My Mom likes to work.
My children are well mannered, most of the time. At the ages of eleven and seven, they have learned some good basic life skills; swimming, riding a bike, sewing, gardening, caring for a pet, being part of the family "team" to keep a clean-ish house, earning money and saving to buy things they really want, etc.
To some of the kids grandparents or extended family we are a little wacky with our parental decisions. Not letting our kids consume masses of processed foods or copious amounts of sugar that is in everything. So they eat plain O's cereal and drizzle honey over it and soda is a serious, rare treat. We also buy organic and try and grow our own food. We want our own chickens, and to be a car-light family. All of this is absurd to some people, we are depriving our children and obviously need to be told that multiple times.
The hubby and I have a habit of trying new diets whenever we can. I have had health issues for a long time and after seeing a nutritionist decided to try the gluten free craze. Never have I received so much shit for a new eating habit than this one. I have been vegan, vegetarian, juice diet, I have had mohawks, quad-hawks, piercings, tattoos, been a bike messenger in Pittsburgh, married young and had a child when I was only 25. But the notion of cutting bread out of my diet is absurd and forcing my children to follow a similar version of this diet, holy moly I am the devil. *My kids get to enjoy bagels and crackers.
Our eldest is twelve. She was born in Ventura, CA. We moved to PA (for the second time, don't ask long story) before she was one. I don't really miss Ventura, but I miss aspects of it that can be found in other cities and large towns. Being able to ride a bike anywhere and people are use to it, the ocean, an encouragement to try new things like a diet change, own chickens or only owning one car (gasp!). I really love the big flea markets and farmers markets that consume blocks, hippies with dreadlock booths, and little dirty children half naked in the river.
I often wonder if we made the wrong decision coming back to the east in regards to our children. When I mention this woe to friends on the west coast or family, I can tell they don't necessarily agree, but they don't disagree.
Pennsylvania, has beautiful places and some amazing people but I want to give myself and my kids more than this. I want them to know the world is bigger than this bubble we live in. That people everywhere are unique and amazing, you just have to find them.
The point I'm trying to make is, I'm sure I'm not the only one that needs to be reminded to be the parent you want to be. Don't let the critics change your mind because they make you question yourself, or they want what's best for them. If you want to let your child play in the river half naked go for it, teach your kid to DJ, travel the world in a caravan while homeschooling or teach your kid to be a bee farmer, do it. If your work consumes your life and you lose focus of what is truly important, are you sure you are in the right place. Is money more important than your children...