So, 8 months old today. Unfortunately, very crabby, having a lot of trouble putting him down for naps today and still suffering with the pooh. And I had to provide a sample for the GP today, such fun. Only a mother would do it. The GP we saw yesterday thinks it’s likely a virus that he is having trouble shaking off, but if the results don’t come up with that, it’s going to be elimination dieting for Oliver (as in, eliminating dairy to start with, probably).
There was a show on Channel 4 here a few months ago (I think) on extended breastfeeding – basically shock television for the average viewer to go ‘ewww that kid of 7 is still having her mothers’ milk??’. In reality, when you watched the show after the scintillating advertisements got your attention, it was very sympathetic to extended breastfeeding and focussed on all the reasons why the mothers and children were still doing it.Recently, there has been another show on Channel 5 called ‘Honey I Suckle the Kids‘ which again went for the shock in advertising of showing an older child breastfeeding, and parents letting their kids pee and poop everywhere without the use of nappies. Again, when you actually watched the show, it turned out to really be about ‘attachment parenting’.
I did, however, spend most of the show with my mouth hanging open, feeling a mixture of guilt, disbelief and wonder. Basically, the premise is that if you are going to have children, it’s your job to fully FULLY nuture them and dedicate your life to their wellbeing in its entirety – at least this is what I gleaned from the show, don’t shoot the messenger. That means breastfeeding until self-weaning, co-sleeping, no gadgets or other entertainments (e.g. bouncy chairs, seen as very evil) except for slings and other ways to ‘wear’ your baby – basically if they are a baby you don’t put them down. And if they are a toddler, you are still entertaining them 24-7. Oh, and the no-nappy thing is elmination communication - looking for cues that baby is about to pee or poop and taking them outside to go in a bush. Or missing the cue and having them go on your nice wood panelled floor. Anyway.
In theory, there is nothing wrong with the attachment parenting stuff. Of course not. They are probably doing a great service to their kids, and they truly believe they are raising good people. I just think I would actually kill myself if I was in their situation. I feel like I’ve lost myself enough as it is.
Like everything in the ‘mommy wars’, there is something good about a sense of balance, nuturing both independence and dependence, and of nothing being truly right or wrong. Okay, probably there are some things that are wrong no matter what, like using the dog as a babysitter (I haven’t quite resorted to that yet), but the great debates are just about choices.
My friend Kristen gave me a copy of a ‘zine when I was in Canada in July about feminism and motherhood. It brought me back to university, when I took loads of women’s studies courses, and I remembered that the debate over what motherhood meant to women/did to women was still unresolved in current feminist thought. It didn’t mean anything to me back then though. But I just finished reading it (took me a while, of course) and there was lots of food for thought. And lots of feelings that I shared with the writers.
One article really spoke to me.
I was totally unprepared for the culture shock of at-home motherhood. I had expected this to be simply the next logical stage in my life, which I would handle with relative ease, as I had college, working and a new marriage. Suddenly, I faced yawning spans of hours with a short-tempered baby, growing piles of laundry, and a chilling sense of isolation…That I had no idea how to manage the domestic details was becoming abundantly, painfully clear. The last thing I wanted to do with any precious moments of non-baby care was clean.
Mark’s mother believes that no one should go back to work until their kid is at least 3 years old. If I don’t go back part-time when we move to Canada (that sense of balance being achieved – me time and baby time co-existing) I think I am going to walk in front of a bus.
Gotta go – Oliver’s playing by himself and ignoring him for this long induces the guilt!!