Let me clarify: I have encountered many, many blogs written by mothers that are absolutely phenomenal. One look at my profile will give you a glimpse of who I mean. But I don't think of these people as "mommy-bloggers."
The further down the internet's rabbit hole I go, the more I encounter other people's blogs and, consequently, their philosophies on raising children. Seems everyone's got an opinion about everything, from breast-feeding to birthing to starting solid food to sleeping to clothing to . . . well, you get it. And man, can those opinions get ugly when someone doesn't agree with them.
I used to be in the Judge Judy camp, a little bit. ESPECIALLY before having my son. There were the things I assumed I'd still do all the time: go out to dinner, travel, shop leisurely, meet friends for coffee. The things I swore I'd NEVER do: allow my child to watch television, eat chicken nuggets or hot dogs, talk about poop with other adults. Things I was unsure but still somewhat convinced about: nursing, vaccines, sleeping, babysitters. And good luck to the person who tried talking me out of my beliefs. HA! I'd show them who knew a thing or two about a thing or two.
Har har har. Then I had E, and my sage's hat blew right off in the wind. But that is a fundamental truth to being a parent, I think: knowing when to stand firm, and knowing when to bend. What matters, what, in the grand scheme of this life, really doesn't.
But I've encountered many judgey blogs out there, written by mothers and fathers alike. People who have such strong opinions about how babies are birthed, fed, held--you name it. Women seem to be the worst offenders, lashing out at other women who don't jibe with their parenting advice. It's infuriating to read, let alone realize these people walk down my same streets, shop at my same farmers' market, breathe my same air.
Some of these women really need to get a grip. I don't understand why people get so threatened when someone else raises his or her children differently. Who cares if my kid watches 5 hours of Nick Jr. a day and you don't even own a TV? Why do you care if I wear my kid or push him in a stroller? What difference does it make in your life if my kid sleeps in my bed at night or in his own? I don't understand how people have enough time or energy to care about these things--FOR OTHER PEOPLE.
It's infuriating to me for several reasons. First, I don't see the impact it actually has on anyone else's life how I choose to mother my child. I am not encouraging him to mutilate small animals, push other children down or be nasty. He is happy, kind and is learning boundaries. Guess what? He watches television! A lot! Second, these Judgey Judgertons assume no one knows as much as they know, that no one has ever researched what they're preaching and came to the conclusion that it's not the right philosophy for their family. Why is it so freaking hard to live and let live?
And I guess the most important reason it bothers me is that the implication is that these people have never had to deal with anything so fucking terrible as losing a child, and they have the luxury of sitting back and casting judgment. We are all--every single one of us--doing our best to keep it together, to keep our children happy, and healthy, and--fuck--ALIVE.
That's not to say there aren't shitty parents out there, or people who are just plain incompetent or mean or clearly unfit to raise a Chia Pet. People I'm sure that have been pointed out to us as such: "It's so unfair that THEY get to have children and YOU have THIS happen to you . . ." as though anyone is more deserving of utter emotional devastation than anyone else.
I guess this is all to say that hot dogs and television and bedtimes and diapers shouldn't be battle lines. They're simply choices, ones we are free to make and whose consequences we must deal with accordingly. As families.
How 'bout instead of judging each other, we see each other for who we are: human beings, trying our damndest to figure it all out. Let's help each other--really help, not aim for superiority--instead of making each other feel like shit about our choices. Let's realize we all have different methods, but our end goal is the same.
Me, I'm not reading the "mommy-blogs" anymore. They make me sad.