Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Into the Mommy Fray

Like everyone else this week I had to get a look at the cover of TIME magazine. If I hadn't known better; I would have sworn that was a midget. My opnion? Any kid that could possibly be mistaken for that kind of "little person" is way too old to be breastfeeding in public. Let alone grabbing a snackeroo while posing with his mom for a magazine cover. Creepy. And let me emphasis- that is MY opinion. I am not saying if it is the correct or incorrect thing to do. I also realize that I am passing judgement in some way because I declared the cover "creepy." But somewhere, for someone obviously this is right and so let me go on...

And after reading the article, watching an interview with Mom and family, I came to this conclusion: That old familiar warfare would soon be waged. Mommy Wars. Us against Them. My mothering is better than your mothering. "Are you mom enough?" Seriously? When my girls were little it was the Working Mom versus the Stay-at-Home Mom. Which was better? Breastfeeding or bottle? If I heard about how sick my kids were going to be since I chose not to breastfeed one more time I was going to off someone. I even heard some people talk about how the repercussions would haunt them forever- Sorry. Didn't happen. Guess what? I actually knew children who suckled that spent way more time on antibiotics then my daughters. Attachment? They were all attached to me (and still are) without being attached to my breasts. I hated being pregnant so the thought of giving up my body indefinitely...hell that was not happening. Love, love, love my kids, but their father got his share of feeding rights. Since he didn't get to have any weight-gain-body-distorting-labor pains- recovery from childbirth/major surgery rights it was only fair. Breastfeeding was not the thing for us, but it was right for legions of others. In parenting you should choose what is right for you.

Same for the working pitted against the staying home issue. Me staying home was best for our family. In retrospect I realize that there were times I was a bit smug about it, but that is just because I was getting back at the moms who had turned their noses up at my Playtex nursers. I even loved taking in other kids like my niece and nephew a day or two a week. When they came everyone was happy- their mom because she knew they would be well taken care of and that eliminated some of her stress and worry throughout her day. It was nice for me too; my kids had their cousins to play with and I had a break from being "Grandpa" of the Playskool dollhouse family fame.

So now we have Attachment Parenting, co-sleeping parenting (or something like that), and many others. Thing is there has always been different ways to parent; my mother parented in a completely different way  than my best friend's mother did. I don't recall a stand-off against the "Dark Shadows, cigarette smoking, nerve pill taking" faction and the mothers who understood little girl things like doll clothes and letting a professional cut your hair. Why is that people feel as if they need to align themselves on a side? And why is it that people are so quick to criticize others just because they are each doing things differently?

 It has always been that way- the doing things differently thing, not the judging, slamming, and taking sides. Why not try and support each other? A little acceptance goes a long way. Having advocates in place is good for everyone, parents and children. Exposing families to different methods of doing things may ultimately bring a  realization that other ways do succeed; situations vary and experiencing numerous ones may one day lead to tolerance and eventually acceptance. So even though I called the Playmate mom's kid "creepy," I do support her and if what she does with her sons in her world makes them all happy then it is acceptable. Although under no circumstance should it ever be acceptable for the "nerve pill" moms to use empty soda cans in the living room as ashtrays. I speak from experience....

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