Today in my news feed I saw this article about how "mommy bloggers" were freaking out and attacking the famed beauty and new mom, Gisele Bundchen.
Well, I would probably be considered a "mommy blogger" and I have to say, a woman piercing the ears of her infant daughter doesn't freak me out even on a bad day.
I am sure there are those that would compare piercing ears to circumcision, but in my book the two have some very obvious differences and don't make much of a comparison as comparisons go. (A circumcision removes something that was there and from a place in the body that has literally hundreds of feet of nerve endings, can result in blood loss, and is often done without even the parents having any knowledge of the possible consequences. Not to mention an adult woman who decides she hates her earrings can simply remove them while an adult circumcised male can't get his foreskin back.)
While I personally wouldn't pierce a baby girl's ears (and I have three girls) I can't say it really ticks me off that somebody else does it. In fact, I have to concur with some of the commentators on this piece-
From popcultureparent- "That's a cultural & individual decision. C'mon moms, focus on what's important."
Maybe, just maybe, we should do everybody a favor and leave Gisele alone in her parenting choices.
Yes, once again some of us "moms" are focusing on things that aren't important. Yes, infant abuse IS important and there are some things that are commonly done that can qualify as such. If we are being honest though, ear piercing doesn't fall into this category.
I can't help but think that while people rant and rave on the Internet about bodily integrity as it concerns ear holes, their kids must be suffering more than that baby with the pierced ears. What are their kids doing while they pound away on twitter? How is this focused anger towards another mom going to positively impact their own home life? I am pretty sure that the impact that anger towards another has on their home is equally negative. I have to admit that despite my current preachiness towards you, I have gotten sucked into many an Internet debate. WITHOUT FAIL that anger that is at first directed towards a stranger, somehow finds its way into my home and my parenting. I doubt very much that I am the only one with this problem...
Oh, and let's be honest. The anti-ear piercing rants have a subtle (or not so subtle) xenophobic feel to them. Yes- in some countries baby girls get their ears pierced. Guess what else...some people sit at on the floor to eat their dinner! SHOCKER! Some people don't put diapers on their babies. ICKY! In some places children are worn by their mother even after they can walk! HOLY COW! In some cultures it is normal for a woman to move in with her in-laws when she marries. DISGUSTING! (I am currently living with my mother-in-law and I have to admit some serious abhorrence of this cultural tradition. In fact, it should probably be illegal...)
The ugly truth is that other people make parenting choices that are legal but which we may disagree with- sometimes strongly. People are allowed to circumcise, bottle-feed, pierce ears, spank, schedule c-sections and all kinds of things on the crunch list of evils. I hear ya ladies- I want to create change too. I spend a few hours every single day trying to make birth better for women in ways that I feel I can. Some of this stuff does matter.
But we need to watch our delivery- and our effectiveness.
Is change actually made when we rant online? (Yes, I am guilty many times over of ranting online on my blog. Guilty as charged.) But attacking another MOTHER? How is this helpful. The truth is that all this attacking does is:
1) Makes us look crazy
2) Wastes our time
3) Ruins our own day
So let's stop freaking out about a baby with pierced ears and a mom who did something that was culturally appropriate for her. Instead we can spend our time doing something much less satisfying and much harder...
We can look in our OWN mirror in our OWN home where our OWN kids live and figure out something WE (and not some random stranger) can do better at. And then...we can actually do it and stop wasting time getting angry at another mother.
Yeah...feeling superior to a supermodel just sounds like more fun, doesn't it?
Sarah Clark is a mother to one boy and three girls (all of whom must wait until they are at least eight to have their ears pierced). She is a natural birth teacher, a "mommy blogger" at Mama Birth, and a teacher trainer for Birth Boot Camp (online and in-person natural birth classes.)