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...


The Time Magazine Cover that is causing controversy
If I've said it before, I'll say it again: parenting is not an exact science. Sure, everybody likes to think they know what they're doing, but do we really? I mean, can anybody say they have the one tried and true method for raising the "perfect child?" To me, parenting is just a smorgasbord of opinion, and we all choose to believe what we want to believe. In actuality, choosing one parenting philosophy over another is no different than choosing which side of the coin you choose to gamble on when deciding your fate at the hands of Pascal's Wager, where the truth of the matter can never truly be known, and you're just guessing at best.

Now, I saw the recent Time Magazine cover that has many moms up in arms. You know the one with the made-up mom breastfeeding a four-year-old with the caption "Are You Mom Enough?" We’ve all seen it, the one pitting those who believe in Attachment Parenting versus those who don't. I know why the article was written. I know why it's a hot topic of the day. But, I'm not biting, and, I'm most certainly not choosing sides. No, not because I'm a dad and I should have no dog in this hunt, but because I'm a parent who only wants the best for my children, like all other parents, and I would prefer to write something that brings us all together as opposed to pushing us further apart.
Spoof of Time Magazine Cover

The real truth of the matter is this: human beings are so far removed from our true animal instincts that most of us have no faith in our common sense, so we look to science to tell us what to do; we look to the "experts" to show us how to do something that should be as natural as breathing, and we hand over all our parental duties to them in the hopes that they will help us to do the right thing. Problem is the experts can't agree on anything, so we have to choose: do I breastfeed for one year or five? Do I co-sleep or do I let my child sleep in their own crib? Do I formula feed or hire a wet nurse to feed my child? The list goes on and on, and more and more all we notice is the differences in our parenting philosophies when we should be noticing what all parents have in common.

We are only animals after all. Just because we have large brains doesn't make us smarter than the rest of the animal world, just more complex. Disagree? Take a trip to the zoo; no, not to watch the animals, but rather to watch the humans. Go to the zoo on a long weekend, when droves of parents- hundreds, even thousands of moms and dads- flock through the gates just to find something to do with their children for the day. As you stand in line you won't see the differences in people, you'll see just how much we are all alike. For as much as the various parenting philosophies would try to put us on different paths, the reality is we are all just different people chasing the exact same goal- happy, well-adjusted kids who all want to see the new White Lion exhibit.

We all have to put sunscreen on our kids, do we not? We all have to pack snacks for them, and make sure they don't drop their hats. We all have to explain the same things like why the line-up is taking so long, and why they shouldn't try to climb the fence to get a closer look at the Baboons. We all make use of the change tables at one time or another. We all question why there seems to be a weird teenager eying our kid when we're not holding their hand. We're all parents, and as much as we want to think we're that much different than each other, you can't help but notice just how much we are the same if you're willing to look.

More controversial Time Magazine Covers
Sure, I fed my two-year-old French fries in the food court while a mom a few tables over breastfed her five-year-old, but it's just a choice. And if we can choose not to attack each other for these choices, realizing that what works for one parent does not work for another, we would all be able to get along.
After all, parents like all other animals at the zoo are always conscious of their captivity (parenthood). And the more we point and stare at people for doing things that are foreign to us, the more it makes them feel like their backs are to the wall and they have to defend themselves. But why can't we just be more like kids? My daughter walked up to a Giraffe, looked it up and down, smiled, said "Bye Mr. Zebra" and moved on. Why can't you? Why can't Time Magazine? Why do we have to always attack what is different, when what we should really be celebrating is what is the same about all of us?

I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I no more enjoy someone telling what I'm doing wrong with my parenting than I enjoy someone backseat driving in my car, or telling me what to do in my own kitchen. We all choose to do things differently so that we're not all annoyingly the same. No one's better, and no one's worse. We're just adopting different ways of getting to the same end goal. True, my daughter will go off to college knowing how to cook her own meals and be comfortable sleeping in her own bed while your child may still be breastfeeding, co-sleeping and peeing where ever they feel like it (in extreme cases), but who says which is the better way to raise your child. The important thing is we all just learn to get along and raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids.

In my opinion, we're all just children raising the next generation of children. The lessons never stop and the answers will never be as clear as we would like them to be.

Can't we all just get along?

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