Rant Alert: Abandonment Parenting

A Little Pregnant wrote a memorable post about parenting after infertility months ago, and I have often thought about it since.  The question she posed was, does getting through IF make you a better parent?

I think I put a lot more pressure on myself to be the best parent I can be, because I DID go through so much to have my children.  At the same time, I feel more empathy for parents in general.  Whereas at one time I would look down at those who fed their kids chicken nuggets and pasta with butter and parmesan, now I realize that some kids (like mine) are just really picky and mothers will attempt to feed them food they formerly wouldn’t get near just to keep their weight up. Whereas once I would look down on those that allowed their children to watch TV, I now realize that letting my kids watch “Caillou” for 20 minutes is not going to cause ADHD.  Right?!?

At the same time, we are living in a culture where being a mother is under quite possibly the greatest scrutiny of all time.  Getting pregnant, having babies then raising them to the best of our ability seem to be of such importance that doing anything else is regarded as foreign.  It’s like Eisenhower is back in office, or something.  Being an infertile is particularly isolating, of course.

Once I crossed the line to becoming a parent, I found that criticism is all around, and sides are chosen: are you going to be a scary attachment parenting mommy warrior, a gung-ho Tiger Mom, or a throw-back 50s SAHM, crafting and cooking away? Maybe I’m wrong, but all around me there seems to be a gigantic pedestal being built for the GREATEST MOTHER and almost no one is able to climb those high stairs.

Perhaps that’s why there appears to be a new approach: Abandonment Parenting.  Check out this new article.  I found it offensive in every way, especially when the one mother who had two kids said she never wanted them in the first place.  As an infertile who would love to have more children and can’t and who has lots of wonderful friends struggling to get pregnant or adopt, that statement made me stabby.

But the article also made me wonder: is the overarching pressure to be a perfect mother leading some women to just throw up their hands and give up?  One of the mothers who bailed was a big proponent of the attachment parenting philosophy.

I’d just like to raise a white flag and call a truce and tell each mother that, regardless of how you got there, what you are doing is extremely difficult and worthy and wonderful and frustrating, all at the same time.  And so, we should have each other’s backs, not tear out each other’s throats.  Maybe if we were all a little bit more supportive of each other, we would all be better mothers.



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7 responses to “Rant Alert: Abandonment Parenting

  1. I so agree … especially after the day I had today. Oh, that the community were stronger! It does take a village, not a superhero.

  2. I think we could all learn to support each other more in every aspect of life (this IF community excluded–it does a wonderful job). Great post!

  3. Esperanza

    I saw the Today show interview with that woman. I don’t really know what to say about her. For that reason I haven’t mentioned it on my blog. But I think I’m going to, soon.

    The one thing I do agree with in that article is that her story, and people’s reactions to it, reveal a glaring double standard that we all accept in this culture – that father’s can be distant in their parenting but mothers, absolutely, can not. I’m not saying that we like it when fathers are distant, but we certainly aren’t interviewing them on the Today Show about it either.

    I’m posting something tomorrow about how much more difficult motherhood is than I ever thought it would be. It really is an incredibly challenging job. I agree that we, as mothers, need to band together instead of picking each other apart. In the end, we’re all just trying to do what is best for ourselves and our children. Even if that looks different from family to family, it’s still the most common truth. And we could probably learn a lot more from each other if we were supportive instead of critical.

    I believe that people judge others the most for those qualities that they least like in themselves. We should think about that the next time we have a violently negative reaction to something. Instead of vilifying the person we disagree with, maybe we could think about why we feel so passionately about their supposed flaws. Why are their actions making us so protective of our own choices? Maybe then we’d actually learn something.

  4. chhandita

    **Standing Ovation**!! I am so tired of trying to be the perfect mom. am FAR FAR from it. **whisper** and yeah I do feel like giving up at times. I am not quite there with the TV thing but food? ANY food is good for my skinny D. I didn’t start out like this I promise! I cooked (and I hate cooking) different recipes i downloaded from the net. I tried everything but finally gave up. Yup, am one of those moms who give their kids Pediasure. I am a bad, bad MOMMY.

  5. Pingback: Rant Alert: Abandonment Parenting | Too Many Fish to Fry « parenting|parenting tips|parenting advice|good parenting:Angel

  6. IF makes me a more anxious parent, that I’m sure of.
    There’s a post I need to write about that.

    I wonder if the mommy wars are so vigorous where I live as they seem to be depicted in North-American blogs I read. I know that BF vs bottlefeeding discussions are rare and more lukewarm when they occur in my corner of the world.

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