Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The One Where I Get All Preachy

SIGH. I wasn't going to enter the Mommy Wars fray. I've been there before and I've always emerged battered and bloody. What's more, I don't think I've ever engaged in a debate or a discussion of this nature where there was a clear victor. Why? Because there is no right way to parent. There is no right answer for any one of the multitude of parenting dilemmas. If there was, it would make things a whole fuck of a lot easier, and we wouldn't have to verbally bludgeon each other when our approaches to parenting issues diverge. We wouldn't have to work so hard to villify and invalidate each other to soothe our own insecurities.

The reason there is no one answer or any right way is because children are not built on an assembly line according to a list of factory specs. There is no quality control. And we do not get to shop for a model that best suits our character, meets our needs, and lives up to our standards. Each and every child is wonderfully and wholly individual; utterly unlike any other being on the planet.

What. A. Miraculous. Thing.

And how lucky we are to have such a wide variety of parenting philosophies, beliefs, information and techniques at our disposal to aid us in the daunting task of raising those miracles to adulthood. Applying one parenting method or strategy to all children is a little like making every woman wear size 6 jeans. It leaves the party in question uncomfortable and demoralized.

When I had one very well behaved and complacent child, I had a lot of opinions about those who weren't. Naturally, it was because they were being raised wrong. Wrong being, unlike mine. I made much of issues that only a small percentage of the American collective acknowledged or cared about. I said a lot of I'll nevers, and no child of mines. They were words I was forced to eat, along with a heaping helping of well done crow and several slices of humble pie when I was given a child who was not well-behaved, was not complacent, and who challenged every single parenting ideal I posessed. I was knocked off of my high horse and then trampled by it.

And in the end, the only thing that mattered to me was keeping him alive, and raising him into an autonomous human being without one or both of us being maimed or rendered completely insane. In other words, I learned that sometimes, you just do what you have to do, philosophy be damned.

I learned, through much of the well meaning but completely naive advice that was freely given by friends and strangers alike, that nobody else knows what is best for my child. I learned that my own instincts are usually the right ones and to trust them. Though I am usually about the last person on earth you will find quoting or endorsing scripture, I learned what Jesus meant when he said "Judge not lest ye be judged." And I learned that "disagree" does not have to be synonymous with "disrespect".

I'm not perfect by a longshot, and I don't have all the answers. But I've been a parent for 11 years now, and what I do have is some perspective. And I can tell you that in ten years, what you fed your child, how you disciplined your child, how you sleep trained your child (or didn't), how you potty trained your child (or didn't) and whether you put them in daycare or stayed at home, doesn't matter even a fraction as much as how much you loved them, nurtured them and believed in them. What you put in a child's belly isn't half so nourishing as what you put into their psyche. What you put on a child's bottom isn't half so absorbent as that child's amazing little brain.

And there is no confusion over who is the Mommy, regardless of where she goes to work. I promise.

It seems especially sad and pointless then, that we are dividing ourselves into warring factions over these issues; judging, maligning, shaming and belittling. It's so hard to be a Mom. Why do we need to make it harder for one another? Did Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Stady Canton, Susan B. Anthony and Bella Abzug work so tirelessly to gain women the rights and privileges they deserved only to have us turn on one another? I think not. In fact, I think they would be pretty peeved by the way womankind has cast aside the unity they labored so long and hard to achieve for the sake of petty one upmanship.

We can do better, ladies.

Because despite my current state of disheartenment, I do believe in the power of women. I believe in the indomitable spirit of Motherhood. Alone we are formidable, together we are invincible. Let's come together and kick some ass that is truly deserving. Famine, poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, mysogyny, tyranny, opression, racism, genocide, ethnicide...all of these could be instantly eradicated if we put half as much energy into fighting them as we do fighting each other.

So, who's with me? I want to see a lot of damn hands waving in the air.

Originally posted 04/06. Sadly, it's still a very relavent issue. Sorry for the recycling...consider it my contribution to keeping the blogosphere green. That, and the fact that I'm up to my armpits in housework and laundry that has gone too long ignored due to baseball playoffs and end of school craziness merry making at both schools.

16 Comments:

  • At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Andrea said…

    My hands are waving and I'm hooting and hollering. I look kind of foolish, but I don't care. This is a message I can get behind.

     
  • At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Wander said…

    I'm behind you 100% on this. We've got to quit making motherhood so competitive.

     
  • At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Izzy said…

    Once again, I agree wholeheartedly.

    I'm just going to start saying "Yeah, what BA said." for everything.

    :)

     
  • At 1:18 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    Woot woot woot! I'm TOTALLY with you. All the way with BA! (I just made that up, but it sounds good, doesn't it?)

    As someone who has been a parent for almost 15 years and got into the Mommywars way back then, I can tell you what a total and complete waste of time it is. No matter how nutsoid people were, their kids grew up to be teenagers, just like everyone elses.

     
  • At 3:34 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    I've got my hand in the air too, although I do hope my decision to quit my job and stay home with these darling sweet children (can you hear the irony dripping from my voice?) will mean something to them someday. But just cuz something is right for me, doesn't make it the universal thing to do.

     
  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger jen said…

    both hands raised. am shoulder to shoulder with you.

     
  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Waving my hand!

    Our fore-mothers would have been pissed if they knew what was going on.

     
  • At 8:21 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    Woman Power! Hooyah!

     
  • At 8:33 AM, Anonymous dawn said…

    amen

     
  • At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Gurukarm said…

    *You* are the one who should be writing a book about this stuff, girl!

    Count my waving hand in, ok? :-)

     
  • At 12:39 PM, Blogger liv said…

    I'm raising my glass to all of you who agree-----girl on girl parenting wars have got to stop. Honestly, we'd have a lot more time to do fun things if we weren't engaged in potty training disputes or bottle v. breast arguments... fo real.

     
  • At 6:47 PM, Blogger Rock the Cradle said…

    Loved this the first time around, and still do.

    Is it the end of school already?

    Yikes, the things I am in store for...

     
  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Her Bad Mother said…

    I love it when you get preachy.

     
  • At 9:38 PM, Blogger cndymkr said…

    I am with you too.

     
  • At 7:28 AM, Blogger Sandra said…

    Waving my hand wildly over here. I couldn't agree more.

     
  • At 6:33 AM, Blogger Code Yellow Mom said…

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Thanks for recycling - this is so articulate and very needed.

    Love the "I'm not perfect" paragraph - such a lot of wisdom there.

     

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