Two ends of the parenting spectrum, both telling us that we're doing it wrong. Both stretching the wild animal metaphors to the absolute limit. Don't even get me started on Sarah Palin and her Mama Grizzly thing. Ugh.
Every time one of these articles appears, the blogosphere erupts with praise and condemnation, and everyone has an opinion, and everyone says that the original author is doing this and that and the other wrong, and it goes on and on...
Well, I'm here to say two important words (that Mayim Bialik would never say): Shut up!
Everyone needs to quit with the mommy bashing and the my-way-is-better-than-your-way-ing and the sanctimony and the catty crappiness. Just knock it off.
I talk about parenting a lot, both here and in real life, and I work really hard to say, "This is how I decided to approach this situation," but not to judge other moms and their choices. I think I've been pretty consistent in saying, "your mileage may vary," when I've talked about touchy issues in mothering. I hope I've succeeded, and that I haven't made anyone feel like this is a "my way or the highway" sort of blog (or worse, I hope no one reads this as an "I'm better than you are!" blog - I would die of embarrassment).
Yes, I believe in breastfeeding. I also believe in paying the mortgage, though, and if I had to work for someone other than my husband in order to keep a roof over our heads, and if that environment weren't friendly to pumping or bringing the baby with me, I would absolutely feed formula. I recognize that not every mom has the luxury of being able to stay home or take their baby to work, and I am just profoundly grateful that I do. I hope that comes through when I write about nursing. I also know what it's like to have supply issues, or medical issues that prevent breastfeeding, and you know what? Even if you had no reason at all to not breastfeed, it was your choice and it's none of my business.
Similarly, I believe in co-sleeping. You know why? Because that is the only way I get any sleep. I would be thrilled if our kids would sleep in a crib, but they have other plans. Maybe I'm a rotten mother and I just haven't figured out the magic secret to getting kids to sleep in their own beds. (People are already asking me if Jack is sleeping through the night, and I'm like, "Um, no, we're hoping that the 5-1/2 year old will figure it out soon, then we'll work on the baby!") If you can get your kids to sleep in a crib at 6 weeks, or to sleep through the night in general, I am impressed, and I think you're lucky that you got kids that sleep well. Claire is one of those kids, and we parented her the same way we've parented the other two... so I'm pretty sure that it's just luck and temperament, and not some magic secret that I'm missing or some superiority in your parenting style vs. mine.
|Do you have anything in orange?|
Don't you think we would all be better off if we stopped judging each other? Seriously, we're all doing the best we can with what we've got - and we all have limited resources - time, money, breastmilk, ability to deal with a lack of sleep, etc. None of us have infinite supplies of any of those things, and our limits are unique to our individual situations. So why not just acknowledge that anyone who is taking the time to read mommyblogs and parenting websites is probably already doing the best she can (otherwise she'd be busy doing whatever people who aren't obsessed with parenting do). The moms who truly need the advice are NOT the ones reading these blogs and getting into these endless debates, and even if they were, they're probably not going to listen to someone who's saying, "You're doing it wrong! You need to be more like this wild animal!"
I think this year we should all retroactively resolve to stop judging each other, and we should remember that all of us are just doing the best we can with what we've got. And we should stop looking to old episodes of Wild Kingdom for the secret to better parenting. For real.
Don't worry, though, I'm not going to hold my breath. What would that make me, a dolphin mother?