sometimes the most peaceful parents are the most annoying

i feel so annoyed with other parents today! i don’t know why i can’t shake it off.

i’m in this online parenting community that is all about, like, “peaceful parenting” or “mindful parenting” or whatever you want to call it. the main tenets of the group are that they are anti-spanking, anti-circumcision, & anti-“cry it out”. i didn’t know this when i joined the group. in fact, i don’t think i did join the group. i’m pretty sure another mom i know subscribed me back when i was still pregnant, when i was talking about wanting to meet other parents or something. i don’t really mind these principles. i am not in favor of spanking, i wouldn’t circumcise if i had a boy, & i have been blessed with a pretty easy baby so i’ve never really had to deal with being tempted by “cry it out”. (though i sometimes wonder if we inadvertently “cry it out” without realizing it? i mean, sometimes i put ramona down for a nap & she cries for five minutes & falls asleep. i know crying it out isn’t supposed to mean leaving the baby alone in her crib screaming for two hours. obvs i would never do that. but if not crying it out means i never leave my baby to fuss a bit before she passes out, then i guess i cry it out? i don’t know.)

sometimes this community works my last nerve though. i know, who would have ever guessed, an online parenting community might be annoying sometimes. shocking! i remember one time, someone posted something about vaccines…i think she was asking how people decided to vaccinate or not vaccinate or vaccinate on a delayed schedule because she was struggling with the decision. the first bunch of people who replied were like, “i vaccinate on the traditional schedule because fuck a bunch of my baby getting polio,” or whatever. (i’m paraphrasing.) i wrote about how vaccinating had become especially important to me after having a NICU baby & coming into close quarters with really sick babies who can’t be vaccinated or who can become really dangerously ill if they get preventable diseases. i was kind of cheered by how unashamedly pro-vaccination things were looking, but then someone was like, “wow, a lot of people here vaccinate. i don’t because of the mayan calendar,” or some other equally dumbass conspiracy theory reason. & then all the other anti-vaccination people came pouring out of the woodwork with all their fun little catchphrases: “i just think it’s important that people educate themselves about this topic,” “you can’t always believe everything your doctor tells you,” “you can always vaccinate later, but you can’t UNvaccinate if you decide it’s not the right choice,” etc. that last one especially gets me. sure, you can always vaccinate later if, say, you decide it’s too much of a pain in the ass to have to take a week off work to stay home with your unvaccinated kids when there’s a measles outbreak or something. but you can’t exactly be like, “jay kay, guess i’ll vaccinate after all,” once your baby is in an iron lung! (i said that to jared & he said, “i don’t think that’s the current treatment for polio,” but you know what i mean.)

anyway, this community aggravates me a couple of times a week, but the newest is about circumcision. i’ve never really understood why this community is so anti-circumcision. to me, circumcision is just kind of unnecessary, but i don’t think it’s this cruel abuse or anything. & i definitely don’t support circumcision bans. i mean, what about people for whom circumcision is an important part of their religious practice? that is not something i can relate to AT ALL, but that doesn’t mean their beliefs shouldn’t be respected. anyway.

some woman was all, “oh no! a woman in this other parenting group i’m in asked for recommendations for a doctor who does circumcision! would it be rude to offer her some resources about how cruel & dangerous circumcision is?” everyone was like, “no! go for it! she’ll never learn if no one educates her!” i was like, “um, yes, that would be RUDE AS FUCK.” (again, paraphrasing.) i mean, am i crazy? she’s just assuming that this woman is making a totally uninformed decision & that a quick scan of some anti-circ website will allow her to see the light & make the choice that the original poster has deemed the “right” one.

look. i see people making what i consider to be less than optimal parenting decisions all the time. i feel uncomfortable when i see babies in disposable diapers. they are sitting on plastic trash! that is so gross & i can’t imagine that it’s comfortable! i cringe when i see babies wearing well-known cartoon characters on their clothes. no, the mickey mouse costume you’re putting on your ten-month-old this halloween is NOT cute, & the fact that you just said that it’s priming him to get stoked for his first trip to disneyworld makes me want to die. no, i don’t believe that your seven-month-old enjoys watching sitcoms with you. no, i don’t like your professional maternity photos, or your baby’s ginormous flowery headband, or your toddler’s glittery tutu, or your five-year-old’s navy SEAL costume. i don’t think formula is just as good, actually, i don’t understand why you are insisting on feeding a perfectly healthy year-old baby purees, & i wish you wouldn’t carry your baby around in an infant seat. I COULD GO ON. the point is, i generally keep these feelings to myself. all of these parents are making their own decisions, & who knows? maybe they think i’m depriving my baby of headbands & winnie-the-pooh sweatshirts & the joys of watching “seinfeld” reruns with me. i don’t really give a crap as long as they don’t try to hash it out with me.

i made most of my parenting decision by considering the options available & going with the one that made the most sense for my family & our life together. & i assume that other people are doing the same thing, even if they are reaching different conclusions. in other words, i try to assume that other parents are halfways intelligent & have not just been stumbling around in the dark, waiting to run into me in an online parenting community so i can lecture them on how they’re doing everything wrong. is that really such a radical way to approach things?

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

8 thoughts on “sometimes the most peaceful parents are the most annoying

  1. So, um, hi! I found your blog through some cloth-diaper posts that I was linked to, and then read a few more posts.

    Based on my recent experiences with the world, yes, that seems to be a radical way to approach things. For some reason, people seem to think that parenting a thing done for audience-benefit and that criticism is welcome? I don’t even know, but UGH.

    1. well put!

      people in this community kept saying, “if no one ever talks about stuff, how will anyone ever learn?” by seeking out information themselves? i mean, if i have question about some aspect of parenting, there is no dearth of books i could peruse, websites i could visit, etc. & i’m not above asking questions. but once i’ve made a decision about something, i resent the assumptions that i would have made a different decision had i been better-informed.

  2. Crying it out is such a stupid thing to be against… Because its not even a real thing. Ferber specifically says DON’T leave your kid crying for two hours. Anybody who does that is a nitwit who didn’t actually read the book.

    It’s actually called progressive waiting and it’s exactly what you do. You put your kid down tired but a little sleepy and let them fall asleep in their own. If they cry a little, you let them. But you go check on them periodically and you soothe and reassure them.

    We had a couple of nights with a lot of crying, but then our daughter learned to fall asleep on her own. And I was ok with it. You know why? Because she is not going to remember those two nights and they didn’t damage her psyche. You know what would have damaged her psyche? Losing her mom as a baby after I died in a terrible car crash falling asleep at the wheel on the way to work. Because that was a distinct possibility if we didn’t all start sleeping better.

    Sorry to get up on my high horse, but it drives me nuts when people get judgmental without doing any real research. I don’t care if other people sleep train, but I refuse to let them judge me for it.

    1. eh, we don’t really go in to soothe. ramona has two kinds of crib-crying: the little hoots & hollers she makes on her way to falling asleep, & full-bore screaming. we ignore the hoots & hollers, but if she’s straight up screaming, we go in & either give her more cuddles until she is sleepier or we decide she’s just not ready to sleep yet (more common with naps that nighttime).

      i’ve honestly never read anything about crying it out so i don’t really know exactly what it entails. nine times out of ten, ramona is easy to put to sleep. sometimes it’s much more difficult. i figure that’s just part of having a baby, & that we probably got a pretty easy one.

  3. This is personal to me because I’m really struggling with breastfeeding. I already feel guilty! And honestly, anyone who wants to judge me can go to hell because I know that I’m doing everything that could possibly be done. (Short of nursing with an SNS because I tried that and I hated it and everyone is allowed their limits.)

  4. I judge other parents, I am judged constantly. In my defense, I also keep my mouth shut and only bitch & brag to my partner.

    People are assholes. Babies are assholes. I like to believe people have used the resources available to them to make informed decisions to better navigate the intricacies of dealing with the various pitfalls and assiness inherent in parenting. Probably they mostly haven’t. Sometimes I don’t. But I sure as fuck love my child and for all the things I do poorly or half-assedly, at the end of the day, I believe for the vast majority of parents, the sheer ferocity of their love for their children, will mitigate at least some of their dumb choices. (At least I hope so.).

    1. it’s been interesting to me how little i judge other parents, considering that i was not exactly the least judgmental person around before i had a kid. or maybe i’m just fooling myself? i guess there have been times that i’ve seen a parent doing something & thought to myself, “man. i wish they wouldn’t do that.” like, here’s a pretty benign example: i have a facebook friend who has a baby & she recently got an exersaucer for her baby. i don’t like exersaucers anyway, but now the only pictures she posts are of her baby chilling in the exersaucer. she posts like a million pictures a day of the baby in the exersaucer. so i judge on two levels: 1) does that baby ever get held? or is she just stuffed in the exersaucer all day? & 2) we don’t really need to see nine almost-identical photos, with maybe just tiny differences in the position of the baby’s head or whatever. pick the cutest one & just post that.

      so maybe i am judge-y. & probably i am judged. i guess i don’t care too much though. like, in our house, ramona is allowed to play with shoes as long as she doesn’t lick the soles. when she licks the soles, the shoe gets taken away. even though it’s not like the rest of the shoe is really any cleaner. so at books & babies, she crawled over to another parent & was playing with his shoe. & his wife was like, “no! that’s dirty!” & gave me a look like, “you just let your baby play with shoes?” & i felt a little judged. but whatever.

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