For Mother’s Day: let’s be more MOM-passionate, less MOM-petitive

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On this Mother’s Day, I have a wish for mothers:

I wish for a society that is more MOM-passionate and less MOM-petitive.

Mothering is a difficult job involving just about every physical and emotional resource a woman can call upon. From the physical pain of childbirth to the emotional pain of leaving a child at college, from the physical exhaustion from staying up all night with a sick child to the emotional exhaustion of staying up all night waiting for a teen who has broken curfew, from the exasperation of negotiating with a toddler to the even greater exasperation of negotiating with a teenager.

We know what it is like; we all go through it. That makes it all the more surprising that we live in a society where the dominant mothering ideology, natural parenting (natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting), is so utterly lacking in support for each other. Natural parenting —high intensity/high stakes parenting — sacrifices MOM-passion on the altar of MOM-petition.

There appears to be no recognition that different children have different needs and that different mothers also have different needs. There is a tremendous emphasis on a woman’s reproductive organs and very little emphasis on her emotional identity. There seems to be precious little acknowledgement that children are people, not products to be primped and primed for adult economic competition.

Our society has missed the most critical insight: there are many different, equally excellent ways to raise a child. Instead, we have reduced mothering from a complex alchemy to a simple recipe … the better to keep score with other mothers.

But we have the power to change things, from this Mother’s Day forward we can replace the senseless MOM-petition with compassion for our fellow mothers, struggling, just as we are, to do the right things for our children.

I am not a particularly religious person, but when my four children were small, and I went from room to room each night gazing upon them before I went to bed (so angelic compared to their devilish selves during the day!), I often said a little prayer:

“Please grant me the wisdom and the patience to be the mother they need me to be.”

My wish on this Mother’s Day is that we can be the mothers our children need us to be in order to thrive, not the mothers our friends need us to be in order to approve.

  • just me

    So, yuck, at a birthday party Saturday, this woman starts going on a rant about how she refuses the purees that parents bring to her daycare at 6 months. At first I thought she was referring to the fact that not all babies are ready for solids at 6 months (mine weren’t interested until 7-8 months), then I realized she was a baby-led weaning proponent. Ahem, she had purple hair and a nose ring and while I’m liberal, etc., I thought I’d never bring my kids to you, and even if I did, the day you said no purees would be the last day my kids would go there. She was really nasty and know-it-all in her description of how she treats the parents. Like she just knows SO MUCH BETTER than them. Can you imagine? Then, as we were leaving, we saw a car with something like “home birth educator” on it. I managed to find her online presence, and yup, member of ICAN, MANA, etc. Yeeesh. I didn’t realize BWL was part of the whole home birth/natural/attachment parenting movement.

    Ironically, on the way to the party, I was telling my spouse how lucky we were that the teachers at our daycare/preschool have degrees in early childhood education, etc., and he was like “what, are there bad ones?” And I said, yeah, potentially home daycare centers. Ha. (not to disparage all home daycare centers–for us we are more comfortable in a non-home setting and we are fortunate to have such educated/experienced caregivers)

    • Daleth

      Omg, how dare she. It kind of reminds me of an architect I once heard of–I was looking at architects for a remodel and she had a good reputation, but then someone mentioned, “Oh, she only does modern.” What? Even if the house is 100 years old? Yes. Even if the customers don’t like modern? Yes. WHAT?!?

      I didn’t even realize that was a thing: service providers who ignore the preferences of their customers.

      • Liz Leyden

        Comcast?

        • Nick Sanders

          One million upvotes.

    • Cobalt

      Baby led weaning, practiced as a war on baby food, is one of the dumbest parenting trends. The only one that is more ridiculous is the anti-diaper screed.

      • Nick Sanders

        Anti-diaper? And the alternative is what, crapping all over the floor?

        • Medwife

          You hover over your baby waiting for him to make the slightest indication he’s going to pee or poop. Then you run and hold him over the toilet. Doesn’t that sound like a great way to spend your days?

          • Montserrat Blanco

            To me it didn’t.

            Signed: the mother of a lovely baby that uses disposable diapers.

        • Steph858

          How would you define ‘anti-diaper’? I’m in the process of potty training my son now at 10 months. I started when he was 9 months and he now does most of his poos and a few of his wees in the toilet. But I don’t have anything against diapers, I just felt like he was ready to start potty training because he needs to go at fairly predictable times (after feedings and naps) and gives signs when he needs to go (grunting etc) and will wait for a minute or 2 while I take off his trousers and nappy and start going within a minute or so of being put on the toilet. As, for example, 95% of the time he will need a poo and a wee within about 15 minutes of waking up in the morning, I didn’t see the point in leaving him to go in his nappy – I thought it was better to take him to the toilet to go.

          Again, I don’t have anything against parents who feel that their children aren’t ready to be potty-trained till 2 or 3 years, but I feel that my son is ready now. But I get a lot of comments along the lines of “You’re doing it too early – he won’t have any control over his bladder and bowels till he’s at least 2 years old and it will be even later than that if you try to train him too early.” So what is ‘anti-diaper’? Is it a parent who potty trains their child earlier than average (say before 18 months) or would you only include parents who are smug about potty training their children early and condescending towards parents whose children are trained later in your definition?

          • Nick Sanders

            How would I define it? I don’t know, that’s why I was asking.

          • Steph858

            My impression is that at one end of the spectrum are parents who hover their baby over the toilet all the time from birth and look down their noses at parents who don’t do the same (which is what I’m guessing Cobalt meant by ‘anti-diaper’; at the other end are parents who think that potty training a toddler under the age of 3 is tantamount to child abuse a la Dr Spock. In the middle is everyone else who potty trains their baby/toddler whenever they feel their child is ready.

          • Cobalt

            I meant, specifically, parents who categorically refuse diapers, regardless of potty training readiness. Having to hold the kid over the potty all the time to prevent crapping all over the floor is not readiness.

            Being smug over spending your days dealing with the constant threat of crap on the floor is ridiculous. I don’t know how it can be done with a straight face.

            If a child is ready to train, at whatever age, that’s different. If it’s earlier than average, that’s awesome. If it’s later, then that’s unfortunate because it’s expensive, but sometimes that’s just kids.

            Diapering choices should be based on diapering needs, not bragging rights.

          • Steph858

            Do parents like that really exist? The most extreme I’ve encountered in terms of ‘anti-diaper’ have been parents who put their newborn on the toilet for 5 mins an hour in the hopes of coaxing out some wee/poo and put their babies in cloth diapers the rest of the time (apparently cloth diapers are less absorbent so the baby will know when it’s wet/pooped itself, realise that wearing a full nappy feels bad and be more motivated to go in the toilet instead – at least according to them). I didn’t know there were parents out there who never ever let their babies wear a nappy and instead spent all day hovering their babies over the toilet!

          • Cobalt

            Parents that actually go through all that are probably one in a million. Those that claim to, or do it (only when) in front of people, or encourage others to do it, or wistfully blog about their admiration of those who do are quite a bit more common.

            Cloth diapers (typically thin flats) are sometimes used but without a cover. That way mom knows immediately when the diaper gets wetted, since she is, of course, holding the baby all the time, and can get the baby to the bowl before the baby has finished peeing. What this means for her own wardrobe is an unfortunate sacrifice.

            It’s a super fringe thing, and likely to stay that way.

    • Sarah

      It’s quite a big thing in Britain now. The people marketing it as a philosophy, as opposed to just having a child who wouldn’t take a spoon/shoving half a banana at the baby while you go to stop the other children from killing each other (which is what feeding your baby that way used to be called!) sell it as the natural continuation of breastfeeding.

      • momofone

        A vehement supporter of BLW told me that my feeding my son with a spoon was the equivalent of food rape because I was forcing food into his mouth based on my choice about when/what he should eat, rather than respecting his autonomy and honoring his choice to feed it to himself. She also happened to be ass-deep in extended breastfeeding as a philosophy. She had a huge philosophical issue as well with the use of mesh feeders–again, these were indicators of forcing parental will on babies rather than allowing them autonomy/honor/you name it.

        • Goddd. Can those people stop calling anything that isn’t rape rape?

          • momofone

            It’s so offensive, and they are so clueless why.

          • Right? This is really triggering, so I’m putting a warning on it, but

            .
            .
            .
            .
            .

            After being physically held down while someone forced himself into my body, and having no idea what was going on because he also violated my body by giving it a narcotic, I could seriously slap these women.

            Spoon feeding a small child is not rape. Unwanted sexual contact is rape. If you’re serious, you can even call a massacre rape: The rape of Nanking, for example. But you cannot call a benign action you don’t agree with rape.

            The spoon is entering their mouth without their permission? Fuck you if you think that’s rape. Fuck everything forever.

          • Nick Sanders

            I think The Rape of Nanking got that name because they rape a ton of the victims before killing them, and defiled a bunch of the corpses.
            Serious trigger warnings:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_Massacre#Rape

          • Good ol’ WWII-era Japan. Good bunch!

            I wasn’t sure if it got that name because of the systematic rape, the taking of resources, or both. Maybe overall?

            Either way, my point is that it was an absolutely terrible period and to call it the rape of a [something] isn’t disrespectful because of the scope of that terribleness. I mean, it was an unspeakably awful time for us as humans. Something that distasteful is what we should reserve for comparisons to rape, if not actual, literal rape.

            “Birth rape” for example should be taken out back and shot.

          • Roadstergal

            Fucking hells yes. Rape and Holocaust – please do not use these unless referring to actual rapes and the actual Holocaust.

          • Yes, omg.

            The actual Holocaust was a holocaust. The killing fields were a holocaust. The Tutsi massacre in Rwanda was a holocaust. ABORTION IS NOT A HOLOCAUST JFC.

            (rageface)

        • Bugsy

          I wish these people would stick that spoon up their a**. We pretty much followed our son’s lead on everything. As a result? He refused most solids until he was a year, continues to refuse any decent quantities of solids, and fights us every step of the way with food. He’s underweight (23.5 lbs at 30 months) and not gaining much. But never mind…because the important thing is that our son’s ego is intact.

          I’ve learned my lesson in preparation for #2.

          • Gatita

            To be fair, it may not matter what you do. I was a picky eater even though my mother literally shoved food into my mouth. And my son is a picky eater even though I tried to be more laid back about it. Some of this stuff is baked in.

        • SporkParade

          I think your acquaintance just called my baby a spoon slut…..

        • Nick Sanders

          “[R]especting his autonomy and honoring his choice to feed it to himself”.

          Because infants are such good decision makers.

          Also, when her kids get a little older, will bedtimes get called “sleep rape”?

          • momofone

            She was a believer in allowing him to sleep when/if he felt he needed it, and the adults were expected to work around his preferences (meaning no “good night, guys–I’m off to bed!” if son was not ready). I think she subscribed to the idea of “sleep rape” even then!

            I’m all for different families doing things different ways, but some of what she talked about was just craziness to me. I’m sure that’s because I lack her sophistication though (and I’m all about some bedtime, because I love my sanity).

          • momofone

            They are excellent decision-makers, aren’t they? Another mother from that place was part of the “we-don’t-like-saying-‘no'” movement. So when her 14-month-old stuck his hand in the (fiery) fireplace, he was advised to “make a good decision, Connor!” Because nothing says “I feel good about myself and my ability to make decisions” like a third-degree burn.

          • Amy M

            Oh good lord. Yeah, I’m sure babies spend a lot of time thinking about when they want to eat solids, and then demanding such foods, with their own forks and spoons. Just like the fireplace kid, making a decision about sticking his hand in there—he doesn’t know its hot! How can anyone, regardless of age, make a decision wo/all the information? How are babies supposed to get that information? I’m sure they don’t just KNOW that teppanyaki is delicious, or even exists for that matter, so no wonder her kid wasn’t asking for it.

          • Cobalt

            I thought that’s why kids HAVE parents. Someone to make sure they eat and sleep and don’t randomly walk off cliffs and into fireplaces.

          • Amy M

            Haha! Yeah, this woman (with the fireplace kid) should just leave him outside–if he wants to live in a house, he’ll get his own apartment.

          • Daleth

            Really? I’m actually more weirded out by the language than by the fire. They really think it’s worse to tell a kid, “No” (I don’t want to/won’t let you do that), than to tell them, in effect, “Your decisions are stupid and disappointing to me”?

          • momofone

            She did think so. “No” is so negative, and she wanted to encourage his independent exploration of his environment/wanted him to not feel stifled/etc.

          • D/

            My youngest was a scary, climbing daredevil even before she was walking that well. As a result her first three understandable words after mama and dada were “no-no”, “stop it” and “get down”.

            Yeah, saying “No” actually is pretty negative … but less so than paralyzing injuries in my book.

          • Daleth

            Or to put it another way, “no” is negative but deeply demoralizing passive aggression is somehow fine, because at least you don’t have to come right out and be negative…

          • Roadstergal

            My child-woo friend thinks any sort of sleep training or CIO is child abuse. So probably, yes.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            NOPE. Parents who shake, hit, or otherwise harm their children out of desperation from severe sleep deprivation, THAT is abuse. A little bit of sleep training or CIO is NOT abuse. I’ve run across those types too and the hyperbole they employ makes me want to tear my hair out.

        • Sarah

          It’s a good thing babies never have special needs or disabilities or poor motor skills or no arms, or anything that might hamper their ability to feed themselves.

        • rh1985

          LOL, I primarily spoon fed my daughter until almost her first birthday because she thought table food was poison. If she didn’t want to eat, that spoon was not going into her mouth. She would firmly close it when done eating.

        • Bombshellrisa

          Wow. I observed my son and discovered that he would make a gesture with his hand when he was ready for more, it was HIS choice and his call, not mine.
          You should tell her that you are so attached to your child and such an observant mother that you actually KNOW what he wants to eat and how and when he wants to eat it (this is snarky btw)

        • Laura

          Wow. Food rape? Seriously? It’s one thing to force it in their mouths if they don’t want it, and even then I would never call it rape. It’s another to offer and see if they are interested. When I was introducing solids to my daughter, I offered her the spoon with food on it, and she GRABBED the spoon from me and fed herself. I think she was ready 😉

    • MaineJen

      I LOVE IT when young, childless daycare employees try to give parents “parenting tips.” Did I say love? I meant hate. It’s one thing to be familiar with age-appropriate milestones and discipline techniques. It’s another thing entirely to think that you know more than someone who actually has a child already. So obnoxious.

      • just me

        (Cough) she has kids…which is probably worse.

      • It’s another thing entirely to think that you know more than someone who actually has a child already
        I accept your general point, but I’m not completely comfortable with this line.
        It’s entirely reasonable for a childless psychologist/paediatrician/social worker/childcare worker etc to be giving advice on children if it’s within their field and their opinions are backed by solid science.
        Otherwise it’s uncomfortably reminiscent of the way NCB types will spurn expert opinion for personal experience.

    • rh1985

      Wow, that shouldn’t be her decision to make. My daughter HATED table food as an infant. She wouldn’t touch it until she was almost one. She loved her purees and would not have been happy on formula alone. She still prefers purees for certain foods (mainly veggies) at almost 15 months.

      • Yeah, that’s not one of those things that’s reasonably debatable like whether to allow a young child to have candy occasionally or raise a child in the church. Like, she’s well fed and functioning as a small person should, wtf even cares outside of these subnormals?

      • Wren

        I ended up doing the baby led thing by default. My son hated all purees except one (parsnip, apple and pea combo oddly enough) and made his preference f feeding himself well known. He went from refusing almost all solid food at 8 months to feeding himself just about anything at 12 months when I stopped the purée (except that one). All my frozen homemade baby food (which didn’t incoude the one acceptable purée) got turned into pasta sauce for a rice based toddler pasta.

        My daughter ended up doing a fair bit of baby led stuff too, mainly because it was easier to give her what he was having.

    • I have purple hair and a nose ring, and I watch after a big pile of younguns when I need extra money. c: Kids are great, and so are body mods. I mean, at least none of them say I GRIND BABIES INTO BONE MEAL.

      Anywhere you can see with my clothes on, anyway. 😉 (lol)

      Then again, I’m also pragmatic to a fault, do what’s best for baby regardless of what the internet wants, and caught up on my adult vaccinations.

      • just me

        Sorry, no offense intended. It was just part of the totality of the circumstances.

        • Ah, part of the whole “NO, I’M THE KEWLEST MOST SMARTEREST PARENT!1!!” thing. None taken, then!

  • nativecalifornian

    Yesterday I had someone try and compete with me. She walked up, commented on my children and told me hers had been breastfed until they were four years old, how long had mine been breastfed for. I replied that the day I brought them home and immediately started them on solids and cow’s milk. She got the most horrified look on her face and took off. I might have forgotten to mention the fact that my kids were 5 and 7 when I adopted them through foster care 😉

    • Cobalt

      That’s awesome.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Beautiful.

    • Roadstergal

      You win California.

    • Somewhereinthemiddle

      Good thing you didn’t tell her. She might have handed your ass to you for slacking by not initiating lactation.

    • Bombshellrisa

      You are AWESOME!

  • toni

    Does anyone have any recommendations for an autism support group that leans more towards scepticism/being sensible/not viewing autism diagnosis as a tragedy? The friend I’ve been talking about lately is trying to get in touch with other parent’s via facebook (which I think would be very helpful as she is kind of isolated) but the groups she has joined so far are full of folks recommending unproven remedies and talking about their kids like they are nothing but a hardship. She said she is looking for something more positive/practical that can help her change her approach and help her son cope rather than focusing on changing him.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I don’t actually know, but I wonder if she might be best off looking at support groups for adults with ASD and seeing if they have any recommendations. Support groups for adults are at least less likely to advocate truly awful unproven “cures” like bleach enemas or have connections to parent support groups that do, though there’s no guarantee that they won’t be wooful.

    • nativecalifornian

      I have a friend with five year old twins with ASD (pretty severe) and I know she had to leave a lot of groups because they told her it was her fault for vaxxing her kids. She has a two week old as well now but I’ll see if she has a spare second to recommend groups. She is 100% anti-woo so if she belongs to a group, it’s a good one.

    • Squillo

      Try The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA). They’re on Facebook and the emphasis is definitely on helping rather than changing and avoiding the bogus treatments. There are some autistic adults in the group, which is a good thing to look for when sussing out support groups for autism. Too many only include parents.

    • Gatita

      Not a support group but I love the blog Floortime Lite Mama. She has a series of posts for parents whose kids have just been diagnosed that I think are the most helpful and compassionate things I’ve ever read on the subject. She is very solidly not in the camp of thinking of autism as a tragedy. This post in particular = POW in the feels: http://www.floortimelitemama.com/2009/07/sooc-saturday-being-loved.html

      Here is the round-up of posts for new autism parents: http://www.floortimelitemama.com/p/autism-what-i-wish-i-had-known.html

  • Bugsy

    Beautiful post, Dr. Amy. Thanks so much for bringing a voice of reason to the internet, and Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Amy M

    Here is something I think about when I read here, especially this post: how prevalent is the Natural Parenting ideology in terms of actual action? I mean, probably every American (not sure about other countries) has heard of AP/Natural parenting, and there seems to be a cultural theme that “The Best Moms Sacrifice the Most,” but how many people really go to those extremes?

    I’ve heard lots of “I’m such a bad mom because I: let him watch too much tv, gave him McDonald’s for dinner, don’t buy organic, allow sugary snacks, etc etc,” but most of the time, those things are said in a way that is meant to be humorous. If we really thought we were bad moms for doing x,y,z, we wouldn’t do x,y,z. And no matter what we do, someone is going to decide we are doing it wrong.

    I’m not sure if I live in an area where the AP stuff isn’t as hardcore, or if its because I work and never really got involved in a mom-group (they are all for SAHMs around here), or if its just that its a REALLY vocal minority. As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so while most women around here might be perfectly happy with the hospital where they gave birth for example, the few that aren’t maybe make a big enough fuss to change policy. And since the happy women don’t necessarily realize this is going on, they say nothing to oppose it, so the hospital (or whatever) is going to cater to the small, but loud group, thinking they speak for everyone.

    Anyway, I have had a lovely weekend with my family, and we certainly did things that the most hardcore APers would probably find appalling. I don’t really care what they think. I hope all the mothers here are having a great day!

    • fiftyfifty1

      I think it depends what cultural group (or subgroup) and what practice we are talking about.

      The pressure is very intense in certain subgroups, and in those groups people do go to extremes (e.g. in very crunchy neighborhoods in crunchy cities, in Quiverful and other religious sects etc). In other places and cultures, few actually go to the extremes. Even so, the ideal is present widescale. I have had inner city teens feel that they need to apologize to me (I’m a doctor) for switching to formula or getting an epidural.

      Of the natural parenting practices, I think breastfeeding is the one most widely idealized across different demographics. Next would come natural childbirth, followed by AP.

      • Inmara

        Here in Latvia (don’t know about other European countries) it’s quite obvious that some AP things are seen as best and almost only acceptable – breastfeeding being one of most notable, there is so much emphasis of it in booklets and magazines distributed to pregnant women and new moms whereas formula feeding is almost not mentioned (as in, if you have to/choose to FF, you have no information about how it should be done – of course, nurses and doctors in hospital can give advice, but what if you are stuck with hungry baby at home (pediatricians are sometimes not available on first call))? Other AP practices are also praised in almost all websites, magazines and other materials targeted to new parents (like slings, co-sleeping etc.). I can understand where this appeal comes from – during Soviet era practices surrounding childbirth and mothering were complete opposite and often harmful and traumatizing (like, after birth in hospital mothers got their babies only for feeding few times a day; there was almost no option to be SAHM, prevalent methods of child rearing came from famous B. Spock’s book, spanking was widely accepted etc.etc.) I hope that in future information and overall ideas about parenting will become more balanced and there will be more reliable information available about various parenting methods.

    • SporkParade

      Let’s put it this way: I’m an expat married to a non-American and my husband has asked me what’s up with the whole mommy martyrdom thing American mothers have going on. Then again, we live in a country where the only woo that’s really caught on at all is organic produce and Chinese/Indian medicine (accupuncture, Ayurveda, etc.).

      • Wren

        Another expat here, married to a Brit and living in the UK. Sadly, the mommy martyrdom has made it here.

    • N

      “Here is something I think about when I read here, especially this post: how prevalent is the Natural Parenting ideology in terms of actual action? I mean, probably every American (not sure about other countries) has heard of AP/Natural parenting, and there seems to be a cultural theme that “The Best Moms Sacrifice the Most,” but how many people really go to those extremes?”

      Yeah, how many extremists are there? And what about the other way round? I feel like a lonesome alien because I carry my babies, breastfeed, don’t dare mentionning about us co-sleeping. I am looked funny at with all my AP behaviour. And I am not even “doing it right” as some of you mentionned to me in another post.

      So where are the extremists? I still don’t believe it. That APs make non-APs suffer and feel inferior. I thought at least to some degree non-violent communication was part of the AP philosophy. For me it’s a philosophy, not a doctrine and nothing to make others feel ashamed of. But again “I’m not doing it right”…

      • N

        I forgot about this: For me in the AP-philosophy it is important to place the child/baby and his needs in the middle of focus. It is about finding a way to deal with one or more children, AND get enough sleep, AND have both hands free for the bigger children AND, yeah well breastfeeding is important as non-nutritive breastfeeding soothes babies and toddlers very easily. It is about having the courage to try other things than mainstream (bottle feeding, stroller, “let baby cry it out”, sleeping trainigs for little babies, making a fuss about feeding solids at 3 or 4 months,…) if mainstream doesn’t work or feel right for a family. It is not meant for wanting to things right or perfect, it is meant for simplifying live with kids. It is not only for mothers but also for dads. They can do all that, well except breastfeeding.

        • Fallow

          “It is not only for mothers but also for dads.”

          I’m glad if it worked out for you this way, but that’s not been the case for a single AP parent I personally know. Among my AP friends, the fathers do tremendously less work than the mothers, and often can’t even be left alone with the baby for very long. Dad isn’t a part of that “dyad” and can’t figure out what the baby wants and needs – because he does not spend nearly as much time personally interacting with the baby. If mom leaves the house for an hour, they return to a panicking father.

          Nor does it help that the baby has come to expect all their comfort and sustenance from mom, and just seems to think “mom is gone, mom is gone, the world is ending!” instead of “yay, here’s dad”. This has been true even for the most involved of these fathers. This has been true even when they’re doing modified AP, and the woman’s job is the breadwinning job, or she’s the ONLY one who has a job. In those cases, all of the babies needs and almost all the financial needs are falling on these women.

          I don’t get what AP parents have against strollers, either. Not every baby likes being strapped to someone’s body. My baby did not like ANY sort of restraint like that – no swaddles, either.

          Around here, the women with strollers trend poorer than women with wraps – unless, of course, we’re talking extremely expensive jogging strollers. Not Disney-themed umbrella strollers from Dollar Genearl. And I live in an area with strong racial divisions between wealthy and poor, as well. I do think that’s a factor in the wrap obsession at least around here. Wouldn’t want to look like one of Those People. Strollers are for low class people, wraps are for enlightened white organic mommies.

          • demodocus’ spouse

            Actually, I’ve considered getting the dollar general kind; they are much more practical for folding up and stowing on a bus. Of course, I’m a pathetic sort of white mommy, since we have to take the bus everywhere.

          • Fallow

            Believe me, I don’t have a thing against those Dollar General strollers. I am a Dollar General shopper myself. And I’ve seen so many obviously hardworking, tough parents rolling their kids around in those strollers and the kids seem comfortable and fine. (I say “obviously” because they’re largely taking public transporation in a town with a terrible bus system, and I know very well how difficult that is.)

            People have to do what works for them. I trust that most people are just doing the best they can.

          • N

            AP does not have any thing against strollers. Yeah some babies don’t like to be carried, like my sister’s. But IF you have a baby that doesn’t like STROLLERS, it could be interesting to use a carrier, sling, mayday, whatever…

          • Fallow

            You just said that AP is about “having the courage” to not do things like strollers. That does sound like it has something against strollers. None of my AP friends use strollers, either.

            just me is right – “Referring to having the courage not to do those things implies that they are WRONG.”

          • Amy M

            In the circles I travel in, the childcare is shared more equally in families where both parents are there (as in, not a single parent) and both parents work.

          • Liz Leyden

            The last time I put my daughter in a carrier was last week. She got hit in the face by a door while we were running errands, and she now has a very noticeable shiner.

        • just me

          See, this is judgmental:

          “having the courage to try other things than mainstream (bottle feeding, stroller, “let baby cry it out”, sleeping trainigs for little babies”

          Referring to having the courage not to do those things implies that they are WRONG.

          We proudly bottle fed, used a stroller, and Ferberized our kids. They are FINE. And I bet I got a lot more sleep than you do. At NO expense to my children.

          (See http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/09/04/peds.2011-3467 for a peer-reviewed scientific study)

        • Cobalt

          Why are these tools:

          “bottle feeding, stroller, “let baby cry it out”, sleeping trainigs for little babies, making a fuss about feeding solids at 3 or 4 months”

          Incompatible with these goals:

          “…place the child/baby and his needs in the middle of focus…finding a way to deal with one or more children, AND get enough sleep, AND have both hands free for the bigger children AND, yeah…soothes babies and toddlers very easily”

          Why have a movement defined by refusing to use specific safe, effective, convenient tools? What ACTUAL benefit is there to deciding based on what’s popular, instead of what is the best fit for any given situation?

          And really, “courage”?

        • Amy M

          You seem to think there’s no in-between–either you let your baby CIO/sleep train, or you cosleep. Either you use a stroller or a wrap. Either you bottle-feed or breastfeed. None of those things are mutually exclusive.

      • Amy

        Well, I can speak to one way it’s gotten extreme. It’s an echo-chamber kind of thing. I’m pretty crunchy myself (I breastfed my kids past age three, wore them in a mei tai, etc), but because I work full time, pumped my milk for my kids to take in *gasp* bottles, and vaccinate my kids, I’ve been unceremoniously dumped by many “crunchy mamas” in my area. They self-select: they have a homeschool co-op, they have a homeschool-only Girl Scout troop, they hang out with each other, they defriend anyone who’s too mainstream on social media.

        I’m not “suffering” or anything, but it’s really obvious that they DO think I’m inferior.

      • Bugsy

        They really, really do exist. If you scroll back through the past year, you can see dozens of post I’ve made on my old friend Crazy Lactivist. She was one of my dearest friends dating back to elementary school, but since her son was born 5 years ago, every conversation with her became a painful demonstration of one-upmanship and parenting scorecards. Conversations were constantly peppered with the words “right,” “correct,” and “proper,” and she showed support for my parenting decisions when they validated HER beliefs.

        I’m sure it’s true for extremism in any form, but I will say that her constant superiority and self-righteousness killed any sense of kindness and respect that had built up the previous 25 years.

        Here are some of the gems over the past 5 years:
        -“I just have to homeschool, because everyone says I’ve done such a good job with my son so far.”
        -“Oh, you’re going to read a book on sleep-training. (Eye roll)”
        -“We are a no-screen family.”
        -“My 3-year-old doesn’t like toys.”
        -“My life is so hard. I had to go back to work to pay for our organic furniture, I’m pregnant, I have to prepare my son’s homeschooling curriculum, and we have to prepare all of our own foods and can never eat out because there’s no place within a 2-hour radius that caters to my son’s GMO allergy.”

        And the gem – in the context of said to someone she knew was infertile and needed IVF: 5 years is the proper age gap for siblings…followed a few months later by getting knocked up 2 days shy of the 5-year age gap. Her superior parenting skills at work once again, whereas my barren tubes signify just how much I can and should learn from her superiority.

        • Gatita

          GMO allergy? Da fuq?

          • Bugsy

            Hahaha, one of many absolutely, absolutely crazy ideas that came from CL and her husband. You know, the more you martyr for your child, the more awesome everyone will think you are.

            Except when we don’t, that is…

          • momofone

            I was wondering the same thing! What exactly IS GMO allergy, and how is it diagnosed?

          • Bugsy

            Well, when you shun doctors, use homeopathy in lieu of vaccines and believe that you can prevent cancer through your prolific use of a juicing machine…let’s just say that dear mommy is the best one at diagnosing an obvious GMO allergy.

            On a more serious note, she said that when her son was 3, he broke out into rashes each time he ate GMOs. She actually stated this outright in an op-ed piece our local paper ran encouraging Connecticut to label GMOs two years ago.

          • momofone

            Damn it. I should’ve bought a juicing machine!

          • Bugsy

            We have one my in-laws sent that I’d be happy to pass on to you…hehehe!

          • Amy M

            yeah all those GMOs in salt—a mineral, with no genes. Clearly this idiot does not know what a GMO is.

          • just me

            I think maybe the mom was referring to say a corn or soy allergy, and feared that products with GMO might unknowingly contain genes from the allergen? I think that is probably the only valid concern with GMOs.

          • Bugsy

            I wish. She was very specific that it was a GMO allergy, and when I visited her that year, her 3-year-old informed me that he “is allergic to GMOs.”

            This is the direct quote from her article; she had pretty much become fearful of everything, it seems:

            “As a mother, I have a personal reason for avoiding GMOs. My 3-year-old son gets a red rash on his face whenever he eats them. Attempting to avoid GMOs has been unnecessarily difficult without labels. I have to contact each manufacturer individually.

            Manufacturers of processed foods like dip mixes and “natural” cereals and seemingly less processed foods like eggs, cheese, orange juice, vitamins, chocolate, table salt, have told me that their products contain GMOs, in ingredients ranging from corn starch and soy lechitin to harder to decipher ingredients like dextrose, citric acid, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.”

          • araikwao

            Lol. Good luck being allergic to dextrose..And citric acid! Incompatible with life.

          • Bugsy

            Perhaps that’s the real issue they fear with their son?

          • just me

            Kind of like being allergic to msg…so you’re allergic to both sodium and glutamine, both of which are necessary for life?

      • Fallow

        At this point, you might be choosing not to believe it. There’s plenty of evidence, and plenty of people shouting it from the rooftops. It would take you very little googling to find entire message boards of women with extremely judgemental AP philosophies.

        Like the woman I read the other day, saying that she thought formula should be prescription-only to prevent women from getting access to it. Then she complained that even that wouldn’t be harsh enough, since doctors would “overprescribe”. Because women who need or want to use formula ought to be FORCED into breastfeeding, because [insert AP reasoning here].

        There’s merit to be found in AP, like in most parenting philosophies. But you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s a cult for a lot of women. I’ve had a friend for over 20 years, who has destroyed our relationship by evangelizing a combination of NCB and AP ideaology.

        • Sarah

          Well, if it were prescription only, I’d get it for free, since children’s prescriptions are free in the UK. Shame about bankrupting the NHS, but hey ho.

      • demodocus’ spouse

        Its probably a regional thing. Your town is rather at the other end of the spectrum from my town. This area has quite a few “crunchy” people (there’s a home-grown organic grocery down the street, lots of parents carry their babies, etc.) I bf’d and would hear the most ridiculous comments about it. Seriously, I don’t need or want the affirmations from acquaintances or random strangers, and I resent the implication that my nephew is somehow damaged because my sister used formula.

    • Bugsy

      Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!

      For all of my grumblings about Crazy Lactivist, I have to admit that she is the _only_ person I know personally who has become such an extreme AP parent. Every other parent I’ve met has been much more mainstream and much less judgmental, thankfully. Yes, I do avoid groups that I think would breed that mantra…but I think it’s more that CL was just an incredibly extreme version of it. It’s a testament of how close we were over 25 years that our friendship attempted to survive her downfall into extreme AP parenthood.

      Most parents I’ve met have been delightfully respectful of the fact that while we’re all in this journey together, we’re all taking slightly different paths to achieve the goal of raising happy & healthy kids. I cherish their friendships.

    • Gatita

      I’ve heard crazy stories from my friends in the Bay Area, including one of a mother asked to leave a new mommies support group because she was bottle feeding and the other mothers didn’t want her kid’s inferior immune system to make their kids sick. It’s also pretty bad in SoCal.

      • demodocus’ spouse

        Last year it seemed like everybody told me I should join one, but stories like this one encouraged me to avoid them. Hope your friend found some sensible people to chat with.

        • Gatita

          I wanted to join one but couldn’t find one that I considered sane. It was very isolating as a new mother to feel like there weren’t any other mothers I could relate to. I eventually found other parents that were on the same wavelength as me but it took a while.

      • nativecalifornian

        “SoCal” is not a place. It is a region of many different cities and mindsets. Lumping all into a single mindset is doing us a great disservice. There are plenty of supportive mom’s groups here, it is the unsupportive ones that people remember and that make the blogs. I belong to two “mom’s” groups and they couldn’t be more supportive about differences (we have moms who bottle fed from the beginning and one who still nurses a five year old as well as LGBT parents) – unless you are anti-vax. Then you better GTFO ASAP.

        • Gatita

          that all may be true but it still also true that, for example, Jay Gordon is a pediatrician in LA and at Ground Zero of the anti-vaccination movement, and home birthing is a big thing in San Diego. So yes it’s a big region but it’s a big region with many pockets of deep woo

      • Roadstergal

        I wish I could say that the Bay Area has a lot of science as well as a lot of woo, but dizam, there is SO much woo here. Otherwise sensible, college-educated women say the damndest things about BF, ‘organic’ food, ‘natural’ this and that. I hear random woo from co-workers at a biotech.

        “she was bottle feeding and the other mothers didn’t want her kid’s inferior immune system to make their kids sick”

        Oh, so I’m sure they also exclude parents who don’t vaccinate their kids. Right? Right? Sigh.

      • araikwao

        That’s just stupid. I’m going to approximately quote Dr Cox (Scrubs) – “That’s based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the human body works.”

  • yentavegan

    for the first time I have not received an arts and crafts school project of glue . macaroni and glitter for Mother’s Day. My youngest is in middle school and the sweet innocent days of handmade gifts are gone. My kids have all survived my wacko attachment parenting lunacy and they are secure enough in their own skin to tell me when to back off . I feel luck to be their mom.

    • OBPI Mama

      No macaroni art?! … bittersweet, I’m sure.

      • demodocus’ spouse

        I’m sort of looking forward to my first macaroni art. I’ll keep it forever to embarrass him with by showing his future fiancé. 😉

  • OBPI Mama

    Very beautiful.This is my first Mother’s Day as a mom to 5 children and I’m learning more and more there are “equally great ways to raise a child” as you say (I think that is your quote… sleep deprived here)… my 5th was born a few weeks ago via C-section (my 4th c/s).
    I have a question that is OT, but wanted to come here. My first 6 days of recovery was going the best yet… I was barely having pain, was up and down really well, I was thinking, “I could have another c/s if the recoveries can be like this from now on!”, etc. Then it was discovered that pools and tunnels of blood had formed under my incision, not allowing it to heal (we discovered during the staple removal). My husband is packing the wound 2x a day (thank goodness he’s a farmer and is not disgusted by anything!). The doctor is hopeful he’ll be able to stitch me up this week though. It’s quite a gap open and I was wondering if it takes awhile to heal from stitches????? I’ve never had them and was envisioning being back to normal later that week, but my husband thinks I’m crazy. I was wondering if there was an average time of healing from all this…
    I don’t want medical advice, but if you could tell me what you’ve seen from previous women with this issue, that’d be amazing. I can’t find anything on the internet!
    I also asked the doctor if this makes me prone to having it happen if we did have another child and he said, “no”. He said I am more at risk because of multiple C-sections, but just because it happened this time, it doesn’t make it even higher it’ll happen next time. Then I asked a nurse later, the same question, and she said, “Yes.” Was curious other doctor’s thoughts. -I’m pretty certain we are done (my dad has threatened to drive my husband to the doc for a vasectomy), but I was wondering if we did happen to get pregnant.
    If you can’t respond, I do understand. I know every woman and how she heals is different. I am so thankful for my C-section and those first 6 days of fun (especially) and am anxious to feel normal again (once stitched up). A healthy baby is worth all this and more.
    My oldest (with the homebirth OBPI injury) was having some trouble at recess and with 1 boy calling his arm “useless” and we sat down as I was holding my new 2 week old and I said, “Bubby, you’ve worked so hard for Lefty. Did you know you started going to therapies and working hard when you were Baby Boy’s age?” It kind of hit me all over again how hard he’s had to work and how thankful I am that I wised up and no more of my babies have to go through what he has had to. Thank goodness for C-sections.

    • fiftyfifty1

      I’m not an OB, so I don’t have enough experience to know what the chances of this happening again are, but what happened to you happened to a friend of mine. It was her first CS. She, like you, had to have it packed and since her husband was super squeamish, a home health nurse did it. It was a major pain. With her second, there was no problem at all. Perfect healing.

      • OBPI Mama

        Oh wow! That would really stink with it being a first c/s. We haven’t had any issues until this 4th one, so I should count my blessings. I’m glad my husband can manage the wound care, but I must say I feel Frankenstein-ish and feel bad for him, even though he doesn’t even wince or grimace when helping. I’m feeling lots of burning (no signs of infection though) so I’m hoping that means I’m healing more and more. I’m downing protein (as suggested by the nurses) and am thinking it’s helping.

        • SporkParade

          Feel better soon! I’m glad the issue with the mean boy was resolved. Children can be little jerks, mostly because they don’t know any better.

    • Mac Sherbert

      I hope you heal up fast like you think you will! It’s no fun being down with a newborn.

      I’m so sorry that other children can be so mean!! I was talking to one of my son’s friend’s Mom recently about how bad the bullying is and they are only in primary school.

      • OBPI Mama

        Thank you. I’m blessed to have had my family out helping us. They are gone now though and so I’d like to get back to feeling better soon! haha.
        We were a bit surprised by the issue with my oldest boy (he’s in 1st) as he’s very confident and well-liked (very social), but it was just 1 boy and the school has worked it out. My son feels good about the apology and so we are hoping it’s done with now. My son mentioned it to his occupational therapist and not to me and so I’m just so thankful she told me (I don’t know if he was ashamed or what) and we moved on from there. I cried a bit from some guilt that my decisions led to this, but that comes and goes with this journey. Catching up on Dr. Amy posts and agreed with that one about “how will you feel” post.

    • Mishimoo

      Ooooh congatulations on the new addition! Hope you heal up quickly and well now that the problem is being dealt with.

      Bullying sucks so much, I hope this is just a one-off and that he’s feeling happier now.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      It is a pretty common complication of any abdominal surgery (not only C-sections). It is more upsetting than serious and most patients recover quite well in two-three weeks.

      I had a little bit of an hematoma on my c-section incission myself. The skin healed perfectly and I did not need any treatment after but the scar is a bit funny after that hematoma and looks like it will stay with its funny shape. In any case I feel completely normal right now (7 months). I exercise as I used to and can do any house chores. I wish you a nice recovery.

    • araikwao

      Congrats on your new baby, but sorry to hear about the wound trouble. Well done hubby, though!