry, etc...

    For myself, being aware that moms identify with/bond with other moms in the same parenting camps as them makes me tempted to get trapped in a mindset of needing to do a certain thing in order to be approved or accepted by the other moms who share the most similar philosophies. For example, because I'm so into babywearing, talk a lot about it, etc..., I am almost embarrassed to take out my stroller. Not sure if you or others can relate but that's a struggle I have.

    1. I've felt that way too, tar. That I need to explain myself for having different philosophies when I'm around moms who don't parent the same way. Explain because somehow I feel like I'm in their bad mom books because we're different. Normally it's all in my head I'm sure, and I need to assume the best of other moms, but sometimes it's overt and the problem is my own need for approval during the judgement. At the end of the day my parenting philosophies and techniques were well thought through and often prayed hard over, so I should be more confident in them when I'm with people who don't share them... but it's tough :)

  2. This is an interesting topic because my husband and I were recently reading about different types of parenting. I know I have certain ideals that my pre-baby mind thinks would work and what I'd like to do, however, I'm sure all of that will change post-baby. I will say that I think attachment parenting is becoming very popular in the U.S. We've had a few couples mention it to us already, but none have mentioned many other methods. I think that ultimately, relying on the Father and looking to Him will help us determine what's best per couple. I'm interested to know why the French are pretty homogenous in their upbringing. Did you see a variety of parenting methods or did the book you read pretty much hit it dead on?

  3. I think we N. Americans are "all over the map" is in part due to the many cultures that make up the population. For example, we are influenced by both our Chinese heritage (frugalness, DIY projects, old school herbal medicine) and also current popular Canadian trends (sleep training, Western medical recommendations). With the advent of social media, there is now more info out there and families can pick and choose what they want to try out.

    That being said, I highly respect mothers because they face a lot of pressure on how to raise children (we fathers do too, but I think mother's get the brunt of it). Whatever method is fine - as long as one takes the initiative to figure out what is best for their family!

    1. great point Josh, culture plays a huge roll.
      in our case it was an opposing factor - when we had Lily Brad's Italian side was a bit hurt that we didn't want a huge family gathering at the hospital or staying with us when we brought home the baby. I can appreciate that, since it's a cultural tradition, but we needed to do what was best for us in that moment - which was keep to ourselves and learn to be a family alone, the three of us :)

  4. Laura Hodgson14.6.12

    Emily you are a fantastic mom! I love when moms recognize that there are different ways to parent (and no particular way is right or wrong). Our method has always just been to do what works for our specific child (because what might work for one kid, won't always work with another...such as discipline techniques, etc). We did sleep training when we needed to, but also co-sleep when we need to (Coral gets horrible night terrors every once in a while and almost gets in a trance and shakes uncontrollably. The only way to get her to stop is to snuggle up right next to her). I used to care what other moms thought of the way I parent, but now I just don't care. I know Coral better then anyone and while sometimes it may seem to others we are slack with her, it's what works for her, and other Times it may seem we are to strict with her, it's what works for her.

    1. thanks Laura! you are an amazing mom too :) you nailed it, each mom knows her child better than anyone else does, so she's most fit to make the call.

  5. I am loving all these comments! Yes! We are all over the map in our parenting style and in the end it comes down to what WORKS for us and the kids. I am thankful for all of the other Mommas and Daddys in my life who do things differently, when we are struggling with something it is so nice to have options to pull from and opinions to share without judgment.

  6. Weeelll, I'm not a mom yet. But I really love the freedom portrayed through your "style" and through this post. I feel like as humans we like to make lots of things mutually exclusive, when there really is no formula! Freedom in the Gospel, yes! Just found your blog, love it and love your family's heart for the city. Keep writing girl, good stuff!

  7. Natalie Self15.6.12

    I have never wanted to be labeled as a parent because I feel it divides us and can make us feel isolated. I want to feel free and secure in doing what is right for my family and not worrying about what everyone's opinion is. Do what's right for your kids and trust in the lord to guide you. You may learn things from other moms no matter what type they are and that's a blessing that we can all come together as just moms and learn from each other and encourage each other. Ive had to learn how to not worry what others are thinking having a little boy who is behind in some areas because of coming from a troubled past when we adopted him. We do things with him that other moms might look at us and think we are crazy but I've learned quickly for my sanity that it just doesn't matter what they think because all they have is their opinion what I hav is the responsibility to do what is best for my child

    1. great point Natalie, I've definitely learned a lot from moms who parent quite differently. I feel like we take bits from ever "style" to make our own, what works for us and based on our convictions & life situation.
      i will definitely have that on my radar once we adopt too - a whole other opportunity to trust in yourelf and God with parenting and not worry about the crowd :)