I’m a conscientious objector in the Mommy Wars

Successfully raising children

It’s one the greatest internecine conflicts of the past 50 years.

No, I’m not talking about capitalism vs. communism, nor Democrat vs. Republican. I’m talking about the battle for mothering supremacy, the Mommy Wars.

I just finished reading a declaration of intent in one of the latest battles, and I disagree profoundly. When it comes to the central premises of the Mommy Wars, I’m a conscientious objector.

Manic Pixie Dream Mom, who writes for the Today Parenting Team, declares Bring on the Mommy Wars!

And after all the effort to stop the mommy wars, after all the kumbaya we-can-all-get-along every blogger’s been pushing lately, I’m ripping up the fragile truce. I’m done. I’m sick of the mealy-mouthed we-all-have-to-support-each-other.

Because I don’t support some of you, and I’m tired of pretending.

Don’t hold back; tell us how you really feel:

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#009bd1″]The Mommy Wars are premised on the idea that there is one right way to raise every single child.[/pullquote]

We all got into this parenting thing with various ideas. We picked those ideas because we think those are the right ideas…

That means that, by definition, we decided some ideas were wrong. Maybe not wrong in all circumstances, but wrong. For example, I think cry-it-out is barbaric unless it’s necessary for the sanity of the family, and then only as a last resort. Maybe we think some things are always wrong: for me, that’s circumcision. I’m sick of pretending to support moms who made a choice I think is contrary to human rights and dignity. I don’t support you…

But that doesn’t mean I have to shout you down. As women, we’re programmed to be butthurt when other women disagree with us. That doesn’t fly. We need to learn to live with disagreement, however uncomfortable. I can not support your choices without being rude or thinking you’re a howling idiot. I can think you’re wrong, and we can still be friends

Learning to live with disagreement is a good thing, but it is premised on the idea that there is one right way to raise every single child and that’s absurd.

Consider the following scenario:

When you attend a wedding, are you dismayed to find that other women are not wearing the exact same thing that you are wearing? Do you criticize them secretly or to their faces for not choosing the same color outfit that you chose, in the same style, with the same accessories? Of course not.

There are several reasons for this.

  • First, everyone recognizes that different things look good on different people because some styles are flattering for one body type and not for another; some colors are attractive with some skin tones and not with others. Women are different from each other and what looks good on you won’t necessarily look good on another women.
  • Second, individuals have different tastes; some are modest and prefer covering up, while others may want to flaunt a daring decolletage. Some women prefer frilly, while others feel more comfortable with simple, pared down styles. Some women love red, while others hate it.
  • Third, no one thinks that what she wears to any given event indicates whether or not she is a worthy woman.

In other words, we don’t expect every woman to show up at a wedding wearing the exact same outfit because women are individuals with individual needs, desires and preferences.

Mothering is like clothing in that regard, there is no “one size fits all” for every single mother or even for every child of the same mother. The parenting styles that women choose reflect their needs, desires and preferences and (hopefully) the needs, desires and preferences of each individual child.

It makes no more sense to insist that is best for every mother to choose the family bed her children than for every mother to wear a black pencil skirt to every meeting. And it makes no more sense to judge women by their parenting choices than to judge them by their clothing choices.

Manic Pixie Dream Mom concludes:

But it means that yes, if you find extended breastfeeding creepy, by all means, say so in the politest of terms. This should be the civilest of wars, fought with scientific evidence and eloquence. No personal attacks. No “you’re ruining the baby.” This is the only way we can discuss different ways of parenting without degenerating into “I’m okay, you’re okay” or “I’m right, and you’re a bitch.” It’s how you actually change minds – and foster honesty.

You can separate the practice from the person. You can see the failure to circumcise not as a moral judgement, but as a parenting choice. You can view cry-it-out as a choice rather than a sign of someone’s character. And we can all agree to be polite and kind about it.

But that presumes that it is one mother’s business how another mother raises her child. That’s the fundamental premise of the Mommy Wars. And that’s why I’m a conscientious objector. I would suggest that instead of viewing things like extended breastfeeding and circumcision not simply as parenting choices that you can disagree with politely, but as parenting choices that are none of your business.

Don’t “bring on” the Mommy Wars, just do your best to raise your own children in the way that you think is right for them and for your family. We don’t need to learn to “live with disagreement.” We need to mind our own business. Raising your own children is hard enough without some mothers feeling entitled to pontificate on how other women raise theirs.

To paraphrase the great Jewish scholar Hillel:

Successfully raising children requires loving them and letting them know it. All the rest is commentary.

73 Responses to “I’m a conscientious objector in the Mommy Wars”

  1. Liz Leyden
    October 2, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Manic Pixie Dream Mom would be a great band name, especially if they do children’s music.

  2. SporkParade
    October 2, 2015 at 2:39 am #

    Good luck being a conscientious objector. I just left a mother’s group on Facebook after getting into one to many fights where I was defending the right to make different choices against people who were belittling others’ choices. And yes, they were posting in order to belittle others’ choices, not to share their own experiences.

  3. ersmom
    October 1, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    May I also add that what may work in one stage of parenting may not work in another.

    I have been (in order) a SAHM, a full-time student, a full-time resident, a full-time attending, and SAHM, and a part-time attending over the last 15 years.

    My husband has alternated between working FT, SAHD, FT PhD student, FT SAHD, FT work over the same time period.

    Sometimes, we have both worked (or gone to school) FT. For 4 glorious months, we were both SAHP. Our family’s needs have varied over the last 15 years.

    The kids seem to be doing OK. 😉 Thinking of bumping up my hours to pay for an Ivy League School now.

  4. mostlyclueless
    October 1, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    I actually agree with her premise here, and in fact I think probably everyone does. We all agree there are some parenting choices that are completely unacceptable, like beating your children. No one can say that child abuse is just someone doing what works for their family.

    The question is where do we draw the line? Can I only call a parenting decision wrong when it’s clearly abuse or neglect? What about spanking? And from there you have every gradation between clear abuse and the clothing choice example given in Dr. A’s post.

    No one thinks that all parenting choices are exempt from judgment. It’s just a matter of where we draw our own personal lines.

    • Amy
      October 2, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

      I think you drew the line pretty well, actually. When it’s abuse or neglect. Now as a teacher, I have to attend a training on reporting abuse and neglect annually. A team of doctors, social workers, legal experts, and psychologists have come up with a pretty comprehensive list of what constitutes abuse and/or neglect.

      There are questions you can ask:
      -Does it keep a child safe from danger?
      -Does it meet a child’s basic needs– adequate nutrition, access to adequate hygiene, adequate shelter?
      -Does the child have access to an age-appropriate education?
      -Does the child have access to medical care?
      -Are the child’s emotional needs being addressed?

      If the answer to all of those is yes, then we need to butt out.

  5. Amazed
    October 1, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    Am I the only one who sees 50 Shades of Milky Meg here? How much are you willing to bet that she’d lose it the moment someone calls a choice of her not reasonabe?

  6. autumn
    October 1, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    She needs to realize that just because someone don’t do something doesn’t mean they think it’s wrong. It means it doesn’t work for that person or family. I don’t drink (not even one at a social event), wear make-up or belong to a gym. But that doesn’t mean I think doing any of those is wrong (unless you’re drinking too much of course, and especially if you drink and drive!), it’s just not choices I make for myself. There are many “right” choices one can make.

  7. Dr Kitty
    October 1, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

    I don’t get it.
    My friends are people I like and respect, I trust them to do the right thing, they love their kids, their kids seem happy and well cared for, why do I want to know the details of their parenting techniques?
    Sure, we could have a long and boring conversation about baby led weaning vs purée and jars, but why would we, when we could have a much more interesting conversation about something else?

    I mean, obviously I don’t mention my kids’ excellent sleeping and eating around the friend who had the reflux/colic/insomniac baby, (that baby was a NIGHTMARE) beyond that, I don’t give the mommy wars stuff a thought.

  8. demodocus
    October 1, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    What is with “butthurt?” (I hesitate to call it a word.) We have a word for that. It’s called spanking.

    • LibrarianSarah
      October 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

      It’s internet speak for offended.

    • Megan
      October 1, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

      I really hate that term. It sounds so childish.

    • Mariana Baca
      October 1, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      It is in the Oxford dictionary if that makes you feel better, lol. It describes someone complaining in a way akin to a child complaining about a minor pain in the butt. (I guess it could be from spanking, but I mostly took it like, a little kid stumbled and fell on their butt, and are now making a big deal out of a minor injury).

      Whether the term derives from spanking or some other form of butt injury, butthurt is not so much about the act that hurt your butt (like the metaphorical phrase “you got spanked in that conversation” — is highlighting that someone chastized you), but about whining about a minor injury (She is butthurt — implies nothing about who or what caused the injury, but that she is making a big deal about a minor injury).

  9. LibrarianSarah
    October 1, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    It’s funny. I don’t disagree with her overall point. I don’t think women should be always required to “support” each other or avoid criticizing other women’s choices. I just think that her CIO and circumcision are stupid hills to die on and I think she did a shit job of defending her choice to die on those hills.

    What is the evidence that CIO has any long term negative impact on a person’s well being? I can’t even remember what my parents did to get me to sleep when I was a baby because I WAS A BABY.

    But their are parenting choices I judge and criticize and I do so without shame. Call your special needs kid “damaged?” I get the guns out. Don’t vacinate? More guns. MMS? I am bringing a freaken artillery unit.

    But these is a shit-ton of evidence that each of those things are bad for kids. Formula feeding, breast feeding, working, staying at home, attachment parenting, those are just choices and not really my business.

    • Megan
      October 1, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

      I guess I just thought that if the article were truly about that, then she wouldn’t have felt the need to interject that she thinks CIO is “barbaric” or that circumcision is a “human rights violation.” It just felt like an underhanded way to get her opinion out there. If she really needed to provide an example she could’ve just said that those were things she didn’t agree with or better yet, pick something that is not as contentious, like cloth diapering just as a way to illustrate her point.

      • LibrarianSarah
        October 1, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

        I don’t know this lady so I am just going to take her at her word and give her the benefit of the doubt. If you replace “CIO” and “circumcision” with “spanking” and “not-vaccinating,” I could have written that article.

        How often is the choice to homebirth criticized (and harshly mind you) on this blog? Should Amy close this blog down and “support” homebirth? Of course not!

        The title was pure click-bait and this lady’s priorities are off but the larger point is correct.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          October 1, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

          If you replace “CIO” and “circumcision” with “spanking” and “not-vaccinating,” I could have written that article

          But you WOULDN’T have, Sarah. That’s more the point, I think.

          • LibrarianSarah
            October 1, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

            You’re right I wouldn’t but that’s because I am too lazy not because I am too nice.

        • Kelly
          October 1, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

          Home birth and not-vaccinating are things that can kill the kids, CIO and circumcision are not.

  10. Amy M
    October 1, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

    Why should anyone care what this woman thinks? Who gave her the power to decide what is right anyway? Of course, she can decide what is right for her, and she can think that her friend’s way is wrong, but why does she think its necessary to TELL her friend her unflattering opinion? She seems to think other people want to know what she thinks. Well, we know—she wrote it in the article, so no need for her to approach anyone, that would be redundant. Not only is what I do not her business, also, what she does isn’t mine and (assuming no one is being harmed) I DON’T CARE. One of her points in this article seems to be that others should know HER business. She’s not even saying that she should know everyone’s stuff while she remains a closed book—-she is opening her book in our faces. Instead a “polite discourse” about parenting style differences, she really only warrants a “That’s nice, dear.”

    • Megan
      October 1, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      I guess she thinks that since the Today show cares what she thinks, everyone else does too. I’m disgusted they’ve given her a platform.

  11. moto_librarian
    October 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    I’m just going to come right out and say it. I find women who have no other accomplishments or interests beyond their children to be extremely boring. And by accomplishments, I don’t necessarily mean a career. An interest in art, literature, music, crafting, sports, etc. – those all qualify. The infant and toddler years are such a small part of parenting, and frankly, there is an awful lot of tedium involved regardless of your parenting style. I don’t like to hang out with people like Manic Pixie because they tend to elevate mundane (and frankly, boring) parental tasks into huge accomplishments. I also deal with a lot of college-aged students who have never learned how to be independent because their mothers have never learned how to let go.

    • Bugsy
      October 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

      I was thinking along the exact same lines a few days ago. I’m a stay-at-home mom who heartily enjoys the time I spend with my working friends because they have so much going on. No, I don’t want to talk about my kids all the time. My life won’t exactly be getting more independent and interesting with #2 due in a few weeks, but as soon as I can, I really want to nurture my own interests aside from my role as parent. That part of me is fine, but not always interesting…and certainly not 100% of the identity I want to have.

    • Amy M
      October 1, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

      I don’t get why she thinks women should always speak their opinions? I mean, I can follow her up to the point of “we don’t have to support every choice or pretend we think all choices are equal.” However, she said nothing about simply keeping your opinion to yourself. I don’t have to agree with what, let’s say, Manic Pixie is doing, but so what? If she is my friend, I’ll be friends anyway, so long as she isn’t hurting anyone. If she isn’t my friend, then there would be no interaction—I wouldn’t just walk up to someone I don’t even know (or even online) and tell them they made a bad choice. We don’t have to “support” all opinions, but the world is a nicer place if we are all civil and sometimes that requires being quiet.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        October 1, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

        I don’t get why she thinks women should always speak their opinions?

        They can learn the lesson like Princess Kim:


        “Although she’s always been called Princess at home, Kim is not a real princess, so she decides “From now on, no matter what, I’m only going to tell the truth!” At home, she tells her Dad that the pancakes are rubbery…At school, she’s just as honest…until she learns what too much truth can do. A wise and funny book about what it means to be kind.

        (I always think of Princess Kim when I make pancakes for the kids. “Dad, your pancakes are kind of rubbery.”)

        • Amy M
          October 1, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

          Yes, that’s exactly it! It’s not about lying to people, but about empathy and how to recognize that other people have feelings. And if you can’t or won’t recognize that, then you probably won’t have many friends.

        • demodocus
          October 1, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

          …if it wouldn’t be mean-spirited of me, I’d mail this book to a couple of my relatives.

  12. Bugsy
    October 1, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    The author talks out of both sides of her mouth. I have no problem being friends with someone with different parenting choices/styles, but I have zero interest in being friends with someone who secretly judges said parenting styles as “wrong” or “contrary to human rights or dignity.” No, we’re not all going to agree with one another…but that does _not_ give us the right to refer to one another’s decisions as abusive or flat-out wrong.

  13. moto_librarian
    October 1, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    This sounds an awful lot like “love the sinner, hate the sin” to me. I don’t need any quasi-religious bullshit about parenting from her or anyone else.

  14. RMY
    October 1, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    When is agreeing with ever minor decision sometime makes a requirement for friendship? In the end of the day, how many parenting decisions are actually major decisions? I mean abuse is abuse, but what food someone introduces first? If they use cloth or disposable diapers? Who cares?

    • AirPlant
      October 1, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      I have friends who let their kids eat nothing but crap and watch as much tv/tablet as they want. I profoundly disagree with those choices. I value the friendship though so I choose to close my eyes and chant “not my problem” when it comes up and somehow we manage to continue being friends. Crazy thing, that.

      • fiftyfifty1
        October 1, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

        “friends who let their kids eat nothing but crap ”

        She lets her children eat feces?!

        • Bugsy
          October 1, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

          Well, it may be both organic and GMO-free. Full of nutrients!!

  15. Megan
    October 1, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    “I can think you’re wrong, and we can still be friends”
    And I can think you’re a judgemental crazy lady and decide I don’t really want to be friends with you anymore since you think it’s OK to not mind your business or your manners.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      October 1, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      As usual, Megan is spot on right.

      “I can think you can go fuck yourself with a cattle prod. But we can still be friends, right?”

      Actually, this is something that you hear about a lot from the LGBT community. People who tell them that they are evil, perverted sinners who deserve to fry in hell. Those people then try to claim that they still love gay people. You hear it from the gay person side, however, it’s very different. For them, it’s “You can’t hate who I am and still love me.”

      • RMY
        October 2, 2015 at 11:16 am #

        Yeah, I’ve had coworkers who I don’t doubt consider me their gay friends that makes their homophobia okay. They don’t understand that me being nice to them doesn’t mean I consider them good friends, it just means I like being nice to coworkers and being professional is important to me.

        • nomofear
          October 3, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

          Ooh, as a race-conscious white person growing up in the south…oooooh. that is one of the most annoying things in the world, and no, you can’t tell it like it is at work. You have to continue to make a living, after all. But I can’t even count how many times I hear things from white/straight/English speaking people “but this black/gay/Hispanic person I work with agreed with me when I said (insert horrible thing here).” And, from my end, I don’t know if I should try to burst their bubble. What if they go back to work and needle this person about what I said? Don’t poke the bear….

    • LibrarianSarah
      October 1, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

      See I don’t think their is anything intrinsically wrong with that statement. Thinking someone is wrong about an issue doesn’t mean you think they are a bad person or that you don’t like them. It just means you disagree with them. To disagree with someone is to usually think they are wrong.

      I am an atheist. I have a lot of friends that our theists. When it comes to the whether or not their is a god I think they are wrong and they think I am wrong. Those are just the facts. It is how we feel about those facts that counts. They don’t feel that I deserve eternal torture for being wrong and I don’t think they are stupid or gullible for being wrong so we can be friends.

      Though I am the kind of person who regularly says in an argument “I don’t hate you. I don’t think you are stupid. I just think you are wrong.”

  16. areawomanpdx
    October 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    This woman sounds asinine. I could never be friends with someone I truly believed was committing human rights abuse or even had flagrantly poor character. Is she really saying she firmly believes circumcision and cry-it-out are child abuse, but she would totally be cool being friends with someone who did those things? I totally agree that it’s none of my business. Parent your child as you see fit. As long as you’re feeding the kid and not abusing them, carry on. If you can’t shut up about the superiority of your parenting choices, I probably don’t want to be your friend, anyway, even if I parent the same way. One caveat: I would never be friends with someone who didn’t vaccinate her children for non-medical reasons. That’s not a parenting choice, that’s a choice to deny science and threaten public health.

  17. Zornorph
    October 1, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    Really, the only parenting choice that I have any real issue with is the vaccine thing because that can impact mine, but I don’t go around freaking out. I actually found out that my baby-sitter’s family is anti-vax. Fortunately, LO didn’t start going there until after he was 1 and we live on an island – very unlikely that there’s going to be an outbreak of measles anytime soon. If I have another child, I will have to make a decision then if this is likely to be an issue from when he’s 0-1, but I’ll handle that when the time comes and will find a polite way of dealing with it. I’ve never said a think to my baby-sitter’s mother about her parenting choice in this matter, even though I think it’s irresponsible and shockingly illogical. This is a fairly inteligent woman and she’s fallen deep into the woo – even had homebirths with her last two kids.
    But all the other stuff – breastfeeding, circumcision, CIO, spanking, baby-wearing – I really couldn’t care less how other people choose to parent their kids and I’m not interested in their opinions of how I parent mine.

    • Guested
      October 1, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

      Vaccines are a big one for me too and I think that is rational.

      Outside of that though the only opinion that matters is my husbands. Now that I think though, I wanted to cloth diaper, he didn’t and we use disposables. He wanted to circumcise I didn’t and our son is circumcised. I think the only fight I won was breastfeeding because there was no power on this earth that could make me do that bullshit. (No offense to nursing moms, I am sure you made the best choice for your family but I was out after the first cracked nipple)

      • Zornorph
        October 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

        Well, I only have to ask me for an opinion and I generally agree with me. I have had a few people try to shove their oar in – women in every single case – to suggest that I might not have considered why ‘their’ way is the ‘best’ way. Depending on how friendly I am with the person, I listen with varying degrees of politeness and then let it go right out the other ear.
        It’s different if somebody is bringing me new information or some valuable advice – I’m not so dogmatic that I can’t listen and pick up useful tips – but most of the ‘mommy war’ issues are ones I thought about and made my own mind up on before LO was even born.

        • AirPlant
          October 1, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

          So what you are saying is that you are an adult who made an adult decision about something important to you and once your decision was made external opinions were entirely irrelevant and unhelpful? INSANITY.

          • fiftyfifty1
            October 1, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

            No, what I think he is saying is that he’s a dad.

            Never in a million years would men waste their time squabbling over this bullshit.

            Care of young children is thankless, low status work. The Mommy Wars serve to obscure that fact, and keep women fighting each other rather than fighting for workplace advancement and/or improvement in the status of caregiving labor.

      • RMY
        October 1, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

        Yeah, I could never attempt to bf, my breasts are oversensitive enough of the time already. More power to you if you’re inclined to, but I’m not.

    • Hilary
      October 1, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

      Agreed. I’d like to say I’m tolerant of everyone’s parenting choices, but anti-vax parents make me angry because their choices are affecting not only their own child’s health, but my child’s health and everyone else’s. I’d say around 1/3 to 1/2 of the women I meet at local “mommy” groups are either not vaccinating or on a delayed schedule, and frankly, it scares the crap out of me. But whether they circumcise or breastfeed or cloth diaper or make their own organic baby food, I really don’t care, as long as they don’t bother me about it.

    • Bugsy
      October 1, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

      Anti-vaxxers and moms who tout their parenting decisions as a sign of their personal superiority are where I draw the line. Thankfully haven’t met too many of them…but they drive me nuts.

      • Megan
        October 1, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

        Those kind of moms are the reason I am scared to join any mom/baby groups. I had thought about doing so for my daughter to be able to have play time with other children and make some friends but I can’t deal with the dogma and the judging. She’s in daycare three days a week now. I hope that’s enough socialization.

        • Bugsy
          October 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

          I’m completely with you on that. I joined a new baby group w/ #1, and wasn’t a huge fan of it. The focus on baby-wearing, cloth diapers, baby-led weaning…it was a bit too much for me. I did meet some awesome moms at drop-in sessions and through Facebook groups, and they’ve saved me. Kids of varying ages, some a few years younger, and some a few years younger than my son. I’ve enjoyed it so much more than the new baby groups.

          • Inmara
            October 1, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

            I don’t understand why cloth diapers are such a big deal in these parenting circles. I get that it’s supposedly environment friendly (though in arid regions, like Southwestern US, washing those diapers is definitely more harmful for environment) but how exactly is it a parenting choice? Or cloth diapers are kind of a status symbol which comes in package with extended BF and co-sleeping?

          • Megan
            October 1, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

            I think they are definitely a status symbol. They are expensive and often come in limited-release colors and patterns. They sell for big bucks even gently used because people literally collect the colors and patterns. I actually had planned to cloth diaper (though got really tired of the leaking and stopped; maybe I just wasn’t doing it right) and I definitely see how it could be something to collect. I’ve seen cloth diapering groups where moms literally take pictures of their diaper colelctions to show them off to other moms. This is also true of babywearing moms who use woven wraps. I personally loved wrapping my daghter so that I could be hands free and know my daughter wasn’t getting into trouble. When I participated in a group for babywearing, women would literally show off collections of wraps that were worth thousands. In fact, some wraps are so exclusive and limited release that they are worth thousands alone. It was crazy. Since I had a shoulder injury, I’ve since stopped wrapping (and my daughter is now big enough for high chairs and shopping carts and we now have a stroller) but in those communities, it was yet another thing to show off the privledge of these parents.

          • Medwife
            October 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

            There is a local “baby wearing” group where I live and I find them a little frightening. Just as you describe, these women spend literally thousands of dollars on different types of wraps/carriers, and limited edition patterns and materials. They share pictures of themselves wearing their babies and toddlers. Every once in a while someone makes a snarky remark about strollers and everyone pats themselves on the back. It’s one of the weirdest, saddest things I’ve ever seen.

          • Guestk
            October 1, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

            My youngest weirdly hated all wraps and carriers. He was only happy being held with arms and hands, clearly he knew that using a wrap is the lazy way out.

          • Bombshellrisa
            October 1, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

            Yes! I have had two separate run ins with members of a baby wearing group (one at a dog park, the other at a mall) both in WA and Oregon. I can’t believe anyone would equate riding in a stroller with traumatizing a child but yes, that is what was said. I had an ergo that I used because in some instances it was easier for me. But I totally get what you mean by frightening because I didn’t like being attacked for my chosen mode of baby transport.

          • Medwife
            October 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

            It’s all so “stepford wife”. That’s what’s frightening to me. I am determined not to let my world shrink that much.

          • Megan
            October 1, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

            I loved my ring sling and my wraps and my husband still wears our daughter in our Tula when we go grocery shopping (mostly because she’s been too small for the seat in the care up until now). She loves the view she gets from up on our backs and when she was smaller I really loved the hands-free snuggling, especially with a front carry. But I also love my stroller and we walk the local trails regularly in it. I never really understood the snobbery surrounding it. There’s no reason to think that wearing your baby or pushing them in a stroller would have any effect on them long term. I mean, there were times when it was the only way I could get my daughter to stop crying but I don’t think she’d be suffering any damage if I hadn’t done that. It’s all very silly really.

          • Bugsy
            October 1, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

            I was thinking the same thing…there were a few baby wearing moms in my new moms group three years ago. Even now, their Facebook profile pics are pics of them wearing their preschoolers. If the kids genuinely like it, fine…but given the earnest with which these moms devoted themselves to baby-wearing when their kids were a few months old, I can’t help but think that it’s a major part of the moms’ identities, not unlike extended breastfeeding for lactivists.

          • Amy M
            October 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

            Yep, definitely a status symbol. I once read an article, that was in favor of cloth-diapering on the grounds of cost savings. It included a very detailed chart about the costs (laundry, etc factored in) of different kinds of cloth diapers, as well as disposable. However, the disposable diaper in the chart was the most expensive brand, in the smallest package at the store where it cost the most. I used their calculations, but substituted the diapers I was buying (BJs brand), and that way, only the simplest cloth diaper system cost LESS than disposable, several were on par, and a few of the high-end cloth systems cost MORE. So there are definitely people out there spending more on cloth diapering than disposable.

          • Hilary
            October 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

            I use cloth diapers in order to save money. I use cotton flats which is just a big square of cloth (some are actually receiving blankets) and covers. One of the covers I made from wool yarn that someone gave me. I wash every 3 days. It is definitely less expensive than disposables, but I am the only person I know who actually cloth diapers this way and for this reason. We could not afford the all-in-ones or pockets or even sized prefolds after the newborn stage.

          • Amy M
            October 2, 2015 at 7:41 am #

            I’m not saying you can’t save money with cloth diapers, especially if you can re-use for more than one child. Just in this particular article, since they were quite disingenuous about the disposable comparison, and seemed to favor high-end systems, it didn’t show the savings it claimed to.

          • Hilary
            October 2, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

            Yeah, I have seen articles like that as well and they don’t do anyone any favors.

          • Bugsy
            October 1, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

            I think it’s the status symbol as well as based off of the assumption that you’re making the environmentally better choice, because it’s not leaving toxins to disintegrate in landfills for 1000s of years. Pretty ironic, because everything I’ve read suggests that it really hasn’t been determined which is better for the environment.

          • Liz Leyden
            October 2, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

            Where I live, cloth diapers are a definite status symbol. Many daycares won’t accept them, so they can be a sign that your family can afford a nanny or a stay-at-home parent. In my area, wealthy parents use cloth diapers, while non-wealthy ones use disposables.

    • Amy M
      October 1, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

      Totally OT, but don’t you live in the Caribbean? Are you having hurricane problems?

      • Zornorph
        October 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

        I am currently under hurricane warning. Hoping that it’s going to pass a bit to the east of us, but the Central Bahamas (I’m in the north) is getting pounded right now.

    • Liz Leyden
      October 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

      My local Mom blog had a post that was all about accepting different methods of parenting. I agreed with most of it, until they said “It doesn’t matter if you vaccinate.” My grandmother, who was a teacher in the days before vaccines, and my relatives in England, which has had measles outbreak for 10 years thanks to Dr. Wakefield’s fraudulent study, would beg to differ. If your parenting choices affect my kid’s health, I’m going to judge.

  18. Mel
    October 1, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    I love the “when I dislike you, I can call it a human-rights abuse, but when you disagree with me, you have to be civil. Also, I’m totally not a human-rights abuse ever.”

    Run that to a logical conclusion.

    “I’ve decided in the last 30 seconds that I believe that extended breastfeeding is a human-rights abuse if you breast-feed beyond two years of age. My rationale is that a two-year old is well on the way to being an independent person and may feel embarrassed by nursing around others. Embarrassment by parents should be avoided at all cost because of long-ranging psychological effects like low-self-esteem and decreased socialization skills. So, I’m now going to call out all people who are breastfeeding kids who I think are over two as abusive.

    But if you disagree with my habit of hitting my child with a dowel until they are black and blue, you need to be civil. Polite, even.”

  19. Roadstergal
    October 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    “When you attend a wedding, are you dismayed to find that other women are not wearing the exact same thing that you are wearing? Do you criticize them secretly or to their faces for not choosing the same color outfit that you chose, in the same style, with the same accessories?”

    Sadly, some women do. They know there’s a ‘right’ way and a ‘wrong’ way to dress, and they won’t judge you for dressing the wrong way or looking bad in the ‘right’ dress – they know it’s because you don’t have the fashion knowledge, the ‘eye,’ the discipline to make your body look _just_ right, you didn’t love the bride/groom enough to put in the effort to do it right, etc etc. I’m not saying there’s a parallel or anything… I’m just saying civil wars can be awfully passive-aggressive.

    • AirPlant
      October 1, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

      Oh, but my wedding only had two witnesses, and my dress was made of lentils. My love OBVIOUSLY wins.

    • Mel
      October 1, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

      At my wedding, one of my cousins came up to me on the verge of tears and apologized. Turns out, she was wearing the same dress but a slightly different color than one of the bridesmaids*. She was totally freaked out that she had done something completely unforgivable.

      I stared at her for a minute, then started laughing gently.

      I told her that I had picked out that dress for my bridesmaids because the freaked-out cousin had looked so pretty in it at a wedding the year before and it looked like a dress that could be worn again for weddings or summer parties. Since she wore it to my wedding, she proved that it could be worn again and that made me happy.

      *I also know that the bridesmaid who wore the near-identical dress wouldn’t have said anything because a) she’s nice, b) she had no idea who this woman was, and c) the bridesmaid was 14 years old.

  20. EllenL
    October 1, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    “I can think you’re wrong, and we can still be friends.”

    Sure, if you THINK it. But if you say it, there’s going to be trouble. Saying it politely? There is no polite way to say “you’re totally wrong,” “that’s a barbaric thing to do,” or “you’re an idiot.”

    Which is why it’s best to say nothing at all. These are personal choices, and really no one else’s business. People used to keep their mouths shut about their friends’ choices in birth and childrearing. It worked really well IMO.

    • AirPlant
      October 1, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

      Have people really kept their mouths shut though? I feel like judging parents (read: moms) has been the national passtime for pretty much all of recorded history. Kids have always been assholes and there is always someone who thinks that they can fix that and who wants to tell you how to make that happen. Even for me, I try to be open minded and non judgemental but I see a kid glued to a tablet 24/7 and a chunk of my brain just goes straight to the oh so attractive bitchy place where kids today are nothing but ill mannered hellions and their parents OBVIOUSLY don’t knnow how to interact without technology etc etc.

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