Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Superior Choice

The Superior Choice, 
a guest post by Vanessa Reimer




Today I came across a comment about attachment parenting mothers having an attitude of superiority. This is not the first time I've heard this. It seems to be a common label given to those of us who practice this style of parenting. My response - Yep.

It's not that we think we're better than you, but that the methods we've chosen are better than the alternatives. That's why we chose them.  Isn't that they way it's supposed to work? You research and compile and listen, and then you decide to do what sounds and feels like the best - superior - thing for your baby. So, yes, we think what we do is better than what you do. Don't you think the same way? What mother says, "Yeah, this is definitely the poorer choice for my kid, but I'm going to do it anyway?" 


Honestly there are times when we simply can't understand why you choose some things, like cry it out or formula feeding. It just seems so clearly to be the lesser or more harmful choice. It boggles my mind why some parents make the decisions they do, even when they are presented with evidence contrary to what they believe. It's like watching someone standing in front of a bin marked "Garbage" on one side, and "Recycling" on the other and then proceed to throw their glass bottle into the garbage. Huh? I'm so confused. How did you decide that was the better or right choice?


I know that making the decision to attachment parent is a bit more challenging than moving your arm to the other slot on the bin, but often it's easier to do than not. Bringing your baby into bed with you instead of listening to them cry for hours? Easier. Whipping out a boob instead of getting up to prepare formula? Easier. Throwing your baby in a carrier instead of lugging around a car seat? Easier. Keeping your tiny newborn close to you instead of letting them be strapped to a board while the doctor cuts off his skin? Easier. Follow that with - "wipe like a finger" instead of "protect with antibiotic ointment and watch for infection"? Easier. Letting your child wean themselves when the time is right instead of denying them the mother milk they want so much? Easier. (okay, I know that some people will face quite a bit of flack and criticism on this one that can make it very hard to continue.)


I do know that there are exceptions to the rule - the baby that demands his own space to sleep, the mother who needs medication that keeps her from breastfeeding, but the good reasons to chose else-wise are the exceptions, not the norm. 


 I could go on and on about why the choices I make are the better choices, but that really would go on and on... and on. So suffice it to say, "Yes, I think my choices are better. Why else would I choose them?"

Check out more of Vanessa's writing on her blog, Pure Ness

29 comments:

mamapoekie said...

You said what we are all thinking, but often don't say out loud!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Vanessa! That will give me some ammunition and more confidence in real life. Sometimes I feel I have to defend myself for wanting the best for my kids. I'm really tired of doing that.

Christa said...

YOU TELL 'EM GIRL!

Rane dae said...

I think that parents think their "best" is good enough and they aren't even trying. I almost lol'd the other day when a first time mom of a 2 week old said, "she gets formula at night, and I'm pretty sure she'd sleep all night if I let her!" Yeah, for now. She's only 2 weeks old! And it's not natural for her to sleep all night! Don't you get it?

Alyssa G said...

Totally agree, and have said as much before! I think for many moms, they KNOW it is the worse choice, but it is a matter of priorities. Mom comes first, dad comes second and if they feel like it, baby comes third or fourth to whatever is going on. I imagine we probably would have died out as a species if this is how our ancestors felt.

Michelle said...

We can never really know why other people make their choices, just like they don't know why we make ours. Maybe they don't speak English or can't read and don't know that one bin says "recycling" and the other says "garbage." That happened to my mom in another (non-English speaking) country. When we assume that people are consciously making poor choices when they know about the alternatives, we assume the human race is stupid. We do not teach our children tolerance and peace by criticizing others, nor do we promote it in the world. If AP is about one thing, it is about promoting world peace, so let's go at the other side with diplomacy, not word weapons. Give other adults the same respect you give your children.

Warmly,
Michelle
a mother in a peaceful family trying to make a peaceful world

TheNaturalMama said...

Absolutely love this article, says everything I feel about my choices as an attached parent\mum.

Becks said...

I absolutely love this! I find that being an attachment parent can be a very lonely thing, and I often find myself standing alone and baffled amidst the masses of bottles, pacifiers and CIO enthusiests. I don't go to mom and baby groups because I just don't do things the same as everyone else, and they label ME as 'strange'. Oh well, It's a very small price to pay for the kind of relationship I have with my children :)

Aubrey said...

This is EXACTLY how I feel! I think I am going to read this post every morning when I wake up. I'm tired of taking so much flak for what I do, even though I know I am doing what is best for MY baby. And you are right, it does seem easier!

Jill said...

It's sooooo true. It hurts my heart to see parents make decisions that cause so much stress and heartache when they DON'T HAVE TO. Just bring your baby to bed! IT'S OKAY! Just hold your baby! IT'S OKAY! Just leave his penis alone! IT'S OKAY! They've been sold a false bill of goods from "Experts" who, frankly, seem like they HATE babies and want parents to suffer. Seek a better way!

Amber said...

Amen!

TouchstoneZ said...

Michelle- Interesting point. I think the difference is that, to use your analogy, as an AP parent, recycling is important to me and is the better choice for the world. So, I would find someone who can read the language & place it in the proper bin. If I couldn't find someone, I'd carry the bottle home to dispose of properly (I've done this irl, anmyway) I'd go the extra mile, put myself at inconvenience, to do what is the best for my family and the planet. I understand that there are the rare occasions when someone can not carry their recycling. But, I'd put the superior choice first, my convenience second.

Tiffany said...

I do agree. I think that Michelle has a point,however, because I was not so enlightened when I first became a parent. I didn't think there was anything different between breastmilk and formula (how uneducated I was!). My daughter was one who did sleep better alone than in bed with us, but I know that this is not the norm (haha, it's because she takes after my husband and I and would kick us all night long just like DH and I kick each other in the bed, too).

I do think that I've made better choices than some of my friends. I know that I have helped educate some of those friends and that they did indeed make choices based on their own "convenience" (though it seems AP choices are more convenient in my midn). Some, though, were just ignorant to what other methods are out there (as I was).

Tiny Footprints said...

Love this post! Love it love it love it!!!! Perfectly states what I have often thought but have not said.

Ali Smith said...

Thank you for expressing this idea in such a straightforward way. I often catch myself beating around the bush to be polite and admire your clarity and directness.

Also, I seem to find that if you ask an AP parent why the do such-and-such they can back themselves up with research, reason, and history. But I have yet to hear a compelling argument for crying-it-out other than "it's just more convenient".

Motherhood Moments said...

When I saw the title of this post, I was really hoping...make that PRAYING that it wasn't going to be talking about how we DON'T think we're better...and how we all are equal mothers.

I agree with everything you have written, and it's about time someone said it!

Christina said...

Thank you, this is exactly what I needed to read right now.

September Love said...

I was JUST talking to my dad about this. How I am just stunned by the decisions some parents make....it's almost as if they don't think about them at all. Thank you for saying this, because as an "attachment parenter", I get some (pretty mild, but still annoying and condescending) flack about it from people who think I'm baby-ing or spoiling my daughter, and though I know in my heart and mind that this really IS the SUPERIOR choice, it's so nice to hear someone say it with such strength and candor! Amen!

wookumus said...

I always wonder, why do so many people want to have kids when they want them to be little independent adults immediately?? Sleep through the night by 3 months, formula, infant car seat to swing to crib!! I can't get enough of closeness with my boy and am already sad to think of him becoming independent. They are babies, they need us!! And not for very long in the grand scheme of things.

Andrea said...

"It's like watching someone standing in front of a bin marked "Garbage" on one side, and "Recycling" on the other and then proceed to throw their glass bottle into the garbage."
No, it's like a bin marked "Garbage" and a bin marked "Perfect, Organic Food" and the person chooses to EAT the GARBAGE.
Great post, AP rocks, period.

barefootbeauty said...

lol
Andrea, that's a much better metaphor! Thank you!
Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful comments, I wasn't sure anyone would ever read what I wrote, let alone be encouraged by it. I am humbled to see how it's been responded to.
I can see how some of you would read my words as too harsh, but please know that I do not automatically judge mothers that I see making different decisions from me. I know each has their own story, but, as I'm sure many readers can relate, I feel like I'm constantly running into moms who simply don't want to know. They don't want to know alternatives, or don't want to know the reason, logic, and science behind them. Their ears and hearts are closed to anything that contradicts what they are doing. We receive a steady stream of "caring" peers, professionals, and the media telling us that the way we parent is indulgent, inhibiting, dangerous. Sometimes we just need a chance to shout from the rooftops, "Have you all gone mad!?"

Momioso said...

I think AP is better too. Hands down.

Olivia said...

Excellent post! I find myself constantly mumbling, "Whatever works for your family..." when what I'm really thinking is, "My way is easier/gentler/kinder..."

mystic_eye_cda said...

The problem is when those doing wrong honestly and truly believe that they are making the best choice; the worst is when they believe that because they've been lied to by doctors, priests, etc.

If you truly in your heart believed that if you didn't let your baby cry it out they'd never get a good night's sleep as an adult you'd probably let them CIO too.

If you truly believe in God and Heaven and believe that if you didn't smack your baby's hand for reaching for the spoon that they'd never be Godly adults and they'd go to Hell, you'd probably "tap" their hand.

If you really, really believed that your baby would "forget" the pain, and that they'd have to get circ'd later, or get penile cancer, or AIDS you'd probably get your baby cir'd.

You may think you're not that dumb, you'd never fall for blatant misinformation. Well, I'll tell you -I'm pretty web savvy being as I have a diploma in programming and IT. I know all about web-safety, phishing, etc. I got phished once. I didn't pay attention, clicked a link, didn't look at the url and put my account name and password in. Ok so after fighting with the site for 5 minutes I figured out it was fake but I still had to go change all my info and report that I'd been phished.

If you read through "voices of experience" at ezzo.info you'll see that these moms really did in their heart of hearts think they were making the right choice. Luckily for them there is hope, for the moms (and dads) that really do care hopefully they see the truth one day. And hopefully for all of us when we have our moments of being duped we don't pay a high price.

And of course some days we do pick "good enough" over "best". I know baking my own whole grain bread is best and that cheap white bread is barely "good enough" but some days that's all there is. I know that.

Lots of times when it comes to reacting to bad behaviour I don't make the "best choice". Sometimes I don't even make the best choice that I *can*. Sometimes I know I'm about to say something stupid and I don't just walk away. I'm human.

Of course when I do manage to live up to my ideals I do feel superior.

Cow Patties said...

I've become more and more AP with each child, however this "superiority" complex (from either side) annoys me to no end. Who am I (or anyone) to care how someone else raises THEIR child. As long as it's not illegal or immoral, I keep my nose out of it. I am more than happy to explain when asked, but I don't think I'm "better" because I cloth diaper, babywear or refuse to CIO.

KaitlinDawn said...

I'm definitely glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! I know my choices are superior as they are my choices lol

jul said...

:LIKE:!!!!!

Anonymous said...

think this post proves exactly why people 'judge' you based on your parenting choices, because you are also judging them by deeming AP as 'the way' (so similar to religion...)! I am fully aware of what AP is, but I would never use the methods for my children. I can respect your choices, so please respect mine and stop looking for everyone to judge/mistreat/look down upon you and just raise your family your way.

Anonymous said...

Yep...what else can I say!

Post a Comment

Imagine this is a dinner party. Differences of opinion are welcome but keep it respectful or the host will show you the door. If you're rude or abusive, your comment will be deleted. This is "Woman Uncensored" not "Random anonymous jackass that needs therapy Uncensored". Feel free to get your own blog and rant all you want there.

Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That's how we're going to be - cool. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation...

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner