I did it again, even though I know I shouldn't. I should just play games on my phone and stop clicking links I shouldn't. But I am glutton for getting really pissed off by people I don't know and shouldn't care about. Given the gazillions of flame wars out there about, well, everything, I'm clearly not alone in this, but I have a tendency to do it while surfing on my phone, late at night, before going to sleep. This is a problem and also my saving grace, because it means I can't really engage in the dialogue effectively what with the tiny keyboard and all. And because I have an unusually short attention span for an adult, I typically forget about the idiocy I was reading by the time I do eventually get to my computer. But if I get annoyed enough, it keeps me awake. I lie there running through lengthy diatribes in my head.
If the issue is really, truly important, then I will get off my duff, go find my computer, and engage, even if it is 2 AM. It wasn't that important, but it has bugged me enough that I'm still thinking about it. This time, it was another entry into all the crap out there about How To Be A Perfect Parent.
These articles aren't titled that, of course. They're usually along the lines of "10 Reasons You MUST Breastfeed Your Baby" and include all sorts of pseudo-science nonsense about how women who don't breastfeed aren't as attached, the children grow up to be more hostile, sick and stupid and there's always the strong underlying implication that all women could breastfeed if only they weren't such slackers, or were more dedicated to their children. All of this is crap. Every last word.
It's not crap because breastfeeding is bad, of course. It is, in fact, one the healthiest things a woman can do for her baby. But all the rest about attachment and intelligence is just guesswork. There are some studies that show correlation, but none that show absolute causality, and most people can't tell the difference. But that's not the reason it's crap, either.
It's crap because who are they, (or who am I for that matter,) to stand there and try their damnedest to shame another person, about whom they know nothing, because they have chosen different parenting strategies from theirs? It could be breastfeeding, or sleeping arrangements, the safety of baby products or food, vaccinations, appropriate diets, child safety or in the case of my most recent hands-up-in-the-air moment, getting your baby to sleep. This woman was giving her top ten list of why cry-it-out, or whatever they call it now, was absolutely horrendous. I think she even called it abuse, describing CIO adherents people who will let their baby scream in direst agony for hours on end and never go to them. Pul-eese.
On the flip side of that coin, I've heard advocates of co-sleeping painted at negligent, co-dependent parents who don't care if they roll over and smother their infant to death. Right.
I'm not sure why it is that believers one side or other of any parenting choice feel the need to absolutely lambast those who make alternate decisions. Those parents are ill-informed, uncaring monsters. Their children destined to be a crop of stunted, hobbled misfits who will be unable to function in the world! That may be, but it won't be because they didn't get every color of vegetable every day or wash with Johnson and Johnsons.
Gimmie a break, sanctimonious parenting-lady. Parenting is guesswork. You read it all, talk to all the people who've been there before and then give it a try. What works with one kid won't with another. And the ultimate truth is that while even if your way is absolutely right, my way might be just as right, too. It's not a zero-sum game or a competition. So shut it with your do-it-my-way-or-your-baby-will-be-scarred-for-life, okay?
Because if you keep it up, I will have to get into a flame war, and I really, really do need my sleep.