Unoriginal post number 613

Wouldn’t you know I thought this observation was somewhat original, and then I read at tonight that Ayelet Waldman said it earlier, and more concisely.

“Another parent’s different approach raises the possibility that you’ve made a mistake with your child. We simply can’t tolerate that because we fear that any mistake, no matter how minor, could have devastating consequences. So we proclaim the superiority of our own choices. We’ve lost sight of the fact that people have preferences.”

In her lengthy article on everyone minding their own business, she notes that attachment parents, particularly the Berkeley, non-TV, organic, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, sling-wearing, word-for-word Searsing (guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, not guilty, not guilty; phew this isn’t me [of course it is]), tend to be the most sanctimonius and in-others’-faces of the “my way is best why are you ruininng your child” set. Honestly, I think that’s because the hardcore Sears group works harder than the rest to make things harder for themselves, and feels pretty damned insecure because nobody else is having such a tough time. But what do I know? I only fit, like, half her criteria for the most annoying parent on the planet.

In fact, Salon notes that I’m way behind the curve.  I’ve been calling myself a bad parent for months on this blog, but apparently I was supposed to write a book about it.  This awkward joint review of totally different books shows why I should have penned a memoir about how totally I’m failing at this impossible fucking job.

You  know, I’ve been thinking of ditching the nighttime parenting, the bending over backwards not to do packaged food or television, the stay-at-home, offering options, respectful thing for the past week or so. It’s really just too much. So maybe I will ditch the surity that I’ve chosen the best path for us, get a T.V., get a babysitter, and have some goddamned Capt’n Crunch with my kid. Maybe I’ll like both of us better if I ease up a bit. [those who know me are laughhing right now. I havne’t been known to ease up a bit on anything in my control since my conception.] Because between “The Case Against Breastfeeding” and “Mind Your Own Kids,” I’m kind of feeling like, if they can justify letting their kids do some of that stuff, I can certainly make Pudding Day an everyday kind of thing.


And starting next week I’m Ferberizing my three year old. And circumcising him. With some fries from McDon*lds.

8 thoughts on “Unoriginal post number 613

  1. You are not failing. As you said, the job is “impossible”! True! Therefore, there is no fail, there is only do. We all just, one day at a time, do our parenting. And some days are better than others and some choices are better than others but in the long range, all we can do is keep doing. And being there, doing the best we can. Which you do, every day. So if anything, you ROCK.

  2. I think we fail each other when we are so goddamn judgemental of a fellow sister (or brother) who is just trying to survive and keep their kid alive at the same time. It should be about what we could do together, learn from the other, rather than competing yet we tend to wear our children like brownie patches and expect them to bear the burden of our own insecurities.

  3. I’ve pretty much said, “screw it” and started a therapy fund instead of a college fund for my three!

  4. Thank you! As an AP parent who has let a few things slide, I am grateful for this post. The pressure to be perfect and to ALWAYS put your kids first is impossible. Sometimes the TV is on in our house. And, I broke down and bought Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal last week. My partner commented this morning on how yummy it is. He’s right.

  5. I hope I’m not one of Waldman’s obnoxious mothers, but I suspect some people I know think of me that way. Of course, some of my more-hard-core AP friends think I need one of those obnoxious mothers to crack down on me. Hmm.

  6. @jenn yeah, well, that’s probably the best idea. They can get scholarships for college, but nobody subsidizes therapy. Plus, your kids are pretty damned well adjusted, so they probably won’t need it.

    @ink I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re swell. Your boys and partner totally lucked out.

    @momalom My AP friends are starting to look at my funny, when I throw my hands up and basically say, “I compromise on this or I lose my mind.” they can keep doing everything for their kids (actually they are all skipping the socially acceptable stuff like housekeeping in favor of the parenting) but I’m gonna crack soon. I’m trying to throw out the stuff that we don’t find vital (there’s no way we’re leaving anybody to cry, and yes, it’s killing us, but that’s what we chose; but unless asked to play, now, I read or write instead of planning activities and teaching. You figure out gravity. I have a novel to finish.)

  7. can you ferberize a three year old? maybe something like a night-time chamomile cocktail would help? for him, not you. i know you prefer alcohol.

  8. We’re all trying to do the best you can with what you have. You’re doing great, so stop feeling guilty. I saw try doing TWO pudding days ;-) Or I’m sending over some sinfully awesome cookies to tempt you.

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