Disclaimer: Since many people have a hard time identifying sarcasm, irony, and the likes through text, please be advised that I do practice AP, I do not identify with the AP Crowd, and I am being quite sarcastic below. But I am better than you. Just kidding… the whole point of this post is actually the opposite of that. I am not better than you, but I did benefit greatly from those who wanted to help me be better than a previous version of me.
So this happened today.
This isn’t the first time one of my favorite mommy bloggers backed off her stance of whatever it was because she realized the internet is actually a large network of real people she didn’t actually want to offend. I understand that. In this world, there are people who just naturally get along. Other people like them. They don’t like conflict.
Natural parenting attracts a lot of conflict. I’ll tell you why: in the same manner the Church is known for not representing literal Christian values, the AP crowd is known for their own sort of hypocrisy and hyperbole. There happen to be seven Baby B’s of Attachment Parenting. You probably know of breastfeeding, birthing naturally, babywearing, and maybe a few more. I bet you didn’t know “Balance” is in fact one of the backbone principles of these popular parenting guidelines. Yeah, if I read one more blog about not “forcing” a child to say “thank you” to strangers who compliment or help them, I might forget it myself. Here is where I simply mention that I believe “Balance” includes a healthy understanding of basic social interactions, even though they might make a child uncomfortable, among other things. And back to the topic at hand.
So the Church of AP is a bunch of in-group bullies, and that’s obviously an exaggeration, but bear with me. You, you disposable-diapering, formula-feeding, non-co-sleeping, epidural-getting, time-out-using old hags, you are the outgroup. Ahem, we are the outgroup. (I’m not owning up to all of those, but I’ll admit to falling short of my Sears ideals.) And I understand that there has been a lot of bullying because honestly, the folks who are reading up on Attachment Parenting are the folks who probably hate their own parents for screwing them up and needed to find a road map to anywhere that wasn’t where their own parents ended up. Maybe they need to feel better about themselves because mom was kind of mean, and that might mean bullying (which is not okay- it’s just kind of obvious to put together).
That’s almost what happened to me. I ate the stuff up. At 20 years old, I’d already come up with a birth plan and a few weekly meal plans for toddlers and picked out a great preschool… maybe it wasn’t that intense, but maybe it was. AP was my Bible. The families I nannied for were my preachers. I’d found my calling in life, and I was great at this caring-for-kids-in-the-superior-way stuff. I could have been a total jerk, but then I had the ultimate humbling experience: children.
But I didn’t care that AP was supposed to be superior to other people’s ways. I cared that it was often the best for the children. I cared that breastfeeding, and my support of breastfeeding mothers, could mean fewer illnesses for those children. I cared that getting on their level and listening to them helped them learn to value their voices and emotions. I cared that wearing an infant would help her feel emotionally secure when she was off playing by herself. I was, and am, so grateful for the information that doctors, psychologists, and mommy bloggers put out there for me to devour. Truly, I was never into searching out formula feeding moms and “educating” them- just really stuck to hanging out with people who saw things kind of the way I did. That’s what people do in general, anyway.
I can’t imagine being apologetic for believing in what I believe or apologizing for the facts that helped form my beliefs.
“It made me realize that telling people to not let facts hurt them, was like expecting the rainfall to never touch a single body.” – Two Degrees of Suburbia
But you’re not giving the facts to just people. You’re giving the facts to parents. We shouldn’t be so concerned about hurting people’s feelings when we can educate large numbers of people. We can change a person’s journey on a destructive path by simply linking a few articles on Facebook. That’s worth a few defensive reactions, in my opinion.
And you know what? When you believe something, don’t be chicken and say it isn’t worth believing in because a few of your friends don’t like it.
For instance: I have a couple of really wonderful hard core Christian friends. But I’ll tell them to their faces that gay rights are important, I don’t see any logical way to continue to deny them, and I’ll back that up with facts. Christians love their Jesus! I have loved Jesus. They might get their feelings hurt in that conversation, but it’s right. I love those ladies, but the issue of civil rights is bigger than avoiding an uncomfortable conversation with a couple of really great friends. In any case, they’ll still be my friends at the end of the day, because I think we all realize that differing opinions don’t mean you should cut someone out of your life.
Loving and advocating for children and families should be bigger than avoiding uncomfortable conversations with a couple of really great friends.