All these parenting books are caca.
In the weeks after Baby G was born, I went on an irrational parenting book reading spree, probably because my hormones were raging and I didn’t know how to make my baby stop crying. Somewhere in this sleep deprived, sour-milk-sheets coma I ingested bits and pieces of about a dozen baby rearing books I picked up at the library. Thus began my rude entance into the world of parenting wars.
I realized that all these parenting books are caca.
So while catching up with the last season of “Portlandia” the other day, this made me laugh:
Before Baby G was born, I had no idea that there were some moms who were actually against the use of strollers, and a whole different camp who believe babies are taught morality by being left to cry in their crib. I had never heard of “cry it out” or “attachment parenting” or any of that stuff. I was so blissfully naive.
I learned early on that it was very important for me to subscribe to some type of parenting philosophy that would define what “type” of mom I am.
I remember one of the first times I attended a local moms group at the park. Baby G was about three months old. There, I was barraged by a super fit, high strung 25-year-old mom who claimed to be homeschooling her 15-month-old son.
“I’m not a cookie-cutter mom,” she said, pushing her kid on the swing. “I have real convictions.”
She then went on to describe all her “convictions” that make her an exceptional mom. She breastfeeds, she sleep trained her baby starting at two weeks, she only serves organic food. And more stuff I’ve chosen to forget.
I got my little cookie-cutter self outta there ASAP, and stayed away from moms groups for a few months.
It’s a funny parenting culture that we live in, that when one young mom emerges from her first year of parenting and meets another one in the thick of it, she thinks to brag about her chosen method of motherhood instead of asking one simple question:
How are you?
What a powerful question for a new mom to hear. Had someone asked me, I may have started bawling and hugging that person. (Now that I think of it, that’s probably why most people didn’t).
But in this strange motherhood-as-a-competitive-sport culture, we’re too busy crusading for our parenting decisions. Do we babywear? Do we sleep train? Do we feed on demand or on a schedule? Each side claims the other is detrimental to a child’s development. Each side claims the other is sure to churn out narcissists, sociopaths and adults incapable of contributing to society.
I can’t fully subscribe to any of the major parenting philosophies. We do what is best for our family. In the beginning it meant co-sleeping and nursing on demand. But do I consider myself an “attachment parent”? Heck no. I celebrated when Baby G was independent enough to sleep in her crib. And there’s no way I’m “wearing” a squirmy 23 pound creature in a wrap.
What bugs me the most are the parenting philosophies that use the word “biblical” as a modifier for their methods. Biblical baby rearing? Really? There is a type of feeding schedule that Jesus is really keen on? God is big fan of a particular method of sleep training? This just takes the parenting wars to a whole new level. If God is on their side, then really, who can be against them.
Perhaps the combativeness and the desperation to prove the other side wrong comes from insecurity – that maybe deep down inside we’re all afraid we’re screwing up our kids. So to mask that fear, we bash others who are different from us.
Now when I meet a new mom, I try not to enlighten her about all my wonderful parenting strategies, as wonderful as they are.
What I do tell moms is to trust their instincts. And ask…
How are you?