Friday, November 19, 2010

Embracing My Unpopular Parenting Choices: Thank You, Erica Jong

The pressure to be A Good Mom by today's standards: I feel it, I reject some of it, and that is why I'm writing this, finally.

If you aren't immersed in the momblog culture, you may have missed this article by Erica Jong, published -- uh, quite surprisngly, actually -- in the Wall Street Journal. It's called Mother Madness, and she basically rails against extremist attachment parenting and all that comes with it. She cites the push toward all things "natural" and how there is a powerful movement afoot where "good" mothering* means breastfeeding, co-sleeping, anti-sleep-training, cloth diapering, making one's own baby food, and -- of course -- staying at home.

*The article focuses on the role of woman/mother and the notion of feminism, so there isn't really discussion about a man's role. As far as I'm concerned, it seems to me that even if the dad stays home, the same pressures apply.

Here's an excerpt:
"As long as women remain the gender most responsible for children, we are the ones who have the most to lose by accepting the "noble savage" view of parenting, with its ideals of attachment and naturalness. We need to be released from guilt about our children, not further bound by it. We need someone to say: Do the best you can. There are no rules."
Well.

As you can imagine, especially because she uses inflammatory language --
"Attachment parenting, especially when combined with environmental correctness, has encouraged female victimization. Women feel not only that they must be ever-present for their children but also that they must breast-feed, make their own baby food and eschew disposable diapers. It's a prison for mothers, and it represents as much of a backlash against women's freedom as the right-to-life movement. "
and rejects the Sears' book/method entirely --
"Some of these stressed-out parents have come to loathe Dr. Sears and his wife and consider them condescending colonialists in love with noble savagery."
-- there are a lot of really really pissed-off women out there in the bloggy world, firing back.

Which I get. But I agree with Ms. Jong, I hear her LOUD AND CLEAR, and I am grateful to have her words to cling to. I can't seem to find many others out there willing to say the same things.

Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with the ideas behind attachment parenting. I like most of them. Breastfeeding is cool. I make food for my kid because it's neat, and I like knowing what's in it. I slept with my infant next to my bed for the first few months, mostly so I could hear her breathe.

But that's not the issue. That's not Ms. Jong's issue, either. I see it like this:

FIRST of all, ALL of us -- all parents I know, all parents I read -- we just want to do the right thing. We want to be the best parents we can be. We are all terrified of baby-rearing, because it's big and important and scary and like nothing else we've ever experienced. And it's complex and challenging.

So...you have a HUGE industry of parenting experts who profit from telling you what to do. Lots of people make money from taking advantage of the fear and insecurities of new parents. And even if you go beyond those and into the territory of non-profit, friendly, trying-to-be-helpful websites and experts -- few of them exist to help you feel better. Most (at least most I've seen) exist to tell you how to do things the "right" way.

Except none of them -- not doctors, not experts, not cultures, not any of them -- agree.

There is absolutely no universal method for raising children. There is not one tiny thing about child-rearing that anyone, anywhere can agree on.  THERE IS NO SINGLE RIGHT ANSWER.

And THAT, I believe, is the scariest, least intuitive, hardest thing in the world to embrace. We don't want to hear that, we don't want to believe that. We want the answers. We want someone, somewhere saying, "You do it like this. You are good at that. You are doing it right!"

Some of the smartest, most competent, most amazing women I know have fallen to pieces because they don't trust themselves to make the "right" parenting decisions on their own. They turn to every book, blog, expert they can get their hands on in desperate search for the right answer, and then crumble, exhausted, because the information is conflicting and nothing they do seems to "work" and they are left feeling like parenting failures.

Especially if the solution they do find, eventually, is not particularly favored right now, like, for example: formula-feeding, sleep-training, or giving an infant a pacifier.

[sidebar]
Remember that time when Eve was just a few weeks old and she got an eyelash in her eye? And I had to call the doctor's office because I was too afraid to just stick my finger in there and get it out? Because I looked online and found about 97 hundred different articles saying you should never put anything in your child's eye ever, not even for a second, because germs! Oils! Bad things! You can make your child blind for life!

Then when I eventually got so freaked out that I DID call the doctor, they were basically like, "Seriously?"

I think about that a lot and I get mad. How did I lose so much trust in my own instincts as a parent and human being? Where did this gripping fear come from? Where did my common sense go?
[end sidebar]

So we have a culture of new parents who are -- for whatever cultural reasons (and I believe there are many, but that's a different discussion) -- scared to death of raising kids and have no faith in their own innate abilities to know what's best. Instead, we do what we always do: we turn to the infinite amount of data available to us online and in libraries, as well as to our friends and pop icons, we sift through the information, and we make decisions.

But, right. Trying to soothe a colicky baby is not the same as Googling how to sync your Blackberry with your work calendar. For all of the obvious reasons, but also because there's many, many methodologies out there AND tons of data -- whether scientific or anecdotal -- to support them.

Imagine if you DID try to look up syncing your Blackberry and the the first result was to ALWAYS do x and NEVER do y, and the next result said exactly the opposite. And then the next 569 results all quoted the exact same method, which cited neither x nor y but which quoted a very important study, z. So you clicked and clicked to find the original z study, and then finally found it and downloaded (because you are a data nerd) and in reading it you discovered that the results were totally misrepresented by the AP article about it, and EVERYONE is using quotes from the article anyway.

That is what looking up anything about how to raise a kid is like.

So after you've sifted through misrepresented data and yelly blog posts and every other expert trying to convince you to buy THEIR book and you're feeling more frustrated and more confused than ever, you can't help but feel lost.  So you piece together what you can, and come away with a general sense of "I guess I should do what most people seem to be doing."

Because there is some consensus.  There is a general attitude out there, buried in both good and bad** data, and it's that attitude that Ms. Jong is responding to.

Somehow, some way, for some possibly insidious anti-feminist reason but probably more because of a general cultural pendulum swing, there is a broad understanding that "natural" is right, and all things "modern" or "manufactured" are not as good.


Also, and very, very importantly: Parents -- especially moms -- who put their own needs and preferences before their kids' are selfish and not as GOOD at being parents (or people) as those who put their kids' needs first all the time.

And I reject those notions. Not wholly, but rationally, thoughtfully, carefully, and lovingly.

For example: 

I breastfed until I didn't. 

I started supplementing with formula after a few months because I wanted to. Not because I was in physical pain, not because my child was fussy and not gaining weight, just because I wanted some of my life back. I hated having drippy, goopy boobs all day, every day. And while I loved being able to provide something so pure and natural to my kid, I hated feeling like a human 7-11. I didn't like feeling physically tethered to my baby at all times, day and night.

I know that breastfeeding is a great thing. But I refuse to believe that bottle- and formula-feeding is inherently bad or evil.

We DEFINITELY have a long way to go in terms of embracing public breastfeeding, adding pumping stations to all workplaces, and accepting breastfeeding as a natural, normal, perfectly great thing to see a woman doing, wherever she feels like it, whenever she needs to.  I will join in those battles and fight those fights. 

Because you know? I will always fight the battles where women are being forced to make one choice over another. When there's only one "right" option, it's not actually a choice.  When we stop letting women choose -- if they want to breast or bottle feed, if they want to work or stay at home, if, well, you see where I'm going with this.

Fighting for choice is why I can switch to formula-feeding while still fighting for the rights of nursing mothers.

It's also why I can say that a big part of my choice to switch was for my comfort, my sanity, my lifestyle preferences. My taking care of my needs doesn't mean I love my child any less, or that I'm less concerned with her needs. Baby got fed, baby was healthy, baby was taken care of, mom was happy.

Another choice some may frown upon? I'd love to make my own baby food 100% of the time, but ha! I'd love to make my own food 100% of the time, too. 

The reality is that I cook dinner from scratch about twice a week. THIS IS VERY IMPRESSIVE when you consider that before I was married, my fridge contained nothing but a box of wine, butter, and goat cheese. (Here is a post with photos of my fridge having literally 3 items in it. Scroll down for the explanation. It's funny because it's true. Also a miracle I got married.)

Not surprisingly, I have not yet mastered the art of cooking dinner for my family every night.

Instead, do you know what I do do? Work. Write. Other stuff. Stuff that contributes to my family -- and my -- overall well-being and peace of mind.

I think people who DO cook every night are amazing. I think they are also doing stuff that contributes to the overall well-being of their families and their peace of mind. I think it's fantastic that people prioritize cooking higher than I do.

But that's all it is. We have different priorities. Mine aren't in any way better, but they aren't in any way worse.

Other examples of ways in which I've failed the generally accepted "natural" movement and made less favorable choices:

We used and still use Pampers.

I buy plastic items for my child.

Eve uses a pacifier to fall asleep.

Eve sleeps in a crib in her own room, and has since she was five months old.

I swaddled. (I thought I was being all good and accepted-behavior-y about this, at least, but apparently there is a new swaddling backlash and it's now very controversial)(Try to keep up!)

Eve went from bottles to sippy cups.

We read books together all the time, but the TV is on for much of the day as well. She loves -- nay, WORSHIPS -- Yo Gabba Gabba.

I had the occasional glass of wine when I was pregnant, and when I was nursing.

Lastly, I am not a germaphobe. I obviously want my child to be clean and healthy, but I do not take pains to sanitize everything she might ever come in contact with, because I can't. I'll use wipes of all kinds to wipe down a grocery cart, only to have her grab something off the shelf and shove it in her mouth.  When she was tiny and her pacifier would fall to the floor, I'd boil it in hot water for five minutes before returning it to her. Then I switched to just running it under hot water. Then just water. Then just wipes. Then just me, sucking off dirt and handing it back to her.

I can't control it. I can't control everything. And that is okay.

Another excerpt from the article:
"Aspiring to be perfect parents seems like a pathetic attempt to control what we can while ignoring problems that seem beyond our reach. 

...What is so troubling about these theories of parenting...is that they seem like attempts to exert control in a world that is increasingly out of control. We can't get rid of the carcinogens in the environment, but we can make sure that our kids arrive at school each day with a reusable lunch bag full of produce from the farmers' market.

...Our obsession with parenting is an avoidance strategy. It allows us to substitute our own small world for the world as a whole. But the entire planet is a child's home, and other adults are also mothers and fathers. We cannot separate our children from the ills that affect everyone, however hard we try."
Said another way: You really, really, really cannot control all aspects of your child's life.

The more I realize and accept this, the happier I am.

In the end, the whole reason I wrote this post is to say that I don't understand and refuse to participate in the "how to be a perfect parent" game.  I try not judge others' choices until or unless:

1. I see a hurt, miserable, neglected child (and please note: just because you spend all of your time/ energy/resources on your child doesn't guarantee that your child will be happy)

OR

2. I am the victim of judgment myself; then I judge the judgers.  Because why do you care how I choose to raise my child? Is it because you are so desperate for approval, so desperate to be right that you must dismiss all other approaches? If that's the case, um, how did THAT happen? Shouldn't THAT be the question we're examining?

Many of the folks who were angry with Ms. Jong's article said she's clearly just trying to defend herself because she feels guilty for how she raised her kid. I can't help but think, "Really, angry mob? You sure it's not the other way around?"

In any case, why would one woman's choices invalidate another's?  That's the part I just don't get. Weren't we supposed to have come a long way from that?

[edited to add]
I think a large part of the reason I haven't posted much about my parenting trials and tribulations (such as they are) is because I feel like I'm so far outside the "norm" and have been SO AFRAID of being judged. But the more I thought about that in general -- and in particular, as it relates to this article -- the more I realized I have nothing to be ashamed of. My kid is great, and I think I'm doing a swell job as a mom. And if I have nothing to be ashamed about, then I have nothing to fear from writing about my experiences honestly.



**Example of "bad data": One of the "definitive" articles about the deleterious effects of alcohol while nursing is based on a study that was done in the 80s. It suggested that babies who were exposed to trace amounts of alcohol while being breastfed had poorer motor skill development than other kids by the time they were five years old. KellyMom cites this study, and therefore so do many, many, many blogs and other reputable websites.


However, if you actually read the report and its history -- which I did, because hi. wine. -- you find out that the results were not decidedly conclusive, especially since the subjects were all self-reporting. The original researches decided, therefore, to try to repeat the results TWICE and couldn't, either time. The researchers said their original study was invalid. But everyone cites the study anyway.

Hilariously Notably, in one of the subsequent studies, they actually found that children whose moms drank small amounts of alcohol while breastfeeding seemed to have slightly higher IQ scores than those who didn't!  Obviously, this finding was also never reported anywhere. (Which is fine, I get it, but it's no less conclusive than the original finding, which comparatively was reported everywhere.)

I am not arguing against breastfeeding, but I will state that MOST of the studies suggesting reasons why "breast is best" are at best correlative and at worst completely inconclusive. 

42 comments:

  1. Wow. Nicely said. And ballsy (parents can be like jaguars sometimes).

    I don't have children myself but I was recently struck by something a friend told me- she had a baby in April and personally chose not to breastfeed. She said the reaction from almost everyone in her periphery- women in classes, stores, the gym, casual friends was BRUTAL. One store clerk lectured her for a few minutes and turned her back on her! And i just kept thinking- god, parenting is hard enough and now you have to make personal choices to that kind of profoundly negative response? I felt horrible for her.

    Man, woman, gay, straight- I don't care who you are- if you have a child, you have undertaken a massive responsibility, undoubtably the hardest job in the world. And you have my support, not my judgment. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, not assume the worst. I won't offer unsolicited advice, won't lecture you in a store or street corner, won't give you something else to worry about or fret over when you're tucking your kid in at night.

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  2. Amen! Being a new parent is hard enough without feeling judged for each and every decision I make. I think all parents are just doing the best they can, and unless their children are in danger, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and recognize that they know what is best for their children. I can only speak to what is right for my family right now.

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  3. I'm so not a parent, never will be. My husband and I made that decision a long time ago and then biology confirmed it. However, myself isn't the point.

    I LOVE that you're a "regular" mom. I've read you since before you were pregnant with Eve and have continued to do so even tho babies are not my thing. I love how honest you are.

    Keep it up! I have a feeling more moms than you can imagine need someone like you to reassure them they will be just fine - and so will their kids.

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  4. I'm sure a shitstorm will arrive sometime soon, but I just wanted to comment saying I loved this post, and I'm glad to see non-competitive moms like you on the internet. If I ever have babies, I'll appreciate your example even more I'm sure.

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  5. Start reading Free Range Kids now ... I think it'll provide a refreshing perspective as your kids grow.

    http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

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  6. This was so great! I had no idea swaddling was a no no these days. I couldn't have survived w/o it with my first.

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  7. I love this post--because honestly, I totally agree. Parenting isn't a checklist of "do these things and you'll have the perfect child". My motto has become Whatever works on any given day.
    Besides formula, you listed all the things we do (we do cloth diaper sometimes, but by no means all the time, and frankly, at the end of the day, they're both just ways to catch poop.) Because at the end of the day, I truly believe that how I love my son, and teach him, and guide him, and RAISE him is more important than whether he had a pacifier or not, or whether he had plastic toys or not.
    I'm the perfect parent for my kid, whether I'm a perfect parent or not.

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  8. I agree too -- I read the article last week & LOVED it. Though I tend to do things that some consider to be "attachment parenting" just by nature (ie, we coslept for a while, I breastfed my son exclusively until he ate solids, I carried him in a Moby wrap a lot, etc), I really don't believe in parenting "styles" & think that everyone should do what comes naturally to them & what works for them and their children.

    For me and my son? The stuff I described above worked. For anyone else? Maybe it wouldn't. We're all just in this on our own & should be supportive & nurturing to each other because, most of all: we're all in it together.

    Thanks for the post!

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  9. Amen! As a parent from an older generation, I've observed, with some amusement as well as occasional concern, this generation of young mothers as they navigate the rigors of parenthood. So many routine and every day decisions that for my generation were made by gut feelings and some help from Dr. Spock (the one and only "authority") are now made by committee (real-life mothers groups, online support groups, intensive reading and comparing of "expert" advice, etc.). When and why did "mother's instinct" become obsolete?

    I didn't breast feed and neither did any of my friends. My babies slept in their own beds/bassinets, in a separate room, from (dare I say it...) day one, as, to my personal knowledge, did every other child I knew. If I'd liked it, I'd have continued to eat goat cheese throughout my pregnancies. "Sleep training" meant that your baby cried himself to sleep. Except in rare cases, after a couple of nights, training was complete.

    I don't think for a moment that my generation had all the answers and there was undoubtedly room for some improvement in parenting techniques. However, with frequent blips and the occasional ohmygod experiences, my peers and I raised some pretty well-adjusted, happy and productive children (of which you are a prime example :) ) I was far from a "helicopter" parent, but I spent plenty of quality time actively teaching, loving and enjoying my children, while encouraging them to become independent.

    Raising children is hard enough; mothers don't need other mothers second-guessing every decision. Women need to be supportive of each other because we're all in it together. Your Mom and I laughed our way through the good times and the tough ones. She'd be the first one to tell you to trust your instincts, Kiki. She'd have the same faith in you as I do, and Eve is very lucky to have you. xoxo

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  10. i love this post.

    i'm not a mom, and i never will be (never really wanted to be), but i am astonished by the amount of judgment and shaming there is of mothers.

    i wish we all judged each other less and supported each other more.

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  11. Yep, yep and yep.

    We as parent have to remember, we were born to do THIS. Trust your instincts. YOU know what is best for your child, no one else, because it is YOUR child. No one can duplicate that bond or connection.

    Yes, I breastfed, as long as the kids needed me to (the first year aprox), but I wasn't a nazi about it. breast might be best, but seriously, the formula they make now is pretty damn good too, not a thing wrong with it in my eyes. i was never breastfed, in fact it was discouraged when i was born.. And i've always been very healthy.

    Also yay for sucking the dirt off the pacifier, most Mom's don't get to that part till kid #2.

    You sound like the perfect parent to me, because you aren't doing what Joe Blow and Jane Doe told you to, but because you're trusting your instincts and doing what is best for your baby.

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  12. Yep, yep and yep.

    We as parent have to remember, we were born to do THIS. Trust your instincts. YOU know what is best for your child, no one else, because it is YOUR child. No one can duplicate that bond or connection.

    Yes, I breastfed, as long as the kids needed me to (the first year aprox), but I wasn't a nazi about it. breast might be best, but seriously, the formula they make now is pretty damn good too, not a thing wrong with it in my eyes. i was never breastfed, in fact it was discouraged when i was born.. And i've always been very healthy.

    Also yay for sucking the dirt off the pacifier, most Mom's don't get to that part till kid #2.

    You sound like the perfect parent to me, because you aren't doing what Joe Blow and Jane Doe told you to, but because you're trusting your instincts and doing what is best for your baby.

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  13. Yes. Exactly! THANK YOU.

    This is exactly my modus operandi as a mom.

    And so far my kids are doing just fine.

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  14. We all want what is best for our children. Well, I hope we do, anyway. The conflicting opinions come from the differences in what we believe is best. Ultimately, you are the parent and your decision is the only one that counts (for you and your child). Everything you read, or that others tell you, is their advice. It's just like every other piece of advice that you are given. You can choose to take it or leave it. Being open to taking in information and evaluating it is wise. The key is finding a way to do that which doesn't undermine your own instincts and confidence. As long as your child is healthy and you are loving, who cares what your personal preferences are. That's why they're called "personal" preferences. ~Kacy

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  15. I have no kids, I have no real comments to add to the discussion...BUT dude, such a girl crush on you. That's not creepy right?

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  16. Thank you for posting this!!!

    I am a working mother by choice. I'm currently on maternity leave with my third daughter, who will be breastfed only until I go back to work, just like my other two. She is currently asleep in her crib, in her own room, wearing a disposable diaper and swaddled tightly!

    My theory on parenting is that we all just do the best we can on any given day. That looks different parent by parent. My older two daughters are healthy, happy, and loving girls so I figure I'll just keep doing what worked with them!

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  17. This is my most favorite post ever. Applause.

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  18. This is a fabulous post. I am a working Mom of two amazing boys with one more on the way. I am forever torn between the demands of work and wanting to give my kids my time and other things they need. My kids don't have as many play dates as others, because we just don't have the time and/or flexibility. I do try to get them to classes like swimming and karate and piano, but it makes for really hectic weeks. Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing anything right, but I'm just doing the best I can.

    As far as the swaddling thing...thanks for bringing that up as I await number 3s arrival. Something else for me to look into and stress about and eventually decide what's going to work for me.

    Thanks for supporting those of us who prefer to make our own choices and usually not our own dinners.

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  19. I think the assertion that "attachment parenting encourages female victimization" is kinda extreme but I understand the sentiment behind it. Even in 2010 the bulk of nurturing falls on moms and probably always will. This requires a certain amount of personal sacrifice, so it's the women who usually make it. If you listen to the "perfect" parenting plans out there, if you accommodate or make time for yourself in any way, simply because YOU WISH IT, you are a terrible mom and child protective services are around the corner.

    When my son was little (he’s 15 now), in a conversation with my best friend who was (and still is childless) I compared stay at home motherhood to indentured servitude. Really, think about it. You stop living your own life to a large degree for a certain period of time. Your personal, financial, and emotional obligations can be completely eclipsed by your family if you are not careful. I love my son madly but years later I still think that comparison has some merit. And I NEVER could have shared that with another mom, only my best friend who had no kids. I can only imagine the looks of horror I would have gotten. As women we are taught to sacrifice for our family, whatever the cost to ourselves.

    Now that I’m 42 and divorced I know it’s far more important for kids (especially girls) to see their Mom making time for themselves and living their own lives as well as they can. It makes for a healthier parent, and therefore a healthier family.

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  20. are you me?? : )
    I could have written just about everything you just said.


    I am particularly with you on the bad data stuff. NONE of these studies on any of this parenting stuff is all that accurate... so much of it is self-reported, so much of it is done on ONE class/race of family, it's ridiculous it even gets called "scientific".


    And yep, I have just started hearing the backlash on swaddling as well. Ridiculous. My first son LOVED it, absolutely was the perfect "Happiest Baby on the Block" baby, second son, nope, not so much. Didn't work at all. You try what you try, and some of it works.

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  21. Longtime reader, first-time commenter...I just wanted to say that I wish we lived near each other so that we could hang out. I feel like you went in my head and wrote what I was thinking, just WAY more eloquently. Thank you. :) Moms just need to ease up on each other, parenthood is hard enough as it is!

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  22. I'm newish to your blog, and, until today, just a reader.
    This post = so much <3 from me. :-)

    That judgey-ness and all the conflicting information is exactly why I "unplugged" after having my daughter. I've always been kinda stubborn about doing things My Way and it grated to have all these people telling me Their Way was better just because they said so. We did things our way, what was best for her and us. I know I'm biased, but I think she's turning out great and I'm glad I did what I did when she was small. :-)
    I think people forget that not everything works the same for everyone. Which is sad, really.

    Thanks for your post. *HUG*

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  23. I love it. I am printing and saving this post forever. Thanks for being so open and honest (and in my opinion - accurate!)...

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  24. So much of the sanctimommy stuff comes from a place of defensiveness, I think. I'm a working mom in what seems like a sea of stay at home moms here in so-called progressive Berkeley. Many of these SAHMs had kick-ass careers before they decided to stay home with their kids, so now being a mom is not only their new career, it's one at which they feel they have to WIN.

    I read this article by Erica Jong and I agreed with so much of it. But some of my SAHM friends were really offended. I think that's because it threatens who they've become as people by being so absorbed in competitive mothering.

    Interestingly, much of this seems to have little effect on the ultimate outcome of the children, but is more about the self-satisfaction of the mother - as Jong says, a feeling of control.

    I'm a working mom, always have been, out of both a passion for my career and economic reality. I did NOT take Sears's advice to go (further) into debt to finance a year or two of staying at home. However, my husband conveniently/inconveniently lost his job when our daughter was an infant, and essentially stayed home until our second started preschool. The one thing in your post I disagree with is that SAHDs face the same pressures. We didn't find that to be true at all. Instead, he was the Hero Dad and everyone thought it was So Freaking Cute that he managed to push a double stroller, while I still got the stink-eye from the moms in the neighborhood every time I mentioned working outside the home.

    You can't win the Mommy Wars, so I just chose not to fight.

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  25. Can I just tell you that I love this post? I found myself nodding my head in agreement throughout.

    Judgy McJudgersons will always be around, making us moms feel guilty about our choices.

    It's up to each one of us to be firm in our beliefs and strong in our knowledge that we always have our childrens' best interest at heart.

    And there's always, always something to be said for mother's intuition.

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  26. If you were standing in front of me, hand to GOD, I'd plant a big wet one right on your mouth, Ish be damned.

    We're mothers. We need to help each other in any way possible, build that community and leave the holier than thou shit behind. And include those dads who opt to stay home with their spawn.

    Also: "Sanctimommy?" BRILLIANT!

    Thank you for commenting on Jong's article. I looked it up and read it as a result of your post and loved it.

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  27. I absolutely LOVE this post. I always refer to my "parenting style" as non-hippie, yet natural.

    The biggest thing I wish women (esp. blog and message board community moms) would realize that there is more than one way to parent effectively. Period.

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  28. I always give advise. I can't keep my mouth shut. But my advice is to listen to your instincts and follow them. I had a hard time- I think it was after my second baby was born- because I wasn't listening to my instincts but trying to listen to other people. It wore me out. I did learn to consult with my husband because between the two of us we usually came up with good ideas. I had final decision power about most child care things, and occasionally I messed it up.
    Cosleeping rules, by the way, if you are working, because you don't have to wake all the way up to feed the baby. That's also why I kept breastfeeding for so long- it was easier than a bottle.
    Oh, and SAHD- not a think like SAHM. I work pretty much full time, but still do most of the household and kid things. He works at home.

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  29. Great post - whew, really, really great.

    I like what one commenter said, "I wish women (esp. blog and message board community moms) would realize that there is more than one way to parent effectively." Exactly.

    Thanks for this (post).

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  30. i have one word to summerize my thoghts.

    A-freaking-men!!!!!

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  31. I found your post when someone on FB linked it. I loved every word. I know some AP moms and they are very judgmental. They are so nasty that when I did end up liking some things (cloth diapering, Moby) I almost didn't want to do them because of the judge-y people I associated them with.

    I have a 3 week old daughter and she is thriving on formula and my husband loves being able to feed her. I haven't been personally attacked yet for formula feeding, but it is sad that all through my pregnancy, I was preparing for attacks (and I am still on my guard when feeding her in public).

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  32. The only safe place for my child to live is in my uterus. So there she stays. I shoved a flashlight up there with some books so I think she can read now, all I hear is some mumbling. I'm hoping the stethoscope I ordered in the mail, along with the megaphone, will help us communicate better.

    But she's never gotten a cold or fallen and scraped a knee.

    Total parenting WIN!!

    I have to wear mumus because she's five now and my stomach shows it. I hope they make big enough clothes for when she's older because I'm not letting her out until she's 18.

    It's for her own good.

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  33. Just in case you didn't see it earlier this fall, I came across the following article about how light drinking during pregnancy had no detrimental effect on children (study done in the UK). I can't find the link to the actual study now, but found the below article. Pretty interesting! And makes me feel much less guilty for the occasional glass of wine during pregnancy! :)
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39535360/ns/health-pregnancy/

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  34. I know I"m totally late commenting on this, but I just saw it, and think it is PERFECT, and encapsulates so much of what I think about being a mom. Bravo for posting it.

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  35. I can see both sides of many of these arguments, and I find it interesting to read about. Your post is well-done.

    One thing though: I think the push for more "natural" and "attached" parenting came about because culturally we are so detached from the entire pregnancy/breastfeeding/baby-raising realities. We don't live with extended family members, so we don't witness these life events throughout our own life often until we ourselves are pregnant for the first time. (As opposed to other cultures and previous generation in our own culture, where girls would grow up seeing dozens of babies being breastfed... when she had her own baby, it was so much more "natural" because she'd been around it her entire life.)

    Also, pretty much the entire baby-market is to sell you "containers" to put your baby in, so you don't have to hold your baby: cradles, cribs, bouncy seats, jumparoos, exersaucers, bumbo chairs, high chairs, etc etc etc. I'm not against any of those things (LOVED many of them), but in a society where the marketing is to buy contraptions to hold your kid, it's only natural that an "attachment" movement would exist to pull parents the other direction, away from all the stuff.

    I find it all very fascinating. And I agree wholly that women deserve choices and that there's no ONE right way. I don't think I agree that the attachment movement intends to cause any harm to women (I think we do that to ourselves), but instead wants to help women reconnect with how mothering has been handled for centuries, without all the "stuff".

    And WOW. Sorry. I don't usually comment this long.

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  36. Very well said.

    I find that I'm happiest, and my baby is happiest, when I just avoid other peoples's (strangers) advice on childrearing. I remember my MIL gave me an enormous book that I never read when my firstborn came along. Why would I consult a book when I could call my mom?

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  37. BTW: I DM'd you earlier because I think that you once did a blog post about video games for wimmin. You wouldn't happen to remember where, in your archives, I could find it again, do you? Ballpark figure?

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  38. Well played, friend. I love this. And I could not agree more. The root of feminism is women CHOOSING to do what is best for them. Not having choices of what is BEST made for them.

    A-FREAKING-MEN.

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  39. Totally agree with EVERYTHING you said. I don't even have anything to add because I was just be paraphrasing you.

    (Just recently found your blog btw and LOVE it. I'm archiving and at the "booty bruise"post..LOL)

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  40. Um..............so, are you going to post again someday? :)

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  41. Oh no first dan from redacted now you??? What is happening to my favorite blogs :( sad!! Jl

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