LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

YOU'RE SO VAIN (IN YOUR BELIEFS) I HOPE YOU THINK THIS POST IS ABOUT YOU: WHEN HUMAN NATURE AND PARENTING COLLIDE

"No, He Didn't...?"

I don't get human nature sometimes. Why do people always feel like they have to draw a line in the sand when it comes to their beliefs? Does it really make sense to alienate your fellow man just because they don't share your particular views? Do you really need to attack others just to feel better about yourself? I mean, for all our differences, at the end of the day, shouldn't our similarities be more important? I guess what I'm really wondering is, and forgive me for borrowing from Paul McCartney here, but "when you were young, and your heart was an open book, you used to say live and let live," so at what point in your inability to be open to other parenting styles did you adopt a "live and let die" philosophy? When did you become so holier than thou that your empathy went out the window and it became your way or the highway when it comes to raising the children of the world?


Now, I'm a firm believer in free speech. I think everybody is entitled to their opinion on everything from parenting to porn to peaches (canned in syrup or water) to popcorn (I prefer Orville Redenbacher, even if you're still stuck on Jiffy Pop). But I don't appreciate anyone walking in to my kitchen and opening up my fridge or my cupboards and critiquing the food that I eat any more than I want to be out on the street with my baby and being subjected to someone else's version of what proper parenting is. It's like you give someone a little bit of knowledge and they think they know everything. And if you think reformed smokers or people who are on a health kick are bad, they don't hold a candle to how annoying some "reformed" parents can be. I've met Jehovah's witnesses that were easier to have a conversation with (and, no, I'm not knocking their beliefs).

It's like people find a cause and they just suit up and prepare for battle whether it be on the topic of breastfeeding, or circumcision, or co-sleeping or whatever else someone can find to differentiate themselves from the "pack" (that is parents in general). But, man, do they not see how ridiculous they sound.
 
"Opinions are like Assholes. Every body's got one. “- 'Dirty' Harry Callahan, (The Dead Pool, 1988)

Look, I'm not against having an opinion. I'm not even against creating a forum to EDUCATE others on your way of life. Hell, I'll even support you if I think you really want to help others and don't just want to hear yourself talk. But what I can't stand is people going in to attack mode under the guise of defending their beliefs, when all they really want to do is coerce the rest of the world in to seeing things their way. In my mind, it doesn't matter if you're Larry Flynt or Jerry Falwell (as characterized in "The People vs. Larry Flynt"), you're just trying to get attention for your way of thinking, and you'll say just about anything to make your point. That's how I feel about parenting activism- well those who attempt to seek and destroy others anyway. You have an opinion. You've taken a side on a particular issue. You defend that position, more often than not, by attacking your opponents. And you'll go to any lengths to prove that your way is the right way.

Why? Because it makes you feel superior?
 
Don't know what I'm referring to? Go on to any parenting page with an open forum where new parents are asked to post their questions and you'll quickly see a division between an assortment of parenting practices: this mom wants to bottle-feed- "...she's ignorant"; this mom want to circumcise her son- "...doesn't she know about the 186 children that die each year from this?"; this mom just wanted to ask about baby food and got a lecture on preservatives. What's wrong with you f--king people? Are you so far removed from being a first-time parent that you have no empathy anymore? These people want help. They didn't ask for your manifesto! Do you have to belittle them? Are you so insecure that you need to make others feel less than just so you don't feel alone; just so you don't have to feel like the decisions you've made for your life aren't justified? Why do people always need to transpose their fears on to others? Why can't you just keep your f--king opinion to yourself, unless asked for it, like real "experts."


But, I digress...

I guess what bugs me most about activism, in all its forms, but more specifically parenting activists, is the whining. You have an opinion, you're not shy about telling others about how your beliefs are the better way to go, but then when people attack you, you play the victim; you cry foul, like you're an innocent. You went out of your way to attack another’s beliefs, they stood up for themselves, but you're "hurt." Well, to you I say "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" and "do not judge, lest ye be judged" (yes, I paraphrased, but please tell me I got it wrong just so you can prove your "all knowing" point). 

What am I trying to say here, other than the fact that some people bug the hell out of me? One, lighten the hell up, people. Parenting is hard enough without having to get up in arms about each and every single decision others make while parenting their own children. Stop being the nosy neighbor, and worry about yourself. I'll take care of my kids, thank you very much. Two, I have opinions about parenting too. Well, just one really. Simply stated, whatever gets you through the night, the first one after the birth of a child, and each and every single night after that, as long as it doesn't intentionally harm a child, or doesn't break the law, or doesn't circumnavigate common sense, is all right by me?

I unlike others have a live and let live policy when it comes to parenting. And, if you're wondering how I sleep at night, it's because I don't worry about all the shit that gets other people up in arms each and every day. Well, that and my daughter sleeps 8 hours a night, and has since the day she was born. But then again, it's my opinion that relaxed parents have relaxed children... but we don't need to fight about it. Do we?




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Disclaimer: This is not an attack on the various parenting philosophies, or practitioners who would endeavor to educate others on their way of life. We appreciate you and all your efforts, even if we don't always agree. This is a post to wake certain parents (activists) up to the fact that their way of trying to "educate" new parents (e.g. attacking people's beliefs on peaceful public forums, posting on parenting pages that do not share their beliefs and going in to attack mode when not even provoked, and those who would misread blog posts, repost them, and attack them for things they didn't actually say) is not productive, and will not produce either better parents or better children because no one wants to take the advice of ranting, raving lunatics.

7 comments:

  1. Hear hear!! I try not to be an asshole. I give my opinions when they are asked for (and only when they are asked for) and then make it very clear that this is what my husband and I do. I'm thankful that the majority of my friends are the same way and I tend to steer clear of the parents with a holier than thou attitude. I've noticed too that sometimes, people come across as holier than thou, without even trying to, which bugs me too...though I'm not sure if that's their problem or mine. Either way, I generally hate other parents because of this very reason.

    I wish everyone had to take a test on how to be a decent parent to other parents before becoming a parent themselves.

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  2. Kimberly, I think a test like that is a great idea.

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  3. Great piece... My husband and I are fathers..we also own a hair salon...can you imagine the amount of advice, usually unsolicited, we get from ALL the mothers walking through the door...:)

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  4. Thanks Henry. And I can only imagine what you go through. I get it walking around alone with my daughter, so I'm guessing two dads have it twice as bad.

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  5. I swear, you took this out of my brain and put it into words when I couldn't! The problem is, the people who NEED to read this are too busy thinking they are "right" about everything to learn something from it! I posted (inadequately, I'm afraid) on this topic a few weeks ago when I felt like I just couldn't TAKE it anymore! Would you mind if I link this up to mine since you said it way better than I ever could?
    http://anothertiredmommy.blogspot.com/2012/01/if-we-cant-support-each-other-were.html

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  6. Thanks Nina. By all means, link away. :)

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