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Eating Babies Eating Boobies

I can’t believe my little girl, who was just born yesterday according to my sense of time, is so active.  She’s already standing up on her own, hands-free.  She took a step the other day!  Zack had to catch her before she fell on her face, but my goodness the bravery on that one.

I never got this far nursing Gwenna.  She weaned at 3 months, while we fought with thrush and bottle preference (curse you Tommee Tippee!).  I never got to these sweet moments, when she actually crawls over to me and reaches out her arms and tries to get to the boob herself!

I am super grateful for the ability to nurse her through hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalances, and pregnancy (and miscarriage).  I had mastitis in the beginning, cracked nipples, blisters, a necessity for a complete elimination diet (I went Paleo), and a really frustrating time with waking up every 45 minutes- hour and a half at night before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  But we’ve made it, and I have to say, it’s worth it.  More every day!

It’s difficult to explain the feeling a mom gets when she nurses her baby, but let me try.  Do you know that unexplainable urge you get to just squeeze a baby?  To give hugs and kisses and raspberries and tickles?  How you can never get enough?  That feeling, I believe, is meant to be paired with nursing.  I can nom on Clover all day long and never feel satisfied that I’ve loved on her enough, but when we’re nursing, and she’s looking at me with her big half moon eyes, that’s the feeling of absolute peace, happiness, and love that can fill anyone up.  The inexplicable desire to pinch those rolls is somehow fulfilled through an act that nourishes the baby and the mommy.Image

Pretty smart of evolution there, huh?

And that is why I think we always want to “eat” the babies!

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You Mad?

The 33 shares on Facebook for my last post means it was controversial.  And that’s the point.  Sometimes we say things other people don’t want to hear.  I was really cranky yesterday after twisting my knee and seeing a mommy blogger apologize for her voice which has helped so many people, so I’m sure the message was rough around the edges. The point was that natural parents who present their beliefs to the world- that breast is best, that corporal punishment is harmful, and other things- should continue to present this helpful information without being concerned with avoiding hurting feelings.  If I do something wrong, I feel bad for it.  I understand the mechanism of hurt feelings.  I also understand compassion and empathy and not wanting other moms to hurt.  Yes, we are all connected.

But they’ll get over it and maybe be better for it  Hey, they were reading your blog in the first place- which means they were probably looking for that information that may have hurt their feelings.  You can help remind them that we are all human.  We all make mistakes.  Then we learn from them.

Bottom line: psychologists wouldn’t be so plentiful and successful if we were not a society trained in avoiding emotion.  Avoiding emotion does not get my vote for best idea ever.  So speak, sisters.

P.S.  I’ll take the opportunity here to point out that I am on my THIRD child, have certainly not lived up to my original AP intentions, and still believe strongly in the principles that have guided the formation of those ideals.  Still- superior, bully, whatever you want to call it- I am not that.

Aside
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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.

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I Really Don’t Know: A Post About the Challenges to Attached Families

If you’re familiar with Attachment Theory for children, you’re probably not surprised to hear about Adult Attachment Theory.  This is a pretty new area of study, and the basics are outlined in a pretty reader-friendly book called Attached by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S. F. Heller, M.A.  It’s really marketed as a self-help book, claiming it “can help you find- and keep- love.”  The book is interesting even if you’re in a relationship, though.  I may write a review soon enough, but for now, I just wanted to mention that adult attachment exists.

My view of attached relationships (commonly termed “co-dependency” by psychologists seeking some sort of disconnect from biological needs, treating them as bad habits needing to be broken) is that they are healthy.  The research thus far shows us that a relationship which is secure soothes our nervous systems, helping our bodies and minds function with relative ease.  Who wouldn’t want this for their marriage?  In an era of skyrocketing divorce rates and little hope for preserving life-long commitments, I think we need this science to emerge a little faster.  A lot faster.  However, what we do have right now is a foundation: marriages can be secure, attached relationships, and they can be better understood.  We have hope for improvement.

One of the biggest challenges to a healthy marriage, however, is the social atmosphere of our culture.  By this, I mean that people are just not designed for commitment or healthy social interaction these days.  Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s very rare to find a person who values relationships enough to make the effort to maintain them.  If the relationships are not even their own, such as a mother who is a peripheral part of her son’s marriage, then all bets are off- why should she try and protect or even respect that relationship?

I know that this post started off all educational and seemed like it might be an introduction to some valuable information, but this is where that stops.  This is where I say, “I do not have any of the answers I need.”

I do not know how a marriage is supposed to be a healthy one if outside relationships are competing with the marriage.  I do not know how to resolve conflict with competing people.  I do not know how some people can be over 60, yet act like they are barely more emotionally mature than a 2-year-old.  No, friends, this is not an educational post.  This is a flame fest.

This post goes out to all the baby mamas whose children have grown and started their own family, but those baby mamas somehow think they have rights to that family.  This post goes out to all the parents who insert themselves in their childrens’ marriages with the intent of dividing them.  If you take nothing else from this post, take this: you are losing.  You are probably succeeding in creating problems in that marriage, in that family, and you are definitely succeeding in creating problems in your own relationship with your child.  Everyone loses, but you are the biggest loser.  Gone are the days when the elders received unquestionable superior status- everything is questioned today, and the answer to the question of an impossible family member is simply to remove them.

Families today have to contend with so much negativity just to stay together, without people who claim to love them also attempting to destroy something they’ve worked hard to create and maintain.  We have to educate ourselves on how to have happy lives because a large portion of the previous generation has failed.  We have to sift through overwhelming amounts of bad advice and do what’s right for our families.  America is unlike other cultures in that we cannot trust the practices and knowledge of our parenting generation; it’s no fault of theirs, but their parenting and relationship advice got its roots in the worst kind of revolution.  The “medical revolution” turned our natural instincts and healthy traditions into jokes, and we have suffered for that.  Our generation faces a massive number of struggles with parents and in-laws over parenting and family choices because of the discrepancies between what we now know to be true and what was taught to previous generations as a result of the medical model for families.  (Try to explain this unbiased, scientific observation to your mother, however, and you’ll probably get scolded.)

Parents: DO NOT FEEL GUILTY for requesting that your children be cared for in the way that you know is best.  Do not accept the notion that your parents did alright with you, and thus can be trusted with your children.  Do not feel like you have to accept destructive behavior from parents or in-laws simply because they are family.  These are our challenges.  To set healthy examples for our children and help them build healthier lives for themselves, we have to stand our ground and demand that those involved in our children’s lives respect our decisions.  Same goes for marriages- a secure marriage is valuable.  Make that clear by protecting it.

And to those who oppose the notion that the older generation is “not the mama,” so to speak, I will say this once: grow the hell up.  Whatever you might have experienced, and whatever issues you might have with someone else’s (even your child’s) decisions within a marriage and a family, you have no right to take thoughtless action against them.  I am appalled by how common it is for parents, mothers especially, to try to divide a marriage, or compete with the wife.  Get over this!  If you were doing what’s truly best for your children and grandchildren, you would be supporting the marriage and listening to and respecting them.  This means there is no room for trash talking your son’s wife to everyone who will listen, including him; no room for blatantly disregarding parenting wishes; no room for manipulation with gifts and charity; no room for guilt trips; no room for treating someone like dirt and expecting there will be no consequences.

My choices are not only my own; a ridiculous number of people have cut off parents and other relatives for the same sort of problem.  We are taking a stand against this treatment.  We are protecting our families and their future.  We’re modeling the good and throwing out the bad.  And that does not make us bad people; that makes the opposition bad people.  The fact is that a family member is not going to be shoved out of another’s life based on one or even a few little mistakes- you’ve probably done many very offensive things, been asked to change your actions repeatedly, and shown no progress before someone is willing to cut a family member out of their life.

So to all the friends and family out there feeling like victims because you’ve been removed from a family’s life, this is for you: you are the problem, and you can find a solution.  It’s time to stop pretending that you shouldn’t be taking responsibility for your actions and learn how to relate meaningfully and responsibly.  It’s time to fix your mistakes or back off and let the well-meaning, hard-working parents, husbands, and wives be.

For all the parents/grandparents who have respected their children’s family and marriage, KUDOS!  Congratulations on being a thoughtful, caring individual who your children probably look up to and respect tremendously.  Keep on setting the example you set, and one day we will aspire to be the kind of grandparent/parent you are being.  We need many, many more of you…

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On Our Decision to Delay Vaccination

I think doctors know their stuff.  If I’m taking courses as an undergrad psychology student on how to interpret numbers in scientific studies, I’m positive that doctors get that training times a bunch.  However, I’ve noticed that doctors have different approaches to different things.  Some doctors will tell you that you absolutely must have all vaccines on schedule, and all the scientific evidence backs that up.  Some doctors say that the common schedule has way too many vaccines given too close together.  Some doctors question vaccination either entirely or when very young children are the ones being stuck with needles.

When Gwenna was born, I found a pediatrician I felt I could trust and left the needle stuff to him.  I was too busy checking out articles and books on attachment parenting, baby wearing, breastfeeding, natural birth- all the new mom stuff.  Gwenna is up-to-date on her vaccines.  She had her vaccinations spaced out- one or so once a month.  We never had any bad reactions except for her first MMR, and that was the first time I experienced the horrible feeling of not being able to soothe my baby.  She got over it quickly.

I learned that it could have been much, much worse.  Just checking out the HRSA site (Health Resources and Services Administration- a government program) will tell you that there is a National Vaccine Injury Compensation program.  This program pays money to families of people who are injured by vaccines.  There’s a table that explains which vaccines are covered and how an injury (including death) can be reported to the HRSA and compensation be given for it.

“Since the first Vaccine Injury Compensation claims were made in 1989, 2,975 compensation payments have been made, $2,317,734,924.26 disbursed to petitioners…”  Also, “9,370 claims have been dismissed”- so only about a quarter of claimants were actually compensated.  Even paying only a fraction of claimants results in a huge bill for this program, and that’s a heck of a lot of money to be tossing around for something (vaccines) that claims “no fault”.

That creeps me out.

Nevermind that claims have been made that vaccines have dangerous and untested chemicals in them, that live virus vaccines are so controversial, that some studies/surveys show unvaccinated children to have stronger immune systems than vaccinated children, that vaccines could raise the risk of SIDS, that vaccines don’t truly provide immunity, and that vaccines should not actually be credited with the demise of certain epidemics- it just freaks me out that our country spends that much money on paying people who get hurt or die as a result of routine health procedures.

The bit about Japan moving its minimum age of vaccination to two years for a while really caught my attention.  Dr. Sears, if I remember correctly, encourages delaying vaccination for a while after birth- and he might even say until two years.  Basically, the SIDS rate really shot down.  When they moved the minimum age back to two months, SIDS shot back up.  Producers of vaccinations have not attempted to spin a response, as far as I know, except to say that no link has been scientifically proven.

As scary as some of these accusations are, I don’t think vaccinations are wholly unnecessary evils.  I think they can probably help, and I would prefer to be safe than sorry.  That’s why I compare my girls’ chances of contracting (or carrying) exotic diseases like those the early vaccines claim to prevent versus their chances of being negatively affected by the vaccines themselves.  Even barring outrageous circumstances, vaccines hurt.  They make babies fussy and are sometimes painful for a while.  For me, that poses the very basic question of why I’m hurting my baby when she has no capacity to understand the situation.  I don’t have an answer.

There’s also breast milk to consider: doesn’t my baby get immunity through my milk?  Breast milk contains live organisms, many of which build and strengthen a young child’s immune system.  There are no solid scientific studies which support or refute the idea that a vaccinated mother can pass on her immunity from vaccinations to her baby, but the child is at least getting some immunity.  If my baby and I were both exposed to a cold, for instance, I’d essentially be able to feed my baby antibodies that would work against the cold.

So that’s that.  I’m scared of the toxic backlash of vaccines on a very fragile new person, and I think that my family is suited for delayed vaccinations.  Both of my girls will be home for a couple more years.  I’m going to breastfeed again (and maybe slip some breast milk into some food for Gwenna).  I no longer work with the care of other children.  We don’t travel.  We have good nutrition.

That’s our call.  When Gwenna goes to school, we’ll resume vaccinations (probably).  If there’s an outbreak of some sort, we may consider a vaccination then.  But this is what fits us for now.  Am I a little worried about the possibility of someone in my family contracting a deadly virus?  Of course- but I’m more worried about bad reactions to chemicals and live virus vaccines.  I’m terrified of SIDS.  I am inherently distrustful of pharmaceutical companies.

So this is mothering… we researched, we listened to both sides.  And now we just keep our fingers crossed.

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Attachment Parenting Myths

There are the ones that get repeated and responded to all the time (“I would go crazy being at my child’s beck and call”) and the ones that are addressed less often and are thus more persistent (“Tummy time is the only way my baby will learn to hold her head up”)- but all of them annoy the mess out of me.  Allow me a moment to respond to these statements that I dare not open my mouth to answer in real time, for fear of venom spewing from my throat.

Attachment Parenting is all about spoiling babies.  Okay, number one: Attachment Parenting places a strong emphasis on family *balance*.  Attachment Parenting is the healthiest thing for me, for my marriage, and for my baby.  By the way, as an AP mom, I know I have the responsibility to communicate to my child that she needs to be aware of others’ needs as well as her own.  At nearly two years old, she is extremely empathetic and understands that sometimes mommy really needs to pee, but will come back and cuddle with her on the couch as soon as possible.  She understands that I will do everything I can to help her have a good day and feel understood.  She also understands that sometimes I am very tired and at those times she plays on her own.  Not something you expected from a baby who was breastfed, worn/carried *constantly* when she was an infant, slept attached to mommy, and was always responded to with love?

Attachment Parenting creates little people who are over-dependent upon parents.  Look, by the time Gwenna was mobile, she was so sick of being strapped to me in a baby wearing apparatus that she barely looked back as she left a trail of dust behind her turbo crawling self.  It may not be that sentiment exactly that was operating in her baby head, but it’s difficult to explain to many people that if babies are extremely sure mommy will be there when they want to come back, they are more likely to explore with enthusiasm.

Breastfeeding is kind of gross.  You mean to tell me that you choose not to do something that gives your baby much higher odds of just surviving the first few months, as well as gives her immunity, a better chance to have a high-functioning mental capacity, and lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels- just because you can’t get over the idea of boobs being sexual?  Okay… I’m not touching that.  I’m also a little offended.

My parents used tough love and I turned out fine.  Elie Wiesel was tortured by Nazis, and he turned out “fine”- but you wouldn’t starve your child, hopefully.  This is a mega statement, but I feel comfortable making it: people are not “fine”.  Our society is plagued by mental and emotional disorders and trauma, violence, murder, rape, and the list goes on and on.  Everyone should be aware of the power of parents- we can raise loving, empathetic, free-thinking individuals, or we can continue the trend of “unidentified” issues with members of our society.  The answer is love, lots of it, and AP fully promotes love.

Babywearing must really put babies behind- how do they ever learn to walk?  I love this one.  Gwenna lived in the Moby wrap for the first few months.  We did tummy time maybe 3 times total, and she hated it.  All babies do.  They struggle, they can’t control their body in the way they want, and they can’t do anything about it.  I didn’t want to communicate to Gwenna through leaving her on the floor upset that I didn’t care about what she was telling me- that she was uncomfortable and it wasn’t working.  So I stopped putting her on her tummy.  Now here is the best part: Gwenna was sitting up by the end of three months, crawling by the end of 5 months, and walking by the end of 9 months.  Being in the Moby wrap upright and looking around (as opposed to spending a lot of time in the car seat, in her bed, on a play mat, in a swing) really strengthened her core muscles.  On top of that, she really loved being snuggled up to me for walks, naps, chores, shopping… and I credit the fact that she is so affectionate now to how we used to always hold her snuggled up to us.

The Cuddle IV

Most days, I’d add a disclaimer to make sure I’m not unintentionally offending anyone, but today, I’m just going to ask you to use logic.  If you’ve ever suggested breastfeeding is gross, I mean to offend you.  If you didn’t breastfeed because you couldn’t produce milk due to thyroid issues or something, notice that I didn’t mention anything about you and therefore do not mean to offend you.  And so forth.

Feel free to leave questions/comments and I’ll address them in the next post, when I will definitely be in a better mood.

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Judging Responsibly

This is not a light and fluffy post.  This is about judgment.  More specifically, it is about the kind of judgment passed on parents, and mothers in particular.  It’s about the fact that we need individuals who are informed of the way things work and informed of our lives in order to help us through tough decisions and double-check our value systems.  It’s about the fact that we also need the morons who think they are informed of our lives and are in a place to pass judgment (but actually aren’t, if you can’t tell by my tone here) to step the *!@# back.

This is what I’m talking about: take a moment to remember your best friend from college.  I’m willing to bet that if your BFF told you that your hair was a hot mess, you’d find a mirror as soon as possible and change it.  If she told you that your jeans made your thighs look huge, you would change them.  If your boyfriend’s mom told you those same things, you would probably cry and wonder why she doesn’t think you’re good enough for her son.

There are two important differences between your best friend and your boyfriend’s mom.

1.  Knowledge of subjects surrounding what is being judged

BFF knows what is attractive and suitable for you, because she knows what looks good and is appropriate for someone your age.  She knows the hairstyles that would make you seem like a train wreck to your friends, and she knows how people in your generation wear jeans.  Boyfriend’s mom’s standards are from a different generation (outdated), and you probably shouldn’t care about them outside of when you must be around this obviously rude woman.

2.  Knowledge of the person being judged

Your BFF knows you.  Beyond what’s in for the season, she knows whether or not you actually care.  She knows that you’d probably welcome the criticism about your thunder thighs from her- rather than walking around looking like that all day.  Boyfriend’s mother’s comments are totally inappropriate because she’s dismissing your sense of style without having a better understanding of it and you, and she has no idea if she’s calling someone with bulimia or anorexia “fat” and therefore sending that girl into a tailspin.

Common sense, right?  Oops.  Too many people didn’t get that memo.

Goofball statement number 1: “I don’t think anyone should be judged.”

EEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNHHHHHHHHHH.  We need our BFFs, sisters, close cousins, and yes, even our mothers (assuming you have a close relationship with your mothers) to keep us in check.  Human beings are social creatures- we’re still around and living in communities because survival sometimes depends on it.  While, yes, that does include our early ancestors who found safety in numbers, we need to realize it has developed into much more than that.  Our emotional health often depends on others.  We need emotional support, we need acceptance, we need love, we need people.  Those people we need need us, too.  These needs translate into relationships, and relationships need solid foundations of mutual understanding and respect.  When understanding and respect are established, a person can identify when you are operating outside of your principles (or maybe that person’s principles, which she may ascribe to you while she identifies you as like-minded and worthy) and point it out to you.  Don’t even try to pretend that you never need your mistakes pointed out to you.  We’re all human, we all screw up, and we all need to be pulled back in line every now and then.

Don’t agree?  Well, what if your sister lost it and beat her children?  Wouldn’t you need to judge that situation, let her know she screwed up, possibly offer to get her and her family help?  What if your brother turned into an alcoholic and cheated on his wife?  Wouldn’t you speak up to him, let him know he could do better?  I would hope the answers to these questions would be “yes” for everyone who has a real relationship with their siblings.

I would also hope you’d  tell your best friend if her jeans made her look bad.

Short Story Part 1: You’re a mortal human being who will screw up, and you need people to judge those mistakes so you can address them.

Take the principles described above and apply them to the following statement.  Goofball statement number 2: “I think it’s up to every parent to decide what is right for his/her child.”

Even in addition to the obvious objections regarding parents who physically and emotionally abuse their children, this can’t be right.  Consider for a moment how our culture is different from older cultures.  If you take a quick look around the world at populations that aren’t described so much as “melting pots,” you’ll find traditions.  You’ll find entire communities parenting their children in the same way.  You’ll find less disagreement and more acceptance of traditional wisdom.

I am not saying that traditional wisdom is necessarily what is right in our culture; rather, I point out that we have nothing like that.  What some people would consider “traditional” child rearing in America today is probably a set of guidelines introduced by the new medical community beginning in the early 1900’s.  Our traditions and instincts were then called into question and expelled from society (bad idea).  As a result, we have certain groups of people who still stick to following child rearing advice introduced by these inexperienced “scientists” years and years ago, which may have been soundly and scientifically refuted by now, simply because it’s what the last generation did; and on the flip side, we have families who are educating themselves on how things were done before the “scientists” intervened and turned family life upside down.  Members of the latter group often identify with principles of AP (attachment parenting) and align with knowledge gathered from more traditional cultures and recent studies on infant and child development.

You’re not going to like what I’m about to say next.  There is a right way and a wrong way.  I’m not going to even pretend that all the facts are in, but think for just one second.  If Pediatrician A says that strawberries are bad for infants, and Pediatrician B says that strawberries are good for infants, your good sense tells you that one of them has to be wrong, and one of them has to be right.  It’s the same with our differing opinions on child rearing.  One camp says babywearing is right, and one says it’s wrong.  They can’t both be true.  You could cop out of using your brain by saying, well, one could be true for some families and one could be true for other families.  Then why do most traditional cultures wear their babies?  If it does not benefit the health of the people involved, why in the world would it be so widely practiced across cultures?

Babywearing is only one example.  There are so many choices a parent has to make that fall under the same category.  But instead of coming together to realize the best solution for all of our children, people get defensive.  They feel guilty.  They try to deter any judgment by making the blanket statement, “The parent knows best.”

So, if you really think you don’t need anyone to tell you when your jeans are horrible (or you’re doing something with your kids that could be improved upon with a little help), think a little longer.

Short Story Part 2: In such a confused and scattered culture, it simply isn’t possible that every parent is correct.

Goofball statement number 3: “I don’t know you, but I don’t think you should be doing that.”

If you witness violence or negligence, that statement could have some merit.  However, it mostly doesn’t.

I’m going to share the story of this morning with you, dear readers.  It’s juicy.  It started at breakfast.  There was a question raised over a family friend.  It was something like, “What caused John’s divorce?”  The party fielding that question proceeded to describe a family who suffered the death of a newborn and of a child being torn apart by a mother’s decisions.  The mother decided that she wasn’t happy in the relationship and needed space.  She moved out, partied some, and a year or so later realized that she really was happy in her marriage, and wanted to work on it.  By then, her husband had moved on, and she attempted suicide.  The comments that followed ran along the lines of, “I can’t imagine being that jealous,” and more judgment.  The people discussing the situation had obviously never suffered such a traumatic life, and didn’t think to consider that her seemingly selfish actions could have stemmed from pure pain.  It took everything I had not to scream at these people, and break into tears for this woman I had never met, being dissected by relative strangers.

My point is this: if you don’t know the whole story or the whole person, it really doesn’t matter what you think.  That statement, I believe, warranted profanity, but I have relatives reading whom I respect very much.  So just take my word for it- it does not matter what you think.

Your philosophy favors unmedicated, natural childbirth, so you have disdain for a random Facebook commenter who (unbeknownst to you, went through 5 days of unmedicated labor) got the epidural?  It doesn’t matter what you think.  You know that breast is best, so you look down on the mom who couldn’t produce enough milk due to thyroid issues and feeds her baby formula?  Doesn’t matter.  You think it’s disgusting to cloth diaper a baby, and roll your eyes at anyone who does?  Very vehemently, I say it does not matter what you think.

Don’t be the boyfriend’s mother, going around hurting people unnecessarily.  Just stop and think!

Short Story Part 3: Grow a brain, and connect it to your heart.

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In summary, I am very exhausted from writing this post.  It’s all so obvious and should be common sense and second nature- so what are we doing?!

That’s all I have tonight… maybe a nice recipe for the next post, huh?