Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mommy Wars: STFU.

As soon as my first baby was strong enough to turn her head, she was ready to see the world. She wanted to look OUT.  Well, that was a virtual impossibility while nursing since I didn't have detachable breasts. My milk production suffered due to her disinterest, and feedings ultimately turned into two-hour-long nightmares. So, I switched to formula. She was happier. I was happier.

My second child nursed like a champ. If there were milking competitions for lactating mothers, I would have taken the blue ribbon - hands down. Feedings were a piece of cake. I could have nursed him with my eyes closed (as a matter of fact, sometimes I did). He was done in 15 minutes flat and his squeezable cheeks and meaty thighs confirmed he was well-nourished.

One mother. Two babies. Two parenting methods.

This is not a debate over breast-feeding. The point I'm trying to make is that you do what works. I have two children with two very different personalities, and I utilize whichever parenting methods get me through the day [mostly] sane. Sometimes they are different for each kid.

A few days ago Ilana Wiles of Mommy Shorts, a very popular mom-blogger, began sleep-training her children. She advertised this was happening on her Facebook page, along with a start time, so other parents who were doing the same could join the discussion in support of each other. I don't have infants or toddlers, so the topic didn't apply to me, but I sporadically followed the post throughout the night anyway.

I personally am not very familiar with sleep-training, seeing as I don't think I've "trained" my kids to do jack shit outside of recognize the change of inflection in my voice from, "I'm not terribly upset about this just yet," to "I'M ONE SECOND AWAY FROM LOSING MY SHIT!" Which, in my defense, is helpful in its own right. But, I digress.

My understanding is that sleep-training is an extensively researched, very popular technique that basically reinforces self-soothing at bedtime. You put the baby to bed and, if they cry (which they will), you check on them in 10 minute intervals. Sometimes the crying stops after a few check-ins, sometimes it goes on for hours. It's generally a couple of really challenging nights, but the desired (and usually successful) outcome is that the baby gets on a regular sleep schedule without waking during the night. Hooray! Right?

Well don't get too excited just yet. In her post (because she is a smart and insightful woman) she "respectfully requested" that anyone who didn't agree with sleep-training please refrain from commenting negatively on the thread. Was there really a need to make that plea? Do you think everyone honored her request? Of course there was and hell no they didn't! After all, isn't it our job as mothers to tell other mothers when they are doing something we don't happen to agree with?

No. It's not.

Why is it so hard for moms to just support each other? To give advice when it is solicited and to cheer each other on when we're struggling? I don't get it.

Throughout the comments thread, some women actually had the audacity to respond, "Shame on you."

Shame on you? 

For letting a baby cry in 10 minute intervals until she fell asleep? All the while being monitored from another room? All in hopes of a happier, better-rested baby, pre-schooler, Mom, and Dad?

That deserves a "Shame on you"?

How about we reserve the "Shame on you's" for the parents whose children are legitimately neglected. The ones that turn a blind eye when their babies are being beaten and abused by family members. The ones that tell their children that they are worthless. The ones that don't show an ounce of love or compassion to their son or daughter, leaving that poor little soul wandering through life feeling like they don't matter.

That's when a parent deserves a "Shame on you".

Not when they employ a parenting technique that's just not your cup of tea.

I am not writing this in a rally of defense to Mommy Shorts. She's got a huge following and as a result I'm sure she's learned to grow a thick skin. So, I don't doubt that she let all the negative comments roll off her back.

Neither am I writing this in support of sleep-training. I get my 8 hours, so whatever you and your kids do after dark is your business.

I'm writing this because I'm so incredibly sick of the mommy wars. Parenting is hard enough without constantly having to be on the defensive about the choices we make. The majority of us are just trying to do what we think is right for our family. That doesn't mean it's right for yours.  

And that's okay.

If you don't agree with the way someone parents, DON'T DO IT THAT WAY! But, unless they are doing something undoubtedly harmful to their child, shut the fuck up.



36 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you thank you! I LOVE this! Just because something worked or didn't work for me or you or the girl down the street, none of us is wrong! And even if you do think you're always right, you don't need to tell everyone all about it all the time! Again, thank you. Now I will STFU and go.

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    1. I love your last sentence. But you're welcome to stay. Really. :)

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  2. And in BOLD, no less! Shut the fuck up, indeed! You know I love this. (and you)

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    1. If only I had the guts to say this to people's faces. Maybe it's better this way...or it would be part of my daily repertoire and that probably wouldn't be good.

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  3. Interesting, did not know this was new. Mom's mom did this back in the day to mom and her sibs. Women can be so vicious and then we wonder why there are mean girls. Dogs once again are superior though often bitches just the same. Peace out.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy and Stanley

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    1. Women ARE viscous. Which is most of the problem. Can't we just all get along???

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  4. Interesting, did not know this was new. Mom's mom did this back in the day to mom and her sibs. Women can be so vicious and then we wonder why there are mean girls. Dogs once again are superior though often bitches just the same. Peace out.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy and Stanley

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  5. This is just perfect. Like you, I'm not in the same mode as Mommy Shorts. (God help me if my 12 and 14 year old kids need help sleeping!!) Nonetheless, I had popped into those comments a few times to see how it was going for her and had the same reaction that you did. "What is wrong with people? Why do they feel the need to spout from their pie hole any time (EVERY time) someone does something differently than they do??!" I think I may have even said--out loud, to my computer--"just STFU already."

    Glad you wrote this. It is perfection.

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    1. Wasn't it frustrating? I kept telling myself to look away because it was pissing me off, but it was like a train wreck. I HAD TO WATCH! Thanks so much for reading!

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  6. Ugh, I'm so scared to have kids because I know people will just be judging my parenting all the time! People are such dicks. And I'm also scared to have kids because of diapers and poop but that's neither here nor there.

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    1. Parenting wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for all the other...parents.

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  7. A friend just asked me not ten minutes ago, "WTF is with all the trolls this week?" I can't even participate in the dialogue, I'm so exhausted by the tone of the discussion. Shut the fuck up, indeed.

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    1. Some weeks are definitely worse than others. I guess this was an "on" week. I wonder if they have alerts on their phones to remind them to get out there and be assholes.

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  8. A-FUCKING-MEN. LOVE IT.

    Oh except that I really hate bento boxes. I did just write about that. Is that okay? :-/

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    1. Thanks Kristen!

      Bento Boxes suck. So you're perfectly within acceptable boundaries. ;)

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  9. We did this sleep training with our kids 27 & 28 years (28 & 29?? Who knows!) ago. It worked for us. We called it 'letting them cry it out'. We did monitor things. You can definitely tell when they're crying because they're bored vs something is really wrong. My brother and his wife burned up Saudi Arabias yearly output of crude driving their kids around so they'd sleep because they didn't want their kids crying. Worked for them. Just glad it wasn't MY fuel budget. In the end (28-ish years later) we all have some pretty incredible young adults to live with when we get old and feeble. Next week.

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    1. You see?!?!? Neither of you were right or wrong! Just different! Love this comment. Thanks for reading.

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  10. Oh my goodness I love this post! i get so sick of women having to have an opinion (and voicing it) about EVERYTHING! I just emailed the owner of Hip2Save.com, asking if she could maybe post a question for me, as she often does, on her facebook page. We had moved to a new state a few wks ago and found out that milk is like 2$ more here, so I wanted ideas on where to find it cheaper, how to save, etc. I didn't give her any details, just that we moved from Utah to Mississippi and go through about 6 gal/wk so we're spending way more. I got quite an earful! About MILK! Those comments included me feeding my kids way too much milk (not even knowing whether I have kids or not, but I do have 4, so that's more than reasonable, and I don't offer pop/juice), that I shouldn't offer milk at all because it's bad for you, that I should spend more and only offer organic, that I should this and that and the other...Seriously?! I couldn't do anything but laugh as I watched the dialogues unfold between these women, arguing over this simple question. Anyway, amen! I am glad you had the guts to say what I was thinking!!

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  11. I still don't understand why people in general, on every topic, aren't more supportive of each other. Life is hard enough without people trying to score some invisible points off each other.
    ~Vicat

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  12. You said it! Love this post and I think I may just start telling people to STFU!! Life is not a competition and I hate when people make it that way. We all have our own way of doing things and it certainly doesn't make them wrong. Supporting one another would be much more awesome.

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  13. Amen!! I have never understood why some women get so involved in the parenting choices of others. Frankly I don't have time to worry about how someone feeds their baby, whether they use cloth diapers, or disposable or whether they feed their child a diet the looks like the rainbows or the clouds. I"m too busy dealing with my own 3 darlings, all who are different!! I really wish more women could let go of the "ideal" way of raising a child and enjoy their own process and allow others the same freedom!!!

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  14. Thank you! Thank you! I have been that mom, so desperate for sleep that I hired sleep consultants and learned about sleep training. This is what my pediatrician, as well as my son's GI specialist, recommended. When I got online -- this was way before I started blogging -- I couldn't believe the amount of judgment about something as personal and as scientifically sound as sleep training. I have written about sleep training a lot on my blog because I want to prevent any mom from going through the hell that we did over an entire year. (And, yes, it took precisely all of three days to sleep train my son and change our entire lives...) I never want another mom to feel guilty about doing what's best for in her circumstance. Apparently, there are many, many other moms who are very quick to judge and have no idea how to give empathy.

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  15. Yeah I don't get the whole thing with people ripping each other apart. Hey if it works for you then awesome if it doesn't than move on. These trolls are really fucking getting to me.

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  16. Yep. I personally prefer to save my "shame on you"s for the moms who are doing the shaming. And then I wonder if I am really just as bad as they are. No, wait, I'm pretty sure I'm not. Great post- this really gets my blood boiling.

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  17. Yes! Parenting is sooooo hard. We need to support the crap out of other mothers. Nobody needs to be told their decision is wrong. Especially if they are trying to do what is best for their family.

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  18. Hell yes! Different things work for different children and families. As long as we're al trying to do our best by our own family what does it matter? If I chose to sleep train my child it has no impact on anyone else in this world except the people that live in my home.

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  19. If everyone would just focus on their own parenting and not on everyone else's, the world would be a happier place.

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