I belong to a few groups of parenting-related things: my moms’ group, a breastfeeding group, a cloth diapering group. In general I’m pretty impressed that they tend to get along really well and are good at the whole, “do what’s best for your kid and I’ll do what’s best for mine and there’s no judgements”, especially in the moms group where I actually know people as opposed to others that are strictly online and are much larger.
Anyway, someone asked a question about a complication related to circumcision (which she stated was done because of a medical reason) and the best way to address it. She got some helpful answers, and then naturally she got one person who had to speak out that there is no medical evidence that circumcising is needed, she just needed to tell everyone that. And then of course the person got offended and said there were specific reasons why they had to get it done, to which the person said that she should have said that in the first place, blah blah blah.
Why do we always assume that other people have not put the same research we have into our decisions? Why do we think that other moms are not making the best decisions for their own children based on their own experience? Why do we feel that we need to feel superior that we’re the only ones who are capable of making a good decision?
One thing I hate about many of the choices that I make is that it seems that a lot of people choose it because they want to feel superior to other people. Or maybe that’s not why they choose it, but that ends up happening.
Am I happy with my decisions to do what I do? Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t do them. Does it make me more awesome than you? No! Do I think everyone should do as I do? Definitely not! I understand why others don’t choose to do them and I don’t think it makes me a better parent that I do or others worse parents that they don’t (or vice versa). I really hate the divides that open up between moms in particular because of this need to preach to others about things that are a personal choice. I don’t think any mom sets out to make bad decisions for their kids.
In particular I hate the whole breastfeeding vs formula divide. Okay, so breastfeeding is best, that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean formula is bad, and we certainly don’t need to go around making people feel bad for using it. Breastfeeding is stressful and hard even for people who really really want to do it. Do we really want to force a choice on someone who either doesn’t want to or can’t? I know a few moms who really feel trapped when they can’t get out and do things on their own without their babies and really miss having a social life. I realize I’m an extreme case since FrostedBaby won’t take a bottle and is severely attached to me currently, but can you imagine how awful it would be if someone like the above were in my situation? I don’t care most of the time and I’m boring and like staying home anyway, but I find it suffocating sometimes.
I wonder if lawyers and other people who are members of a group that gets a bad name because of certain individuals who get attention feel the same way, that while they enjoy doing what they do, that in some ways they’re ashamed to be in the same group as the “bad” ones. I breastfeed, but I’m not a “boob nazi”, I made my choice about whether or not to circumcise my son and I’m happy with my choice but I don’t feel that others need to do what I do just because I felt it was right for us and I certainly don’t need to throw my beliefs in other people’s faces, as if that validates my decisions.
I have confidence in my decisions and I offer my reasoning to anyone who asks, but I don’t feel that others need to do the same in order for me to know I made the right choice for us. And I’m not perfect, I do judge others sometimes for doing things that I
think I wouldn’t do, but I try really hard to remember that just because I don’t know why someone does something the way they do doesn’t mean they don’t have good reasons for doing it.
I started this a few days ago and have come back a few times to add to it. I’m not sure how the tone comes across, but I just wanted to express frustration at this innocent question for advice turned into a tirade about how awful this woman’s choice was and it just wasn’t the time or place for it.