Thursday, November 11, 2010

Again with the attacks on Attachment Parenting....


Alert and dedicated readers may remember that my first post for this blog was all about Elizabeth Badinter's book Conflict: The Woman and the Mother. In this book, Badinter, a French Intellectual, states that all the elements of attachment parenting (cloth diapers, breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, etc.) are nothing more than a prison enslaving women from reaching their true potential. If these elements were not in play, Badinter argues, women would free themselves from their children and enter the working world and becoming true feminists. That attachment parenting moms and dads are turning their backs on the advances of modern life (formula, disposable diapers, epiderals) and enslaving themselves to their children. Decades of modern feminism advances are being rolled back by these choices. So she says.

I argued that true feminism, at least as defined by this WAHM in the suburbs of Minneapolis, is to follow the path that makes sense for you. For some, it is full-on attachment parenting, cutting no corners. For others, it is a cafeteria approach...picking the elements of attachment parenting that make sense for their situation and opting not to include those that do not. For still others, attachment parenting has no place in their lives and they are able to raise happy, healthy families with no guilt for the road not taken. All of these are valid and worthwhile options. Many of my readers agreed with me according to the comments on the post.

I had more or less forgotten Badinter and her screed against Attachment Parenting even though her book is a top seller in Europe and soon to come to the US. I was having a calm afternoon this weekend relaxing after the chaos of my twins' birthday party when my husband stuck the Wall Street Journal under my nose and said "You are going to find this interesting." In the Journal, author Erica Jong in her essay Mother Madness takes on Badinter's cause. She too finds the "orgy of motherphilia" offensive and rails against it in her essay. Her belief is that Attachment Parenting, especially, as she points out, when it is combined with the desire to be environmentally correct, has encouraged female victimization. That the need to do all the "right" things creates a prison (there is that word again) for moms and that it represents as much "a backlash against women's freedom as the right-to-life movement." She does point out, rightly, I believe, that not all families can afford full-on attachment parenting. That the need to have two working parents in a family may require a family to take a different path. I think this is a topic that is too infrequently raised and I do applaud her for doing so.

Jong interestingly lists out all the ways she was NOT an attachment parent including the heavy use of nannies, the long absences from her child and the use of any and all modern technology she could acquire. What is most notable is that in a companion piece, her daughter, the author Molly Jong-Fast, writes of her own life as a stay at home mom to three young children. How her entire parenting philosophy is a repudiation of the way her mother raised her. She does not criticize her mother, however, she praises her. She said that her mother's choices allowed her to have the life where she can make very different choices for her family.

So, what do you think? Is this a dead horse (at least until Badinter's book hits Oprah)? Are the choices of Attachment Parenting families derailing feminism? Is something as sweet and useful as a cloth diaper subversive?

GIVEAWAY

Feeling a little subversive myself on this post-election week. So, let's give away one of those hostile to modern feminism cloth diapers. How about one of the new bumGenius Artist Series ones as I think they are fairly cool. There are many ways to enter and each one will result in a separate entry. Entries must be received by November 25, 2010.
1. Comment on this Blog
2. Fan Cottontail Baby on Facebook
3. Join the Cottontail Baby mailing list
4. Fan the Cloth Diaper Retailer Blog on Facebook.

43 comments:

  1. I, in NO way, feel like I'm in 'prison' staying home with my son!!! That's ridiculous! What a PRIVILEGE it is to GET to stay home with him!!! Instead of some Nanny raising MY child, I get to teach him, watch him learn and just play together! I also cloth diaper and LOVE it... his CUTE big ol' cloth bum... LOVE it!! I was also fortunate enough to be able to nurse him for a year and he's healthier and I'm healthier for it. If this is prison, I'm fine living in my 'cell'!!! :o)

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  2. I'm also a Cottontail Baby facebook fan..

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  3. I'm also a Cloth Diaper Retailer Blog facebook fan...

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  4. ... and I get the newsletter! Please pick me!!

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  5. Wow, wow...I ENJOY doing what is BEST for my child. And I don't want to be "freed" from my child, I LOVE her!

    rookem123 at yahoo dot com

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  6. I don't really understand why these insane women keep saying crap like this. I'm sorry, but it IS crap. The only thing that "victimizes" or "imprisons" women, is being forced by someone else to parent in a particular way and being told that we are wrong!

    I'm really tired of people downing parenting methods. The only method, in my opinion, that should be roundly and constantly criticized is an ABUSIVE parent!!

    As long as moms and dads are doing what they think is BEST for their kids, then everyone else should just shut their mouths. And if I offend someone by saying that, well, I don't really care.

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  7. Oh my, I have not heard of Elizabeth Badinter. We do attachment parenting because that is what feels right to us. A crying baby needs held, and natures intended milk, etc, etc. She needs to read Dr. Sears 'Baby Book'. Wonderful, wonderful. It is what we raised our son on.
    waterlily_mc@juno.com

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  8. joined cotton tails mailing list.
    waterlily_mc@juno.com

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  9. Interesting take on feminism. When you look at the definition of feminism "establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights." I take that to be that I am looking to be an equal and have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE how I live. If I want to breastfeed, I do, at home, in the mall, at the library, where ever and when ever my son is hungry. Feminism gave me the right to not be ashamed to breastfeed in public. We are moving forward, not backward.

    Katie

    katiejaneallen at gmail dot com

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  10. I believe feminism is about choices and feeling empowered in your life. Motherhood, staying home with my sons, being a WAHM, breastfeeding, babywearing are all choices I made. Yes my life changed when I had children but I feel more opportunities opened to me after I became a mother. I have always worked and felt empowered by my abilities in often Male oriented workplaces. However the choice to stay home with my children allowed me to start my own business. I find it interesting how offbase women often are in their definition of Feminism. Some of the most self assured, powerful women I know would not claim to be feminist because they believe it means manhating or unfeminine. So frustrating how society has only recognised the negative definitions of the word.

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  11. I am not an attachment parent, but I believe that every woman should have her choice to stay home with her children or not.
    bethanyrx at gmail dot com

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  12. Having been both a working mom and a stay at home mom, I firmly believe that my mother and grandmother fought for my rights, regardless of my choice. They wanted me to be able to choose to work OR to stay at home without pressure from society to fit into any role. Why do we have to put labels on everything and everyone in our culture today? Why can't we all just celebrate the fact that we can CHOOSE what is best for us and for our families? I value education and work, and I also value my family. Those things don't have to be separated. Stay-at-home moms aren't imprisoned! In fact, I felt more imprisoned when I was a working mom than I do now! On the other hand, I know some women who stopped working when they had children, and it was simply not best for them. Work was a refreshing, refocusing time for these women, and they felt like better moms when they came home. Each woman has the right to choose what is best for her and her family, and that's what I believe feminism is all about. Let's just stop judging one another and celebrate our differences and our choices!

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  13. The real prison is not being able to make the choice you want to make. Stay at home Moms should be honored for their work. Working Moms should not be judged. Why are we writing books about this? Modern western society needs to give Moms so much more respect and support and then feminism will have succeeded.

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  14. I take a middle of the road route myself so I strongly believe it's a choice every family needs to make for themselves! I had an epidural, breastfed for a year (but did use formula on occasion), co-slept when needed (especially with nighttime feedings), didn't start cloth diapering until my son was 14 months old and love using an Ergo carrier (even still at 18 months)! That's what works for us so I could care less what anyone else thinks about it.

    brycesmommy(at)att(dot)net

    *I also commented on the cloth diaper storage post... wasn't sure which we were supposed to comment on since the link goes there :)

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  15. I "like" Cottontail Baby on FB (Julia Smith)

    brycesmommy(at)att(dot)net

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  16. Joined the mailing list

    brycesmommy(at)att(dot)net

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  17. I "like" the CDRB on FB

    brycesmommy(at)att(dot)net

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  18. I agree with what Bethany said, that everyone should have her choice and also that we as women and mothers should stop bashing each other and instead support each other. Using words like "prison" and "victimization" to describe another woman's approach to parenting is definitely wrong in my opinion!

    And I always amazed at how something as simple as mentioning that you cloth diaper or that you are going to try to cloth diaper creates such a stir in so many people...I'll never get it!

    samtabulous(at)aol(dot)com

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  19. I don't understand how choosing what is best for your baby can be viewed as a prison. All of the experts agree on the benefits of breastfeeding and new information is constantly appearing about the harmful chemicals in disposable diapers. Attachment parenting is the logical choice.
    glassfishie at gmail

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  20. I "like" Cottontail Baby on FB
    Glass Fishie

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  21. I do what I do because it's what is right for my family. I don't feel victimized at all- I feel free and happy with the choices I have made for my family. I wish I could do more attachment parenting but because of certain situations right now, I can't..and that makes me very sad.

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  22. I like cottontail baby on FB (k. welch)

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  23. I signed up for the newsletter with katrina.welch(a)ymail.com

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  24. Wow, I seriously cannot beleive that! I work from home and my wish every day is that I can get my work done early enough to spend more time with my kids. I have to work, I know I would not be happy without it, but I do miss the time with myy kids. They are only little once, when they grow up you cant cuddle and love on them. I feel sorry for these women, I think they are missing the point.

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  25. Fan Cottontail Baby on Facebook

    fluffs enough

    theclothspring at hotmail

    ReplyDelete
  26. 3. Join the Cottontail Baby mailing list

    theclothspring at hotmail

    ReplyDelete
  27. 4. Fan the Cloth Diaper Retailer Blog on Facebook.

    fluffs enough

    theclothspring at hotmail

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  28. I adore being a stay at home/breastfeeding/cloth diapering/baby carrying mommy. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my daughter to help her grow into a strong young woman. I don't believe in bringing a child into this world for someone else to raise. That is my job, as a strong woman. When she is old enough, I will return to the workforce, but until then I am doing what I do best as a woman, and spending time with my baby.

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  29. I am a fan of cottontail baby on facebook

    staceyfaucher@live.com

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  30. I am a fan of the cloth diaper retailer blog on facebook.

    staceyfaucher@live.com

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  31. Joined the cottontail baby mailing list, and confirmed.

    staceyfaucher@live.com

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  32. I'm an attachment parent and I wouldn't change a thing. I think everyone needs to just decide for themselves what parenting style is best for them and stop judging others for their choices.

    P.S. I love the artist series prints!

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  33. People tend to be mommier-than-thou on either side of the fence. I think it's great that some women can juggle a job and children happily and successfully. I feel privileged that I get to enjoy being a SAHM. I think people should quit casting stones and parent according to what is best for their family.

    coupon_mommy(at)live(dot)com

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  34. I like Cottontail Baby on facebook.

    coupon_mommy(at)live(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  35. I like CDRC on facebook, too.

    coupon_mommy(at)live(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  36. I am subscribed to the mailing list.

    coupon_mommy(at)live(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Anything that overgeneralizes or places everyone in a single category is narrow minded and does nothing but divide. We as women should be supportive to each other and not divisive in this journey called motherhood.

    Thanks!
    angiedkelly at gmail dot com

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  38. fan of CB on facebook

    angiedkelly at gmail dot com

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  39. Signed up for CB newsletter

    angiedkelly at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Like CDRC on facebook

    angiedkelly at gmail dot com

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  41. From the post on Cottontail Baby's facebook page, I think I won (which I am super excited about and very grateful). But I didn't receive an e-mail. Did you e-mail the winner yet?

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