I’m considering an early New Year’s resolution: to not read any more parenting articles online.
I just finished this one, about what babies need, and I’m pissed. While it’s probably mostly right, it also makes me feel judged. I’m so sick of hearing how stopping breastfeeding before the kid is a year old will make her ill, how sleeping in another room will cause her to become malnourished, or how doing any number of things wrong will “undermine their trust of others, their health and social wellbeing, and lead to self-centered morality which can do much destruction to the world.”
This article isn’t the only one of its kind. As a mom, I feel as if I am constantly bombarded with messages saying I am not doing enough, or what I am doing is wrong.
At the same time, I’m told to trust my instincts and do what is best for my child. I’m advised to disregard any shrill catastrophizing. Articles say that to indulge in any panicky worrying makes me a helicopter mom, paranoid mom or whiny mom.
At the same time, the Internet tells me to read up on parenting philosophies, developmental milestones and the latest research on everything from starting solids to sleep training. It doesn’t help that these are all conflicting, too.
Pacifiers either prevent your baby from dying from SIDS or they create binkie-dependent whiners. Bed sharing is either the natural way to nurture your baby or a quick way to murder her. Letting babies cry either teaches them to self-soothe or creates “dangerous reptiles whose world revolves around themselves.”
I’m a reasonably intelligent person. I know that I’m doing a decent job of raising my daughter. I know, logically, that I have every right to tell these experts to shove it. But the endless lists of don’ts and or elses wear down my defenses. I begin to worry that Edie isn’t gaining weight at the standard pace because she sleeps in the bedroom next to ours. I fear that I didn’t give her enough skin to skin time when she was newborn. I wonder if leaving her on the play mat while I eat breakfast makes her feel neglected. I can’t bring myself to buy her formula to drink even though she’s been biting me several times during most feedings.
So I’m going to do my best to heed the sage advice my older sister gave me during my baby shower. “Don’t listen to the judgy bitches,” she wrote.
Judgy experts and psychologists and researchers and scientists and authors all over the internet: I don’t need your finger wagging and proclamations and warnings and speculation about how cavewomen raised their babies. I don’t need your predictions about how my choices will create a future serial killer. I don’t need your advice to raise a happy, healthy, secure child.
So fuck off.