In case you aren’t familiar with AP, I’ll give you a very brief background. AP stands for Attachment Parenting and the point of it is to create a secure attachment to your child. Mostly everyone in the world disagrees about what this means, especially those “practicing” AP. It means something different for every single family. Every single one! Every family in the world has their own unique set of circumstances and until we are plopped into someone else’s circumstances then we should just hush up.
Every other week, there is a big ruckus in the online AP community. This week it is about the parenting community. And it’s about time!
Don’t be mistaken, it doesn’t only happen in the AP world. Every time a mother feels judged for choosing formula over breastfeeding, even if she has the greatest reasons in the world, we are losing the mommy wars. Every time a mother feels judged for breastfeeding in public (with or without a cover), we are all losing. My particular experience just happens to be related to the AP community.
If you’ve ever met an annoying, judgy person who is a big know-it-all, then you might know what some of these parents are like. Luckily, I’ve only rarely encountered these people in real life but they are rampant on Facebook.
I’m going to go ahead and insert a Facebook rant right now while I’m on a rant. And remember, you came here. You aren’t buying your place in heaven by sharing a meme that says “Share if you love Jesus.” I’m not saying you don’t love Jesus if you don’t hit share but I think some people are genuinely concerned that if they don’t share it will be akin to Peter denying Jesus three times. It isn’t. I’m very tired of politics, guns, and other volatile issues showing up on my feed. I try REALLY hard to keep my fingers still and not go off on routine rants about the issues. Everyone is allowed to do this sometimes but let’s just all keep in mind that most of us go on Facebook to look at wedding and baby pictures and cute cats. And for the record, I unfriend everyone who posts or shares a picture of an aborted fetus. If you did that and I didn’t unfriend you, it was a clerical oversight.
End rant. I will now return to my previously scheduled rant.
AP moms can be intense. They will literally sacrifice everything for their children and they all think they have a Ph.D. in parenting because they read a book and/or watched a YouTube video. They are mean and will accuse you of abusing everyone in your neighborhood if you had a birthday party with cupcakes made out of sugar and not honey. I agree with limiting sugar, especially refined sugar, absolutely! I think sugar is probably the #1 reason for most of our health problems (and too much fried Omega 6) but I shouldn’t have my children yanked away if I used cooking spray on a cookie sheet the one time I baked cookies. *smacks head on wall*
Not only are these moms (sometimes dads too) mean and scary but there is another big problem. Lots of them are martyrs for the cause. It’s like a crazy competition about who suffers the most. “I co-sleep, tandem nurse a newborn and a toddler, babywear three babies at once, homeschool, cook vegan meals three times a day, and spend the rest of my time prosecuting parents on Facebook for circumcising their children.”
Why is this not only annoying but a really bad thing? Well it should be obvious. We are parenting in a new day and age. This is not a new phenomenon. Every generation of parents has a new set of crazy challenges to overcome or at least deal with. We are all doing the best we can with the information that we have and the information that resonates with us. Different does not equal wrong.
So why all the drama? I don’t know! However, a few things are very clear to me.
1) We live in a country with the resources and opportunities of a third world country in terms of infant and maternal mortality, maternal and paternal leave, and pay. Why is that the case exactly?? I have no idea but obviously we do not make children a priority. Unless you are dying to go back to work after a mere six weeks with your baby (I’m NOT judging you if you are but I didn’t even feel physically recovered after six weeks), you have probably had to make some crazy sacrifices to be a stay-at-home parent or else you’ve had to drop your precious angel off at daycare while your heart broke into a billion pieces. Why not channel some of this angry energy into making it possible for parents to take time off to be with their children? This will only benefit society in the long run.
2) Abuse is a real thing. You are not a child-abuser if you made a choice for your child that may not be popular with one parenting group or another. Locking a child in a closet IS child abuse. Let us please recognize the difference.
3) My way is not the only way. It works well for me but it might not for you so I’m not going to harass you about it. Live and let live.
4) Your way is not the only way. I don’t like to be harassed either.
5) The parenting community is divided and it should be a big, old, hippie love fest. We need each other’s support, not judgment. If you say you are a peaceful, gentle parent but you get on Facebook (or anywhere really) and say horrible things to people and call then names then you don’t get to fall into that category. Remember that!
6) The “Mommy Wars” are dumb and need to stop. Remember when we used to rally around a new mother? Oh, I don’t either but I’ve heard that it used to happen like a good urban legend. Some cultures surrounded mothers and cared for them while they rested and nursed for 30+ days. I could really have used that and I know a whole bunch of other mothers that could have too. I could cry at how lovely that sounds. PPD is a REAL problem and I have a hunch that a little more support could really help with that.
Parenting is hard. It is the hardest thing you will ever do unless you are like a hostage negotiator or something. No…even parenting is harder than that because we have to deal with toddlers and that can be really similar. My mantra is “do not negotiate with the toddler.” Our government has the same mantra around terrorists. There is no reason to make this harder by being mean to each other. Are we all going to agree all the time? No. Never. That will never happen.
Don’t be a mean girl (or boy). Be a nice person and don’t start internet wars about stuff that isn’t that important, I beg you.