|"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?