If you read parenting blogs like I do, you will eventually find some on the subject. And then if you read enough of those, you will most definitely come across more than a few who think it is just an awful way to parent a kid. I've let my blood boil a few times about this because I can be an emotional volcano (SURPRISE!). The truth is, it's hard to read posts that make fun of the way you parent or even go those steps further to call your parenting hurtful or even crazy and cult-like.
If I'm being honest I have even taken those posts pretty personally. I get all offended and I say things to Daddy like, "LOOK at this! This lady is such an asshole! She is judging the shit out of us and she doesn't even know us! She isn't even explaining AP right!" and then I pause and it occurs to me that I have just judged her, too. I have decided that she is a cold and unfeeling asshole that hates me and my family. My only recourse then is to make myself feel better by deciding she is probably a terrible, cold and soul-less parent, right? Her poor children probably sleep on stone slabs without blankets
Someone said to me recently, if you put three religious extremists in a room together, they will kill each other. I disagree. I whole-heartedly believe that if you put those three in a room long enough, they will emerge peacefully. They may not become besties but I believe that they will understand each other better because they will find reasons to not hate each other. It's hard to hate those that you find common ground with. It's hard to hate what is standing right in front of you. And I believe that every single one of us has common ground to discover in every person. No matter how different we are. Even in this war zone of opposing parenting styles, we can find common ground. Because we are wired as humans to try and find that common ground.
But we cannot find it without first going into that room together. And that's uncomfortable. We worry about the intentions of the others and fear their potential judgment of us. So we then gather up our defenses to arm ourselves with judgments in preparation for counter attacks. Also a very human thing to do, no?
We humans are bunch of dummies sometimes.
I've been wondering recently if we really can rise above the so-called mommy wars. I wonder what it is that fuels it. I wonder what the bottom line is. And I keep coming back to the internet itself. The internet keeps us out of the room. It keeps us safe and gives people license to say things they would never dream of saying to someone's face. It creates a space for snap judgments and anonymity with little regard for damage. But what it doesn't provide is a shield for our feelings. And we are only human, after all. We cannot shut those off. Oh how I've tried.
So what inspired this current ramble of mine? On our Facebook page I asked this question...
"Wanna help me? I have a question for you and there are NO wrong answers (I mean that). When you hear the term Attachment Parenting, what do you think? Your first reaction. Be TOTALLY honest, pretty please. I'm writing a post and would LOVE your input. ~Mama Pants"
My intention was to write a post about attachment parenting. Tomorrow I will post my personal answer to the question that I asked of all of you. It may not be what you think (Or it may be exactly what you think). But then as I read through the comments on our Facebook page I noticed something happening. I have long suspected that this blog has readers of vastly different parenting styles and the Facebook thread validated that. People began opening up and taking risks. People were honest. There were negative and positive reactions to the term Attachment Parenting. Some opened up further and shared some of their parenting tools with the group. Some were more succinct, answering the question with two or three words. But you know what?
No one said anything rude directed at another commenter. There was even some peer support going on. And let me tell you that I know for a fact that some of the ideas expressed rubbed some people the wrong way, including me. But instead of fighting about it, there was pause given. I noticed that many comments began with phrasing similar to "please don't judge me but here's what I think". People braced themselves for an attack but the attack never came.
Like our newest reader, Jenny. She had this to say:
"I'm going to be honest, I was nervous when I mentioned the name Ferber & semi-'dissed' the Moby.... But I will say... It is SOOO refreshing to know that we can all voice our opinions & they all be so different :-) without fear of retaliation or judgment.... Totally encouraging!!! So glad I 'liked' this page this morning!!"
And something else kind of awesome happened in that thread. Common ground started to form. It would seem that the parenting style of "love your kids, do what works best for your family, trust your instincts and eff the haters" started to emerge. And that's a style I think I'd like to write a book about someday.
I always wanted to have an epilogue on a blog post. Forgive me. I know it's ridiculous and makes sense to no one but me.
It is my goal for 2013 to grow the Facebook page as a place for conversation and discussion about parenting. For everybody. You know, like that room I talked about up there. It's gonna be tricky because despite our best intentions, talking about parenting choices can often be a minefield. And the whole feelings and the internet thing. But I have high hopes that it can become a great thing. My belief is that we have so much more in common than not. And that the only way to truly play a part in ending the parenting wars is to get into that room together. So consider this your invitation. I'd love to see you there.
Come join us on Facebook here and bring your friends. We have a community to build.