Ok With Gray

The older I get, the more gray area there seems to be. Hardly anything looks straight black or white to me anymore. While I intend to keep political, religious or otherwise controversial posts to a minimum, this is a blog about life as I see it, so there is probably no topic I’ll completely avoid.

I used to be very set in my ways, knowing exactly where I stood on any issue. As a young adult, I was very conservative, knew exactly what my parenting choices would be and had a clear stance on right and wrong based on what I had learned growing up in a conservative protestant church. Actually, I’m not even sure “right and wrong” is correct. More like a view on how everything should be. And I was all to happy to debate anyone about anything.

Then I learned that just because maybe everything should be a certain way, doesn’t mean that it is, which slowly started altering my conservative brain. I also became a parent and realized that it’s impossible to know what choices you’ll make as a parent until you actually become one.

Now I find myself in the middle of a lot of issues. I’ve chosen a side, but am still open and interested in what both sides have to say because I realize there’s a lot of gray. I find I’m especially interested in the issues where I’ve converted, so to speak, from one side to the next. There’s always new information coming out and I’m always interested in hearing it, assuming it’s fact-based.

On the one hand, this has left me less judgemental and more open-minded. On the other hand, it’s left me fretting over some choices, especially parenting ones.

With non-parenting issues, I don’t worry as much about them, but for the most part have decided that whichever one will benefit the most people is the way to go (for example, gay marriage–what promotes love the most? Global warming–reducing pollution is ultimately a good thing for everyone).

For parenting issues, it’s different because based on mine and Doug’s choices, I could be damaging our children for the rest of their lives. Even so, I mostly pick and choose what works for us without sticking to a clear label of “attachment parent,” “free range parent” or otherwise because there is so much information on all sides of these issues.

I babywear and breastfeed (now extended), but we let our babies cry it out at a certain point. I choose organic foods and avoid chemicals as much as possible, but we vaccinate. I don’t let myself get roped in to any one category and we make our best choices based on a combination of information and parent-intuition.

I used to think that not having a clear stance on things made one wishy-washy, but I realize now that there are just too many facts and studies on both sides of the aisle with any issue. If you read information on one side, you’ll be convinced of that, but then you read information on the other side and you realize that there’s a bigger picture.

How do you deal with conflicting thoughts on issues? Do you feel the need to choose a side?

This post is not intended to start a debate about any of these issues, as that’s not what it’s about. I’d love to hear from you, no matter where you stand on anything.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for Dang Toasted Coconut Chips!

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Comments 8

  • Wonderful share. I have always believed in Gray in when many told me it was either or. Gray allows me to grow and respect and share and participate. Our world is vast and always learning helps me to live a stress free life and laugh more than cry. Thanks again for this post.

  • The older I get, the more gray there seems to be- in my hair! (Honestly, the first thing I thought of when I saw the beginning!)

    But seriously, I don’t usually go to one extreme or another. I will never be able describe my parenting methods/ideas with a single catchphrase, unless it’s “whatever works for us parenting.”

    As long as an issue doesn’t negatively affect the safety of others/my family, no definitive “side” is correct in my mind. As long we’re all respecting each other, then we’re all good.

  • I think seeing two sides of the issue – the gray area – is a sign of maturity and thoughtfulness. It means you are really thinking about an issue and seeing the nuances to it, not just automatically taking a stance. You sound like you are balanced and reasonable. It’s ok not to fit into one label all the time. You can have your attachment parenting moments and your cry it out moments. That’s your individual choice based on your circumstances.

    • Balanced and reasonable would have never described me at one point. I think I do my best to be, but I know I still have growing to do.

  • I can sympathize a lot with this post. Growing up in a super conservative religious family, I was taught in school and church that certain things are just inherently bad and deserve our condemnation. People that did certain things, acted a certain way, were vilified. It wasn’t until I went to college that I realized sometimes there is a gray area and what matters is that I can make educated decisions for myself but not judge other peoples’ decisions if they don’t affect me at all. Parenting brought on a new dose of trying really hard to keep my mouth shut when I disagree with someone else’s choice. Some things my friends do in terms of parenting decisions are, in my opinion, completely insane and I worry for their kids, but I’m not gonna say anything to them. It’s their choice. As long as everyone is safe and happy, then it’s fine with me!

    • I think becoming a parent made me less judgmental in a lot of ways (co-sleep or cry it out? Whatever works for you!) and more judgmental in others. When I do find myself being judgmental (you started solids at what age?! — real life example) I try to remind myself that those things don’t really matter because it’s not a safety issue but sometimes I don’t catch myself in time!

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