Just as an unrelated tidbit, did you know that there are more genetic differences between people of the same race than there are distinguishing characteristics between differentraces? And yet we posit black and white as dyads when really, when the genetic codes are all lined up, a little white girl in Missouri may share a stronger genetic resemblance to a little girl in Indonesia than she does to her white next-door neighbor. Maybe biology is telling us something--we're all much more the same--and much more different--than we think.
Before I get into a lecture about the performativity of race or gender, I return to this issue of parenting philosophies. It's no secret that I adamantly oppose the Babywise program. Sometimes even I wonder why in the world it bothers me so much that I keep writing about it, but there's just something about it that feels wrong to me. And yet it intrigues me. I wonder why anyone, especially a loving parent, would choose to follow its advice. And yet it has a loyal following, even amongst some of my closest friends. One of the most notable Babywisers, Valerie Plowman, shares the same faith as me. How is that? How is it that two women of the same religion, (I presume she also has deep and abiding faith) could have such different philosophies? How is it that in chatting with other young moms in my ward some plan to breastfeed to three and co-sleep until their kids move out of the family bed on their own, and others cry-it-out and think the family bed is the worst thing you could ever do for your child? How is it that Ezzo claims his program is "God's way of raising children" while Sears pushes just as strongly that a Christian parent is an attached parent?
I don't know if there is a straight answer to that question. If you've got one, I'd love to know. But this much I do know, after further thought, both people are right--at least for them and their family. If I were to schedule feed and cry-it-out as a newborn I really would be a bad mom because it's not me. I believe so strongly in touch, family togetherness, choices, comfort, and teaching by example. To me that translates as babywearing, bedsharing, baby-led feeding, cuddles during crying, and showing rather than yelling or spanking. I also spent far too much time questioning claims and cross-referencing resources in graduate school papers to feel comfortable following parenting advice that doesn't have any independently cited scientific or psychological benefits. Simply claiming, "this is God's way" doesn't really cut it for me. But I know for others things are different. I can respect that for someone else, the same things that work for me and my family would also make them a "bad mom." Of course I think I'm right (I mean, don't we all?) but I can respect it.
But, this is something I legitimately struggle with. I don't really understand it. Maybe some of you have some insight? In the meantime, as one fellow mom pats me on the back and tells me I'm doing a great job and another gives me the stink-eye, I just have to remind myself that we really are all in this together. We truly do want what's right and until someone can show me in the scriptures, "Ferber is right" or "Babywearing is wrong," I guess I'll just go about doing the best I can.