The topic was potty training. The mom who had the controversial opinion is a pretty experienced mom- she has two adult children, two tweens, and a one year old. She tried to change the subject when it came up and said that we all probably didn't want to hear her opinion, but the other moms encouraged her to share anyway.
Her basic opinion was that most parents are way too relaxed about potty training. She said that back in the day, people didn't have three and four year olds walking around in diapers, and that back when everyone used cloth diapers people were a lot more motivated to teach their kids how to use the toilet. She said that she thinks the diaper companies are getting rich off of parents that keep waiting longer and longer to potty train, and that they keep coming out with bigger and bigger diapers and more products so that people will think it's all normal and keep buying.
At some point in there I said, "So you probably don't think Tristan should still be in diapers, do you?" She hesitantly said no and shook her head. Uh oh!!! Did she just tell me I should be doing something differently? Did she just call me a bad mom??? Nope. I didn't freak out. I didn't get my feelings hurt. You know what I did? I owned my decisions. I owned my reaction. I acknowledged that the choices I've made probably weren't ideal, but that they were what was working for us right now.
I said, " I don't disagree with what you've said, and I have similar views about a lot of other things. I used to cloth diaper, but as Tristan started getting older and especially when I started the (very labor intensive) GAPS diet, the laundry got to be too much for me to keep up with and I switched to disposables. " I admitted that a big part of the reason that Tristan is still in diapers is because I've been too lazy/ busy to start the potty training process with him. Actually, he started learning to go potty on Saturday, and then I got sick and wasnt up to continuing. I'm sure we'll pick it up again soon.
The mom at the lunch didn't mention this, but I'm also aware of the fact that there are tons of chemicals in disposable diapers, and that they don't biodegrade. I'm not proud of the fact that I'm putting toxins on my toddlers skin and that I'm contributing to the landfills. But you know what? I know my limits. I know that I can't do everything, and I'm okay with that! For now I've made the choice to prioritize what goes into my child's body(aka what they eat) over what goes on my child's body. I've also made the choice to prioritize my mental health by not adding extra laundry to my list of duties. Are these decisions ideal? No, but they're what's working for my family right now, and I've made them intentionally. I'm confident in my decisions and my actions, even though they're less than ideal.
We didn't have an argument. I didn't get defensive and my feelings didn't get hurt. My friend didn't bash me or say that I was a horrible mother. She simply shared her opinion on what she would have done differently, and because I was confident in my decision, even though it was different than hers, I didn't get offended.
Can we all try to do this a little more? My point here is not to say that I'm perfect or that I react this way all the time- this story is just an example. I've definitely overreacted over things in the past. But for the most part, I'm confident in my decisions because I've put a lot of thought into them and have deliberately chosen what's best for our family. Notice I didn't say what's absolutely best- best for my family is going to look different than best for your family. Can we be okay with that? Can we discuss our differences without getting our feelings hurt? Can we acknowledge facts, even when they're not in favor of the decisions we've made?
Just because someone has a different opinion doesn't necessarily mean they're doing this to you.
I'm not saying that we should go around sharing our controversial opinions at the drop of a hat, or that we shouldn't use tact when discussing controversial topics, especially with those that have a different opinion. I'm just frustrated with this trend that I see all the time, when people get offended over someone simply having a different opinion than them, or simply sharing facts. Could we all commit to taking ownership of our decisions? If you don't feel confident about something you're doing, take the time to figure out why. Do you need to change what you're doing, or does your perspective need changing instead? I think if we could all come to a place of feeling humbly confident about our decisions, it could open up the lines of communication a lot more, even between those that have very different opinions and ways of doing things.
What about you? Do you feel confident in the parenting choices you've made? Are you able to talk with people that have different opinions without getting upset? Where's the line between simply having a different opinion and being judgemental- and does that line seem to move depending on how confident you are in your decision? What do you think contributes to the hostility that sometimes arises when we discuss controversial issues with people that have different opinions?