My New Heartbeat: My Style of Child-Rearing: Zig-Zag Parenting


By Katie Saltz 

 Adopting a specific parenting style can seem like a high-pressure task. Countless books, online groups and just general ideologies exist about the “best” ways to approach raising children. I’ve yet to find a baby book where every chapter sounds right to me.
I exclusively breastfeed my baby, but my preschooler regularly eats microwaved chicken nuggets for dinner.I find that many of the choices I make with my kids seem to be contradictory.

I avoid over-the-counter medications, but we vaccinate.

I make my own baby wipes, but use disposable diapers.

The crunchy moms are appalled by some of my choices, and more traditional parents think I’m wacky.

I sound like a crazy flip-flopper, and I’m okay with that.

I decided to call it “Zig-Zag Parenting.”

Instead of going straight down the line of one particular philosophy, I find myself jumping around.

I cherry-pick what feels right from all these styles. When it comes to my kids, my only true loyalty is to my gut.

What about discipline? Should we be authoritarian parents? Permissive parents? Or authoritative?

I think I’ve been all three in the span of a single day. My reaction is usually scaled to meet the action, not some cut-and-dried response.

Committing 100% to one parenting philosophy seems so restrictive.

The labels attached to our choices make it easy to clump certain techniques together, but it can also alienate us from other parents.

Can a mom who baby-wears and uses cloth diapers feel fully accepted by the crunchy crowd if she bottle feeds?

Will the “Recent Research Proves” moms welcome in the woman who follows all the newest evidence, except for that vaccine she decided to decline?

I should hope so. Because we don’t have to adhere to every checkbox on a list to be good parents.

What’s most important is that we have healthy, happy kids. Mine seem to be doing alright as I zig-zag my way through their childhood.


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