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Silence, inner sanctimommy! I’m trying to find a parenting style

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I definitely didn’t like that mom putting her baby on my dinner table; but it had nothing to do with what kind of a mother – good or bad – I thought she was.
For me, it was about having a life. Would her choice of parenting style mean that she – the person she’d always been – was now going to be defined solely by motherhood?

I know the “mommy war” artillery is cocked and ready. And I can hear the shriek of incoming fire now, and it sounds like: “Selfish!”

But I’ll duck that. Our daughter came along after our journalism careers had taken us all over the world to experience war zones, third world poverty, super-power politics, amazing cultures, interesting friends. We had a life. We didn’t want to give it up – we wanted to share it with our daughter. We didn’t want an infant, toddler, tweener, or teen to define our lives; we wanted to set the tone and define hers.

The Lego and Polly Pocket detritus would be contained, our home would still be a respite from the chaos (OK, I did mangle my bare feet in the night a few times, but the mess was in her room).

We would not indulge a picky eater (OK, so we romanticized macaroni and cheese from a packet by calling it “pasta,” but she loved blue cheese and sushi before she made it to kindergarten).

We would cultivate a life of the mind for her, she would know the value of “alone time” and figuring out how to entertain herself (OK, so a mother’s group I was in turned shocked faces to me when they heard this concept – "alone time!?" But I never had to peel my daughter off me to get her to enjoy a half-hour playing with her toes, or blocks, or looking at books from infancy on up).

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