Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Corrections and Can't We All Just Get Along (for Mommies)

I need to start with a correction. On Monday, I referred to my Grandmommie's foxes as "gray foxes," (note the lowercase). It turns out that Gray Foxes (note the uppercase) are protected and can't be caged. What my dear, sweet, law-abiding Grandma has are Arctic foxes that are gray in color. Until I met her foxes, I had never seen a gray fox, so that's what stuck with me. Anyway, it's a color description and not a species discription. Sorry if I confused anyone who thought that we were caging endangered animals. It's really a good thing she's doing, protecting animals that can't hunt or protect themselves.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled blog:

I am tired of judgemental mommies. Seriously, women, get it together. I just read a post on my favorite blogs about breastfeeding that included a plea to not bash breastfeeders or non-breastfeeders in the comments section. Really, really?!? People have to be reminded of that.

Of course they do. In my online mommy years, I have been called names, yelled at (or ALL CAPSED AT), bashed and generally been made to feel like crap. What were my crimes? Formula feeding, disposable diapering, not babywearing, implying that perhaps the "family bed" isn't for everyone, starting solids too early, teaching my kid to not let bullies push her around, having a c-section, believing in the joy of pain management and not whisking my baby to the dr. with a temp of 98.7.

Here's the deal: these are valid parenting choices. So are their opposites. But I have seen both sides of the fight, so don't wimper that no one ever bashes the babywearers. I watched two women tear each other up over formula vs. breastmilk. I've seen a woman claim that mothers with cancer should forego chemo for at least the first year, so they can continue to breastfeed. I have also seen women claim that breastfeeders are over-sexed.

It's never ending. I have given up on my mommy boards, and I miss the friends I had. I miss the little joys and tragedies we shared and the relationships we forged based on nothing but due date. But I can't stomach the judging. It's bad enough during pregnancy, but once the baby comes, it gets worse: how much tummy time is enough, is it okay to let them sleep in the high chair, should I make my own babyfood. And don't get me started on the venom and hatred that comes out during a vaccination debate.

Not once on those boards have I seen anything really hurtful to a child taking place. Never have I seen a parent talk about beating a child (unless it was a non-spanker attacking a spanker). Never once has someone said "Well, time for me to hop off here, snort some coccaine and breastfeed this baby." We are all good moms. And we make our own decisions. And our kids turn out fine. Or at least as fine as the rest of the kids.

So here's what I want to see. I want to see more support and less destruction. I'll start: I think it's great that some moms take such joy and comfort in breastfeeding. I'm sure it's really great and I will listen while you talk about it, if you want. Also, I think babywearing is cool. I don't see how anybody could really do it, but the concept is cool and I'm glad that there are parents out there who can make it reality.

Moms should support each other, because I promise you, there are plenty of people who want us to be torn down. Plenty of people who hope we never realize that we are all in this together and mobilize for mommy rights.

So, in the immortal words of that great sage, Jerry Springer, "Take care of yourselves, and each other."

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