WWMIS?

My husband told me the other day that I’m into competitive parenting. What he meant is that I’m determined to find the best way to mother Babykins, as well as become intensely focused on finding the perfect solution for any problem she displays.

While the desire to do what is best for my child certainly isn’t bad, the obsessive tendencies I display in this quest can quickly consume me. That doesn’t help either Babykins or me.

Unfortunately, people like me have all too easy access to information to fuel this parenting obsession. Browse a bookshop and you’ll find shelves devoted to keeping your child happy and healthy. Likewise, Google anything child related and you’ll easily have a hundred websites and blogs to peruse. Most of these books and websites have conflicting information, making the search for the perfect parenting plan even more maddening. But it’s also an addiction that I can’t seem to quit.

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My parenting books. The only one I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone is “Dad Is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan.

I’m finally starting to realize that obsessively researching all things baby doesn’t give me any perfect answers. Rather, it just slowly drives me insane (yes, Mom, I know you told me this months ago). So to help me take a proverbial chill pill, I’ve started to take up this mantra:

WWMIS?

What is “WWMIS?” It stands for “What Would Ma Ingalls Say?” Because nothing can help you take a parenting chill pill more than thinking about a pioneer mother.*

For example, sleep is often an issue that tortures parents of infants and toddlers. Do you let them cry-it-out or do you cuddle them throughout the night? Is it okay to feed your 3-month-old during the night? What about your 9-month-old? What if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night by 6 months, have you failed at parenthood? What if your baby only naps on you? Will you emotionally scar your baby if you sleep train? Will you kill your baby if you co-sleep? WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?!

And then I imagine Ma Ingalls would say:

Sleep

Food is another issue that causes great divides among parents. Is exclusively breastfeeding far superior to any other form of feeding? Is a little bit of formula okay? When should you offer a bottle? When should you start solids? Should you start with rice cereal? Purees? Finger foods? If you don’t give your baby organic produce and grass-fed meat, will they sprout a tail? WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?!

And then I imagine Ma Ingalls would say**:

Eat

Play is another hot topic issue among parents. How much time do you spend focusing solely on your infant? Are you hindering their budding genius if you skip over Kindermusik and don’t bother with the “Mommy and Me” classes? How much “free play” do you schedule into your day? If you let your baby watch a Baby Einstein DVD, will their brains ooze out their ears? WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?!

And then I imagine Ma Ingalls would say:

Play

 

There are many more examples of things that parents get worked up about today that didn’t matter one whit on the frontier. Education decisions? You hoped there was a one-room school house within a couple of miles. How many children a your family should have? Well, contraceptive options were limited and you usually assumed a few of your children would die before adulthood. Parenting style? You went about your business during the day and hoped your children stayed close enough that they wouldn’t get eaten by a bear or a wolf.

So, if you’re a competitive parent like me and you find yourself becoming consumed by your quest to find the perfect solution for every problem, just ask yourself:

WWMIS?

 

*Note: I realize pioneer life wasn’t perfect and that infant mortality was high. Likewise, I also realize that many pioneer families went back East because it was a hard life. I’m not saying I would do everything that pioneer family would do, I’m just trying to give myself some perspective on parenting options. Remember, I’m trying not to go insane here! 😉

**Another Note: I also realize that breastfeeding didn’t work 100% of the time even before the introduction of commercialized formula (even what is “natural” isn’t perfect because of a sinful world, blah, blah, blah) and sometimes babies were given something other than mother’s milk. Again, I’m not saying we should do everything a pioneer family would do, I’m just trying to give myself some perspective!

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7 Comments on “WWMIS?”

  1. serenaglow says:

    Lol 😊awesome … Thanks for posting. You sound like a great mom.

  2. Anna M says:

    That’s an awesome parenting philosophy.

    Interesting side note: I just finished reading the memoir that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote (she never managed to get it published and drew on the material for the Little House books). There was a reference in there to how nice it was to be done sharing a house with another family, because if Grace cried a little in the night, it wouldn’t bother anyone.

    • Katrina says:

      I have that book sitting on my coffee table! I just finished the introduction parts, but I think it will be slow going through the book because the notes are so interesting.

  3. Rebekah says:

    I finally had to come to this philosophy as well. Although I took it one step further and asked, “What would Eve do?” That is when I decided I didn’t need purees and baby food. If they couldn’t chew the food with their own teeth they didn’t need it.

    Still have no idea what Cain and Abel would’ve worn for diapers though.

    • Katrina says:

      Hmmm. . . maybe they would have used some sort of animal skin diapers? I am thankful for my PUL diaper covers, they do make life easier. 🙂

  4. […] Likewise, we have a more spacious house than many people would have had just 75 years ago (and Ma Ingalls would say, “Really, you’re complaining about your house? I lived in a cabin with a dirt floor for […]


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