Are You Mom Enough? Beats Me; I Have Enough Trouble Judging Myself. . . .
By Jane Byers Goodwin on May 12, 2012
I'm looking at the cover of Time magazine as I type, but it doesn't whip me into any kind of frenzy. Jamie Grumet's childrearing methods are her business, not mine, and I'm not fool enough to let a tired marketing ploy influence me in any way, or make me either justified or angry. Time must have been hard - pushed for controversy this week to dig up this old, tired topic.
I'm not saying that I agree with her, but what difference does that make? She probably doesn't agree with me, either, and again, what difference does that make?
The fact is, even when parents are insecure enough to latch on to a guru and do as he/she suggests, as long as their children are healthy and happy, I'm not going to speak out against or for them, although calling Dr. Sears a guru probably skirted the edge of my opinion more than a bit.
Actually, I agree with many of Dr. Sears' methods and opinions, but not all. Why should I agree with all? He doesn't know me and he's never met my children. I don't think Dr. Sears presumes to know all, and the only "danger" I see with any parenting guru is people so insecure they follow blindly, even to the point of abusing their children.
Attachment parenting is not my cup of tea, but so what? My children were extremely independent, even early on, and both of them hated sharing a bed. I breastfed them until they were four months old, when they started pushing me away, but they weaned themselves off any kind of "sucking" thing before they were a year old.
Did we snuggle? Oh hellzyah; but they didn't eat or drink while we read, read, read, read, giggled, composed poems, sang, and read some more.
I am also of the opinion that a strict schedule is necessary only if you have to catch a plane. I used to wake up my children at 3 a.m. to see Jupiter, or a lovely full moon.
In our house, eating and drinking belong at the table, after a certain age, and that age is best determined by the child, not a book, or an expert who has never met our children and knows nothing of us, or pretty much any other person, place, thing, or idea.
New parents are so insecure. We have, in our homes, a needy, sensitive, demanding human being who will grow up to be. . . something - we don't know what yet, and often the child won't know what for forty more years. But we somehow feel that we, who have been bathing and feeding ourselves for many years, are suddenly clueless about how to maintain life. That's where the outsiders getcha.
I am not a know-it-all. I was the poster child for clueless newbies. I bathed my first baby via a CHART. Step One. Step Two. Never mind the soapy shivering infant waiting for mommy to get to Step Three. Moronic? You bet. And yet, my baby is still alive, and just graduated from the Indiana University Master's Program in Library Science, so I don't feel that my lack of inborn instinctive maternal brainpower damaged her too overly much.
She was born in the middle of a horrendously hot summer spell, and it was scorching. I was heating up everything before it came near her and checking the drops on my arm, just like the books said to do, until my wise pediatrician asked me if I would like nothing but warm drinks in this weather.
That's right. Cold water from then on, and when she wasn't interested in the breast any more, cold formula. From the fridge. She thrived on it. Then again, nobody in this house cares for hot drinks in ANY weather.
I boiled everything that she touched or might potentially touch. My doctor laughed at me.
With my second, I might have shoved the blocks in his general direction with my bare foot.
Neither of my kids "put things in their mouths," so I lucked out there.
Baby gurus would have peed their pants and passed out cold in my house. Who cares? Yes, I wore my babies to the mall, and I wore them when I washed dishes. Even today, I still sway back and forth whenever I stand at a sink. Anybody's sink.
If my children had sought closeness in the middle of the night, i woujld have taken them into my bed. They did not. They sought their own space sooner than my mother still believes. I never blamed them; I must have my own, inviolable space, myself.
My point, if I might drag one in by the hind legs, is that each family must make their own childrearing decisions based on the needs of that individual family. What works for you might not work for anybody else. Don't EVER let anybody convince you that there is only one correct way to bring up children. Hell, there isn't even only one way to boil macaroni.
I think the Time picture is unfortunate only because I think the little boy will be embarrassed later on. He's got such a sheepish expression on that adorable face. Personally, and here comes an actual opinionated opinion, I don't think a person who can open his own can of Coke, eat pizza, and ride a bike has any business nursing, but again, not my business if YOU don't agree.
And the super easy solution to any kind of childrearing methods we don't agree with is, of course, DON'T DO IT YOURSELF.
It ain't rocket science.
P.S. How many of you knew that one RAISES corn, but one REARS children? Yes, I am a grammar fanatic.
"Don't be content with being average. Average is as close to the bottom as it is to the top."
Jane blogs as "Mamacita" at Scheiss Weekly, hitting the fan like nobody can.