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, April 25, 2006

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.


  • At 11:35 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said…

    You are my new hero. Very well said! *vigorously waving hand in the air*

  • At 12:25 AM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    Waving and loving and smiling. Yeah, you.

  • At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

  • At 7:15 AM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    Count me in. It takes a village of women who aren't busy clawing each others eyes out.

  • At 7:33 AM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    Waving both hands like a madwoman.

    Thank you.

  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger Wendy Boucher said…

    Waving in Florida!

  • At 8:49 AM, Blogger Sandra said…

    Sign me up. That is officially my new favourite post ... ever. So well said. So necessary. Are you running for something - I'm voting for ya :)

  • At 10:22 AM, Blogger M said…

    Waving - it's a limp wave - but, waving. I am 100% with you - my first 2 were angels..easy, laid back, mellow and just a breeze. Still are. My toddler - holy shit - can I trade? just kidding - she is the hardest child I have ever dealt with in my life. She's exhausting. But, beautiful. And perfect. I worked with the others, don't work with her - see, made no difference at all! Actually, the others are far more secure and content than she ever is!

    You go, girl. I love your blog and still feel honored to be on your stupid, but cool, list!

  • At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Waving hand out here in the west. Don't know who you are "verbally bludgeoning" with, but I'm with you on the united-mom front. I love my miracles, my blessings, my challenges - the boys I've been entrusted to raise. It's an honor and a privilege and a pain, and I wouldn't trade motherhood for anything!

  • At 3:04 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    waving hand madly from over here. sing it, lady! (does this mean i don;t have to feel guilty about letting my son have a binky at night at 3.5 any more?;-)

  • At 5:23 PM, Blogger Cristina said…

    Me, me, me! I totally agree with you. Loved your post.

  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger MrsFortune said…

    I'm waving both hands over here. The best parents are the ones without kids. I was SUCH a great teacher before I was actually responsible for a classroom, you know? I think that there is no more apt saying than "Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged" and I am the LAST person on earth to be quoting the bible!

  • At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We should move past the Mommy Wars. I'll be writing more about it beyond today's post Rebel Dad and the Mommy Wars.

    Isn't it exhausting enough to just parent besides wondering how you measure up and on whose yardstick is it being determined? Did you get an Ivy League Degree in MOtherhood? I didn't. And I like what you said.

    Cheers! Hattie at MotherPie

  • At 12:20 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I am jumping upa nd down waving my hands (and my feet when possible)! The Mommy Wars interest me but because i want so badly to understand why we are all so damn judgmental! I do things one way b/c they are best for my child while my friends use different methods. In the end, all our children are alive, well-adjusted, happy, and healthy. isnt that all that matters!?!?!?!?


Post a Comment

<< Home