After giving birth for the first time and choosing what instinctually felt right, I was told I wasn’t doing things the “right way.” I was, and still am, whispered about, talked about and judged by many. I know this because I eventually hear about it. I really don’t care what people say or think of me, but today I’m choosing to use it as fuel for my message.
Since becoming a mother, I’ve witnessed how others live to judge and tell you, either to your face or behind your back, what you are doing wrong in terms of parenting. Everyone is an expert it seems. They will make it known every time they disagree with the way you choose to live your life or raise your children.
I live a life I am proud of. I hope you do as well. I am connected to my higher purpose. I am grateful for my family and my life. I am doing my best, with pure intentions, patience, acceptance and love in my heart.
I believe traveling is one of the best ways to open the mind to curiosity. You will not learn everything about the world while you are traveling, but you will be exposed to new ways of life and things you never knew existed. I believe this is one of the most important decisions and choices my husband and I made. We are teaching our boys that the world we live in is not the only world there is.
Many people thought, and still think, we are crazy for not enrolling our boys in school yet and choosing this path of traveling. At the moment the world is their school, and education is in front of and around them every day, with ancient history, new cultures, different ways of life and more. What we choose to do in the future will be our decision. We will always do what is best for our children based on who they are and what they need.
People warned me if I breastfed too long, our boys would be weak or too attached. If I co-slept, they wouldn’t know how to be by themselves. Now these same people have bets that we won’t continue this journey for the year we planned, and each is waiting to collect on that.
This time, it isn’t about extended breastfeeding, bedsharing, babywearing, or veganism, but rather it’s about the fact that some people think we are doing a bad thing by traveling around the world with our children.
Our boys are strong, independent and can’t wait to venture out every day. They have beautiful and expressive spirits. They are centered, and they are free. They are loving this experience and growing each day. We are all in this together. We all make time for our relationships and time alone.
Our kids are not perfect. We do not live a perfect life. We struggle and suffer and face challenges just like everyone else. I don’t claim to have everything figured out. I simply choose to have a positive outlook and a lot of gratitude for every day I am given.
As I type this right now, I question whether I should just let all of this go and not post my feelings about this matter. Maybe I should do what Abraham Lincoln used to do, write this letter, let it sit in my desk for a day and file it away, never to be sent. That isn’t the answer though. I am sharing this because I want to tell you to LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE. DO NOT let others put their self-doubt, their unfulfilled dreams, their negative attitudes, fear or insecurities on you.
I am happy to be away from home right now. I am happy to be away from the microscopes, the expected norms of society and self-appointed parental control officers. I am happy to be free in a world where togetherness and intimacy is not only accepted but encouraged. I am happy to raise our boys with our beliefs and values. I am happy they love and respect nature and are participants in other cultures and societies beyond the comfortable bubble we popped.
I am happy to make mistakes and learn from them without those people clapping their hands or smiling when we fail. I am happy we are all growing and enriching our lives and our relationships more than ever. I am happy we are in this together, through the good and bad.
If you want to join us on this journey, we are happy to have you. I believe we are raising boys that will be healthy, contributing parts of the society they choose to live in. This is what matters to us.
As for those of you who can relate to my feelings, please remember this is your life. You have been given what you see in the mirror, and your choices are yours. Ask yourself if you are running away from something or chasing your dreams. Choose based on what you believe. I am not here to justify why I believe this journey is amazing or why I do anything for that matter, although this letter seems to be doing exactly that. I am sharing this with you because I hope you don’t feel the need to justify or defend against these types of people in your own lives. People who refuse to look in the mirror and would rather look out the window and tell others how to live.
I feel a lot better now. Even if I never post this, writing helps me work through my feelings. If, in fact, you are reading this, I believe I made the right decision in expressing myself. We will begin a new adventure today and enjoy each moment. I wish the same for you.
The views expressed and choices made by the contributors on this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of Attachment Parenting International (API) as a whole and are not necessarily connected to API’s Eight Principles of Parenting.