And more on the pressures of motherhood…

Hanna Rosin says everything better than I, so I’ll leave it to her. I want to say, though, that I really appreciate her voice and her timing, for me, is just about perfect. In addition to formula’s role in allowing women to return to the workplace, I’d like to give it a shout out for allowing Aaron to feed Baby Girl in the middle of the night. And the middle of the day. And, really, whenever Baby Girl wants to eat. I don’t want to speak for him, but I think he’s grateful for those opportunities, too. Ok, maybe not the middle of the night ones, but being able to feed her is being able to participate in a pretty major part of her life. Although I feel ashamed when I buy the formula, and ashamed when I’ve had to make a bottle in public, I’m extremely grateful for its existence. And for the folks who strive to make it better.

You know, I have to wonder if some (or all) of this parenthood pressure of late — the attachment parents v. whatever the opposite is called — has more to do with parents making a choice that works best for their family and then feeling the need to defend it. And these individual choices and subsequent defensiveness of them has then been amplified to a nationwide debate. For example, I don’t doubt that co-sleeping, or family bed, works really well for thousands of healthy, thoughtful families. But it won’t work for me because I can’t sleep like that. So, when I am in the presence of a co-sleeping mom, if I get defensive about our decision not to share a bed and say something like, “I worry that I’d roll over on Molly,” it may sound to the co-sleeping mom like I am saying, “Why are you trying to kill your baby?” And the same, of course, goes for breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, organic whatnot, swaddling and all the other myriad choices parents make every day. If we could all just accept that pretty much every parent wants to do what’s best for her child, and every parent’s decisions are not a judgment on their neighbors’ parenting decisions, then I think we could all take a deep breath and try to enjoy this nutty, exhausting, amazing adventure.


8 Responses to “And more on the pressures of motherhood…”

  1. 1 kateandgracie April 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Oh! And I pumped for an hour last night and netted a little under an ounce…I haven’t given up completely, but geesh is it getting hard.

  2. 2 Terry April 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Both Hanna and you say this well!

  3. 3 Mary Lloyd April 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    bravo. Well said.

  4. 4 Heather Certain April 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    This, by erica jong, also spoke to me at the time. It may be a little harsh about attachment parenting, but I think the point is the same (and maybe references the same badinter book?).

    Couldn’t figure out how to do it so slickly.

  5. 5 kateandgracie April 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks, H! That is a really helpful article; I appreciate it a lot. And what’s Erica Jong’s daughter’s name? Molly! (I learned that from the article)

  6. 6 fritzandfrankie April 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Right on and great articles. I saw an interview with “Blossom” the other day about her extreme attachment parenting lifestyle. It would basically be impossible for any working person to keep up and yet, you could feel the judgement below hinting that you too could do it if you were committed enough to your kid. I keep trying to make my mantra a phrase that a friend once said to me- “happy mama, happy baby.” It’s so easy for the “happy mama” part to be left out of the equation. I admit that I often put my own needs last and then resentment starts to build and my household is worse for it. I guess we each have to pick our priorities, consciously try to ignore the unhelpful messages, not fall into the guilt traps and go with what works. [For instance, we never co-slept with Fritz (I could’t sleep!), but for Frankie, we bought a little in bed co-sleeper and played musical beds all over the house so that someone, somewhere in the house could get some sleep. It has nothing to do with attachment!]

  7. 7 A May 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Ok, so I want to be supportive of everyone’s decisions (I’m sure a lot of my friends thought I was self-righteous and crazy for insisting on no epidural), but I’ll just throw it out there: co-sleeping is crazy and I don’t see how it works for anyone. T slept in a cozy bassinet by our bed for a couple months and then off to another room. It was hard enough waking up to his every sound — let alone being terrified of squashing him. Luckily he was healthy enough at 3 months to do Cry It Out. It took 3 days, which at the time seemed like eternity, but now I am so happy I stuck it out. He is now a wonderful sleeper who can self-soothe. The only thing I feel guilty about is the nasty feelings I have about other women who do co-sleeping and attachment parenting… gotta work on that.

  8. 8 kateandgracie May 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I think it’s amazing how noisy they can be. Everything about them is miniature except their vocal cords. When I’m awake and Molly is just making silly noises, I think it’s adorable. It’s less adorable to me at 3 am.

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April 2012

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