Do you know how hard it is to be a parent these days? Oh goodness. The multitude of decisions we need to make on a daily basis, ON TOP of just living daily life and deciding what’s for dinner. To illustrate, today’s parent is often confronted with these choices:

– Food: Organic or Not, From Scratch or with “Helpers”?
– Organic Food: 100% Organic, or __% Organic?
– Cleaning: Store-bought Cleansers or DIY?
– Containers: BPA-Free or Not?
– Microwaves: To Use or Not to Use?
– Canned Goods: Lined or Not Lined?
– Diapers: Cloth or Disposable, Diaper Service or Launder Yourself, Organic Cotton or Regular?
– Infants: Breastmilk or Bottlefeed, Wean or Self-Wean?
– Water: Filtered or Unfiltered?
– Filtered Water: Reverse Osmosis or Over the Counter or Pur?
– Clothes: Synthetic Fiber or Natural?
– Allergies: Stay Away 100% from Allergens or Try to Develop/Rebuild Immunity Gradually?
– Education: Public, Private, or Homeschool?
– Homeschooling: Unschooling, Eclectic, Classical, Waldorf, Online, Offline, Charlotte Mason, Boxed Curriculum, Self-Designed? (AAAAARGH.)
– Essential Oils: To Use or Not to Use?
– Using Essential Ois: DoTerra, YoungLiving, Plant Therapy, etc., etc., etc.?
– Laundry: Storebought detergent or DIY?
– Beef: Grass-Fed or Not?
– Milk: To Drink or Not To Drink? Raw or Not?
– Deodorant: Store-Bought or DIY?
– DIY Deodorant: Use Baking Soda or Not?
– Fat: What’s Healthy and Not Healthy?
– Oils: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Regular Olive Oil, Lite Olive Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Cold-Pressed Oil, Regular Butter, Organic Butter, Ghee, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil, Peanut Oil, Canola Oil, LARD, Lard from Pastured Pigs, etc., etc., etc.
– Diet: Paleo, Whole30, Fasting, Gluten-Free, Feingold, Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw?
– Yogurt: Storebought or DIY, Greek or Regular, Dairy or Non-Dairy?
– Carbs: Bad or Good?
– Wheat: Bad or Good?
– Cellphones: Dumbphone, Smartphone, or No Phone?
– Smartphones: Android, iPhones, No Label?
– Cellphones: Made in China or Not? (same thing with sneakers, jeans, toys, glue, paints, books, etc., etc., etc.)
– Television: To watch or not?
– Entertainment: Cable, Netflix, Amazon Streaming, DVDs, YouTube? Chromecast or Not?
– Video Games: I’m not even going to do a list for this.
– Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facetime, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc., etc., or nothing? Or what age?

OH MY GOSH. Make it stop already.

And then of course, the biggest issue of the past week or so: VACCINATIONS.

We need to stop and LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE.

Here’s the thing: There are educated people on both sides of the divide. There are people who do endless research about these matters, on both sides of the divide. There are LOVING, CARING PARENTS on both sides of the divide. There are FAITHFUL CATHOLICS on both sides of the divide.

You may say that most of the issues I listed above aren’t matters of life and death. Are you sure? 🙂 That’s another argument for another post. Assuming that it’s true though, as Catholics, we do worry about the WHOLE person. How about mental, emotional, spiritual disease? The point is that we can argue about EVERYTHING and about how our choices might impact others’ children. (While I’m at it, we’ve spent so much time arguing about this, while Christians are still being slaughtered, young girls are still being raped and becoming victims of trafficking, and babies are still aborted at the rate of thousands daily.)

The only reason this is such a major topic is because we’re on social media (yeah, me included). There are thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions) of people out there who don’t have access to social media or just don’t care what we say here. Right now, I kinda wanna join those people, stick my fingers in my ears and sing lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala.

Reading this, you would not know whether my kids are vaccinated or not, or whether some are and the others aren’t, or which ones got more or less. You will just have to guess, because as a parent, that’s a choice I get to make, that’s information I get to keep, and I don’t think it’s anyone’s right to know unless I choose to tell them. My husband and I get to pick which risks are acceptable to our family or not, just like you get to pick what’s acceptable for yours. Why we need to get in people’s faces about this is beyond me.

Parenting is hard enough, and we’re making it even harder for everyone. We can argue about how our decisions as a family will affect another family’s health. But I’m all for parents keeping the right to decide what’s best to do for their children. The alternative, impinging on parental rights, simply isn’t acceptable. Are we forgetting all the threats to parental rights that exist these days?

I’ll tell you this: in our small circle of moms here where I live, there are moms who vaccinate their kids, and moms who don’t. There are those of us who have vaccinated and the kids are fine for the most part. There are those of us who vaccinated and the kids have significant health problems. There are those of us who didn’t vaccinate. We ALL agonize over our decisions, past and present, BUT we ALL respect each other’s decisions. We ALL let our kids play with each other. Our families hang around each other, and we practice prudence with our own families when children are sick. We practice KINDNESS, something that seems to be in shortage these days.

The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1832

Last thought: “nice” is different from “kind”. Prayers for all.

Recommended Reading:
Let’s Be Reasonable About Vaccines
Will Smugness Encourage Vaccination
Parental Rights Overshadowed By