January 11, 2012

Kicking "The Mommy Wars" Where the Sun Don't Shine

And then, the mommy wars exploded. Again.
A few days ago Jill from Baby Rabies wrote this post on letting her one year old daughter CIO.
Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait. Oh and read the comments section too.
Now, if you really want to get the flavor of how the shiz went down, check out her Facebook Page scroll down and read the comments.
I’ll have one a few glasses of wine while I wait. It’s gonna take a minute.
Predictably, a few know it all attachment parenting die hards jumped in to tell her that she was grossly neglecting her child who would, inevitably grow up to become a serial killer. Equally as predictably, CIO die hards jumped in to defend Jill (which I support 100% because some of these women were like, WOAH! Somebody-get-the-giant butterfly-nets psy-cho!) and tell the APers that sleep is necessary for brain development and that co-sleeping and the like is stunting their children’s future independence and DANGEROUS, yada yada yada. Ad nauseum; et infinitum.
We (I say we, meaning the mommies, because I just rolled my eyes at these women going nut bars) all started calling each other stupid bitches who are either going to a) kill our kids because we co-sleep or bed share or b)breed a new generation of sociopaths by letting our kids cry for more than thirty seconds. It was a mother freaking blood bath.
Just for the record, I think saying that anyone should be adhering to a rigid CIO method (it ALWAYS works) or a rigid AP method (it ALWAYS works) is the biggest load of donkey crap this side of the border. Yes we follow Babywise, but we never left Evie to cry for more than 10 minutes without checking on her. Yes I believe it is important for tiny humans to develop healthy sleep habits and I also firmly believe that parents have to encourage them. HOWEVER, (ding ding ding) how you do that with your own child is up to Y-O-U, as long as it isn’t harming the child. And for the love of all that is good and holy, please, don’t bother telling me that letting your child cry is harmful, because done PROPERLY, no it isn’t, and most studies – yes I have read them-- are based more on opinion and anecdotal evidence than actual science or are based on children who suffered gross neglect at the hands of their parents. Letting your child cry for ten minutes isn’t gross neglect folks. Furthermore, while it’s not the method we choose to employ in our house, when properly utilized bed sharing and co-sleeping aren’t akin to either putting your baby in bed with a butcher knife or guaranteeing SIDS.  Also, aren’t we the generation of telling our children that they are special and different? So why can’t we remember this ourselves and understand the very simple concept that just as no child is exactly the same, no parenting method is exactly the same. We all mold to what fits our kids.
I am deeply disappointed in and ashamed of these women who jumped in and started viciously name calling and tearing each other down. I realize some people are so passionate about something that they leave all common decency behind and start accusing a mother struggling through PPA of being a horrible mother and neglect and ignorance. I get that in a moment of protective anger other women might leap on the defensive and use words crafted to hurt and sting. I understand that as women we are bred and socialized to compete with each other over every little freaking thing and in a situation like this our first instinct is spit, hiss, claw and spew vitriolic hate in an effort to emerge the victor.
Here’s the rub with all that though: no wonder there is still a freaking glass ceiling, no wonder women’s wages are still only 77% of what men earn {source}. We are so preoccupied with tearing each other down that we can’t make any progress anywhere. We are obviously too busy perpetuating the gender stereotype that women are bat shit crazy to realize if we supported each other and lent a helping hand (instead of one intended to slap down) we might be able to actually build a better future for our daughters and sons.
While we are all so busy beating each other bloody over choices that aren’t ours to make for other people (formula feeding, breast feeding, organic food, non-organic food, baby wearing, stroller mommying, pureed first foods, baby led weaning, swaddling, not swaddling, sleep training, not sleep training, cloth diapering, disposable diapering, vaccinating, delayed vaccinating) our children are standing by, watching this blood bath and learning. Our children are learning, through our example, that the only way to further your cause, to build something you believe is better, is by tearing someone else down.
I pray to God every single day I am alive that this is not the type of example I set for my daughter. She will learn far more from my actions than my words and I want her to learn that you can’t build alone, and that building with people who are just like you is boring, and that by being tolerant and listening you might build something even more fabulous than you thought before. I want her to learn that a kind word or deed speaks far louder than words shrieked in hatred. She needs to know that in order to see the heart of a person you have to look past the oh-so-apparent outer differences. I hope, oh how I hope, she learns these things from my example. I want her to be a part of a brighter generation of women and mothers who can lay down their weapons, unclench the fists of anger, discard their words of discouragement and build something instead of constantly destroying.
A Little Perspective
If you are truly interested in helping children who are suffering I suggest you visit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and consider a donation. If you would like to help babies who are really neglected go visit my friend and sorority sister Nish, click on her World Vision tab and consider putting food in the belly of a child who knows nothing but hunger. Your energy is better spent this way.
If you are sick of the mommy bullying that happens all too often join me in taking The Pledge and commit to ending cyber bullying.
There is enough hatred and meanness, do something kind; put something positive out into the universe.