by KERRI SACKVILLE
The other morning, as I was trying to get ready, as well as get my three kids fed, dressed, kissed and to school on time, an ad for 60 Minutes blasts on my TV.
“These mothers think you have it all wrong,” it says, “and they have the scientific evidence to prove it.”
I didn’t watch 60 Minutes last night. I’m really hoping you didn’t watch it either. Suffice it to say that the segment was about attachment parenting, and mothers who choose to breastfeed indefinitely. It was supposed to make us angry. It was supposed to pit us mothers against each other.
And I have had a gutful of it.
The media is forever trying to create Mummy Wars, with Good Mothers on one side and Bad Mothers on the other side. And you know what? It’s BULLSHIT. Yes, there are bad mothers – mothers who physically or psychologically or sexually abuse their kids. Mothers who neglect their kids, who inject them with drugs, who leave them festering in their own waste for days at a time.
But most mothers, the vast, vast majority of us, are good mothers, who are just doing our best.
We all have our different ways of doing things and that is just FINE. Personally, I don’t care how any other mother parents. I don’t care if you breastfeed your child till they’re ten, if you’re both happy and comfortable about it. I don’t care if you work outside the home or if your child goes to creche or if you leave the house at six every morning. I don’t care if you co-sleep, or feed on demand, or put your baby on a schedule. I don’t care if you carry your baby all day in a sling, or do controlled crying, or put your child on a vegan diet or give them Maccas chips for lunch. I DON’T CARE. If you love your child and are making thoughtful decisions and educating them and keeping them safe and enjoying their company then that’s pretty bloody good in my books.
You know what I do care about? I care about children living in poverty. I care about child sexual abuse. I care about indigenous inequality. I care about immunisation. I care about the parents of special needs kids pushed to the limits. I care about education and the medical system and the rights of kids to have their same-sex parents marry. I DO NOT CARE HOW THOUGHTFUL, LOVING PARENTS RAISE THEIR KIDS, even if they do it differently to me.
So please please please, 60 Minutes and every other inflammatory media outlet…. STOP. Stop trying to pit us mums against each other. We will not fall for it. We are all just doing our best.
Each to her own, people. Make it your mantra. Each to her own.
And stop the bullshit. It’s enough.
This was originally published on Kerri’s blog and has been republished with full permission.
You can also go here to read the 16 things you need to know about attachment parenting.
Kerri lives in Sydney with her husband and three kids. Her first book was “When My Husband Does The Dishes…” and her second book, “The Little Book of Anxiety“, is out now. You can follow Kerri’s blog here and catch up with her on Twitter here.
UPDATED EDITOR’S NOTE:
I was anticipating many comments below along the lines of ‘Mamamia is guilty of inflaming the Mummy Wars’ so I wanted to address that straight up.
My opinion differs from Kerri in that I think the idea of women debating parenting issues is not a media construct. It’s not the media that incites ‘mummy wars’ – it’s women who are terrified that they’re getting it wrong and must justify whatever choices they’ve made by slamming the different choices made by other women. The media can’t create something that doesn’t exist.
I have a particular loathing for the term Mummy Wars. I hate it as much as I hate the term Mummy blogs. It’s demeaning and patronising. Yes, women have different opinions about various aspects of mothering. Yes, many women are passionate about the choices they make. But why can’t these issues be discussed? If you feel strongly about something, why shouldn’t you be able to express your opinions and debate them?
When men disagree about something, it’s not called “The Men wars”. It’s just called discussion.
Having said that, I agree with Kerri 8000% about there being a HUGE difference between ‘bad parenting’ that includes not immunising your child, witholding love, abusing them emotionally or physically, neglect etc etc.
That is a million miles away from weaning your baby at 3 months or going back to work ‘too early’.
By all means let’s debate and air our feelings and opinions on parenting. I believe that any issue that’s important (and parenting undeniably is) should be treated this way. It’s part of how we define our values as a society.
But let’s make a clear distinction between REALLY bad mothers and those who just make well-intentioned choices that are different to our own.
Meanwhile, Mamamia will continue to publish posts about all aspects of parenthood because it’s just as important as all the other issues that are discussed and debated in society and on this website.