This is the beginning of a tirade by one of Australia's most respected baby experts – Pinky McKay. She's author of the books Parenting By Heart, Breastfeeding Simply and Toddler Tactics and her popular blog pinkymckay.com is normally a source of calm, gentle and level-headed advice. But, after an emotional phone conversation with a client last week, Pinky logged on and let fly. Her foul-mouthed tirade shocked loyal followers and sparked a passionate conversation between mums who follow her parenting philosophy called "cuddlers" and those who argue for a more regimented approach to parenting called "tamers".
In this excerpt from her post Pinky McKay's Most Frequently Asked Stupid Questions, she writes:The ‘Tamers’ give me the shits! Not only are they disrespectful to the ‘Cuddlers’ (hang in there Cuddlers, you are doing a wonderful job!), but they are disrespectful to their own babies. They talk about their babies as though they are objects – badly behaved object s at that. They use words like ‘stubborn’ and ‘manipulating’ to describe these little people.I am a proud ‘Cuddler’. I don’t have time to keep answering stupid questions from dipshits with ridiculous expectations of teeny, tiny babies, so I have made a FAQ list especially for the ‘Tamers’.So, Tamers, if you want a quick fix, just check your question here.1/ why does my baby cry when I leave him in his cot?
He is programmed to expect a sabre tooth tiger or a crocodile or an eagle to swoop and gobble him up if he’s all alone. So don’t leave him alone in the frigging cot if he gets upset.2/ why does my baby cry when I don’t pick him up?He’s trying to communicate with you. If you don’t ‘listen’ when he tries to ask you nicely, he will yell louder to make sure you hear. Get it? He needs YOU to PICK HIM UP!! (See number 1)
The 'advice' continues. She answers mock questions such as 'Why does my baby cry if I won't feed him for 4 hours?' and she helpfully points out that they are hungry and by the way, how long do you last without chocolate or coffee? Her choice of words, once again, is colourful. "Your kid is fucking hungry – or thirsty!" She adds, "WATCH YOUR BABY, NOT THE DAMN CLOCK!"
To the question 'Why doesn't my baby sleep 12 hours' she says, "I'm surprised you found the energy to MAKE a baby if you are so fucking lazy that you need 12 hours sleep."6/ Why is my baby so stubborn – he cries hysterically and refuses to self- settle ?Because he’s not a fucking inconvenience, he’s a human being. He obviously CAN”T self- settle. What’s so bloody magical about that anyway – it’s not a developmental milestone like crawling or walking or jumping?
The responses to this post were instant. Helen wrote, "I normally love your blog but I have to admit this post has left a rather nasty taste in my mouth. I don`t think being nasty to people who don`t know any better is a way to win them over. It`s judgmental and basically just mean."
Tiffany wrote, "I understand your frustration, but your lack of professionalism is difficult to swallow. “Mummy matters,” right? Even if mummy doesn’t agree with you or gets your hackles raised. Plenty of women do not understand normal baby behavior and have their own, personal reasons for trying sleep training. Some moms are desperate for sleep and will try anything, and don’t need to be called “fucking lazy,” and other choice words."
Pinky posted an apology of sorts the next day, responding to her critics in a post called Why I flipped my lid at baby tamers.My tongue was firmly in my cheek when I let fly. I am sorry if I have offended you, especially if you are a desperate mother. You deserve an explanation:For more than thirty years I have been kind, gentle, accepting. I have written thousands of articles and columns for magazines, websites, newspapers. I have written gently in my books. I have spoken gently to parents, especially new parents.You see, no baby or child deserves to be treated like an inconvenience – at any age. Ignorance isn’t an excuse. I don’t care whether you sleep with your babies, baby wear or breastfeed – or not. You can nurture responsively without adopting labels or following any particular dogma or philosophy. This is YOUR child and you do know your child best – if you listen and trust. ’Your feelings might be fragile but so is your baby. You are the grown up in this picture. You chose to have a child.
She goes on to advise that parents need to show more empathy towards their babies. She worries that parents are looking for quick fixes instead of experience the joy of raising a baby.I don’t know what the answer is to see that vulnerable infants and children are respected and responded to, but if my rude rant gets such a reaction, perhaps it’s at least making people think.
So parents – both cuddlers and tamers – choose your words carefully when submitting a question to Pinky's site. You have been warned!