I am a passionate person. I have certain things that take precedence in my life and those passions define who I am. It's just the way I have always been. for instance, when I was younger, I was bound and determined to be the very best I could be at playing the flute. I practiced every single day four hours, sometimes up to four hours a day and it became my life. I even paid for my own weekly private lessons in high school and purchased an open-holed flute instead of a car. I went through college, playing in both the orchestra and the wind symphony (8 hours a week for 1 credit per class) and it was my passion.
When I became a mother, my passions changed. Suddenly it was all about being the very best mother I could be. If I had to define myself, I would say I was a mother and nothing else. My parenting style, if you haven't realized it by now, is definitely more attachment parenting. I do believe that babies should be held more often than not -- they are only babies once and I, as a mother, will never get these moments back and once they are gone, the child is grown and no longer a baby. When I look back at my life in 30 years, I want to look at these moments I have captured in my mind, these beautiful moments where I held my babies close and kissed their sweet heads and looked into their beautiful eyes. I am a photographer so I am always looking for beautiful moments to capture, but there are some moments I capture with my eyes and store in my head, hoping that I am not cursed with Alzheimer's (which runs in my family on my maternal grandmother's side and strikes at a young age).
So many people are so concerned about fitting in with society. Why? Why do I care what anyone thinks about what I do? Does it really affect that person and his/her life? Why do we, as a people, want to all be the same anyway? Why is anyone who is different immediately categorized as "weird", "strange", "odd" . . . etc. I think part of it is because people are used to what most people do.
I guess the point of this rambling post is that my passions define who I am as a person and those passions are what make me me. Without those passions, I wouldn't be the person I am and I would probably have a hard time functioning.
One thing I do not do as a parent or even as a person is judge others for the choices they make. I see other parents in stores and out in public all the time, and I see them as parents. We share the common "link" that we have little ones to take care of. I can sympathize with a mother who has a feisty toddler too tired or too bored or too whatever, who suddenly decides it's time to embarrass Mom and pitch a fit. We've all been there at some point or another, or will get there in the future. Before I became a parent, I would just get annoyed, but hey -- we all change with time. I have now discreetly breastfed in public many times, using my lovely nursing cover and my only goal is to feed my child. I am not about to "please" people by going into a bathroom (where to sit? Ew!) or hiding in my car simply because the normal around here is to bottle feed. Maybe if more moms see moms like me, they might come out of hiding too. We live in America, Land of the Prudes, and it's so much different elsewhere. I have friends in Norway and Canada, for instance, who state that it is completely normal to see breastfeeding moms in public and it's just accepted. People walk by and occasionally give an approving smile, but nobody balks and certainly nobody says anything to express disgust (in fact, my friend from Canada still states that she can't believe the way it is here, because it is so different). I guess the point of this interlude is to say that I wish people were more open-minded and accepting. I don't look down on anyone and I expect the same level of respect. My passion may be breastfeeding and someone else's might be a sport, but we all have a place in this world and it's what makes us different that makes the world an interesting place to be. And nothing has made me feel better in my entire life than my current passions.