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Why can't I be just a mother??!! "AP vs.Mainstreem Parents" - Page 4

post #61 of 301
I agree 100% with Piglet - I am still wondering where you live. If I went down the street and asked people what they thought about how I parent, many of them would probably call CPS and report sexual abuse (seriously, a lot of people think that about my EBF my 2.5 yo and co-sleeping with both him and my 4yo DD).

I vaccinate. I spend at least an hour away from the kids every couple of days (and even *gasp* am a full-time student who takes frequent breaks - on a year-long one right now - but would spend 6+ hours a day away from the kids every semester I take classes). I have never felt anything less than welcome here. In fact, there are little mini-communities for people like me (full-time students and WOHM) that are fully supportive - right here at MDC. I am a person who needs a break. If my kids hadn't spent any time away from me I'd be a nutcase. My parents and DH's parents are all very AP-type people and we are fully comfortable leaving the kids with them - I also frequently leave the kids with DH frequently for an hour or two while I go work out or sit somewhere quiet and read or something similar. IMO, my DH is a parent too and as another attached parent, has the same abilities to watch the children as I do, and as soon as the child didn't need to breastfeed so often, I very frequently would go somewhere while DH watched the children (just as he frequently goes out while I am watching the children). I have a feeling that most of the mamas here take breaks like this every now and then, if not to the extent that I do, and that very few have spent 100% of their time (or close to it) with their children since birth). They and I are all welcome here, and I have never felt otherwise.

OK, I have started rambling. My point was, I agree with what Piglet says and think that her post laid out point-by-point what many of us have been thinking about the whole issue.
post #62 of 301
I have to agree with the previous posters. In my town, I have seen ONE mom NIP. Count 'em... ONE. I usually see babies propped in carseats drinking a bottle of what looks to be formula. The baby is carried everywhere in the carseat and I usually don't see the baby held at all. Often, the bottles hold liquid that is colored RED. Hmmm, must be koolaid or something similar. Kids are often yelled at and treated the same way in response. I am usually met with surprise when people find out that I gave birth without an epidural (let alone at home <gasp!>). A mom I met one day proudly announced she nursed for six weeks... did I nurse at all? Yes, I nursed until dd weaned at 20 months. Her jaw dropped. She thought she broke a record, and she probably did among her friends. Don't tell people you co-sleep because all they will say is "they'll never leave your bed". Well, I don't know too many college students who have to commute because they miss mommy and daddy at night. :

I don't know where you live, but it must be nice! I am a real oddball where I live, so it's nice to come to MDC and be among friends.
post #63 of 301
I vaccinate and don't co-sleep, and no one here has told me I'm doing something wrong or depriving my child or am not really an AP parent. I just don't post in the vax or family bed forums.

Also, I don't really consider myself to be an AP parent. At least, not with dd. Maybe with #2 I'll be more attached. But I think I feel the same way about many issues here, so I fit in well enough.
post #64 of 301
I live in a town where there are some AP moms but lots more mainstream moms . BUt even amoung the AP moms......we all do things differently. Some vax, some circumsize, some homeschool, most work.........just like here on MDC. And we are all friends, despite our differences.

But if you feel like the "uncool girl at high school".......well, thats how you feel and no one here can change that for you.

We have found a community at MDC where we are accepted, where we can vent about things we have a shared frustration about, where we can cry and share our tragedies.......theres room for you or anyone else that comes from a place of respect. However, if you dont feel welcome....its always a good idea to keep looking for a place you do.

I dont see why we have to defend a place we find solace in...........to someone who wants to argue that fact.
post #65 of 301
Well, I see the OP's point, actually.

I don't use the term "mainstream," ever.. because I think it is both meaningless (totally subjective judgment) and divisive.

I don't label myself, and I certainly don't think I have the right to label others.

I live in Atlanta, which isn't exactly a bastion of progressive thought on ANYTHING.. but I know very few moms who do the things Piglet68 describes. Maybe it is the circles I hang out in.. but I know plenty of people who don't parent like I do.. but who don't do the things Piglet68 describes.

I dunno. I too think the labeling is pretty unproductive. But I am obviously a minority in that sense.
post #66 of 301
I just wanted to say thankyou, newmommy, for taking the time to respond to my questions.

I have to say, you must live in some nice town, lol. I don't have alot of statistics to back up my statements about what constitutes the "norm" for parenting in western soceity, but rather go on my experience, which mirrors what most mothers here say: I'm the minority, lol. Actually, I don't usually feel that way only b/c I hang out with LLL mamas and hang out here. But when I look around at the world outside that circle, it's not the same world as mine! And of course it can vary a great deal. Come spend some time here on the West Side of Cleveland and I'll give you $10 for every baby you see breastfed. You won't make much money, lol.

There are a couple of "facts" I can bring up though. What percentage of babies would you guess cosleep in the US? Based on surveys reported in Mothering (and I"m going from memory here since I lent out my cosleeping issue...) but it was about 1/4 who reported cosleeping full time. About 1/4 who did it part time. And fully 1/2 of babies were in a crib from day one. (and this was infants only, not taking into account family beds or cosleeping toddlers). You can't tell me that 75% of babies would rather spend most or all of their time in a crib, if given the choice. That's just not natural. Sure, many will be better off, but not most.

Also, look at formula feeding rates. While about 80-some percent of women "attempt" to breastfeed at birth, by 3 months of age, the rate drops precipitously to something like 40% and then by six months it's like 20%. Do you really believe that only 20% of human females can successfully breastfeed their infants to 6 months? We would have died out as a species long ago! The truth is, in countries where BFing is given the support and promotion and education it needs, rates are over 90%. You can't convince me that every women out there who feeds formula did it because they were physically incapable of making milk.

Anyways, I wanted to tell you that I, MDC moderator, did not have a natural birth (I actually had a <gasp!> scheduled cesarian), and I did almost all the vaccines, and I didn't cloth diaper until my DD was 8 months old. Nobody has ever made me feel like an outsider or unwelcome here. In fact, I dare say very few of us could match up our "AP" credentials line for line and be the same. That's what makes this place nice, actually! So I hope you will stick around!
post #67 of 301
Thread Starter 
Well mamas (with the exception of asherah...maybe to a certain extint?), we are going to have to Agree to Disagree with re: to this label of AP vs. Mainstream. And that is okay.

But, can I ask a favor please? (And I am not talking about IRL friends/people you know)

If you see a mama who is bottlefeeding her baby...can you please not assume/label/judge her "look at that mainstream mama, how dare she put that bottle of formula in that baby's mouth?" and instead consider that maybe she was not able to breastfeed her baby because of medical reasons that were beyond her control? Is that even remotely possibe?

If a mama decides to use a crib...instead of co-sleeping...can you try your best to understand that this is what works for Her family... and consider that she still loves her baby as equally as an "AP" mama?

If a mama works outside of the home...can you please consider that she HAD to and that by NOT working..she would not be able to put a roof over her baby's head...clothes on her/his back...etc.. and that BY working...she is showing love to her baby still?

I remember a while back...I started a thread on this board (I forget which) that I was exhausted from lack of sleep because I was always checking to see if my DS was breathing. Well, I started the thread with a few introductions about myself... one of them being that my DS was formula fed. I was asking for support/comments or a "you are not alone" type thing and suggestions as to how *I* could relax and *try* to sleep when my DS slept. But I was so tired and exhausted...anyway someone responded to me and Instead of addressing my sleep concerns they asked *judgementally* "Why is your son formula fed? Why is he not breastfed?" and maybe 1 or 2 other mama actually addressed the sleep issue. That was it...nothing else. So, I had to address the formula issue to that mama. But in my mind I was like...(what in the world has that got to do with anything lady? I'm just trying to get some sleep here... and you are talking about formula...geesh!) I guess that should have been a red flag huh on how serious this community is? But I was too tired and sleepy to really notice anything.

My point is this...does it really matter what parenting choices we believe is right or decide what is right for our family...as long as our children grow up to be smart, spirited and capable adults? As long as we are ALL reaching for a common goal no matter HOW we get there?

And of course, I am not talking about the obvious "abnorms" like child abuse, neglect etc.. I am talking about the basics:

Cry it Out
Starting Solids
Cloth Diapering
Working outside the home

Many mamas around the world practice some or all of these things. But as long as we provide our children in loving and stable environments and they have become mature, responsible and secure adults...then in the end what did it all really matter if a mommy did not co-sleep? Think about this...your child (an AP mama's child) reaches 21 (and this is just a number) and he/she is a independant/mature/stable adult that loves and respect you...wonderful isn't it? Now...consider this...(A Mainstream mom's child) reaches 21 and he/she is an independant/mature/stabe adult that loves and respect her...ALSO wonderful isn't it? Both mamas have gotten to the same place. And guess what...I've seen it happen before...

Just my last .02 cents.

post #68 of 301
When I had my first two kids we were living in San Francisco, which would be considered a *very* AP community. I was still told by many parents that I should not be co-sleeping (dangerous, that is why he is not sleeping through the night, yada, yada...). I nursed my first two kids for 2+ years (almost 3) and believe you me this was *not* the norm among all the moms I knew. People thought I was really weird, as a matter of fact. I would go to mom's meetings at Parents Place in San Francisco and they would all be talking about "sleep training" and crying it out and how they only got through it by using ear plugs and drinking wine while their child cried all night. That was my norm--and I felt a little strange that I was the only one that was not into that CIO stuff that everyone else was talking about at great length.

My parents, inlaws, and regular friends thought I was doing something truly bizarre and "unhealthy" by co-sleeping and nursing for so long--and they told me that often. I did not know
about Mothering magazine then--I felt alone in my choices. I was shocked when I found this board and saw that people were talking about similar parent styles to how I parent. There are many differences too, but I have never felt unwelcome here because of it. I have always used disposable diapers (after a miserable failure with cloth with my first) and my 3rd child came home to us from China unwilling to co-sleep at all. I fully vax my kids. We can't be all the same--and no one here expects us to be.

I also post on a few mainstream boards (and one wonderful adoption board) and they by and far think it is "unhealthy" to co-sleep and do believe in sleep training and other issues that I don't see eye to eye on. But I still have friends there that I love--it is not "my way or the highway", just different styles.

I think you know all of this is outside of the mainstream, but are afraid of losing this argument and are denying it. I did go back and read your post about leaving your child to go out with your husband. I don't really go out with my husband in the evening when my kids are very young (under 2) as I don't think it is best for my kids. But that is just me. I can see how it was a problem for you, as you had been at work all day and then dropped him off at your mom's house for a night of babysitting. By then your baby is starved for your touch and comfort. I think you should (as other posters mentioned) wait till your baby is a bit older to do this, and maybe try shorter daytime outings with your hubby after he goes down for a nap and your mom watches him at your house so he feels more secure. That is probably not what you want to hear, but it is my two cents and you are free to ignore it.

I hope that things smooth out and get a bit easier for you--and I know they will. That first year of parenting with your first child is brutal--I remember!! Hang in there.

post #69 of 301
We were cross posting--I wanted you to know that. I just read your reply. Hmm...well, I think you are the one that is judging most of us here harshly, not the other way around. There are crackpots and unkind in every community (online or real life) but that is not the majority here. The majority of women here who post are actually kind and want to help. It is a "Mothering" board, which caters to an alternative method of parenting, which is actually a good thing. It is filling a void among other parenting boards that are aimed at other styles of parenting. I come here for that "other" perspective, as do other moms. But that does not make us judgemental shrews--most of the women here are willing to accept you with open arms, but do you feel the same?
post #70 of 301
In Newmommy's defense, it is easy for people to feel "judged" by SOME post-ers here if they don't do "all" of the AP stuff (especially BF and co-sleeping). I too have felt that way on more than one occassion. I've adopted a thick skin, and learned to stay away from the BF boards because, while I still BF at night (daughter is 14 mo), I also formula fed during the day because of pumping issues and work. Anyway, it is easy to start feeling a little on the "uncool girl" side of the world at times. See, even in this post I'm feeling the need to "qualify" my answer so people don't make (or think) snide comments. I suspect that should tell you (general, plural, why don't we have a better word for that?) something about how SOME people react here.

This community can get judgemental. It doesn't always, it's not everyone. Its worse in some places than others. But it does happen and I understand exactly how Newmommy feels sometimes. And I would second her plea to everyone to assume the best instead of the worst when you see or hear of practices that you disapprove of.

Oh, and one more observation. This does have a lot to do with where you live and who your friends are. I'm so sorry for Piglet and others who never see others "like themselves". It took the longest time for me to understand this because around here and among the people I see, slings are common, everyone BF as much as possible, and so forth.
post #71 of 301
This community can get judgemental.
I can completley agree with this statement, but I wonder if this community gets judgemental because a lot of us go day after day after day being judged for choices we have made. It is nice to come here and say "would you believe what I just saw?!" and know that most of the mommas here will agree with me instead of arguing why there is nothing wrong with that. Parenting is a very touchy subject and it is nice to have a community of like minded mommas to bounce ideas, thoughts, reactions and emotions off of each other. I agree that labels can be devisive, but so can parenting styles. Mothering and MDC have shown me different and new ways to parent my child physically, emotionally and spiritually. For that I will be eternally grateful. And when the chips are down, the MDC community rallies around. That has been my experience.
post #72 of 301
I guess it goes back to you IRL community. I must say that I have never felt judged by anyone around me (well, my mother worried that sleeping with a newborn is dangerous, but that's about it). But I have felt judged by those online on occassion. Maybe you all should move to San Diego? OK, so its probably not perfect here either, but I guess I have a great group of friends and am in a good place, geographically, to parent my way (which, if I had to characterize it, would be AP-lite). If I stop to think about how lucky I am, then a lot of what others say about needing this to be a "santuary" makes more sense. But I have to actively try to remember that the rest of the world isn't like my day-to-day world.
post #73 of 301
ITA with Gossamer

I wanted to add that while I may vent sometimes here about how mean CIO is or something to that effect, unless a mom is looking for the input I wouldn't say anything to her. Same about breastfeeding. A very dear friend of mine was unable to breastfeed through no fault of her own and I know how painful it was for her that I did and she couldn't - and would never dream of saying something to a mother I didn't know because there is that chance that the same situation may exist and I may be hurting someone very deeply.

I do want to be able to come here and vent all my anger about people giving me crud about EBF my 2.5yo though, you know? If that implies that I don't accept people who think breastfeeding is disgusting, too bad (actually, I do - I am perfectly capable of disagreeing with someones opinion on some issue and liking that person at the same time). I am not willing to disclaimer myself over and over again to eliminate any possibility of ill feelings on anyone else's part.

And about the labelling thing - I don't label other mamas, but I DO label myself, and I don't see the problem with other mamas labelling *themselves*. There are PRACTICES that I tend to label mentally, but since we don't get a whole picture of a mother just by seeing/meeting, or heck, even writing back and forth as in on these boards, I don't feel like I've got any right to try and box someone in like that. I like to label myself because it gives me something to identify with, and I am sure other mamas here feel the same way. Maybe if I was more secure I wouldn't need that, but I do.
post #74 of 301
That's a good point, gossamer.

I also wanted to say, newmommy, that I would NEVER presume to know why a mother is feeding formula. A very good friend of mine ended up FF after a miserable bout with severe PPD. I certainly don't judge her, and I always have her in mind, as well as the many other women on this board who could not BF for whatever reason, when I see a mama feeding formula. I think you need to take a good look at posts that make you feel uncomfortable and ask yourself if someone is just ranting about how much they hate formula, or how much it bothers them that FF rates are so high, versus criticizing you or anybody else as an individual for their choices. It's entirely possible to be an advocate for BFing and not judge any individual mama for her choices. I know it must not be easy to hear about how substandard formula is when that is all you are left with to feed your child, but please don't blame those who have been fighting upstream for decades to get that simple fact out there. It's not personal, so please don't take it that way.

And as for working out of the home, goodness me - I went back to work full time when DD was 15 months old, not because I had to but because I *wanted* to and it felt right! Did you know we have a working mamas forum? Come and join us!

I have to say though, that I think we can take this "do what works for you" stuff a bit too far. I really don't believe it is in the best interests of our society's children to be sleep trained in cribs. I don't believe it is in the best interests for everybody to be using disposables. I don't believe it is in the best interests to continue accepting the notion that babies can be held "too much" and spoiled. It's just not realistic to do what you suggest, just "love everybody and all get along".

Some of the choices you talk about are not as benign as what theme you choose for the nursery. Society as a whole pays a cost for how we fail our children. Just look at SIDS for example. I honestly believe that the world would be a better place if AP was the norm. Keeping in mind that AP means following your child's cues, so that each parent will not end up doing the same. But they will be doing what their baby needs most. And to me, that IS important to fight for.
post #75 of 301
Just adding my two cents...

I primarily post on another parenting board - been there since I found out I was pg in Setp 2001. I came to learn about the AP philosophy there and have happily embraced it. Following my instincts with my child works so well for us, even though I've had to face a lot of flack with family and friends. IRL, I have very few mom friends outside of LLL because there are not that many APers in my rural area.

It is very hard for me to discuss parenting issues with mainstream parents, and I am sure it is the other way around. I much prefer to seek parenting advice from other AP parents. That is the reason I've been coming to this board more frequently. I have very strong feelings about BFing (think militant wing of LLL).

And while I don't consider myself super crunchy, I have my crunchy leanings.

Before I join any message board, I lurk for a good while to determine if its for me.

And I agree - I don't think that the OP understands that this site is an extension of the magazine.
post #76 of 301
I see incredible variation in parenting styles between the city in which I live, and the one I commute to for work. The city I live in is a progressive university town that is a suburb of the state capital. Every parent I am friends with in my town felt that breastfeeding was a big priority, that CIO is not appropriate, believes in gentle discipline, etc., even though I don't think even one of them would label themselves "AP". I don't know who co-sleeps because it never really comes up.

In the more rural city I commute to 40 miles away it's very different. My coworkers think I am some kind of deranged martyr freak for pumping milk during the workday for my baby. It seems to almost kinda piss some other moms off, like what am I trying to prove? The constant question, "Is he sleeping through the night yet?" is always followed by a dropped jaw when I say, "Well, he sleeps with me, so I don't really wake up when he needs to nurse." No one around here thinks there is anything wrong with "popping" a kid who deserves it. And you would think slings and NIP had been banned in this county.

So I think there really can be very extreme variation in what might feel "normal" in a particular area based on what you might see other parents doing day to day.
post #77 of 301
Just wanted to add that some of the things mentioned in this thread fall more along the lines of "natural parenting" and not necessarily AP. For example, I think of CD as more natural parenting. And while many APers tend to embrace NP, that is not always the case.
post #78 of 301
I thought I would jump in an add my opinion...(yes yes...I know you were all just waiting in breathless anticipation for it) but when I read the OP I thought NewMommy was saying that even if you don't do all "AP" stuff it doesn't mean you love your baby any less? Which I can totally understand because sometimes while people are venting about things they see (and I do it too! Ask my DH! ) but it goes beyond just a vent to where you get the feeling that because someone does something wretched like give a baby koolaid (I didn't even know people still drank that!! lol) that she must not love her baby very much. With my first I only bf for about 3 months and then gave up because it hurt so bad, used disposables, started solids at 4 months on the dot, let him CIO, used a stroller or infant seat a lot and probably many other things that people would post about here. But I loved my baby more than life itself. I could have layed for hours on the bed playing with him (and I did!). I never knew how much you could love someone. He is 5 now and we are extremely close. He is very sensitive and creative and we have such a great time just hanging out and snuggling to read a book or whatever. I was 18 when I had him and pretty uninformed about raising a kid. So now I feel a little older and wiser with my ds2 and would never let him CIO, got help from an LC so bfing is going GREAT, co slept till about a month ago but I still love him just as much as Trevor. Does that make any sense? I would just hate to judge that someone doesn't love their kids because they are mainstream. I could be totally in left field with this post and it not have anything to do with anything but if you've read this far...you're a saint! lol Now off to go give Owen a big bottle of koolaid! :LOL Just kidding.
post #79 of 301
I remember your post newmommy on the Life with a Babe board, I responded and did not bash you for FF. I did wonder why, because so many moms do and I am always curious if they bothered to try to nurse. I don't think you were harassed for it. I do remember wondering why you were posting on an attachment parenting board about leaving your baby all evening after working all day. What did you expect us to say?

And you're right, I shouldn't judge moms who are feeding their baby from a plastic container. But when I go out for the day and I don't see a single baby nursing and I see 20 different babies eating from a bottle that does NOT look like breastmilk (I pumped for dd when I was at work part-time and bm does not look the same as formula IME) what am I supposed to do? Cheer?

It's sad that only 17% of babies are breastfed at 6 months old. I have sympathy for those in the 82% who quit for various reasons such as no support, lack of supply and I totally over those in the 82% who think it's gross (get over it!) and for the 1% of women who truly cannot breastfeed... if I have ever judged you, I am truly sorry.

I just get annoyed by the PREVALENCE of the FF etc movement I have in my area.

BTW... it might interest you to know that I was a part-time working mom when I joined Mothering. I made it known that I would be very happy when I could quit work and that my dd was cared for by my mother (not all are so lucky I know) and no one ever made me feel like a bad mother. And when I posted my excitement on my last day of work, MDC mamas celebrated that something our family had needed for so long came about. I know of a few single moms who have to work and use daycare and they are welcomed here. We don't expect them to leave the kid(s) home alone.
post #80 of 301
Originally posted by lunchbox
Just wanted to add that some of the things mentioned in this thread fall more along the lines of "natural parenting" and not necessarily AP. For example, I think of CD as more natural parenting. And while many APers tend to embrace NP, that is not always the case.
True! I am some of both actually.

I do whatever works for my kids and I at the moment and that's truly what it's about.
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