Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Motherhood debates can grow nasty

People like to argue.

Online, in person and on television.

Men and women, liberals and conservatives, the 1 percent and the 99 percent, we all peck at each other like chickens in a cage fight.

There are the obvious debates about news headlines and politics, civil rights and the environment.

Then there are the mommy arguments.

If you think people get fired up talking gay marriage and fiscal responsibility, try engaging a woman who thinks her parenting style is a mandate from God. The topics range from breast milk versus formula to the side effects associated with vaccines, and the discussions get ugly. Formula is poison, say some. Breast-feeding in public is obscene, say others. Vaccinate or stay out of public schools, shouts one group. Routine shots cause autism and brain damage, counters another.

It's either "let your baby cry it out" or "one minute crying damages baby for life." "Buy everything organic" or "natural living is a scam." "Working moms are selfish" or "stay-at-home moms think it's the 1950s."

Worse yet, when I do my own research, I find evidence supporting claims made by both sides. This has, at times, left me in tears. It saddens me to think people make up statistics to satisfy an agenda. I just want to know what is best for my son. In today's America, the land of no middle ground, can parents look to anyone for sound advice?

My husband and I want to raise a happy, healthy boy. If something doesn't work for my son, I will not do it, regardless of how many supposed studies say otherwise. I try my best to respond to his needs and not to listen to all the shouting.

Black-and-white thinking doesn't mesh well with parenting.

To me, being a mom means embracing the color wheel.

Sarah Whitman is the married mother of an 8-month-old boy.

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