Follow Kveller
Feb 23 2011

Is This Extreme Parenting?

By at 2:17 pm

Get it? Mayim? Extreme sports? Baby?

My husband and my publicist say I’m not supposed to read what other people write about me. I guess they are right; it invariably makes me mad and sad.

However, I could not help but notice recently that several parenting blogs have referred to my style of raising my kids –whether they agree with me on some level or not– as “Extreme Parenting.” Now, when I see the word “Extreme” tagged on as a modifier, I instantly think of it involving doing the thing it modifies either on an icy cliff with crazy obstacles and a wacky set of bumper-stickers on a helmet, or with the added use of speed (meaning quickness or the drug; you choose). Think: Extreme Snowboarding or Extreme Dating.

In case you are new to the world of me and my supposedly “extreme” parenting, here are the relevant highlights. I have a 2-and-a-half-year-old and a 5-year-old. My husband and I are the only caregivers for our sons. I nurse my toddler on demand (including every two hours all night). I did not schedule or sleep-train or night wean either of them. I don’t use charts or stickers or time-outs. I don’t hit my children. I don’t use a babysitter. My kids don’t watch television and they’ve never seen a movie. I am not a permissive parent and I have a lot of rules, expectations, boundaries, and limits. I like gentle voices in the house, the answer to a whiny voice is “no,” we clean up our toys and clothes almost daily, and although I operate on no more than two hours of sleep at a stretch for almost six years, I do not consider myself a martyr who thinks I am better than you for the choices I make.

It’s just what works for us and the hundreds of thousands of families who parent this way. Just ask La Leche League, Holistic Moms Network, Attachment Parenting International, or any tired-looking sling-wearing mama or dada you see on the street.

I respect all parents and I know we all do the best we can with the support, resources, and education we have. So let’s learn a little bit from each other and chill out when we hear things that are unfamiliar to us. It’s okay. It’s a big world and until someone finds the one absolute way that all kids will turn out “perfect” (whatever that means), I am pretty sure it’s a free country to parent and live how we want to.

Parenting of any kind is exhausting, and the way we do things is a different kind of exhaustion. Imagine if you never put your kids in front of a television. You would never get anything done. Welcome to my world.

Here’s the deal. People have parented this way for almost all of history. And so have all primates. I am not going to throw around my doctorate as my reasons for the medical or psychological choices I make for my kids. Do gorilla mamas have Ph.Ds in Neuroscience? No. Do they know to sleep close to their babies, nurse them into toddlerhood, carry them everywhere, cradle them and cuddle them and kiss them and adore them whenever they want to and protect them from anyone trying to get in their way? Yes.

So, big deal that I believe (as is the medical fact) that fevers kill pathogens and I don’t administer Tylenol at the first sign of a fever. So, big deal that my kids are very “late” talkers and walkers and we decided (with our pediatrician) to not have them get therapy. I am not negligent for doing things you don’t agree with. I am simply listening to my intuition, doing research, and really enjoying the ride.

So, you still think I’m extreme? I think it’s theoretically extreme to fight with a baby over their biologically-driven needs. I could say it’s extreme to schedule a newborn and tell it when to sleep, eat, or “need” you. I think it sounds like an awful lot of work, pain, and tears to convince yourself that your baby shouldn’t need you at night when your gut tells you there’s nothing wrong with it. I could also say it’s extreme to listen to what everyone tells you to do when you have been programmed to birth, nourish, love, and raise your child with no books needed. The baby is the book. We are made to parent. But I don’t want to call anyone extreme, unless they are in the Olympics or doing speed-dating. So let’s not use that word.

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

42 Responses to Is This Extreme Parenting?

  1. hbm says:

    you know, when people label you as “extreme”, i don’t think they necessarily mean the specific choices you’ve made, such as cloth diapering, baby wearing and homebirthing. those choices aren’t even that unusual anymore, as our generation is realizing more and more the benefits of natural choices.

    i think you get labelled extreme because you are very “always” or “never” in your thinking and actions. many people make holistic choices but also have to have them balanced out with certain constraints or practicalities in their lives, and adjust their decisions according to situations and circumstances. you may say “we NEVER use babysitters”, and i believe you. it’s not the choosing to be your child’s only caregiver that is extreme, it’s the fact that you don’t appear to acknowledge situations where an exception might come into play. i’m not judging you one way or the other, but i think you misunderstand what people mean by calling your philosophies extreme. and if you like being true to your beliefs 100% of the time, and you see no reasons for exceptions, then you should embrace the title you’ve been given.

  2. Button says:

    I know what you mean. My family is always on me for one thing or another with our parenting style. It stresses me out, and don’t even get me on our homeschooling. Apparently homeschooling will create sociopaths. Makes me want to move far away.

  3. Liza says:

    I really enjoy your posts and reading about your parenting style. We aren’t as “extreme” as you but I definitely try to mother’s intuition parent, which I think naturally leads to a ap style of parenting. One question that I have for you though is what do you do for you or rather what fills you back up so you have more of yourself to give? This is something that I rarely hear extreme parents mention. They may mention, like you have, moments of frustration or outbursts but how do you calm down and change your attitude so that you are more patient tomorrow?

  4. Meg :) says:

    And for the record ~ I also do not administer Tylenol at the first sign of fever. You gotta be at least 100 before you’re getting medicine. My mom tells me all the time how her older sister used to Benedryl her kids every night! (AY YI YI) That said, however, I do regret not having Benedryl in our home on the day I gave our youngest peanut butter for the first time. She’s totally allergic (no one else in the family is) and having Benedryl on hand would have totally saved me about thirteen heart-attacks on the way to the ER. :)

  5. Meg :) says:

    I read your posts every now & again when they pop up on the msnbc homepage, and I really need to just add you to my blogroll because really, I love your writing style, your style of parenting, etc. I’m not as “extreme” (I hate that word, too) when it comes to parenting ~ but I’m definitely closer to your style than all of my friends/acquaintances when it comes to raising my kids. :) And it helps me be stronger in my own beliefs (on raising kids) when I am able to read things from people like you (a fellow Mom) and know I’m not the only one who is doing things this way.

    Thanks so much for sharing your life with us and for being NICE about it. So many of those other crunchy people (isn’t that what they call themselves? crunchy?) are just plain old MEAN. I wish there were more people like you around here where I live! :)

    And can I also say that I just recently found out that I am Jewish biologically! (I’m adopted!) My entire life I was interested in Judaism (tell that to my Irish Catholic family! haha!) and always found myself intrigued by the customs & traditions. I have no true interest in converting BUT I’m excited to follow your blog and maybe learn how to incorporate my “biological-ness” (lack of thought here, thank you motherhood) into my parenting. :)

  6. Vanessa says:

    Thank for the article, I enjoy reading others point of view on parenting. I do not raise my kids the same as you do, but that is the great thing about being an individual, these are my kids and I will raise them according to how I feel is necessary for our family. We co-sleep with our kids, and I think it is great, we slept with our daughter as well, until she was ready for her own bed. I did not breastfeed as long, but my kids are healthy, strong and very intelegent, and they watch TV gasp. As a matter of fact, the one child I did exclusivly breastfeed, is the one who gets sick the most and ended up with alergies, and the one that had a bottle, is never sick. Kind of ironic I think. I do homeschool, only because I think our school system is horrible, and I love being around my kids, I want to raise them and influence them, not there piers. I also want them to learn at there own pace not what someone else thinks they should be.
    Anyway, I think as parents it shouldn’t matter how we raise our kids, as long as they are getting the love and caring they need. We should stand behind eachother and support parents instead of pushing our beliefs on one another thinking one way is better then another. So to all parents, do the best you can, and if nothing else just love your babies, thats all they really need and want..

  7. Heather says:

    Congrats on your lovely Family! Ultimately there is no right or wrong way to parent. The only MUSTS are to love your children and try your best. Negative comments always hit us harder than positive and being judged (especially on your parenting) is just wrong. You aren’t out to harm your children. I’m sure you have friends and family that stick up for you and think your wonderful. Concentrate on that and continue to inspire and be inspiring!


  8. Kathy says:

    I like your style and raised my daughter very similarly. My daughter slept with her Father and I since the night she was born. While all my friends were exhausted from waking up every 2 hours and making bottles, I was not exhausted. I didn’t have to warm up bottles or even leave my bed. I rolled over breastfed my duaghter, and changed her and we were back asleep in no time. I could not figure out why all my friends didn’t breast feed and co-sleep. I breast fed my daughter until she quit on her own at almost 3 years old. I breast fed her on demand and loved every awesome bonding moment of it. She slept in my bed every night and I never slept one single night apart from my daughter until she was 4yr old. My MIL thought I was absolutely ruining my daughter and going to make her insecure and a mess. Well I am very proud to say my now 10yr old daughter is and extremely bright straight A student, has been since she started Kindergarten at 4ys, and is completely outgoing and not insecure at all. And she still like to sleep with me occasionally and I still love it when we fal asleep holding hands. I wish every one would quit worrying about what another parent is doing and worry about raising your own kid. I know there are people out there that are harming their kids but I assure you it isn’t from sleeping in the same bed or from breast feeding them until they are almost 3. You are not extreme Mayam. You are an AWESOME loving mom! Good for you and I wish co-sleeping would catch on here like it is in Europe!

  9. Suzy says:

    Just read what you wrote on Today Moms about sleeping with your children. My son is 11 and just now sleeping some nights in his own bed- his choice. It’s not weird- it’s the right thing to do. My son is an amazing self confident child. I am thrilled my husband thought that was the right thing to do- it was!

  10. Amy K. says:

    Hey man, your style isn’t mine, and mine isn’t yours. But isn’t that why there’s 31 flavors of ice cream? We’re all in this together and we all love our kids. That’s the bottom line. xo

  11. TerriAnne says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share with the world. We co-sleep and wear her nearly everywhere – grocery store, the mall…. But, I do work full time and my husband is a disabled vet, so our 14 month old is in daycare. She’s the youngest in her class, but is the most confident, does most things first, is learning sign-language and Hebrew in addition to the smattering of Spanish, French, German and Yiddish that is spoken here and there at home (although English is our first language).
    I was always afraid to tell anyone that we co-slept or that I loved wearing her in one of the various slings we’ve got. She’s smart, funny, curious, talkative (chatty cathy!)…..
    Thanks again!

  12. Bekah says:


    You have the right to parent your children the way that works best for your family. As long as any parent is doing what they believe is ‘right’ for them and their children, they’ll all be okay. Ignore the nay-sayers. If you’re not in someone’s home and life 24/7, you don’t know what’s going on there; nor should you have any input into how it goes on. Go Mayim!

  13. Well, I guess I’m in good company as a parent since your description of parenting is almost exactly my philosophy. When did involved parents who want to raise strong, healthy independent children become the extreme? Convenience seems to be more important than the child’s needs.

    It can be hard to be the extreme (read marginalized) parent when friends make distinctly different decisions. Recently, a friend gave her son Tylenol for 3 days to lower his fever enough so he could go to school. He and is sister both developed pneumonia and exposed my kids. Though my son got a fever one night, we let it run it’s course and it didn’t progress.

  14. Gauri says:

    You have described my parenting style to a T… okay, you described yours, but ours pretty much matches except you have been going at it for longer (my kid is 14 months old). I agree that this kind of parenting should be called normal or natural (as some do – hate the term attachment parenting, btw) and other kinds of parenting should be labelled ‘new parenting’, modern parenting or something like that. But it is a losing battle, I fear. Mainstream get to claim the ‘normal’ label even when it is a new, crazy, self-indulgent approach that screeches against human evolution.

    In just the same way, I think most food should have a label that says ‘chemically grown’ on it and everything else, unlabelled, should be taken to be organic – and that should be ‘normal’… but again ‘they’ got to the normal label first and used for the ‘extreme’. Anyway, just wanted to join in the ranting.

    Thanks for the clear-minded advocacy for natural parenting. You rock – extremely !

  15. marley says:

    Even though I disagree with many of your techniques or beliefs, I totally respect your parenting style. The reason I respect it most of all, is that at least you have real personal, well-thought out reasons of WHY you do (or don’t do) the things that you do.

    I do allow my children to watch TV, I do encourage academic learning at a young age IF that is what they seem interested in (which is what my kids WANT to do). I do not breastfeed. I don’t homeschool. I also don’t feed my children crap. I do let them grow and learn at their own speed. I do schedule many things, but since my youngest has leukemia, we must schedule many things due to medications, appointments ect…And having her strapped into a crib attached to IVs for days to get her IV chemotherapy, I thank God for movies. She loves to sing songs and memorize the words. She loves to learn. That is what she loves, so that is what we do.

    I also have a million, well-thought out, philosophies and beliefs and I parent accordingly. Like you said, I’ll parent my children and you can parent yours. I am pretty sure they will all turn out fine!

  16. Jen says:

    I guess I’m “extreme” too. Everyone needs to parent the way they feel is fit for their family. We co-sleep, homebirth, homeschool, babywear, gentle discipline, eat organic food, cloth diaper, elimination communication, breastfeed, etc. All those are considered extreme to some, and totally normal to others. My children are bright, energetic, very social (sometimes too social), and all around wonderful children. I parent with my instincts, and it works wonderful for us. If you don’t want to parent the way I, or anyone else does, then that is totally ok. Neither one is a bad parent, or anything of the sort.

    I have been reading your posts on your family life. You are a wonderful mother and you don’t need to listen to what others say. If people want to knock you down and call you a “D list celebrity” or say that your PhD doesn’t matter, and say that your kids are going to be in jail when they’re older because of your parenting, then they are not secure or confident in their own parenting. Anyone who is confident and secure doesn’t need to knock others down.

    Just a FYI :) my mother parented her 6 children the same way she is parenting her 2, and none of us went to jail and we all have advanced degrees. Just as a side note :)

  17. boatbaby says:

    Oh no!!! Nobody ever told me I was extreme!? Yikes! I parent this way AND live a “dangerous” life on a sailboat with my co-sleeping-very extended breastfeeding-homeschooling-blahblahblah kids. Ok, now I want a bumper sticker.
    This rocks! Thanks for sharing. I am going to steal your gorilla with degrees line. love it!

    • boatbaby says:

      I just realized who you were :) I am a little slow. I clicked over originally because a friend sent me the link, didn’t realize it was a celebrity blog. I am so happy to have a spokesperson like you for parently sanely and instinctively. You go girl!

  18. Please move here and be my friend! lol

    I loved everything you said…except I would enjoy being seen as “extreme”…it would make me laugh because I’m just following my instincts…but in this day & age, that IS considered extreme.

  19. Morgan N says:

    Such a great article. I’m sure being in the public eye isn’t always the easiest way to parent- Or maybe that doesn’t matter so much as I can relate to what you’re are talking about. Thank you for taking the time to write and share you experience. I found it really refreshing to read about someone making similar choices.

  20. Kez says:

    Good for you! I have ‘things’ I do that many other parents look at me with that ‘You Must Be Crazy’ look and I don’t care. I am a mom of three though and with my first child I found it hard to dismiss criticism but now I am stronger and just do what I think is right for MY family and get on with it. All three of my kids are/have been co-sleepers until the ages of 2 or 3 and it worked for us. I don’t like to wake up in the night and stumble around, crashing into the night stands, or having the little one waking up older siblings. I like to reach out, pat a back for comfort, and go back to sleep right away. So far my older two are the best sleepers out of any children I know, on their own, in their own beds. Once we transitioned, they would be asleep within 15 mins and stay in bed all night with no waking unless they were ill. Ahhh heaven lol. But my youngest is almost 3 and still sleeps with me, he was a preemie and might take a bit longer to transition, but I am not ready to do it yet. Big deal. It’s my child, my house, my life, and therefore my choice. I’m also nearing 40 so the idea of hopping out of bed 5 times a night is NOT high on my to-do list LOL.

    I also do not dish out tylenol or advil unless a fever is uncomfortably high and then it is coupled with a trip to the doc to check for infection. That’s usually if one of the kids ends up with a sustained fever over 102F. My kids like to get ear infections but that’s about all the medical trouble they have. I work in childcare and see family and coworkers jump for Tylenol when the child marks at 99.5. I know from back in high school biology class that the body’s natural defense against an invader (virus, bacteria, etc) is to heat up. My personal thought is that if there is too much or the infection is too strong, the body will heat up too much and that makes the child uncomfortable or it could even become dangerous, THEN I take steps to figure out what is going on. But before that, I give the body a chance to sort things out and see what happens. Plus, my kids tend to have the ‘hyper’ reaction to medication. It certainly does not make them rest. Cough medicine makes them go out of their minds (and me lol) so I do not buy it at all. Benadryl makes them complete fruit loops and that can’t be any good for their systems either, so we just try to work things out in different ways. Some might think I am crazy, but it’s worked so far. My 13 yr old has missed about 3 days of school TOTAL for being sick. My 8 yr old has missed about 2 days from being sick. My toddler has missed one day of daycare so far (stomach virus). So I can’t be totally crazy, can I? I have friends who for years told me everything they thought I was doing wrong, but their kids are not good sleepers now, or not ‘as good’ as mine, and they are off sick a week a year at least. So I just keep to myself and keep doing what I am doing. If that is ‘extreme parenting’ then I take that as a compliment LOL. I will think of myself as an Extreme Sports Star from now on :)

  21. michelle says:

    I love your style of parenting and although we do some things the same and some things differently, I respect your choices. I once told a group of women that I didn’t use sitters and when asked why, I explained my parenting philosophy which is I wanted them so I take care of them, my beliefs and my choice. Out of a dozen women only one person had the same philosophy and the others went on the attack. It turned out that my “no sitter” belief somehow meant I was saying all women who use sitters are bad mothers which is completely false.

    I think a lot of women are insecure in their parenting and lash out when self doubt arises. If moms are confident in their choices they wouldn’t feel the need to challenge the parenting of others. Many women make excuses for why they can’t nurse, why they need nannies, why they don’t use cloth diapers, etc… instead of just saying “I like parenting the way I parent and we may not agree but we can respect each others choices.” If one mom homeschools and shares reasons for doing so it doesn’t mean she is saying the mom who doesn’t is a horrible parent. We all just need to do what is best for our families and if through discussion we learn something new and valuable from one another, that is a bonus.

  22. Jen says:

    Funny to me that the media is quick to label a mom who breastfeeds her toddler on demand extreme, but not call out the many thousands of other moms who are feeding their two-and-a-half years olds bottles full of apple juice (loaded up with hfcs and sugar) every two hours.

    Man, if only the mainstream media gave us much negative medica attention to the negligent or ignorant mamas who feed their kids junk laced with sugar/food colorings/and trans fats as they do the holistic mamas, we’d likely have a more educated and empowered generation of moms (and kids!).

    And if the mainstream media (and their minions) spent as much time researching the data behind the choices of the holistic mamas as they do calling out the holistic mamas, they just might realize that the holistic mamas are making making healthy choices that will set their children on a path to happiness, ease, and success.

    Just sayin’.
    Love, The Wellness Bitch

    P.S. Your husband and your publicist are smart cookies.

  23. Yvette Moore says:

    Well said. You need to parent your child according to your child. There are books, sure, and certainly plenty of people who will tell you what you’re doing wrong, but these are your children. Every one a blessing. When we decide to become parents, I believe there is a death to the ‘self’, and you put them first. Don’t let anyone discourage you and keep doing what you’re doing. It’s a marvellous example :o) Brava!

  24. Toni says:

    I love you for writing this for me! ;) Keep doing what you do best and fighting the good fight. You rock.

  25. LT says:

    I was honestly disgusted by your first article.
    Its NOT the Attachment Parenting (breastfeeding, co sleeping, etc) or the No Tv, or the homeschooling that got you reemed. That honestly has NOTHING to do with why so many people are upset about your article.
    Its the fact that you flat out ignored that your children may have possible Special Needs and the fact that just because you have a PhD, you think that you are better than anyone else.
    You said in your first article that your son didnt roll over until 1 year old, and at 2 years old still has NO vocabulary. I dont give a crap if you have a PhD or not. I also dont care that you are some D list celebrity. I would like to know just how you would feel if you by ignoring all the cues, your child/ren really DO/DID have a Special Need ???
    Im the mother of a SN child who was delayed on many things and who at 3,5 years old had the speech of the average 2 year old. I also breastfed until she was 2, used cloth diapers, wore her (still do at almost 4 years old).
    Had my husband and I ignored all the cues, even after being told by a Pediatrician that we TRUSTED, that it was ‘just a stage’, she would NOT have gotten the help that she needed and neither would we.
    WHY on earth would you ignore the cues and not get them help when they honestly qualify for? I dont care about your ‘intuition’ because intuition CAN be wrong. You are NOT as perfect as you make yourself sound.
    You said in your article and I quote:
    “By current conventional standards both of my sons qualified for speech, occupational and physical therapy and I gave them none.”
    To me, that is neglect. And even in some states that can be counted as neglect. The longer you ignore something like that, the worse it gets and the harder it is to get them the help that they need.

  26. Alice George says:

    You’re not extreme, you’re a great mama. Keep doing what you do, as I know you will! Anytime celebrities parent normally, the way we are biologically geared to, it seems weird to people, but it makes it seem more common, because now it’s out there in a bigger way. Thank you for being you!

  27. Julie says:

    Well put! I did schedule my child but he was early and needed to be on a schedule to help keep his glucose levels steady. He ate every 4 hours round the clock until the doc said he was “caught up” enough to stop. My husband and I both work at a pediatric hospital- he is in patient care and is passionate about his work. We both realize (because we see it) that antibiotics have been given so much so often that they don’t really do what they are supposed to a lot of the time. My mother thinks I am “extreme” because I don’t take my son to the doctor at the first sign of a sinus infection or a cough. Fever only gets tylenol when it is high enough to merit it. Yet, he is alive and is now 30 lbs, 36″ tall, walking (running, really), talking, etc. NO BOOKS! My theory is that those books are written about the “average child” or the “typical child” not MY child. Way to go!

  28. Annax says:

    Brilliant post. Why shouldn’t we parent according to out instincts? Doctor’s and so called ‘health visitors’ have made mothers feel that all their instincts are wrong and there are far too many people telling new mums how to treat their babies. I do not allow my children to eat mountains of sweets and feedvaccinate or medicate my children with pharma products and have been verbally attacked as a ‘bad mother’ on many occasions. One particular health visitor was shown my front door rapidly after questioning my decision not to vaccinate. I asked if she could list the ingredients of just one vaccine which she couldn’t. Not all parenting choices work for all parents or children so, why vilify anybody’s way of doing something if it works for them.

  29. Keri says:

    Very well said!

    I wish TV wasn’t even an option in my house, unfortunately, we are not the cable bill payers and have no control over shutting it off. It’s a choice to turn it on, we try to play and distract them as much as possible, but in the winter all it comes down to is a big huge power struggle. (And the 6 year old can turn it on himself).

    When you are raised so “mainstream” it is a struggle not to question your gut feelings and motherly instincts. It’s so hard to constantly stand up for my parenting style to my mother and I send my kids to public school and let them watch tv.

    I envy all of you determination and hard work parenting the way you do. I think that is where a lot of negativity comes from too, jealousy and embarrassment. I know there are a lot of parents think this is a wrong way to parent, but I think a lot are envious too.

  30. Becky says:

    Thank you for this! “The baby is your book,” I’ll have to remember to use that. It’s so true! I found out early on that I couldn’t tell my child how much to eat at a time or when he was hungry. When I found out he cried all the time because of acid reflux, I realized that all the people who tell you babies cry for “no reason” have no idea what they’re talking about. Sadly, most people seem to believe in some kind of “one-size-fits-all” parenting philosophy and they write off all the (health) troubles I have with my child as being because I’ve “spoiled” him. Anyway, I know you know you’re doing the right thing, so I just want to thank you for putting it out there that this is what you’re doing and no, you’re not nuts, there are good reasons for everything.

  31. Ruby says:

    Yay, what a great post! You worded exactly what I want to say when people respond negatively to our parenting choices (as in: attack). It’s hard to not allow these responses make me feel insecure (am I doing the right thing?) even though I know it’s right for our family (as does my husband). So thank you for posting this. Love!

  32. Krista says:

    I’ve been reading some of the responses to your writing and I think the reason people think it’s ‘extreme’ is that they read *what* you do, without understanding *how* you do it. They read it through the lens of how they do things.

    One person commented that she can’t “get up” to nurse all night long like you do. Obviously that mama doesn’t know what we do – that when we co-sleep, the babes can help themselves without us doing more than rolling into position and falling back asleep. She doesn’t know that when we let our little ones nurse to sleep next to us, we don’t have to spend half the night standing next to a crib, patting their back so they go to sleep without any “props”. If she did, she’d know that the way you (and so many of us) do things is so far from extreme, it’s actually easier in so many ways.

  33. Pesele says:

    Such a sensible way to parent! We, too, had no TV and we homeschooled. People would tell me how they admired me because it was so “difficult.” I couldn’t convince them that it was easier than sending the kids to school because we could work with each child’s individual needs. I should note that there were years where one or the other child was in school as a considered and mutual decision based (again) on individual needs. And those years, though the best choice, were harder for me. My kids are adults now–each of them thoughtful, independent, and caring individuals. Stay the course–it was wonderful to live and it’s wonderful to see the results.

  34. Jill says:

    After reading your last article I could not believe how judgmental other mothers were being. I, too, would be seen as an extreme parent because I listen to my children’s cues as they grow. I was always the mother that lived outside of the proverbial box and was proud of it. I enjoy reading everything that write. Keep up the good work.

  35. Katie H says:

    here here Mayim! Great post. I completely agree!

  36. Kat Sojka says:

    NO TV???? That is exteme!! hehe I will never get why there are always people who think that when you talk about your own parenting style it is an attack on them! I think it’s all about insecurities. I get it all the time (especially when I talk about our decision to not vaccinate or our decision to home school). I think; if at the end of the day you can stand before God and say that you did what you felt he led you to do with your family, then you have done your job. It also helps if the kids are all in (relatively) one piece!

    • Lisa says:

      The reason people think you are judging them when you tell them how you parent is because you are. If I make a statement such as “I feed my kids organic food because I feel it is the healthiest option” I am also saying I feel that non-organic food is less healthy than organic food. That is what is implied. People take offense to that. Just like if I told you “I don’t wear my baby because I believe it causes delayed motor skills.” If you wear your baby you are going to think I am saying that your baby will have delayed motor skills. Basically, that is what is being said. These are all hypothetical things, I am just saying that when it comes to parenting, we all do what we think is best for our children. That means if I am doing my best, and you are not doing what I am doing, then I must think you are not quite as good.

  37. Katie says:


    I read your article the other day and it actually gave me hope. My son is 13 months old and not only do we cosleep but he feeds all night. I’ve been trying to night-wean him so I can get my body back but hearing that your son weaned himself actually made me rethink my options. So don’t worry about what others say. For every ‘traditional western parenting style’ out there, there is a woman like me who wants to do it as naturally and as close to what Mother Nature intended as possible. Seeing other people doing the same and TALKING about it… well that made me realize it’s okay to keep doing what I was doing. It’s not hurting him, it’s loving him. And that is what is important.

  38. Aussie Mum says:

    Wow, so well said! Before my friends all had kids they would look down on us for letting the kids co-sleep, for me breastfeeding past 6 months (my youngest weaned himself at 2.5 yrs and the other 2 at 14mths and 18mths), for demand feeding and not leaving our kids so we could go out (we didn’t have anyone to leave them with anyways!

    Now our kids are almost 8, 6 & 4 I know they’re questioning our choice to homeschool, still co-sleep when they need us….. and YES I do wonder if I’m doing the right thing the way I parent, but it’s just going by instinct.

    I LOVE your writings! I too understand that all people parent differently, but I love our little family and our kids are our entire life, and while I know that we can’t control exactly what adults they become, but when they look back on their childhood I doubt they’ll be able to ever question the fact that we loved them and were there with them EVERY step of the way.

    Whether what we do as parents is good or bad, nobody really knows, we’re just all trying to do our best.

    Thank you for being so wonderful at putting it all out there. xx

  39. jengod says:

    You rock, lady. I have to work so I can’t do as much as you do (oh, to be able to homeschool!) but I think you’re right on track, and I’m sorry that the word “extreme” is such a cheap and easy substitute for “complicated and different from that which is familiar.” Keep up the good mommy work!


Recently on Mayim







Read previous post:
Will Our Son Get Into THE Preschool?