There’s no good reason to judge other people’s parenting styles, but sometimes other moms bring out the worst in me. I am far from perfect and if my child could speak full sentences, he would totally agree. But so many modern moms seem to be on a kick to bring their child-rearing techniques back to the Dark Ages, and my stone-cold, technology-obsessed, processed-food-loving heart can’t deal with all the sanctimoniousness. I know I’m not alone … right?
The Booby Crusaders
Breastfeeding is HARD. And sometimes it doesn’t work. When a woman laments over her infected glands or produces only dribbles of milk that barely enough to sustain life, well-meaning moms tend to rally around her, saying, “You can do this!” “Breast is best!” “I toughed through it and my child had 3 magical years of breastfeeding!”
I don’t care what matriarchal tribes do or what the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests about extended breastfeeding — I find that last one plain weird. There, I said it.
I do appreciate the spirited support around the issue, because breastfeeding is a really awkward thing to talk about. It would be impossible to learn all the weird tidbits without a community of female support (like, did you know your nipples can get yeast infections?).
But when the caterwauling gets too loud, remember, a woman choosing an alternative path (or nature choosing it for her) shouldn’t have to feel that she’s giving up.
A new study says the benefits of breastfeeding versus bottle have been greatly overstated. Formula feeding doesn’t create psychopaths any more than breastfeeding creates super humans.
The Poop Whisperers
I get it: Elimination communication is freaking amazing. As a result of your deep connection with your baby’s bowel movements, your child was hoisting himself onto the toilet before he could even hold his head up properly.
Maybe I’m jealous, since my almost-3-year-old is basically changing his own diapers at this point. He runs screaming when I suggest he grab a good book and spend quality time on the potty.
Elimination communication is yet another ancient practice that modern moms like to tout as the natural way of doing things. My mother recalls the old days in India when babies crawled around diaper-less and moms literally held them over the toilet on a regular basis. You know what those women also had? No jobs and a whole lot of help inside the house.
Elimination communication requires a whole lot of time and attention to my son’s bathroom habits that I’m not interested in giving. So when the landfills overflow and we start shooting poopy diapers into outer space, I will accept some of that blame.
The TV makes an excellent babysitter. And end-of-day winder-downer. And tantrum-stopper. And a briber. (Aaand, I just realized that TV for us is what extended breastfeeding is for others. I’ll process that another time.)
Admittedly, my own kid has an intense relationship with the iPad, but on the other end of the spectrum are the moms shriek over the concept of using modern technology as a sanity-saving tool (exactly when do you shower, people?).
I know it’s weird that I’m judging parents who are only doing what’s reasonable. Obviously, no one wants to see an active toddler turn into a glassy-eyed digital junkie. But also not necessary is the pearl clutching and the implied accusations of lazy parenting. I accept the fact that my son learned the alphabet on YouTube and I have ample time to catch up on Facebook.
Organic or Die?
Being a mom means being afraid all the time. When they sleep too long, we burst into the bedroom fully expecting the worst. We shout “be careful” even if they’re just strolling down the hallway.
When other moms extoll their kids’ diet of products that are only grown in the garden and harvested by artisanal monks, I quietly tuck away my little bags of Cheez-Its and Teddy Grahams and fret about cancer.
Why does my child drink cow’s milk instead of raw goat’s milk that can only be found from specialized sources? Because it’s cheaper and easier. That’s all, really. It’s awesome that you can fret about the lack of chia-laced muffins in public schools, but I’m going to worry about other things, like my deep-seated fear of my child falling off a jungle gym.
I Don’t Know Why I Care Where Your Child Sleeps
But seriously, I don’t get it. Sleeping with an infant who is eating around the clock seems reasonable. But beyond that, bed-sharing seems so unnecessary. The converts talk about the family bed being on the floor, with Dad cuddling one kid on one side and Mom nursing on the other every two hours. That’s weird, right?
I guess I don’t like my family as much as I like being well rested. I relish bedtime as a moment when I can tiptoe out of my son’s room whispering “night night,” shut the door, and know that I. Am. Done.
Then again, while our son snoozes obliviously in his own crib, we’re usually pushed to the margins of our bed by two very pushy, snoring dogs. To each their own, I guess.
Sarika Chawla is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. She’s a full-time content producer, a part-time freelance writer, a chronic TV watcher, and obsessed with her toddler most of the time. Visit her at SarikaChawla.com.