Balancing Act

Our society is obsessed with labeling people and parents are no exception. You’ve got helicopter parents, free-rage parents, crunchy parents, attachment parents, Tiger parents, minimalist parents and the list goes on. Most of these labels are based on extremes but what about the rest of us? Those of us that don’t fit neatly in a pre-packaged label? I’m guessing really, the majority of parents are in this somewhere in between limbo.

So the next time I’m discussing parenting techniques with a group of moms, I’m calling myself a Balanced Parent (if that title is already in use for something else or there’s another name for what I’m talking about, I’m unaware and apologize). Balanced Parent can describe a wide range of parents. We’re the parents who pick and choose what works best for our families and find compromise is often best. Balanced Parenting is practical parenting and sometimes flexible patenting.

I’m constantly seeing huge arguments about the extremes from juice consumption to discipline to screen time. And I’m not here to attack any one stance but does it have to be no juice or unlimited juice? I’m the parent who goes with some juice, not unlimited juice, not no juice, just a moderate amount of juice. Screen time? In moderation. (Okay, some days we have too much screen time but I try). I’m the parent who sometimes makes organic spinach salad with avocados for dinner and sometimes stops at the drive thru. I’m not about to let a newborn cry it out but I’m not opposed leaving a young infant crying for a few minutes while I use the bathroom or finish shoveling dinner into my mouth. I try different discipline techniques to see what works best with my daughter. I make so many mistakes and could do so much better but I look at the research and the trends and my personality, my values and my family and make the best choices I can.

Of course all of us lean one way or the other on certain issues. I’m much more towards the free range end on the helicopter parenting scale but I’m not quite on the extreme either. And I think all parents have their issues that they are more extreme about than others and I’m sure I’m no exception. There’s nothing wrong with extremes sometimes but personally, I find moderation and compromise to be the answer for me most of the time.

So, somewhere between constantly barking orders at your kids and letting them run wild, between helicopter and free range, between a strict exacting schedule and no routine at all, between letting them eat whatever they want and having a restrictive all healthy diet there is (cue dramatic music) The Balanced Parent.