First, and slightly off-topic, there were a bunch of posts how AP is easier... and I do agree- for babies. Doing what babies need keeps everyone healthy, happy (and generally not screaming!) and what they "ask for" is very direct and usually easy to provide. But older children have more complex needs. Maintaining a trust of your child's innate sense of self and thier own needs, finding others in schools and care situations who run programs that respect this, parenting in a culture of punishment and of children being "lesser"... AP parenting can become much harder than it was for babies and young toddlers as soon you are not just advocating your positions with your mom or your playgroup, but you are pushing entire systems like schools, religious institutions, etc. in order to maintain your child's environment when they are not in your direct care, when they are part of a larger community.
Anyway, back a bit more on topic. Take MDC here
. There are always a bunch of parents who say "I'll never be as great a mom as these MDC moms! AP is too hard because I'm not 'crunchy enough'. How do I live up to the impossible MDC standards?" and the flaw in the logic here is this- the vast majority of the time, you see people's "good sides". They talk the most about the things they are passionate in. So you get a few MDC'ers who really are great at cloth diaper issues. Others are big advocates of breastfeeding. Many want to talk about their natural births. Some are really well read on gentle discipline. So, it comes out looking like MDC is full of super-people when really, it is some people are great at some things and not so big on others. The diaperer might not do the healthfood thing (so they most likely will not post in those forums or talk about it much). The breastfeeder might not have found a natural birth an important part of their parenting experience. So, they just don't go there. So, when we find out that, lo and behold, there are OTHERS who have lost it and yelled, others who have struggled with nursing, others who have gone through the McDonalds drive through... Well. We feel a little better. We're not perfect, but NO ONE is. There IS some peace in that. This "bad parent" thing takes the idea one step further.
I have a "perfect" friend. She is a child psychologist by trade with a PhD, but she stays home with her girls. She is a clown at a hospital in her off time (she brings her kids...
). She teaches Music Together. She runs the pre-schools Schoolastic. She collects clothes for needy children. She is a gentle, loving, thoughtful affectionate parent who laughs often and loves her girls. They are clearly adored children who come to school in mismatched clothes and rainboots and she smiles and rolls her eyes. Her house is filled with kid art, play spaces and healthy food. To boot, she is very, very pretty and thin. When she told me one day that she had a "really hard time" with her youngest, I laughed out loud (we're friends...). I told her I was sorry to hear that, but I was also happy to hear it because it means you're human
. We both laughed because we were really saying that you can be a great mom, but no one can be a perfect mom. And that is OK. We were OK in our "imperfections", bad days, and things like that.