I am not a “controversial” blogger. In fact, when writing out my posts I am constantly asking myself “Will this offend someone? Can this be taken the wrong way?” And so on. Yet, just the topics I write about are controversial in themselves so I do get the upset mother commenting every once in a while. I’ll admit it, it sucks. I get a little sweaty just reading it. Did I really just hurt someone’s feelings?!
I have been afraid to “push buttons” my entire life. When I have had confrontations in the past they never really went that well. If a boss of mine was stepping all over me I let them. The only time I ever stood up for myself was in high school. I worked as a waitress at a steak house; the manager was a tool. One day I found out from a friend that he was mocking me and my laugh (which is rather unique and it is a love it/hate it thing) and calling me names to the staff. I was so upset but not sure what to do. I stewed over my shift. I wanted to walk out and tell him to kiss my ass. So I did. I calculated my totals and handed him the money for the day from my food sales and the tip share. I let him know I had heard the things he said and I couldn’t work with him anymore. As I stormed off, dirty black apron in hand, he shouted after me “You better have all my money!” To which I replied, “Every last penny!” I was shaking, sweating, and a little nauseous. I was also only partially employed (I was working 2 jobs to support myself.) and nervous. I told myself I never wanted to have that happen again.
Then in college I was the Customer Service Coordinator for TJ Maxx. This was a stressful job, mainly because no one was preventing the theft of goods and the return fraud occurring many times a day, every day. So, I took matters into my own hands. I became a vigilante, upholding righteousness and truth. I refused returns, I stalked the thieves and called them out on their crap. It was exciting and got my blood boiling and my heart racing. This was a different kind of confrontation. I was fighting for morality. It was black and white; stealing and fraud are bad, mmmk? Don’t do it or I will catch you. I had no problem telling a customer to their face that they are pulling crap, bye bye. If I ever see you again I will catch you.
Blogging is different and the same. I can sit behind my computer and write about my passions; cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, homebirth and natural childbirth, co-sleeping, and so on. It just so happens that a lot of these topics polarize the mommy community. When you say breastfeeding is good, the formula feeding moms often hear “formula is bad.” When you say natural childbirth was the best choice you made the mom who chose an epidural hears “Epidurals are wrong and bad for the baby.” If I say “Disposable diapers are wasteful and toxic” I am interpreted as telling moms they are harming the earth and their baby.
Is that what I mean? Of course not. But by praising one topic the other gets put down. It isn’t like I am equally supportive of disposable diapers but I just happen to be writing about cloth diapers; that simply doesn’t jive.
For the record, here is where I am coming from.
I had a homebirth and it was all natural. I also had a hospital birth, induced with pitocin, and had an epidural. I loved my homebirth experience, but the hospital experience made me who I am today. I don’t look down on any woman for choosing pain medications. In fact, I wish the US had the option for Nitrous Oxide, a pain relief method commonly used overseas including homebirths! It is safer, it is fast, and can be administered off and on at will. Having a natural birth doesn’t make you a better mom but it is something to be proud of (but not brag about, big difference.)
I also love breastfeeding and I think every mother should attempt it. It is cliche, but that is what they are there for! Boobs are many things; they are food for babies, nice to look at and play with for your significant other, and they make nice pillows. It doesn’t have to be a one or the other thing. If you choose to formula feed for that reason then maybe I do have something to say about it. If you fell prey to the many booby traps in the world that came between you and your baby’s nursing relationship I am sorry. Then there are the moms who had to for other reasons that are out of their control. I don’t think you are a bad mom, you are feeding your baby. In the end, that is the most important thing. Babies need to eat and need to be loved. In my world, that means breastfeeding and cuddling my baby.
Cloth diapers….. oh boy. Cloth is my thing. I love cloth diapers, if I didn’t I wouldn’t spend the considerable time and effort that I do maintaining this website. I would like everyone to use cloth diapers for whom it is feasible. Unlike some others, I know there is a time and a place for disposable diapers and hybrid inserts. I have used them myself. I have never tried to hide that fact. When we have ammonia issues (far too often than I should but dammit I can’t get rid of it!) my toddler sleeps in a disposable. *gasp* Yes he does. If not, he wakes up with a gigantic burn. I have been reduced to tears before at watching my son not want to sit in his bath because it hurt his privates. Nothing stings more than knowing the choice you made to better the environment and protect your baby from chemicals back fired.
Other reasons cloth might not be for you: no washer/dryer access.
I won’t lie to your face and tell you that I would hand wash diapers daily in order to use cloth. Call me names, I don’t care! Some of you have commented that you do just that, and that is cool. It isn’t for me. Update! I decided to try handwashing and using flat cloth diapers for 7 days. I found it possible, not ideal. My journey can be found here: Flats Challenge
Discussing cloth diapers in a mommy forum (I have been trying to put into words a post on mom boards, one of these days I will post it) can conjure up some serious feelings. Usually the disposable moms get sick of hearing about how awesome cloth diapers are. I have seen the alienation of moms when a group of women get to chatting about fluff. And then, if you say something bad about cloth, the fluffy moms can get nasty.
I’m not gonna rehash it, but I wrote about The Great Divide of Cloth Diapering and why maybe we should promote to the middle class and not say “well if you can’t afford disposable diapers, why don’t you use cloth?” to families who just can’t.
If a low income family does have the ability to wash cloth diapers, often times they are unaware that it is an option or cannot afford the start up cost. A friend of mine is working on starting a local diaper loaning program for these families. I’d love to see more reusable diaper banks on a local level!
You will never hear me say that your choice to ______ was wrong. Advocacy, in my eyes, isn’t about black and white. Stealing is wrong, but getting an epidural- that was your choice and you have the right to do so. I’m just thankful there are so many options in life. I know that many of you are here because you come here often, you “get” me and my ideas, you share many of my passions. Then there are those of you who might have ended up here from following a link on Facebook or Twitter, or you googled something. Maybe you are here to leave a comment on a different post telling me I should be ashamed of myself for not seeing the other side. I do. I might not agree with it, and it isn’t for me, but it is for someone.
Finally, one thing I have learned in the 2 years I’ve been a parent is this:
Never, ever, ever say “Never.”
I have eaten my words more than once when it comes to my parenting ideals and what happened. “My son will never watch _____” or “My son will only eat ______” Guess what? He watches ____ and he eats a ton of ____. Overall, things have gone my way but toddlers sure know how to manipulate their parents.
I remind myself of this every time I see another parent holding a bottle or giving their kid a sucker, turning on the TV, or putting them in their crib and receiving protests. I don’t know where they are coming from or how they got to where they are and neither do you.
I will be linking this post again and again when I take to blogging about something that might “offend” others. If you do read a controversial post here, it is a rare one! They do seem to bring in the most traffic so I get why there are so many blogs dedicated to pissing people off, but that is not me! Still, when I see something that needs to be said in the name of promoting or defending my passions, I am sure as hell going to write about it!
image via flickr user Tony3 using the Creative Commons License
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