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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don't we want to know what's 'best'?

Lots of buzz about the Iris Evans comments on parenting. I wish I could hear the whole thing, because I think the comment was contextual. Even if it wasn't I wonder what the big deal was. No, I don't wonder, I know who's upset. The same thing happens when someone makes a broad statement about breastfeeding (breast is best), those who chose not to get their noses out of joint. I think we should aspire to what is best, fully acknowledging that there are circumstances that prevent everyone from achieving that. For example, a vaginal delivery is 'best', but I couldn't have one with Oliver (he might not have made it). Do I think that people should schedule c-sections, like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera? NO - that is idiotic. But, a c-section is necessary to prevent a lot of dead babies and mommies. Breast is best, it's a proven fact. There are, however, some women who try and cannot breast feed (inverted nipples, babies not getting enough, etc...). Do I think you should go straight to formula because it's there and convenient? NO - that is a dumb choice. But, formula has saved many a baby who would not get nutrition otherwise. We do not want to villanize those who had no choice in these situations, however, I don't think we should let the other ones 'off the hook' for deliberately making a dumb choice.

Now, the daycare (including all the variations - nanny, day homes, babysitting, etc...) is a little more complicated, because there are plenty of kids who come from families where both parents work that have turned out fine. I think it has more to do with realizing that when you have kids you need to sacrifice something. If you both work during the day and the children are in care, you need to take the time you do have with your kids to form connections and teach them to be good humans. You might have to give up the lifestyle you had pre-children so that instead of martini nights with the girls or beer nights with the guys, you are actually parenting in the evenings. You might also have to push down the daycare-guilt and discipline your child even though you want those few hours to just be fun and wonderful. you don't do your kids any favours in the long run if you abdicate responsibility for their moral development because you feel bad about having to work. I know there are some people who 'have' to work because of the economics of their families, but there are many who choose it. Take responsibility for your choice. If you see that choice damaging your children, you might want to re-visit it.

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