As I wrote in the aftermath to my participation in the New York Times “Motherhood versus Feminism” debate, parenting isn’t something that is solely in the mother’s domain, but the way TIME and others construct these “mommy wars,” you would think that it was.
If we do not talk more openly and frequently about the role that fathers can, should, and often want to play in parenting, then we will not see the societal shifts that are needed to migrate away from the conflict that women feel between their careers and their families.
Choosing a parenting style, whether it is attachment parenting or something else, shouldn’t be something a mother has to do alone. If she does have a partner, they should decide together how to parent the child and both participate in the parenting.
Take-away bullet points:
- Motherhood is not a competition
- Does the media really understand attachment parenting?
- What about the fathers?
- We’re all doing our best
In the PhDinParenting post that pointed me to the above article, Annie mentioned a few other aspects of the cover that fired up her obstreperal lobe:
My head hit the desk. Not because of the picture, but because of the headline.Mom enough?
Driving mothers to extremes?
Dr. Sears as my guru?
This morning, I woke up to a request to be on live television on one of Canada’s major networks at 11:00am. As the day went on, I got more requests for radio shows, for guest blog posts, for quotes for magazines and newspapers, and even an invitation to be on a reality television show about “alternative parenting practices”.
I said no.
I said no over and over again, both because I had other commitments and because I’m sick of making what I think is a valuable contribution and then having an “extreme parenting” label slapped onto it[...]. I doubt [blogger and mother] Jamie Lynne Grumet knew she was going to be positioned as the poster child for a parenting movement that is “driving mothers to extremes” or that she’d be held up as “mom enough”, while the rest of the world is obviously not.
Annie doesn’t point it out here, but has anyone else noticed how keen the media is to cast any male author who writes a book about something affecting women as a “guru”? Instead of maybe just being someone who happened to write a book/books that some people find useful? FFS, a quick look at the wikipedia page for Attachment Parenting shows that while Sears coined the term for a developing body of parenting guidelines, he hardly came up with the ideas all on his own, which are
based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology, an area of psychology to which there has been a plethora of contributions from many, many researchers and scholars.
I’ve never read a book by Dr Bill Sears myself (never even heard of him until this week), but seeing as how he’s apparently written dozens of best-selling books about parenting over the last 4 decades, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he is an effective communicator of large chunks of complex information, and that his how-to books are nicely laid out in a chapter form that flows well through the progression of ideas, and that they are also thoroughly well indexed. This makes his how-to books useful. Useful how-to books get recommended to others, and passed on amongst circles of friends. This is basically the point of how-to books.
Writing a really useful how-to guide doesn’t make the author a guru or a prophet or any of those other judgemental words. If it did then authors of the First Aid Manual or the Model Airplane Construction Manual would be gurus, but I don’t see TIME suggesting that, do you?