My Proposal to Improve Mothering

~Begin rant~

I’ve said before it’s scary being a Mom these days.  Everywhere I look there’s a new scary study out saying that I’m screwing my kid up.  This week it’s the Baby Einstein controversy (Baby Einstein creates dull kids, not smart ones).  Last week it was the the Fruit Juice/Obesity link.  You even get guilted before their born with studies that say things like “being overweight when pregnant will cause your child to be obese in childhood, and experiencing high levels of anxiety during will cause your child to have ADHD  There’s the ever popular Vaccine Conspiracy Theory, and a plethora of other scary studies out there.

Scanning through the table of Contents of my latest Parents magazine, I see an article about the hidden dangers of carbon monoxide even when your child is outside, doggy danger, more lead worries, and a whole article featuring a rating system for ‘slacker mom techniques’ and just how ‘bad they really are.’  There’s also a snippet about a study saying those uber-obnoxious ‘Heely Shoes’ cause kids to break limbs (oh really–who’d have guessed?), a warning about children having undiagnosed high blood pressure, and a 1/3 page side-bar about the latest product recalls (not including the ones in the news). 

And then there’s what the professionals tell us.   A friend and I were talking today about the ever-changing charts.  When should you start solids?  Our parents’ generation apparently favored a late start–around the one-year mark (which is odd, since  my Mom thought my firstborn should be munching on a cinnamon roll at 3 1/2 months).  Now it’s 4-6 months.  And of course there’s the ever popular debate about when and whether or not to lace a kids bottle with rice cereal for a whole host of reasons.

Of course there are also the various ‘camps’ which all cite their own studies.  There’s the ‘never let them cry it out’ folks who say things like, “Parents know in their hearts that letting a child cry is not the answer” and back the claim with studies of children in orphanages learning to simply ‘give up’ because their cries go unanswered and thus wasting away to disease and profound lingering mental upset (I gotta tell you–that particular mental picture has blipped through my mind many a time….  as I’ve continued to sit through a ‘she has to cry it out’ session).  And of course on the other side there is the ‘tough love needs to start when they’re small–I let my kid cry it out the first night home from the hospital and he slepth through the night from then on’ folks.  There’s the attachment parenting folks, the co-sleepers, the kids need their own space folks…  So many folks in each camp believe that they have the ‘right’ answers about how to parent and deem others who parent otherwise as negligent, or at the very least, misled.

It goes on and on and on and on and on. 

So here is my proposal:  Perhaps another “official study” needs to be conducted.  The subject matter?  Are all these studies beneficial to parents?  Is all of the ‘expert information’ really helping those parents who are conscientious enough to pay attention to it?  Or do they do nothing more than create a generation of neurotic parents (which would seem to logically lead to neurotic kids–I bet there’s a ‘study’ somewhere to back me up), who are afraid to do anything and can’t recognize their own God-given parenting instincts beneath all the gobblety-gook expertise shoved down our throats each time we go to the doctor, read a magazine, or watch the news.

Sure there are some benefits.  We got smart enough to strap our kids in car seats and stopped putting kids in top-heavy ‘walkers.’  Also, lead is no longer a part of most children’s nutritious breakfast.  But couldn’t we be getting information overload here? 

Motherhood carries with it a lion-share of guilt issues even outside of all the studies.  Do we really have to load more on top?  We already have to begin to come to terms with the fact that our kids will likely be sitting in a counselling session at some point later in life detailing all the ways we failed them which thus produced their mental duress.

So let’s see it!  I want a study done about the effects of all the studies?  Do they make us safer or more stressed out? 

I’ll probably have better luck just cancelling some magazine subscriptions and not reading any news, huh?

~End Rant!~


6 thoughts on “My Proposal to Improve Mothering

  1. I agree. These studies can have you wondering if you will ever be a good parent, but I think in the time you spend with you child you know whether they are getting what they need from you or whether your technique (i.e. crying it out or not, co-sleeping or not, homemade baby food or store bought) is right for YOUR family. Screw the studies! Just love the kid.

  2. I gave up on those magazines about the time I was pregnant with my second. So much guilt and so little information. All it really did was confuse me. My mom says I was on solids at 1 month 30 years ago. 8 years ago when my oldest was born it was about 5 months. When my kids have kids it will be completely different and everything we KNOW is safe and right will suddenly become dangerous. When I was a baby my mom struggled to keep me sleeping on my stomach because that was what prevented SIDS back in the day.

    Amazing how times change.

    All we can really do is our best and what feels right. I will never let my baby cry, that doesn’t feel right. I won’t put rice cereal in a bottle cause I know I choke when I have something like that lol. All we can do is all we can do, right?

  3. According to all current studies, my kids are messed up way beyond help. In actual fact, they are good, well-behaved, mostly normal kids.

  4. I think a lot of these studies are money motivated. Gerber wants to sell more semi-liquid food so a study comes out about solid food consumption. Etc. etc. I think it would be interesting to see who funded a lot of these studies.

  5. Good lord, I just went and read some of those articles. Crazy!

    There are so many things that affect development during pregnancy and after, one thing that seems ok for one kid, isn’t ok for another. I agree with Kris, just love the kid. Or in your case, kids 🙂

  6. I seem to remember riding in the back window of my mom’s chevy boat with her doing 80 down the highway, smoking a cigarette, and listening to “top 40” music. Oh yeah… and the seatbelts were cut out because they “annoyed” her. Add in the fact that we were very obsessively fed McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and random TV Dinners that could be ready in less than 10 minutes… Don’t even get me started on what we watched. I came out okay. My brother… not so much.

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