Friday, May 11, 2012

Enough, Time.

I didn't read the Time article. I'm not a subscriber, or, at least, I'm not a subscriber any more. They were giving me a free subscription while I was in school and at some point Time must have agreed with my parents that "enough was enough."

Of course, the one person who seems to never feel "enough is enough" is Dr. Sears. I did read Dr. Sears's book. Many times. Then I actually had the baby and I immediately got rid of the book, because I no longer had time for fantasy.

I'm still in law school mode, so I'm going to approach this review/rant (reviant?) with a legal standard. Assuming everything that Dr. Sears says is true, he's failed to state a claim because...I don't care. Attachment parenting may be the best thing for my babies. It may save them a lifetime of therapy, rickets, and general mediocrity. And I just don't care.

I can't care. I can't care, because if I cared, then I would have to function in a constant state of failure, because I can't do what Attachment Parenting wants me to do. And this isn't another story about not being able to breastfeed, because I did breastfeed...and I co-slept and I stayed home. I just didn't do it enough. My body worked; my mind didn't.

I didn't feel more attached to my children when I was practicing Attachment Parenting. I felt distant--distant from them and distant from myself. It wasn't who I was. I didn't like what I was doing. The more I felt myself slip away, the more I dug deeper and tried to find that part of me that had to be there. There had to be a part of me that wanted the motherhood that Dr. Sears described, because that's what's best for my babies. I wanted what is best for them. I just wasn't trying hard enough.

I kept digging until eventually I had just hollowed myself out. Instead of the strong, natural mother I was searching for, I was an empty shell of myself. I forgot what I like and who I was. All I could remember was what I was supposed to be. I knew I wasn't that person. My quest to be everything for my children turned me into nothing. They deserved better than that.

I started almost every paragraph of this post with "I." Although normally it would be attributed to my lazy and hasty writing, this time, it was intentional. I am an entity separate from my children. This post is about me. This issue is about women. Telling a woman that she should act a certain way, or else her children will be harmed, is an old, manipulative trick and we should all be smarter than that. If a woman wants to practice Attachment Parenting, I support that, as long as she doesn't attempt to convince me that I'm less of a mother because I practice Child Individualism. (I think I just made that up, but things sound more confidant when you capitalize them.)

I was lured to Dr. Sears by memories of my mother reading Dr. Spock. I got hooked. I stumbled. I doubled-down. I lost. I could never have won, but it should never have been about winning. That's what disgusts me about the whole discussion. There is always an intrinsic, objective "best." People don't work that way. Relationships don't work that way. Motherhood is so much more complex than Dr. Sears's book made it out to be.

On some level I'm glad there is a national discussion about motherhood, but mostly I'm just tired that the overall themes are still the same. A debate about a man's view of appropriate motherhood should have been of no interest to me, except that women have adopted his view as the gold-standard. Well, let's stop doing this to ourselves. I'm not going to read the Time article. I don't care what he thinks. I'm free from Attachment Parenting.

Now I'm going to go re-read "The Awakening"...because that's a time when women had identity problems.

**Update**

Here are some good posts from talented bloggers who have way more experience writing about this nonsense than I do:

http://www.sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms.com/2012/05/are-you-mom-enough-not-to-take-the-bait/
http://themomalog.com/2012/05/10/are-you-mom-enough/
http://elatedexhaustion.com/2012/05/11/take-time-to-watch-the-butterflies-dance/
http://www.treadingwaterinthekiddiepool.com/breastfeeding-why-is-this-still-news/
http://www.scarymommy.com/its-time-to-end-the-mommy-wars/


4 comments:

  1. A-freaking-men! Attachment parenting and all that goes with it, is not for everyone. Just like it creates a beautiful comfortable bonding experience for others. It is high time that we develop some confidence in ourselves as mothers and realize that there are a million "right" ways to doing parenting. I can't help but notice that fathers never, absolutely never, seem to get into these kinds of debates.

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    1. Isn't that the truth? I've never seen my husband up late at night, fretting over what someone said on a "daddy message board," wondering if he's "man" enough to be a good dad.

      It took me two kids before I realized that my way could be ok...oh, and some therapy. That helped a lot, too. :)

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  2. This is a fabulous piece. Wonderfully written, and I agree with you 100%. I don't think motherhood should be a competition, but that is what happens when you bring "experts" into the ring.

    My mother flat out told me that she had ONE book to read when I was born: Dr. Spock. And she read it and took what she liked and then put the book away. She said there were two other voices she listened to: her mother's and her mother-in-law's. (My grandmothers were pretty smart ladies.) I asked her where she was in the equation and she said, "Oh, I always trusted my self first."

    I was like Whaaaaaat? Because I never felt like I could be that way. Or at least not for a long time. I was always chasing Perfection. I believe the whole "Super-Mommy Dogma" was embedded in my feminist undergraduate education: "You should be able to work and be pregnant and do everything." (It didn't help that our pregnant Dean worked right up until the moment her water broke.)

    So I tried to be that.

    I finally figured out that was not going to work for me when my body showed me that was not going to work for me and I wound up on bed rest.

    And I agree with you. These are slippery tricks. Books written by men telling us how to parent. Really? I don't think so.

    I'm here from Write On Edge. Soooo glad I saw this. And nice to meet you.

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    1. Nice to meet you, too! And thank you for sharing your experience. I almost laughed out loud when I read about the dean's water breaking. I had tried to work right up until I had my last child and I ended up in physical therapy 3x a week with immobilizing back pain. My daughter just did not want me to move!

      What a wonderful insight into your mother and what mothering used to be, before it was turned until another way to make women feel bad about themselves. I think it is so sad that what sprang from the feminist movement has been distorted into something that is so damaging to women.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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