Back off sanctimommy

Breastfeeding symbol

Image via Wikipedia

I really hate the manufactured mommy wars, so I hate to even bring this up. But. I was reading this Open Salon post about the need for physical contact and enjoying the call to reach out and touch someone or some animal, when it took a really annoying turn.

We still have a long way to go; I see a lot of babies crammed into strollers and car seats or entertained in a bouncy chair or swing instead of being held, lugged, handled, and carried. I see a lot of babies with bottles propped in their mouths, being deprived of the precious skin-to-skin time at their mother’s breasts. (Having held my own babies and toddlers almost non-stop for their first three years, breastfeeding them for a combined six years, and co-sleeping with both until they were three, I like to think that this long period of constant contact has something to do with their current spectacularness.)

via Do You Get Touched Enough? – Melissa Lynn Block – Open Salon.

This is just wrong for two reasons. One, how can you judge a parent for using a stroller or a car seat for the few minutes you actually encounter them at the mall or on the street? Are you suggesting that even a short amount of time in a carrying device that isn’t the parent suggests we have a long way to go in giving our children the touch that they need to survive? Strollers aren’t torture devices (unless it’s this one or that one) and no parent can be expected to hold their baby 24/7. A bouncy seat is the only way some people can take a shower or eat. Surely not eating or showering for the first year (or three!) of your baby’s life would have a more negative effect on a parent’s mental health, and therefore a child’s development than the 15-30 minutes baby’s hanging out and bouncing. Secondly, the smug statement about constantly holding your babies for their first three years of life (mentioned the breastfeeding too, gotta’ get that in there) is more mom-upmanship that people point to when they talk about the self-absorbed, sanctimonious parenting trends of the last decade. We all parent differently, and someone who uses a stroller to get around is no less a loving, involved parent creating a secure, intelligent child than someone who chooses to carry their child in a sling for three years. Really. Unnecessary.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Back off sanctimommy

  1. melissalynnblock says:

    thank you for commenting on my post on the importance of touch. you know, you’re right about the ‘sanctimommy’ rant – i had a feeling about it when i wrote it, like it was over the top and not necessary and, yes, sanctimonious. i never imagined the post would get this much attention! i’m going to go back and edit it out. thank you!

    • April Peveteaux says:

      Hi Melissa,

      I did enjoy your post (as I was saying) with this exception, so I’m glad you’re taking the tone/content into consideration.

      Being a parent is challenging enough without people attacking your choices. Moving on, I’m happy we can all just get along.

      Thanks for your response!

  2. Caitlin Kelly says:

    Yeah, smug is boring and nasty. Her point might be better taken if she hadn’t held herself up as a paragon.

  3. melissalynnblock says:

    believe me – i am no paragon!!! mothers everywhere deserve support and encouragement, not judgment. Glad we can talk this out and come to a place of mutual understanding and support. the blogosphere’s great for that.

    i think i could have made the point in a more relevant, less paragon-y way if I’d talked about how our culture is so set up to make constant contact with infants and optimal breastfeeding difficult. i was lucky to be able to work from home when my kids were little. not everyone is. fodder for future posts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s