you know what is worse than listening to/reading about/watching hardcore democrats vs. republicans? experiencing arguments on either side of the mom spectrum.
especially this whole attachment parenting/breastfeeding/cloth diapering camp vs. the (presumable) bad moms.
it exhausts me just reading about the conflict. do i have to get involved?
nobody can raise a baby in a vacuum, especially not in the land of portland, or at a church like mine where there must be something in the water (or a lot of people doing the hanky-panky) because it is seriously crawling with babies. so there are lots of people there to observe your every triumph and mishap.
in doing some reading, i have inadvertently stumbled upon both sides of the debate. i was surprised to find i do identify my daily routine with AP (attachment parenting), due more to a cranky baby than anything else. my baby hates being alone, had a rough entry into this world, is a classic colic, and only stops crying when she is being held. so yeah, i am going to hold her a lot, wear her around the house as i do my errands, let her sleep in my bed when she is inconsolable or frustrated or sad, and give up some adult activities in order to hang out and interact with her. as much as i adore the ramona baby, i do this type of “hands on” parenting because i personally do not like the sound of her shrieking.
but the more i try to buddy up to the AP camp, the more turned off I get by the sanctimonious rhetoric of it all. and, as it turns out, i don’t think they would want me. there are several reasons for this:
a). we can’t breastfeed.
it’s not that i don’t want to–it was heartbreaking to see this dream vanish. in fact, i never knew i wanted to breastfeed so much until it was taken away from me. i know i can’t be the only one out there who medically is incapable of breastfeeding, and i know there are scores more for whom it was absolute misery. so why make us feel all the more worse with such strong language about our babies being sub-par? if you don’t believe me, read articles like this. total bummer time.
b). we don’t do cloth diapers
nope, we don’t. we must hate the earth or something. in reality, we share a 3 washers and dryers with about 30-40 people, which costs a lot of money and is not set up for the type of laundering that cloth diapers require. and the laundering services are waaaay too expensive for us poor folk. not to mention the fact that i don’t think our neighbors would be thrilled to find out what we were doing if we went the eco-friendly route. in the future, if there are more babies and we own our own machines, i would seriously consider this. but for now, it is a huge relief to not worry so much about it and go on with our day.
i know, we are terrible people. right? actually, no. we are doing the best we can with what we have. just like i have gradually grown more and more disinterested in politics as it has become ever more polarized, so too do i want to quietly bow out of the “how to be a good mommy” discourse. i want to be somewhere in between the hippies and the feminists (the latter of which call AP akin to modern slavery for women).
ah, in between positions. living in the tension, as my old Bible college professors liked to say.
Jesus really liked living in tension, in shifting categories and priorities and making it more about caring for people than having right doctrine. don’t get me wrong–i truly believe doctrine and parenting philosophies are grand and need to be pursued with all the strength and thoughtfulness that we can muster.
i just want to do it in a grace-filled way. which means being ok with living in between two parties, two camps, two discussions about the best way to be.