Easier. Since when does it mean worse

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I recently read a guest post (by Nina Badzin) on Scary Mommy, and the comments really got under my skin. I generally have a pretty high tolerance for parenting differences, and the debates they inspire, but I reached my boiling point. The post in question was a light-hearted talk about listening to our mothers about parenting (the ease of formula, why you don’t need to make your baby food, and that we should simply relax), and things would be more comfortable. She basically suggests that no mom should feel bad because she chooses formula, jarred baby food, and having a life. I couldn’t agree more. Simple enough? Sure. Meant to spark a nasty debate? No.
Here’s the comment that made me feel stabby:
I’m sorry, but what the fuck?
We all know the nutritional benefits of nursing. You can’t dispute that. With me, I had plans to nurse Abs as long as I could. I planned ahead. I read the books. I took the classes. She came along, and all seemed fine. Then, she didn’t gain weight, and she didn’t poop, she barely peed. I was ‘nursing’ around the clock and getting no sleep. I was a zombie during the day for my new baby and my toddler. I tried and tried, and kept trying until our lactation consultant told me to supplement. Fine. Luckily, I never felt the guilt that can be so destructive for new moms, so the formula was excellent for me. However, it is baffling to me that some people could not see that our situation wasn’t working and needed to be fixed. I went from a barely functioning state, to being able to keep my eyes open and act like a human. My family was infinitely happier because of the formula. I’m sure I could have worked harder at nursing. I could have given up the few hours of sleep that I got each night and pumped. I could have continued to wake up in tears after 30 minutes of sleep. All night, every night. I would have been more miserable and less able to take care of my kids and myself. Do some people see this as the better of the two options?
The formula, yes, is nutritionally inferior. We know that. But we are not talking about the difference between a candy bar and a salad. This debate needs to go away. I wish nursing worked out better for me. I do. I do believe that it would have been wonderful to carry no bottles, no mixing, no nothing. Just my baby and my boob. However, when I see a mom nursing, I don’t think, “Wow, she’s a better mom than those who feed their babies liquid poison.” I think nothing. She’s feeding her baby, and it’s none of my business to have an opinion on how she does it.
Homemade versus store-bought baby food is just a personal preference. I’m not much of a cook, and I don’t enjoy it. For me, purchasing a jar of ‘Tender Sweet Carrots’ (Ingredients: Carrots and Water) was easy. If I liked to cook and cooked more often, I would have tried to make my own. I didn’t. And it’s ok. The commenter calls it “Taking the lazy way out.” I call it, ‘We lived in 2010. There have been some advances that make life easier that don’t compromise our children’s health. You are not a superhero because you choose not to take advantage.” Make your own food. Buy your baby’s food. Again. Who cares?
But…where she gets me is with the,
“If you want to relax, don’t have kids. Get a goldfish. Motherhood is not for the weak and lazy.”
Ouch. Wow. WTF? Don’t we know this? Don’t we all know that motherhood is a full-time gig, and the worries never stop? Does that somehow mean that we are now servants to our kids’ every whim and desire? That they now have the say, and we have none? Does it mean that we cease to exist as people, and are only known as ‘M’s mother’? (well…I guess that’s true, but still) Does it mean that *gasp* we should not have hobbies or interests outside of NickJr., Play-do, and coloring books?
No. It doesn’t mean any of those things. My days of relaxing are over? I stay home with my girls. I’m with them all day, every day. Do you mean to tell me, crazy lady, that when I can, I should not take a break? Should I re-scrub the toilet after it’s clean, just because I need to be doing something? Should I unfold and re-fold the clothes in my laundry basket a couple of times, just to show some extra love? This woman would have a field day in my house. I actually let my kids play together without me. I do other things that have nothing to do with them. I’m not down in the kitchen, making homemade meals from scratch every day. We order out. I (and my kids) will occasionally eat something from the freezer. Lock me up.
People do things differently. I see it every day. Why isn’t it ok? There is a point where ‘Ok’ is fine. Useful, better, best doesn’t include shitty. When given many options, there’s a likely chance that more than one is acceptable. There’s even the chance that some moms and families find different options to be the best. The next time you see a mom beating her kid, worry about the child. Don’t worry about the kid who is drinking from a bottle and eating a jar of peas.
Now excuse me while I relax with a book. My kids aren’t even in the same room as me. The horror!