Every night I get The Stir Daily Ten from CafeMom, a rundown of parenting news and opinions from featured columnists. I just read this article about Mainstream Parenting Ideas and it’s not the article that pissed me off (even though it is complete junk and has few valid points “backed up” by junk science) it was the inevitable comments that followed. Even if you’re not a parent, the comments will most likely piss you off. In fact, I’m so pissed off about how parents (note: Moms) treat each other that I’m going to just go off on a complete rambling, nonsensical jumble of a tangent.
Yes, yes, yes - I’ve given advice to people before when they asked about parenting techniques. I’ve also pushed one method over another when talking to friends about discipline and I did write a post with my beliefs about spanking so maybe I’m a total hypocrite but why do parents feel the need to constantly castigate each other and get on a soapbox when it comes to co-sleeping, breastfeeding and every aspect of raising children? Why can’t people mind their own business?
CIO (cry-it-out, or the Ferber Method) is a hot-button issue. I didn’t want to use it because I didn’t really feel like hearing Alexa cry for hours, but once I read about it, I realized it was not the cruel and unusual punishment that you always hear about and wanted to give it a try. It worked for us. It is not leaving your child to scream until they pass out. It doesn’t mean I love her less than you love your child who you would NEVER let cry even for a second. It is a method and it works for some. If you think it’s cruel, that’s up to you. But why do you have to try and make other people feel like the devil about it? One commenter wrote to just “Google CIO and brain damage”. How about also Googling “effects of sleep deprivation” on either parents, babies or both.
I chose not to co-sleep (yes, on purpose!) but I have friends who do and love it. I know people who say they can’t stand being poked and prodded while trying to sleep and would never do it again and others who say it is the most special and wonderful thing you can do with your child and would never consider anything else.
Some people can’t breastfeed. They can’t. Really. Even if they sat for 24 hours with a medical-grade pump and YOU cheering them on. (Well not you, but I’m using “you” to mean the fanatical Mamas who have something to say about everything breastfeeding). Or those who adopted and couldn’t induce lactation. Or those who have mastitis or an illness or – gasp! – just don’t want to. Oh my goodness, they are SATAN! These crazy people don’t choose to use a milk bank or do everything humanly possible to get human milk into their baby and opt to use … cover your ears … formula! There are people out there willing to knock down doors to make sure everyone knows that formula is the devil in a can and that it will poison your child and make them a moron. To these people I say what did someone do to you as a child to make you feel the need to be so mean and insensitive to others? Can you simply say “we all know breast is best but if you can’t or choose not to do it, I don’t wish for you to burn in a fiery hell?” Or keep it to yourself. What on earth made you feel so very deeply about this subject that you feel the need to chop people’s heads off if they do things differently? If you’re able to breastfeed and choose to do so, shouldn’t you just be happy for yourself and your baby? Are you trying to win some kind of breastfeeding election or ensure that your tombstone reads “Died En Route to Perfection”?
I went on medication for PPD after the birth of my first child. I stayed on that medication when pregnant with my second child because the benefits to both of us outweighed the risks. Is it ideal to be on meds while pregnant? Of course not. Do you know what I went through? No, because you’re not me. Would I wish it on you or anyone else? No. So why do some people feel the need to judge something they have no idea about? (Side ramble – To me, it’s like being homophobic for no other reason than thinking homosexuals are ”deviants” because they may be different than you – then finding out your son is gay and expresses his deep desire to live his life openly and without fear… so you open your mind because you love your son and since you know he’s not a “deviant” maybe you were wrong.) Sooooooo… unless you have lived with PPD or any other mental illness, go fly a kite before telling me that I’m selfish for “putting my child at risk”. And maybe read some actual medical research, too.
There is no one-size-fits-all. Every child is different. I can already tell you that many of the things I swore by with Ryan I will not find effective with Alexa. Generalizations are not helpful. They only make confused parents feel more lost. We already know that new parents scour books, websites and other sources of information for support and what they’re finding (many times from other Mothers) sends them into an even deeper tailspin -
“CIO is a form of child abuse that will leave your child with pervasive anxiety.”
“If you have PPD, your child won’t be able to bond with you.”
“I would NEVER let my child cry – for even a minute! Letting children cry is cruel.”
“Breastfed babies are smarter than their formula-fed counterparts.”
“My child is ahead of all the milestones because I’m home with him.”
“Co-sleeping is gross and dangerous - how do you ever have sex? Aren’t you afraid of rolling over and killing your baby?”
“It is lazy parenting to formula-feed – why give a baby milk from a cow when you are perfectly capable of making your own?”
“Attachment parenting is the only way to raise a secure child who feels loved.”
UGH. It’s enough to give you a migraine.
How about parenting with love, logic and instinct?
End the Mommy Wars. It’s soooooooo tiring. I think we’re all looking for validation and put others down because of our personal insecurities. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing that makes people feel as vulnerable as being in charge of a tiny human life. I wish we didn’t have all of this literature and just used good old instinct.
Working full-time, staying at home, co-sleeping, CIO, babywearing, formula feeding, homeschooling, time-outs, spanking, 100% organic - we’re all just trying to do our best. Sure, we all have our opinions and we may get into a lively debate from time to time with friends or family members about how we choose to raise our children. It just seems like some people make it their full time job to be on a parenting rampage across the World Wide Web.
And I actually didn’t hate all of the comments - many echoed what I’ve been trying to say, albeit with more clarity. This one was my personal favorite:
From gingerpeachee on Oct 13, 2011 at 7:50 PM
Over-opinionated ridiculous human beings. Seriously. The CIO moms are accusing the AP moms of creating clingy children and the AP mom’s are calling the CIO moms child abusers. Lovely. Parents with small children forget that what you do in the first 3 years of life is not the end all be all of your children. WHO CARES if you made homemade baby food in 10 years? WHO CARES if you had your child on a strict schedule at 2 days old?!?! You think this is going to be some sort of life-altering decision? It’s not.
Maybe kids are growing up and bullying other kids because that is what their parents do to other parents right from the get go. Ever think of that? Open your minds. Forgive the people around you for not being carbon copies of yourself (the fact is YOU are not that perfect).
Amen, gingerpeachee – whoever you are. Amen.