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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

schadenfreude in the motherhood

this magazine cover made me throw up in my mouth a little:

(image dark as i took it at 6:30 in the morning).

thanks time magazine, for further fanning the flames of the mommy wars.

i must be a stupid mother, becos i don't really subscribe to a particular parenting philosophy.  if anything, hubby and my parenting philosophy could be called "survival".  not so much when the boy was born, but with the kiddos.  our goal - "keep the child happy with whatever means possible - feed 'em, hold 'em, keep them dry".

with the boy, i'd never heard of attachment parenting.  baby wearing meant carrying baby around in a baby bjorn; breast feeding was an option and nobody co-slept with baby - you'd squish him in your sleep!

i didn't buy any parenting books outside of the "what to expect" books.  we really didn't follow them outside of inquiring about developmental issues.  we really liked Mayo Clinic Complete Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth and Baby's First Year (we got it free from our health insurance) becos it was straightforward and gave common sense advice.  when we were having potty training issues with the boy we got this Supernanny book - again, full of common sense information that we were already aware of.  years ago i found my mom's dr. spock book (complete with notes mom made about formula!)  when we found out we were expecting the kiddos the first book we bought was When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, Quads - it became our bible during that pregnancy and i referred to it a lot after the kiddos were born.  again, it had a lot of straightforward information.

we got a baby bjorn for the boy becos it seemed oh so trendy at the time but we never really used it (it was tight on me - i'm was a big girl even back then) and when we went for walks i pushed him in the stroller.  i was afraid of wearing it while shopping becos what if i knock a can off a shelf and it beans him on the head?  what if i lean over and he falls out?  by the time we were pregnant with the kiddos baby wearing was more popular and there were all kinds of slings, carriers and wraps on the market.  we bought a moby becos i wanted to be able to carry the kiddos everywhere and someone suggested that it was good for twins.  i guess i was deluding into thinking we'd have tiny little peanuts.  they were the equivalent of a fifteen pound baby and with my c-section and aches and pains from carrying the kiddos in utero i never got into the habit of baby wearing.  in fact, i used that dumb moby exactly once - to carry petunia at an easter egg hunt.  the moby and the bjorn were both sent to the consignment shop a couple months ago.  i hope they fetched me a lot of money.

my feelings on breast feeding were well documented here (remember, i wrote that post over 3 years ago - i don't feel as snarky towards breast feeding anymore).  as for co-sleeping, hubby and i are big people and we sleep like the dead.  i flail in my sleep and snore like a truck.  you don't want to put a baby between us.

as for cloth diapering, i was onboard to trying this when we got pregnant again.  after hearing we were having twins, hubby and i had a discussion about it.  both cloth and disposable diapers had their merits and limits, and we chose disposables becos i didn't want to spend all day washing diapers.  (yes, i'm aware of diaper services but there were none in my area).

another parenting technique that is gaining popularity is elimination communication.  i know a lot of mothers from ravelry who use this method for their children's toilet needs.  i couldn't even imagine trying this with the kiddos when they were wee.  i had enough trouble keeping up with the feedings.

i think as parents - and especially as mothers - we feel a sort of schadenfreude toward fellow mothers.  instead of being supportive of one's choice, it's easier to criticize about the choice not made.  sometimes motherhood feels like a game or a race, of who breastfed the most ounces for the longest period of time or how quickly their child was potty trained.  we should be supportive of whatever choice a mother makes to care for her child.  breast feed your child through toddlerhood?  go for it!  just don't bitch at me becos i chose to feed my child out of a can for their first year.  breast feed through kindergarten?  that's your choice - who am i to judge.  i give my kids gummy fruit to shut them up during church, so i have no more stones to throw.

i think a lot of mothers/parents become so immersed in parenting philosophy that they can't see beyond the black and white of the matter and see the grey.  i've witnessed more "natural childbirth vs. medicated childbirth vs. c-section birth" discussions than i care to remember.  i remember someone criticized me becos the kiddos were to be delivered by c-section due to my GD.  i told them that after two miscarriages, an emergency c-section with the boy and having a high risk/high stress multiples pregnancy, that if they wanted to deliver the kiddos through my nose, i would have allowed it becos my goal was delivering two healthy, living babies.  isn't that what any parent wants?

i think another point that parents may forget that sometimes parents' choices may be beyond their control. i've seen mothers melt down over their inability to nurse becos, for whatever reason, they are unable to.  it shouldn't matter whether or not a baby is fed by breast or bottle - the goal is, feed the baby.  i chose to use disposable diapers becos i knew the extra work with washing cloth ones would drive me insane.  it was more important for me for the kids to have a mommy who wasn't sitting in a mental ward somewhere becos she was overwhelmed and depressed.

am i mom enough?  by following my heart and making choices that were best for my children and myself - i think i am.  and i'm not sorry i made them either.  my children are happy and healthy;  they are kind and funny and smart.  i'm a happier mom by the choices i made and everyone knows, a happy mom means happier kids.  

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