Our Parenting Philosophy

Before we even get going, I want to say this: our parenting philosophy is ours, and we don’t want to claim, explicitly or otherwise, that we’re doing it right and others are doing it wrong, or that doing things differently from how we do them is somehow less right. In fact, that’s a pretty good summation of one of the main points we try to keep in mind:

  • We’re all doing the best we know how to do.

It’s easier than it should be to get down on ourselves about snapping at the kids when they’re being tough and we’re having a rough day, but that happens to everybody, and dwelling on it doesn’t help anybody. Parenting is tough, and while we shouldn’t let that control our actions, we shouldn’t forget it either.

  • Kids changed our life, but we need to teach them how to be part of our lives, not just be subsumed into theirs.

Between visits to children’s museums, birthday parties, diaper changing, story times, etc., parenting can make it can seem like our lives barely exist anymore. But we do have lives, and wants, and desires, and it’s not wrong to want to exercise those. It’s not easy to do, but it’s important to assert our right to our own time and our own preferences. Too often we hear parents complaining about TV shows their kids like, but that they’re forced to endure. It’s struck us that we can make those decisions, and let the kids join us in what we like, as much as we let them develop their own tastes and try to share their enjoyment. Letting parenting get in the way of doing anything we enjoy seems like a recipe for resentment down the road.

  • It’s important to be kind.

Underlying everything, we try to stress at every turn that it’s important to be kind. Think about how other people feel, how you’d feel if they’d done to you what you did to them, etc. We live in a world where it’s not always easy to have empathy, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

  • Take our own advice.

Our kids are just doing the best they know how to do, and still trying to figure everything out. They also need to be allowed space to live their own lives, and to have us be open to being invited into those lives and interests. As parents we need to be kind and empathetic to them, and understand how they might be feeling, and meet them where they are, rather than where we’d like them to be.

Feeding Three Impatient Kids

We have three kids, so parenting can sometimes be something of a challenge. Watson, our oldest, is three and a half. Vivian is two. Little Freddy is almost eight months old. They’ve all got different tastes and abilities when it comes to food, but we’ve been trying hard to expand all of their healthy horizons.

Tonight was breakfast for dinner, which is our go-to Wednesday dinner. I made scrambled eggs, vegan sausage, and heated some leftover waffles from the weekend. It’s not the most glamorous meal, but it’s healthy, and cooking anything on the stove while parenting three kids is pretty challenging, so I wasn’t shooting for glamour.

As was the case last week, Watson ate his eggs and little else.

Vivian ate half her waffle and little else.

Freddy, our powerhouse, ate a whole jar of organic apple cinnamon oatmeal, but he eyed up his brother and sister’s food jealously, and we think we can probably start him on eggs next week.

Over dinner I talk to the kids about what they did at school (today Watson and Vivi played soccer and learned about teamwork). Sometimes we listen to music (they’ve been very into the Bob’s Burgers music album lately). If they eat well, which tonight they didn’t, then they get to pick out a piece of candy from their Halloween buckets, which at this rate just might be empty by this Halloween.

We recently committed to feeding the kids mostly the healthy vegan food that we eat for dinner after taking a good, honest look at our alarming chicken nugget budget. They don’t always eat well, but they’re starting to understand that what we give them is what they get, and at least Watson usually tries a little bit of everything, though he always tries to negotiate the bite size I’ll be happy with (small becomes tiny, tiny becomes tiny tiny, etc.).

It’s not always easy to get all of the kids into position with healthy food on the table without some minor or major meltdowns, but it has been rewarding to know that we’re making the effort to give them good, healthy food and build up strong eating habits.

Next challenge: getting them to clean up after themselves.