In the parenting community among both the “experts” and the parents there is constantly talk of parenting styles. Parents are highly concerned with not only what parenting style they fall into but also what parenting style other parents fall into. I’ve had my moments of trying to figure out if im crunchy, mainstream, or attachment. In the end I always feel like I can’t claim to be any of the known parenting styles because I take things from everywhere. I’ve found that anyone who is a true thinker won’t fit into any of the preformed movements because thinkers analyze each parenting decision they make to fit it into their own family. For this reason You can’t truly look for mistakes by comparing your actions to those of other parents because the same methods don’t work for everyone. So how do we find our mistakes? We find them by becoming in touch with what our own personal values and beliefs are and then aiming to always make sure our actions are in tune with those values and beliefs. For example; around 11 and a half months I started getting quite concerned that Wesley wasn’t walking yet. It didn’t matter to me that there is a wide range of what’s normal as far as walking goes, I just kept comparing him to all the babies I know who started walking at 10 months old. I really had to remind myself that as parents, my husband and I value encouraging and supporting over coaching or pushing our child. Once I really came to terms with how important that is to us, I was able to realize that trying to get Wesley to use his walker toy when he’d rather sit and bounce to music was a mistake. Being able to step back and look at things more objectively helps me to be a calm and patient mother, the big picture is hard to see when you’re caught up in the dirty diapers and WIC appointments. This leads me to my last point, how I discovered what my parenting style looks like. I went to a play date where I saw someone who has a very gorgeous home where each room is perfectly matching and the toys are mostly contained in a specific room I went home to my house that has toys in every room. Now I don’t mean that toys get brought to each room throughout the day and don’t get put away (though that happens too). I mean that when our house is clean and everything is put away, each room of the house has specific toys meant to be in that room. Wesley has a play room full of toys, books, and puzzle already so why do we do this? Because our way of encouraging independence in Wesley is by allowing him to explore on his own terms and not forcing him to stay away from us if he doesn’t want to but also by not stopping ourselves from doing what we need to do. We don’t even own a pack n’ play or a play yard. We did but it was never used so we sold it. If I’m doing the dishes Wesley is playing with his toy kitchen in the kitchen, if Daddy is playing video games than Wesley is playing with his cardboard house next to the TV, if I’m going to the bathroom Wesley is pulling his bath toys out to play with them, and so on. Once I started asking myself WHY we do things it helped me become more consistent and confident in my day-to-day choices. What do toys say about your parenting style? It could be the type of toy, the lack of toys, where you keep the toys, etc. Or is there another tell-tale sign of your parenting style?