Tuesday, November 11, 2003

How do we survive parenting?

So the question came up on Quartz, what do we do as parents that other people object to?

The answer of course is Everything.
Because no matter what you do, you're doing it wrong in someone else's mind.
Let's scan through the big issues.
Feeding -
If you choose to breastfeed, that's just gross. You grew up just fine without being nursed. You're dooming yourself to being at your child's beck and call for hours, days, months. And don't even dare think you'll continue past a month, 6 months.. a year. No, only freaks nurse past a year. Your milk is bad, that's why she's crying. You can't know how much she's eating!
If you choose to bottlefeed, how dare you poison your child with that subpar stuff. That breastpump isn't the right one. That formula is causing reflux.
Bottlefeeding is so easy, you know what they're getting. Breastfeeding is so easy, no cleaning, no prep. Bottlefeeding is so hard, I'm too lazy. Breastfeeding is so hard, I could never do it.
My child was chewing on chicken at 2 months old and he's fine. You can start solids at 4 months. Holding off until at least 6 months is the smartest thing. Babies don't need anything but breastmilk until a year old.
Sleeping - Family bed? Cradle? Sidecar? Carseat? Crib? In parents room? In kid room? If you sleep with baby you'll suffocate him. Leaving a baby in the crib can bring on SIDS. We never owned a crib. Our child never slept with us. You can't let a child sleep in a swing.
Staying home or working - Staying home? You're losing yourself, becoming a slave to kids and house and worse, you're husband. Going to work? I can't believe you can just abandon your child like that. You must be heartless.
Schooling - Don't send your childrent out to school, there are crazy people out there, the teachers don't know what they're doing, there are bullies, have you seen the testing scores? Who decided to stick kids of one age all together when they all learn so differently at different speeds? Don't keep your children at home for schooling, you have no experience or qualifications to teach, you're denying your children social interaction and they'll grow up socially stunted. There aren't enough safeguards to ensure you're teaching your kids anything of worth.
Then some of the other ones.
Choosing a name - Someone will always hate the name you've chosen. The name is either boring, old fashioned or too weird. Best to save it until baby has arrived. But no matter what, you're dooming your child to a hellish life of spelling correnctions and pronunciation exercises.
Dressing your child - The clothes aren't girly enough, it's not boyish enough, the baby will get cold! He has to wear socks. Where are her mittens? Put a hat on that child!
Bathing - You have to bathe your child every day. Don't bathe more than a couple times a week. Babies don't need baths, just general wipedowns.
Crying - Let him cry or he'll get spoiled! Pick her up, you can't spoil a baby.
Shoes - Every child needs to have shoes on from day 1. Shoes are needed every time the kid leaves the house. Babies don't need shoes until walking and even then only outside. Our kids run around in barefeet all year long.
TV - Tv doesn't hurt in limited amounts. No TV for my kids at all! We leave the TV on all day, they don't always watch it. And if you try to restrict it kids will just wonder what they're missing and rebel. What's a few hours a day?
So... either we're all doing everything wrong, or the reality is we're doing everything exactly right. Just depends on who you talk to.
Or don't bother talking to anyone about it. Do your own research, examine your own family needs and desires, and customize your parenting. Like every single child is unique, so should the parenting decisions be for that child. Love your kids, try your best, and you'll be doing everything Just Right.

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