Why I’m “On the Fence”

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Neither a Crunchy Mom nor … Smooth? Traditional? Whatever.

cat, kitty, fence

Grumpy? Hair all over? Stuck on a fence? Yeah, sounds like me…

When I was pregnant, I read everything I could get my hands on.  Blogs, YouTube videos, advice columns – everything.  what I found was that the vast majority seemed to be on the extreme edges with very little between.

One would say, “Whatever, you can eat and drink whatever you want, even alcohol!  No biggie!” while another would say, “Omg, if you even touch a grain of processed sugar your baby will get the diabeetus!!!”

“Cloth diapers are the only answer and if you even use a single disposable, you’re going to kill the planet!” vs. “Cloth is the worst thing you could do to your child!  Disposable is the only sanitary option.  How could you even consider anything else?!”

“You should raise your child ultra-religious and go to church three times a week!” vs. “You shouldn’t go anywhere near a church or you’ll turn them into a mindless drone!”

“Everything can be solved with essential oils!”

“Everything can be solved with strict discipline!”

“Never co-sleep!”

“Always co-sleep!”

And with every post or video, there was this implication that you had to agree or you didn’t really love your child.  “I mean, of course we all love our kids, but I guess you just don’t love yours as much as love mine.”  It was everywhere and it was exhausting.

I just wanted a place where people were kind of in the middle.  Or, at least, not constantly shouty about their extreme.  There are some “extreme” things I believe, but they usually come with piles and piles of peer-reviewed data (but I’ll cover those in future posts).

Throughout time, people have always been people, and with people comes complexity.

I am, at my core, a student of history.  I’ve loved it all my life and it’s what I got my degree in.  If you study enough history, and I mean really study (not just memorize some president names), you find that things are rarely black and white.  Everything is always more complex.  Many of history’s “heroes” were kind of dicks in real life and many of history’s “villains” thought they were doing the right thing.

People like to simplify the world to make it easier and, in doing so, they make mistakes.  Around the time I was dealing with all this, I fell in love with the song “The Fence” by Tim Minchin.

People shove everything into corners so it’s easier to understand.  Because complexity is scary.  It takes effort and time and a lot of people don’t want to spend much of either.

But you know what?

It’s a complex world.  We are complex beings.  Even the person who thinks the opposite of you has their reasons.  I’m not saying they’re good reasons, but they do have them.  Especially when it comes to parenting, most of us are just trying to make it through and are doing the best we can with the information and resources we’ve got.  So can we all maybe try to be a little less bitchy* about it?

*And yes, I know we’re trying to get away from gendered insults as a society, but to be fair, literally every blog/article/whatever used to mom-shame that I’ve seen was written by a woman.

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