The Boom in Baby Snatching (Hysteria)

Hi Readers! You’ll recall that a few posts back I was ranting about the CNN video clip on how to keep your baby safe from being kidnapped.

Well, I ended up writing a whole column about the issue for my syndicate, Creators. So here’s the CNN article — “How zrhesddiaz
to Guard Against Baby Snatchers.”
And here’s mine on how to guard against CNN and its harsh admonitions to new moms.

I guess what really irks me more and more is the idea that “convenience” is a dirty word when it comes to parenting — especially mothering. And that even if it is ALMOST unheard of for a baby to be snatched from a hospital room while the mom is in the bathroom, CNN says that is still NO REASON for a mom to be so LAZY as to not bring the baby into the bathroom with her, just in case.

Why are we supposed to completely ignore our own needs or even preferences to thwart a nearly non-existent danger? What makes a mom “good” just because she is martyring herself for no reason? Where did this impossible and cruel standard come from? (Stay tuned: I’m reading a book that just may answer that question and will write about it soon.) Till then, remember: the only good parent is a parent who is really worried and stressed!  — L.

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77 Responses to The Boom in Baby Snatching (Hysteria)

  1. Becky February 2, 2011 at 5:46 am #

    What I want to know is HOW is it safer for a baby to be in a bathroom than in the bassinet in the hospital room. It’s a bathroom. If you are going to get hysterical over something, it should be all the gross germs floating around a hospital bathroom (or the hospital itself). There is a much higher risk of getting some sort of illness from that than getting snatched.

  2. Marlene February 2, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    Well we can have our babies at home and then we don’t have to be part of an overall hysterical system.

  3. Michelle February 2, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    I was at the local stock show rodeo last week, and took a bathroom break. I could hear a kid in the stall next to me, his mom was outside the stall. When he came out, the kid was easily at least 8. She couldn’t have stood outside the men’s room door? He doesn’t know to scream if there’s a problem?

  4. EricS February 2, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    These paranoid people just can’t seem to make up their minds. Typical. So is it men are the most likely to kidnap children, or is it women?

    With all this hysteria, why don’t the paranoid mothers just ask the doctors to stich their kids to their front. That way the child will ALWAYS, 24/7 be with them. “…bring the baby into the bathroom with her, just in case.” What an idiot. A lot like the blind leading the blind. But the blind probably have far more commons sense and less fear than this yahoo. Bonifield, you need to get dropped into a warzone and see how the children fair there. I’m sure they’ll make you feel like the scardy cat you are. lol

  5. maggie February 2, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    As if a new mother doesn’t have enough to deal with! Have they ever seriously tried to move one of those bassinets, especially if you’re hooked up to an IV? It’s work just getting to the bathroom, much less getting there with all that extra baggage! I’m surprised they didn’t suggest laying off the pain meds, as they can make you tired and drowsy and less aware.

  6. oncefallendotcom February 2, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    The Constant Nonsense Network has Nancy Disgrace, the epitome of the fear monger. Her entire career is based off “tot” stories.

    Not that John Walsh was any better, but Nancy Disgrace comes off as phonier and more condescending as Walsh.

  7. Vi February 2, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    Why isn’t it the case that a good mother is CALM and RATIONAL? I want to teach my kids to be rational, and not to live in constant fear. That is damaging in and of itself!

  8. SKL February 2, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    You would have loved a hysterical serial rant on that Mighty Mom site the other day, but the ranter went back and deleted all 40 of her comments. Of course, the rant was about the dangers of kidnapping and what all moms who care about their children must do to protect them. Like loud door alarms, 6 foot brick walls, never taking eyes off for a second, etc. Ugh.

    Yesterday my kids and I were listening to my CDs of the Phantom of the Opera and my 4yo said, “I don’t want to be kidnapped.” There ensued a discussion about how most people are good, but they should listen to Mr. A (their karate teacher) about what to do in case anyone ever does bother them. I kept stressing “most people are very good, most would help you out, they don’t go around looking to hurt little kids. Even people who don’t like kids just ignore them, they usually don’t bother kids.” I also noted “you’ll usually be able to feel if a person is safe or not safe to be near.” It was interesting trying to figure out the right balance for the message. Obviously I don’t want my kid going into a car, garage, or basement with a weirdo. That happened to me as young as age 4 and several more times during my childhood. But at the same time, I don’t want my kids to act unnaturally toward the good people in the world.

    Either way, guilting moms into doing what doesn’t feel right is unhelpful.

  9. Marie February 2, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    Aw, come on! Moms in hospitals don’t need to go into the bathroom! Just ask for a bedpan. /sarcasm

  10. Holly February 2, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    OK, well as someone who actually had a baby (my 3rd) only 6 weeks ago this is totally ridiculous.

    First of all, my hospital room was so micro tiny that there is NO WAY the bassinet would have fit into the bathroom. Secondly, this particular hospital has private toilets in each room, but you share a separate shower room between you and the room next door. So how exactly would CNN have me handle that one? Even IN the bathroom with me in the shower I suppose we wouldn’t be “safe”. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    On a related note, once we left labor & delivery and were checking into the post-partum room we were given a lecture by our nurse about the floors rules.

    One of which is you can’t carry your own child in the hallway. They must be in the plastic bucket at all times when not in your room.

    The one I *really* disliked though is that you can’t leave your child in your room with the grandparents. So, say, you and Dad want to go to the cafeteria together. Or say Dad had to work, and you need to leave your room for a couple minutes. Leaving the kid with your parents is “dangerous”. Instead, you’re supposed to wheel the kid down the hall & leave them with a bunch of strangers in the hospital nursery. I think not!

    Also, why are hospitals spending millions of dollars on fancy security systems for the OB units if it’s still so dangerous? All our girls have had to wear ankle bands that would set off an alarm system that would basically lock the whole hospital down if they left the floor without the nurse disabling the band & removing it with her special tool. Hubby & I both have to wear matching bands as well.

    Needless to say we’ve checked out of the hospital within 20 hours of delivering with the last 2 kids. Stupid liability!

  11. Tara February 2, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    Our hospital bathrooms were WAY too little for a mom and a baby. No choice but to leave the little bundle in the room when you were taking care of business!

  12. Tuppence February 2, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    That what I’m sayin!! YES Lenore, use all powers at your disposal to get to the bottom of this LAZY accusation business (or should I say BS). Inquiring minds want to know!

    “CNN says that is still NO REASON for a mom to be so LAZY as to not bring the baby into the bathroom with her, just in case.”
    That is an outrage. Let’s get mad as hell and not take it anymore.

  13. Andrea February 2, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Even more reason to have our babies at home.

  14. beth February 2, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    My kids are 23 and 19, so it’s been awhile since I had them! But on the other thread there were so many comments about how once a mother has the baby, the baby never ever leaves the hospital room – just thinking about that made me nuts.

    I love my kids, and I loved them when they were babies. But since 24-48 hours after the birth I would be going home and spending 24/7 with a newborn, what a relief to have the baby taken to the nursery for a few hours so that I could nap. I was also given the option of having the baby with me overnight, or not (he/she would be brought to me for overnight feedings though).

    Was this really so bad?

  15. Richard Fries February 2, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    How can I book you as a speaker?

    I would like to discuss what we do at the Bikes Belong Foundation and how we could work together.

    Keep it up.

    Richard Fries

  16. rhodykat February 2, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    In addition to all the other benefits for mama and baby, homebirth eliminates the threat of a baby snatching nurse lurking around the corner…but you don’t see the media jumping on that bandwagon, do you?

  17. KateNonymous February 2, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I had BabyNonymous in April. After giving birth, I sometimes found it very difficult (and, at least a few times, impossible) to change positions without help–and it still hurt a lot. There was no way I could have dragged her bassinet into the bathroom with me.

    So I say, before giving out this nonsensical advice, CNN should have a baby, and see how well it moves around.

  18. Larry Harrison February 2, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    “Convenience is a dirty word.” Darn right it is to these people, and it sure as heck ISN’T to me.

    By all means, convenience mattersYou don’t do extreme things like, say, leave bottles of aspirin on the coffee table vs out-of-reach because it’s more convenient, but you shouldn’t be compelled to go to the other extreme either. These people thinking you’re supposed to have an environment totally catered to a child’s safety with zero consideration for a parent’s convenience, this is nuts.

    It’s gone way too far, and it’s why you see things such as those gasoline cans of the past 2 years which not even Houdini could get in without cursing. (Hence, I collect the old ones from garage sales and stockpile them like beans in a nuclear fallout shelter.) I make no apologies for making accommodations for my convenience. Anyone that thinks me a bad father can find a high cliff and perform an amateur swan-dive.


  19. Staceyjw aka escaped to mexico February 2, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    I must be nuts, but here’s some GOOD news:
    I’m visiting my in laws in Fresno CA this week. They live next door to a nice little park, and I took the baby in the stroller, and their dog, for a walk yesterday. Little did I know their dog was scared of the sound of skateboarders, and pulled out of her collar and RAN. Uh oh! I yelled for one of the teens skateboarding to watch the baby so I could grab the dog. 4 teens sat with my son, while another helped me catch the dog 🙂

    OH NOES, I had left the baby with strangers! When we returned, I thanked them profusely and then we watched them skate and bike at the all concrete skate/bike park! And what a park! In the middle of the most unlikely neighborhood- suburban, upper middle class. I couldn’t believe there were these little skate parks, several of them, all over the town. They even had an “empty pool”, and other equally dangerous things. This place had a few teens there to watch (no one supervising at the others) but the only rules were to wear a helmet and no graffiti, drinking, smoking, drugs. Even little kids were there shutting and riding, along with others of all ages. And it was PACKED!!!

    There was lots of other stuff to do there, and everyone was very friendly. There were even MEN everywhere, playing with the kids on the playground and basketball court, and teen boys who were even friendly (imagine that)! When the school across the street got out for the day, a few girls, maybe 4th or 5th graders, walked over, sat on some benches alone doing homework!

    SUCH NORMAL STUFF, but I was a little surprised to see it. My in laws want us to move near them, and I would consider it the neighborhood was so friendly, no helicopter parents to be seen.

    (rhodycat- Home birth in the USA is just not as safe as in the hospital. There is a 2-3x increase the death rate overall, with some states reporting 4- 6x higher (CO is one) depending on type of caregiver. I don’t want to get into it, as it OT, but even though I support the choice to have a HB, women need to know it’s just not as safe. It may be a risk worth taking for some, as the odds tragedy will happen is still VERY low.)

  20. This girl loves to talk February 2, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    please lenore if you could make a ‘real facts’ page we could link people to. Like what are the real statistics of being kidnapped, etc etc

    They other day a friend on facebook was outraged that her daughter slipped out of Prep class to her in the ‘waiting area’ as the teacher is meant to sight the parent before letting the kid go. School has just started here so it was like the second day. I agree that she had a right to be upset. BUT the comments on facebook about OH MY, Report the teacher etc even though NOTHING happened to her child made me angry.

    So I told the parents to chill, that nothing happened to the child – went straight to her mum etc that a quick reminder to the teacher was all that was necessary and that they should stop worrying and read some “free range kids’

    well you should have seen the reply about how I should TELL THAT TO DANIEL MORCOMBES PARENTS ( a high profile lost/kindapped child in australia who has still never been found) tell them to read free range kids etc as if I was likened to endorsing kidnapping and what type of parent I was.

    It was my first time speaking up against a little hysteria and boy am I put off. Esp since I didnt have too many ‘proven’ stats to back me up. So if you or someone could work on a page we can link to with the ‘realities’ that would be awesome.

  21. Staceyjw aka escaped to mexico February 2, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Yeah, some hospitals have some dumb rules, but choosing HB is like throwing all caution to the wind, an overreaction in the OTHER direction. Birth day is the most dangerous day in a kids first 18 years, I would rather be safe at a hospital and let my kid take their risks later on, doing fun things!

    Isn’t free range about supporting common sense things that make things Truly safe?

  22. Mildred February 2, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    I volunteered to babysit my friend’s infant & 4 year old for a couple of weeks while her full-time nanny was on vacation. When I reported for duty she showed me the ropes and left for work, and all was fine. Then, around 10 a.m., while the baby was asleep and I was hanging out with the toddler, the front door burst open and no, it wasn’t the boogie man. It was her husband…deliberately catching me off-guard so he could check up on me. It scared the shit out of me. Anyway, he hung around for a while and then told me that if (not “when,” but “if”) I went to the bathroom, I’d have to lug the baby AND the toddler into the can. Because, you know, they couldn’t be “left alone” while I relieved myself for, what, a minute (I’m very fast). Okay, so I knew better than to argue (this is my friend’s husband, not MY friend). But then, he told me I wouldn’t be able to eat lunch or drink coffee or for that matter have any beverage, because I would “need to be 100 percent focused on the kids.” No, I’m not kidding. Not kidding. When he FINALLY left, I put the big boy in charge to watch the baby & I made a mad dash for the can. And I got back before big boy barely knew I’d gone. I’ve never forgotten this madness. How nuts!

  23. Uly February 2, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Stacey, do you have a link to the homebirth statistics? I’ve heard the exact opposite from advocates for, although I never looked over them very thoroughly because it’s not a subject that interests me much. I’d love to have a more complete picture.

  24. Uly February 2, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    That’s a, uh, genuine request for more information, not a snarky request.

  25. Daniela February 2, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Mildred, you are an angel for offering to help your friend for that long of a period of time. I’m not sure I could continue on after how the husband acted though. I am one of the nervous moms that drives herself crazy with worry, but even I wouldn’t be a nut job like that. How unappreciative too!

  26. Daniela February 2, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Staceyjw, I would have had the teens chase after the dog. There is no way I could ever trust a stranger to watch my infant (or child). I’m all about pet safety too, but when faced with the decision on who to leave behind, it would never in a million years be my child.

    It was a beautiful story, but one that is just full of way too much risk.

  27. Daniela February 2, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Staceyjw, I meant to add -the teens probably would have all had a blast chasing after the dog…and would have done a great job.

    Please don’t leave your sweet baby alone with strangers…

  28. Jynet February 2, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Daniela, there entire point was/is/continues to be that there is LITTLE TO NO risk in leaving an infant with other adults or young adults.

    There are entire countries in the world where it is NORMAL to leave your infant in a stroller outside the shop you are going into so they can get some air. The kidnapping statistics for those countries is about the same as they are here.

    Most kidnappings in the world are by family members in custody disputes. Most child abuse and child sexual abuse is also by family members, not strangers, and certainly not by a group of teens in a park!

  29. bequirox February 2, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Mildred, that would have been my only day of babysitting.

  30. Liz February 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    The hospital that my daughter was born in had a policy that the baby does not leave the room without one of the parents, preferably the mother. When they had to take Baby out of the room for a test, I sent hubby and the nurse looked at me like I was crazy. WTH? I live with him, I married him, I have now procreated with him, what makes her think I’m not going to trust him to babysit her while she took some blood?

  31. Metanoia February 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Staceyjw – hospital vs home births: real stats and links please because I’ve heard the opposite too. I’ve also read quite a bit from here and her decisions for home birthing seem really sensible and safe:

  32. Cheryl W February 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Mildred, no wonder that nanny needed a day off – she needed to eat, drink and poop! I agree with the other poster….that would have been the last time I volunteered.

  33. Larry Harrison February 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Mildred I wouldn’t have hesitated to tell the ungrateful husband–my need to go to the bathroom and my need to eat are no less important than the children’s need to do the same. I’d like to know where it’s written (other than maybe by Dr Sears?) than an adult’s needs have 0 relevance versus a child’s–yes, even when you’re the babysitter.


  34. Arianne February 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Oh, I don’t know if I’ve missed it before, but I am loving seeing some discussion on homebirth here. One of the BIGGEST misconceptions in our society revolves around risk/safety in birth. Plenty of studies (oh, and they have to really separate *planned* homebirth from unfortunate instances of sudden stillbirth in one’s kitchen and the like) have shown that homebirth is much much safer than you could possibly imagine based on our culture’s portrayal of birth being one big disaster waiting to happen. Here’s one, just off the top of my head:
    In birth, as with life, there is some unavoidable risk, and trying to interfere with the process too much just messes things up and makes it more dangerous. That’s a huge reason why the US is last in maternal and infant mortality among developed nations (better ranked countries often have higher rates of homebirth, not to mention less interventions in births regardless of the setting). I could go on and on about this. This is a topic that is *ripe* for some good FR debate.

  35. Bronwyn February 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Reading this my first thought was of Keith Richards falling from a coconut tree. I don’t recall anyone being hit by a coconut.

    The point of staying in the hospital after birth is recuperation. I’m not going to relax and recuperate if I suspect every person of being a baby snatcher.

  36. helenquine February 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    God yes Lenore!

    I can’t tell you how mad I thought people were when I first had kids. Professionals and other mums telling me I had to do twenty million things that were going to make no impressionable difference to my kids’ lives. The biggest risk they faced was me dropping them because I was so damn tired from running around doing all the ridiculous things I was “supposed” to. Fortunately it didn’t last long and I came to my senses 🙂

  37. Jen Connelly February 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    I’ve noticed the connection between making life easier on mom equaling laziness and neglect. It cracks me up.
    I’ve taken to calling it the “mommy martyr syndrome”.

    The whole baby in the bathroom thing extends way beyond the hospital. On the parenting site I post at almost everyone I talk to takes their children (especially newborns, infants and toddlers) into the bathroom every time they use it because…you never know. What they think their non-mobile infant is going to do while they spend 2 minutes peeing alone I have no clue.
    Never mind letting a kid stay home alone when their older.
    Anytime I mention doing something (teaching my kids to do something for themselves) that will make my life simpler/easier I get blasted and told I’m just lazy, selfish and negligent. Sigh.

  38. Stevie Taylor February 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    I agree with Lenore that the real slam is against the mother–if she lets her toddler explore the playground equipment without standing one step behind (he could fall off the top of slide, hit his head on a pole, be pushed by an older child), walk to the bus stop and, God forbid, up the driveway after school by himself (kidnappers! molesters!), or puts the baby in the exersaucer and leaves him there while she jumps in the shower (what if he starts to cry or breaks the head of the rattle and chokes on it), then she is not doing her job.

    Not only is she not doing her job, she is failing to do her job because she is too lazy, too stupid or too selfish. How dare she want to take a breath without feeling her child cushioned against her side? If she wants to take a shower or have a cup of coffee at the park she should have considered that before she had kids!

    Even more shocking is that most of this ire comes from other WOMEN and MOTHERS! Ask most men and they would prefer that their wife takes a break from mothering on occasion and see no problem with mom sitting on the bench reading a magazine every once in a while instead of pushing her kids on the swing the whole time they’re at the park. But you better believe every mom at the park will making snarky comments and sending ugly glares at her for doing so.

    Why? Why? Why?

    I no longer feel the need to do it because I’m over it. But I used to feel like I had to justify my behavior to strangers/ friends/ teachers and let them know that the way my kids were raised was a conscious parenting choice–not just me being lazy.

    For example,
    “They ride the bus because they get to interact with children from other classes and other ages that they don’t get to see much. And it’s important to our family that they learn to use public transportation–chauffered kids will never become public transportation-using adults. And they have each other so I don’t worry about bullying.”

    “I believe the whole point of playgroup is to let young children start learning relationships with each other. If we constantly get up and interfere or direct the exchange, they aren’t learning anything. Let’s just let them play by themselves.”

    “No, I didn’t MAKE her do the homework assignment. I sat her down at regular homework time and she carried on and fussed and dragged it out so when it was time for dinner we put it away and it didn’t get done. Please be sure to give her a consequence for her failure to do her work. Have to do it during lunch or recess, perhaps? We believe it’s more important for children to face the consequences of their actions than for Mommy or Daddy to stand over them and enforce compliance or do the work for them.”

    Etc, etc, etc.

    Again, I’m over it and don’t feel the need to explain my self anymore. It helps that my kids are all older now and since they are smart and well-behaved most parents don;t look at me sideways anymore. Although I don’t know if they would go so far as to credit our child rearing philosophy with how they are turning out. But I feel sorry for women with babies now. It gets worse and worse every year. And to be turned on by other women! Yikes!

  39. sue February 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    The bathroom in my hospital room was so tiny. There’s no way I could have fit both myself and my son’s bassinet in there, and I’m very petite!

    The only time my husband and I had our son in the bathroom with us at home was when he was potty training. We just brought him in with us so we could model using the toilet. Once he was potty trained, then we didn’t go in with him. When my son was about 4 or 5, he no longer wanted to go into a public women’s bathroom. If I was alone in public with my son and he needed to use the bathroom, I’d ask a man going in to keep an eye on him. Even though I was a “negligent parent” and risked my son getting kidnapped or abused (that was sarcasm), nothing ever happened to him. The men that I asked were always happy to help my son reach the sink or soap dispenser. In turn, my son learned that most adults are good and not potential kidnappers or abusers. Let’s see…if I’m standing outside the men’s room door, what are the odds that the nice man that I asked to watch my son is going to kidnap or abuse him? I’d say they were non-existent.

    Here in Germany every parent would be considered negligent and selfish. Moms use the bathroom and don’t bring their babies in with them. Kids walk, bike, ride the bus, or take the train to school without their parents at an early age. Some kids with working parents are also home alone for a couple of hours during the day. I guess my German friends and I are taking risks with our children’s lives. But I bet that our kids will grow up and be able to handle life a lot better than kids who were helicoptered by martyr moms.

  40. MsEssex February 2, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    Re comments on homebirth… I read up on it before I did it and the conclusion I came to was that in the UK (where I live), with a midwife, it was very, very safe. Midwives in the UK will not book for you for home if they think you are likely to have problems in labour, and once you are in advanced labour, you will have two midwives in your house with you – one for you, one for the baby. They bring saline and resuscitation equipment, and have a direct line to the ‘flying squad’ at the hospital should a crisis occur. In my case, my home deliveries went much better than my hospital one because I wasn’t stressed, and because I knew my midwives.

    One the birth is over, the minimal mess is cleaned up (paper pads thrown away, a load of laundry into the machine), you have a bath or shower in your own bathroom with your own soap (and your own germs…), your midwives go home, you get back into bed with your baby and your friends, neighbours and relations start to visit. And by this time, of course, the big siblings have seen the new arrival and the upheaval, for them, has been minimal.

    If you want to try out the safety stats, start by looking up Marjorie Tew. Also
    is a very good website – type ‘homebirth’ into the search box and loads comes up. AIMS will also offer advice and help.

    Slightly off-topic but I felt I had to post, as there is so much misinformation out there about home deliveries.

  41. Me February 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    When I had my first child I was TERRIFIED to leave her alone in the hospital room when my husband left to go do whatever (get food, go to the gift shop whatever). I wasn’t scared someone would take her, I was just scared, and overwhelmed by this amazing responsibility that I’d been preparing for but was so…UNprepared for. What the hell was I going to do with this squirmy, LOUD, wiggly thing? The hormones were all over the place from here to high hell to begin with, I think a report like the CNN one would have thrust me into the land of PPD. I think their report was incredibly irresponsible. I’m so tired of panic.

    Everyone is comfortable with a different amount of risk. Even the things my husband thinks are okay are different from what I am comfortable doing based on our experience (he’s a fireman/paramedic so he does see a lot more BAD than I do, he tempers it with reality, but he is a bit more risk averse.) And every kid is different. I have 0 problem sending my daughter to a public bathroom alone (she’s 6), I wouldn’t send my son (5) and probably won’t for a while because his ability to react to a bad situation is different than hers. It’s all about knowing your child. And if you’re so busy laying flat laws and protecting from the unlikely you don’t really get to know them so well.

    In general I was talking to a mom yesterday about our parenting philosophy which we narrowed down to this…I will let you fall on your ass so you learn I am NOT lying about gravity so that you can assume I’m not lying when I tell you it is a bad idea to run in front of a moving car. If I never let my kid find out anything for themselves and learn to trust me via experience, how can I expect them to truly believe me about honestly dangerous situations? How can I expect THEM to differentiate levels of danger if everything is always RISK RISK RISK RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. (Although I threw out that philosophy yesterday afternoon as my child was trying to be superman at the beginning of a giant blizzard. I told him if he broke his head or any other part of him and I had to take him to the ER I would be forced to duct tape him to his sister’s sled, with magenta duct tape, and drag him the milk there and it WOULDN’T be fun. He sat down. Smart kid.)

  42. maggie February 2, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    I wish I had been able to have a home birth. I worked with midwives during both my pregnancies but the first was a month early so the midwives insisted I go to the hospital (which turned out to be a very good thing). The second I had gestational diabetes, which is considered a complication so they transfered me to the doctor in their practice.
    Here is a comparison of home and hospital birth:

  43. BMS February 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    I can’t speak to the whole birthing experience, given that I outsourced to Guatemala on that one.

    But I detest the whole assumption that good mothers are duct taped to their children. Yesterday I came home at my usual 5:30 time, having not seen my kids all day (I leave for work before they get up). We had our family dinner, I helped with homework, and then hubby and I sat reading on the couch while they had some major lego battle. I complemented the lego airplanes that flew by, listened with interest when they explained the features, but otherwise, I left them to their own devices. They were happy, I was happy. When I tucked them in, I got hugs, kisses, smiles and cuddles. I maybe spent a total of 2 hours interacting with my kids yesterday. Does that make me a bad mom? Not in their eyes. And their opinion is really the only one that counts.

  44. Christi February 2, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    Guess I got lucky! My newborn was safe and sound in the NICU, hooked up to beeping machines and IV antibiotics (fighting off REAL dangers) rather than napping unsafely in my private hospital room. SO GLAD I didn’t have to worry about how to keep her safe while I fussed around with the weird mesh underwear 🙂

  45. Dean February 2, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    Daniela, I honestly can’t think of a safer place for a baby than with some teenage boys – what on EARTH could possess them to want to kidnap a baby?!? Have you ever met a teenage boy? They aren’t exactly jonesing for parenthood. 🙂

    Stevie, the one place where I would respectfully disagree with you is on the homework. While hopefully the teacher would have a consequence for homework not done, I think it’s a parent’s job to enforce that homework gets done, in the same way parents require whatever other house rules there are – chores, not hitting your siblings, etc. Teachers have a lot to do, and they need parents to back them up. If my kids didn’t do their homework, there would be a consequence at home – for example, I would say, fine, you can sit there as long as you like not doing your homework, but you do nothing else – no playtime – til it’s done. If you sit there til bedtime, you’ll go to school and then come home and sit there again til it’s done. Homework is one of your jobs in this house, just like making your bed and putting your dishes in the dishwasher and taking the garbage out.

  46. Tuppence February 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Mildred for you it was only a week or two. Think of the poor nanny, who’s got that job full time. To my mind, Mildred’s story illustrates what maybe lies at the heart of the madness these days. Even more than media influences.

    Both parents start working outside the home, hire full-time employee to care for their child. Employee, hired help, should be WORKING, i.e., WATCHING the child. It’s an especially fraught (read: demanding) employer/employee relationship given the nature of the assignment. It’s very personal and, of course, emotional (even with some guilt involved perhaps) to the employer . And, (yes, this is just anecdotal stuff here) I have the impression from what I’ve seen of these relationships, the parent wants to keep the JOB aspect of the thing utmost in everyone’s mind, to keep things clear, least allegiances get blurred. For the employer (parent), the employee staying with the kid all the time, making sure the kid’s “safe” is the JOB. THAT is what you are paying for. After all, the parent is the child’s mother/father, they aren’t paying a nanny for behaving like one of those. But not every parent, or more to the point here, mother, hires a nanny to care for her child, some do it themselves. However, it seems to me that they’ve transferred the “it’s a JOB!” attitude onto themselves. I think societal pressure nowadays makes them feel that they should be working outside the home. Not doing so makes them feel they need to justify themselves and what they do. So — being a mother is a JOB. I can think of a good real life example.

    There is mother at my child’s school that’s a helicopter mom. I live in Germany and that’s unusual here. She has two daughters, one in 2nd (in my child’s class), the other in 3rd grade. As far as I know, the only parents in my daughter’s 2nd grade class who still pick their children up from school are those that live farther away, and using public transport would really be inconvenient and time consuming for the kids. My child has been taking the tram on her own to get to and from school since the first day of 2nd grade (was going to go with her the first few weeks, but then I read this blog!). This family lives down the block from us. Right across from the tram stop. The mother continues to accompany her children every morning to the school and pick them up every afternoon from school. She could literally look out her window to see her girls get into the tram if she’s that worried about them getting on okay. The tram is always very full in the morning, the school is in the city center, with plenty of people buzzing along, including tons of school kids getting to school, plenty of which (school kids) can be found on any tram her daughters would ride on. She has two daughters going to the same school, so they’d be together anyway. After school there are always plenty of school kids riding the tram back home. Needless to say, she also accompanies her daughters everywhere outside of school, too – playground around the corner (which can be walked to from their home without even crossing streets), choir which is also nearby, etc. etc. . . . why does she do this?

    She is a long time civil servant and was given a extremely generous leave or absence when she had her children. She doesn’t have to return to work till the youngest is18! Sweet! She wants to take advantage! But of course, it isn’t without sacrifices. She can eventually return to the job (so some sense of security), but she’s not bringing in any income now. The family lives in a very modest apartment and does without a lot of other “extras” to make this possible. She told me that she and her husband made the conscious decision to have less money so she could be home with the kids. Do you see where I’m going with this thing? Her family lives in a tiny apartment and makes other material sacrifices because she’s staying home with the kids. This used to be the order of the day back when most of use were growing up. But a lot, if not most, families, no longer are willing to make that sacrifice. It’s become rather unusual. And families who do so are likely to feel as if they’ve got some explaining to do. She probably feels the need to justify not going back to work outside the home by making mothering her JOB. If the girls are perfectly fine and safe getting around on their own, what to they NEED her for? What, in essence, are she and her husband “paying for” by her staying home? The mother has became the nanny.

    I think it speaks volumes that women no longer call themselves housewives, but stay-at-home-mothers. The children have become the job description.

    PS: This also could explain the- you’re lazy if your not watching the kid 24/7. That’s not doing your JOB properly — BAD nanny, eh, I mean, mommy.

    PSS: Sorry for the length, but it’s been on the brain for a while now.

  47. Mary Garner February 2, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    I have a friend (a 71-year-old mother of four, no less) who said to me recently, “If I had to go shopping with a child, not only would I never let them out of my sight, I would keep at least one hand on them AT ALL TIMES. It’s just not safe to let them get out of reach because someone could snatch them in a matter of seconds and you wouldn’t know it until it was too late!”

    I was flabbergasted. This same woman raised her children in the 1970s, let them roam the streets without parents, let them stay home alone from about age 9, and never thought twice about it.

    Alas, she’s fallen into that “But the world’s so much more dangerous now!” trap that so many people are in. She was blown away that I’d leave my toddler in the seat in the shopping cart (strapped down because he likes to climb) while I walk a few steps away to pick up something off the shelf.

    That’s me. Worst Parent Ever.

  48. Rebekah February 2, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Lenore, you’re a beacon of light. Thanks!

  49. KLY February 2, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    First of all, on the Home Birth thing:
    Please do not spread false statistics and add to the fear mongering about it being so much more dangerous. This is simply not true, and it is just as bad as claiming that children are likely to be snatched at any second. Most of the “studies” used by those who claim is it dangerous are dubious at best and use in their accounting *all* babies “born” at home, including unplanned births, miscarriages and sudden stillbirths. There are few studies that actually compare like to like, which is the proper scientific method, and the ones that are out there show that planned home birth is *at least* as safe as a planned hospital birth. One of the only studies out there to truly match all factors except the one measurable difference (birth location), including socio-economic factors, gestation length, parity, presentation, prenatal care, etc. – on a one-to-one level – showed that not only was it just as safe in terms of infant death rate, but that in hospital births (compared to home births with a hospital standing by) there was three times the likelihood of c-section, 20x more use of forceps, 2x as much use of oxytocin to induce/speed up labor, greater incidence of episiotomy (and still a greater incident of severe tears w/ need of major repair), 5x more cases of maternal high blood pressure, 3x greater incidence of postpartum hemorrhage, 4x more infection among newborns, 3x more babies needing help beginning to breathe, and 30 cases of birth injuries (out of around a thousand) such as skull fractures, facial nerve palsies, brachial nerve injuries and severe cephalohematomas, while there were none in the matching number of home births. (Dr. Lewis Mehl, “Home Birth Versus Hospital Birth: Comparisons of Outcomes of Matched Populations.” …So I am not accused of making this up.)

    (Studies also show that the in the first round, there was a tendency for higher APGAR scores (with things being about even on the second round), which would indicate lower fetal distress during birth. )

    There have been more studies of a similar nature done, since then, and they have shown similar results. (My Google-fu is not yet warmed up this very-early and very-frozen morning, I will see if I can pull them up later.) Many of the Dire Outcome studies are highly biased and nothing more than propaganda for the medical community, which very often feels threatened by the competition of midwives and home births, not to mention the fact that conventional medical training teaches doctors and nurses to view birth as an inherently dangerous – and unnatural – Medical Emergency, rather than the natural process that it is. They then pass this fear on to their patients and the general public.

    But spreading fear and paranoia in this area, when there are statistics to refute the supposed dangers, is just as bad as when any of us come up against someone who insists we just “don’t know how scary it is” out in the world, and that we should never take chances by letting our children out of our sight. Please, please, please think twice before you do this to a mother or mother-to-be. Encourage them to do research (always good!!), so they go into any decision informed, but do not feed the fear like this.

    And secondly, I am a little taken aback at seeing someone here say you should never leave your child with strangers.
    Why not??
    What risk??
    Please correct me if I am mistaken, but I am pretty sure that one of the basic ideals that this movement is based on is “Most strangers have absolutely no interest in snatching/harming my precious bundle of snowflake joy, and I should not treat them all like potential perps.” With, of course, a dash of “We need to learn to trust one another again, and open up to other people in ways that combat suspicion and paranoia.”
    To me, this story sounds like an awesome triumph for everyone involved (except, maybe, the dog… who was after all thwarted in its attempts for freedom).

    Staceyjw – you rocked for making a judgement call, based on common sense, and determining that these teenagers were capable of handling the task of watching your child.
    The teenagers, in turn, rocked for stepping up for that (sounds like the freedom they get is paying off, because I know too many who would have panicked at the idea of any responsibility), and they gained the experience of being trusted by an adult for an important task, and then receiving appreciation and thanks for their actions. They were shown that the world of adults, which they will soon graduate into, can be a trusting, relaxed place.
    The kiddo got to hold court with 4 teenagers focused on entertaining him. Heh.

    Again… let’s not spread the fear. There was no reason for her not to use her own common sense and decide that it was a safe call to make.

    (And Staceyjw, just like you would not like hearing how you were endangering your baby by daring to decide to ask strangers to watch him, please see my above note about HB, because it is doing the same thing to say “that is just way too risky” without really knowing the facts. Both judgements would be based on false fears/paranoia and not on actual statistics and true risk assessment.)

    My thoughts on the whole convenience/lazy parent thing will have to be their own comment…

  50. Arianne February 3, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    Right on, KLY…I know that it’s hard to accept that birth is not as dangerous as we have been so conditioned to believe, but it’s true! As FRers, aren’t we all about accurately accessing true risks vs. perceptions of risks? It should not be any different in the case of birth.

    So many of the things that get discussed on this blog as being pathological about our society’s dealings with children (no risk is acceptable, worst-first thinking, you must do something even if it is better to do nothing, and on and on and on) are happening on an ultra-dangerous level in maternity care in our society, and our numbers show it. Please research this before drawing conclusions, folks!

    When I first started looking on here, it was hard to accept that maybe it wasn’t child abuse to leave my kids outside unattended. But deep down, I sensed some truth that defied what I *thought* I knew. It was/is true: the vast majority of the time, children don’t need help navigating the world and do quite well on their own…the same is true the overwhelming majority of the time when they are navigating the birth canal.

    (Yes, I know the homebirth discussion is not directly related to the post, but it’s a vital thing for us as society/parents to be educated about, for so many reasons.)

  51. Arianne February 3, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    PS, I believe I know the study that Staceyjw is referring to. Here it is:

    It is the Wax metaanalysis which compares hospital and home births. Despite the title of the study, it has been widely criticized for including studies that did NOT accurately differentiate between planned homebirths with unexpected tragedies (by people who were probably planning hospital births all along). I believe it even included a study where the place of birth was determined by what was written on the birth certificate, with no consideration for what the actual intended birth place was. That is taking the unhelpable tragedies from one group and lumping them in with the other group for comparison, and as only about 1% of births in our country are planned homebirths, this sort of thing scews the results incredibly. Just FYI.

  52. Arianne February 3, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    Sorry, “did NOT accurately differentiate planned homebirths *FROM* unexpected tragedies….”

  53. crowjoy February 3, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    Oh my gosh! I never realized I wasn’t supposed to make things convenient for me! I guess instead of driving them anywhere or letting them take the bus to school we should hitch up the old pony and … wait, that too would be more convenient than walking on a highway, so I guess we have to walk everywhere now or else it might be too convenient. And we all know how dangerous driving in a car is… egads, I’m home bound now!

  54. BMS February 3, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    As I’ve said previously, I had no input in to the birth of my sons. They were born 1000 miles away. I couldn’t stand over their birthmom and make sure she took prenatal vitamins and played Mozart in the womb and made sure she was facing east when in labor or whatever makes you a perfect mom. But I have a lot of confidence that, hey, the human race as pretty much perpetuated itself for thousands of years before getting completely obsessed about the birth experience. If moms and kids were so fragile, we never would have started walking upright.

    As far as the whole home/hospital thing – as long as it works for you, who cares? And if something tragic happens, it may not be any more preventable than any other random tragedy. Why should parents have to immolate themselves over something that may just be senseless fate?

  55. rhodykat February 3, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    Stacey and Uly – I had three children at home. I have all the statistics, and read up on it extensively prior to making the choice. In the end, for a normal, healthy Mama having a normal, healthy pregnancy, you are MUCH better off staying at home. C-section rates drop from over 30% to less than 10%, likewise, the need for NICU care, jaundice rates, and maternal mortality decreases (due to lower c-section rates). Check statistics on countries that are predominantly follow the midwife/homebirth model of care (i.e. Netherlands) and you will find that their maternal and neonatal well-being ranks MUCH higher than the US. In a nutshell, it is the hospitals that cause all the birthing trauma by messing with a natural process that has evolved over millions of years. Americans fear of birth is just as media driven as Americans fear of predators, backed by a strong health care lobby where the maternity wards are often the most profitable for a hospital.

  56. EdnaKay February 3, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    Not to be deliberately provocative, but if that woman had two kids named Spencer and Emily and/or she was a dead ringer for Reese Witherspoon, I suspect this “story” would have started and ended with a personal apology from the CEO of the hospital.

    I’m also surprised that the hospital didn’t have an effective monitoring system like those little electronic bands. When I had Edna Junior in 2008, there was a little alarm bracelet on my arm and on her wee arm. Not pleasant, but not overly burdensome.

  57. SKL February 3, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    I always thought I’d like to have a home birth. I also felt deep down that I’d end up being too scared to go through with it. Ultimately I skipped the birth business all together like BMS did. But, I think this is one of those things that each person can decide for herself. Objective information is great, of course, but with that, I think adult women are capable of deciding for themselves.

  58. rhodykat February 3, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    “Objective information is great, of course, but with that, I think adult women are capable of deciding for themselves.”

    Absolutely. I just posted because I had to defend the the fact that staying at home is perfectly safe, if not more so. The irony is that the reason most women choose hospital birth is because of the same media driven “worst-first” and “what if” thinking about the birth process that we often ridicule here.

  59. Mary Garner February 3, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    I think a lot of this mom-must-sacrifice-all hysteria is self-perpetuating. Moms have a nurturing instinct, but if we work outside the home, we feel like we’re neglecting our children. I know I feel that way.

    The guilt propels us to go out and find answers, or something to ease that guilt, I think, and that’s where parenting magazines, books, articles, etc. come in. A lot of people have figured out that there’s a market for it, and they feed into that guilt and make it worse. That’s why I’ve stopped reading that junk. Anything I need to know, I’ll get from my kids’ pediatrician or my mom. In my experience, they can answer just about any question I have about my kids.

    I once saw a Juicy Juice commercial one time that told me I should buy their product because “Moms always give 110%”. Yeah, no guilt there! If I stop and put my feet up, I’m not giving my all for my children.

    In my experience, a burned-out mother is worse than one that takes some time for herself on a regular basis.

  60. OurScaryWorld February 3, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    In this incredibly dangerous world, it’s important to look out for threats everywhere, not just in the hospital when the baby is born. I for one am certainly a lot more aware now of the danger of falling coconuts, and I am taking all the necessary precautions. Here’s another danger that I don’t hear anyone really talking about:,17697/

  61. pentamom February 3, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    I have just one question for the guy who hired Mildred to babysit:

    When do you sleep?

  62. Julie February 3, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    I will argue that home births are no less safe than hospital births…and I ended up having my baby at the hospital. A planned home birth, my blood pressure shot up too high and I transported to the hospital. I agree with my midwife that this was best for me in that circumstance. Because of the circumstances around that birth, I will be having my second one in the hospital…but delivered naturally by a midwife. If all goes well with the birth of the second one and there are no complications then should we decide to have a third child I would be totally open to having a home birth.

    The thing is, you have to be reasonable about it. If you are a healthy pregnant woman with no complications, then there isn’t any risk to having a home birth. If something arises during labor, be wise and get yourself to a hospital. If you have any complications BEFORE labor, have the baby in a hospital.

    I have three siblings who were born at hospitals and three siblings who were born at home. With the exception of two of them having mild asthma (one who was born at a hospital and one who was born at home…both of whom were born early)…they are all healthy happy adults.

  63. tommynomad February 3, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    Homebirths/hospitals aren’t the only options. We had our son at a birthing centre. We walked in with our midwife, straight into a fully-prepared birthing room (even the pool was halfway to full), and didn’t see anyone else until an hour after the birth. No check-in, no forms, nada. Just a comforting, peaceful, distraction-free environment. The staff who helped us during our 3-day (free) stay afterwards were all introduced to us, first by our midwife, then by each other. Seems to me that’s all the security one needs.

    Any hospital with alarms, security forces, lockdowns, is the last place we’d consider bringing a child into the world.

  64. Jen Connelly February 3, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    Wanted to comment on the leaving babies with strangers…
    Not quite “leaving them” but when my youngest was 4 months we went to eat at a local diner that we had never been to (we’re new to the area). Our food had just arrived and the baby decided to throw an all out fit because he was cranky/tired or some other reason we couldn’t figure out (he had been fed and changed before we left so we knew it wasn’t that).
    I resigned myself to eating cold food again and held him as I tried to nibble at my home fries. He would stop crying unless I was bouncing him so trying to eat one handed was out. My husband was trying to scarf down his food so we could trade.

    Then the owner of the place came over (there were only 2 other booths occupied and 1 guy at the counter who was chatting with the server) and started talking to us, saying how cute the kids were (had our 4yo with us). We mentioned we had 3 others at school, too, and that we were new in town.
    Then she just reached over and asked if she could take the “babe”. For a split second I considered saying, “no”. Not because I was worried about her doing something to him but I didn’t want to be a bother but she was very insistent so I handed him over. She started chatting to him, telling him he needed to be a good boy so Mommy and Daddy could eat. Then she walked him around and showed him the fish in the big tank near by. She even, GASP, took him back in the kitchen to answer the phone where she stayed for several minutes.
    I just continued to talk with my husband about how much we liked the new town and the people there. We finished our food and she brought the baby back. End of story.
    I’m sure there are moms out there that would have nearly crucified me for letting some stranger walk off with my baby. Not sure what they thought this lady (old enough to be a grandmother but without kids…she said she was waiting for her newest niece or nephew to be born, though) was going to do with him inside her own restaurant while we were sitting there eating and other people were around.

  65. Kim February 3, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    I had a c-section with our daughter, and once those “good” drugs wore off after the surgery (and I couldn’t get more, because I was trying to breastfeed,) I was pretty darn uncomfortable. It was all I could do to get myself out of the hospital bed and into the bathroom, let alone dragging that big, bulky hospital bassinet along with me. Not to mention, the bathroom in my room was TINY! (Definitely not designed with us “plus size” mamas in mind.) I would have been more afraid of tripping over the darn thing, or knocking it over and sending my baby crashing to the floor than I would have been about someone trying to snatch her.

    If I’d even stopped to consider that such a thing was possible. Which I didn’t.

  66. Shawn February 3, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    For heaven’s sake. I am an OB RN in a busy hospital. The L&D and Mother Baby areas are locked units (already SAFE!) Now new moms have to stress about taking their babies into the BATHROOM? Is there no end to this stupidity? Can’t we all just CALM DOWN?

  67. Mildred February 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I had no intention of “obeying” my friend’s nut-job husband when he said I couldn’t eat, drink, pee, or poop. I just tuned him out and didn’t respond. Then, when we left, I did as I pleased. It was all about me trying to help my friend–the mother, who was stressed out until the nanny was back on the scene. That’s what friends do: help out friends. Getting into a philsophical debate with Cave Man Husband would have solved nothing and in fact might have made him “fire” me from my babysitting gig and where would that have left my friend? I didn’t have any need to “prove him wrong.” I know for sure my friend thinks he’s full of shit. My friend certainly didn’t mind if I ate, drank, and went to the bathroom all alone. No biggie. I thought it was really strange that the father was so alarmist about it.

    My BIG question is what kind of adults are these coddled kids going to grow up to be?? They will be in charge when we are all in rocking chairs, drooling like babies. Now that’s scary!

  68. SKL February 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Mildred, your experience reminds me of the book “Wifey” by Judy Blume. (I didn’t like the book, but some stuff stuck with me.) The husband required the wife to chart on the fridge the daily bowel movements of the kids and the dog – to ensure nobody got constipated. Eventually the kids complained and they stopped charting their poops, but still continued with the dog.

    I remember my mom getting royally pissed when my dad would call home from work in the morning on really cold days, to make sure my mom knew it was cold enough to really bundle the kids up. Of course he didn’t start this “responsible dad” phase until we were middle-school aged, so one wonders how he thought we survived before that, LOL.

    BTW, that nut needs to be careful – he could be breaking labor laws by not letting his nanny eat or go potty all day. If he’s that jerky to her, she’s probably been quietly preparing her lawsuit for years.

  69. Mildred February 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    The whole thing made me feel like I was in a black and white TV from the 50s, Lucy pulling the wool over Ricky’s eyes. My pal is stressed from work and motherhood & I was glad I had the time to pinch-hit for her till nanny returns. I’m sure if she’d have been there when Hub told me I couldn’t pee or poop in private & couldn’t eat or drink she would have told him to blow it out his ass. He was just trying to flex around me. I think he is largely ignored. Now that I write this I realize suddenly that maybe his posturing is just that: posturing in order to be bossy to me, his wife’s babysitter, rather than true “worry” that his kids can’t be left unattended?

    I’m now officially hooked on your site. I now have a forum for reading about others like me who have witnessed lunacy in parenting these past few years and who someimes has absurd anecdotes to pass on for all of our mutual amusement-horror.

  70. KLY February 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    The convenience thing, and the tendency for people to view parents (yes especially mothers) who are not hovering and catering to their children constantly as “lazy” is one of the most unfortunately pervasive attitudes within our society… and it is particularly common in parenting groups where moms judge one another in this way.

    It is beyond sad. It is also one of the reasons I stay the hell away from most parenting groups.

    There is this desire in a lot of people, these days, to get back to more “traditional” parenting. There has been a resurgence in the idea of mothers (usually, though it is now sometimes dads) staying home with the children. At the same time, there has been a lot of years of rejecting the ideas of traditional gender roles, with women fighting to be seen as equally valuable and capable in the world as men. The push for this “equality” has led to an expectation of proving oneself in a career. Now, on most forms, you are lucky if there is a space for “homemaker” in the selection for job/career/position. Mostly, it simply classifies one as “unemployed”.

    From what I have seen and experienced, this leads a lot of at-home moms to be more than a wee bit defensive about their status. I’ve seen women who have been at home with children for up to a decade identifying themselves by what they *used* to do. Tragically, this also leads to a twisted sort of competitiveness in validating their role as a “full time mother.” (I hate that term. Aren’t all mothers full-time moms, whether they are at home or working? If I work outside the home, do I get to clock out and stop worrying or thinking about parenting? Do “part time mothers” get to avoid dragging fundraiser stuff around to harass family and coworkers with, since they are obviously not “on duty” all the time? Can I see a breakdown of the benefits comparison for these positions?)

    I think that a lot of the over-scheduling and endless activities many mothers sign their kids up for comes from this need to validate their role, as does a lot of the hovering/interference. This is also why so many moms I have known seem to feel they are supposed to fetch everything for the kids, instead of teaching them to get what they need on their own. It’s like the only way they feel they are doing enough is if they are exhausted and run ragged. When asked why they do this, they insist “it’s my job!” or “it’s just part of being a mom!”

    And when faced with someone who is more laid back or with a different approach, the insecurity can come out, along with some resentment. They keep escalating just what goes into “being a good mom” in order to keep up and feel they are doing an adequate job justifying their place in the world, and some of this comes out in a need to feel superior to those not wearing themselves out as much. I’ve heard women rant, rather bitterly and with much vitriol, about “lazy moms” and people “who try to make parenting look easy”. How dare they not push themselves to an obvious point of exhaustion! They must just be slacking! They must not love their children as much! And they aren’t spending 24/7 worrying and thinking up/researching every possible danger, so that they can take extra steps to be vigilant about the safety of their children against even the most unlikely of scenarios?? Someone should call CPS! That’s lazy and negligent! (I wish I were exaggerating. I’m sure ya’ll have seen the forum and comment threads, though, where someone mentions letting their child do something simple by/for themselves, and the Safety and Parenting Police -Paranoia Division- pop out of the woodwork to announce that people like that shouldn’t be allowed to *have* children.)

    Heaven forbid you ever mention doing/letting a child do something because it was just easier that way. I mean… there are already those who will blast parents who use strollers as being lazy and selfish, even when there are multiple young children in the mix. (My “favorite” answer to this being, of course, the one where a mother is being selfish for wanting to go out to any place where one would be needed, when the obvious right thing to do is stay at home where it is best for the children and put off your need to venture into public with the children until they are old enough to accompany you without the trauma of being strapped into a wheeled torture device.)

    This whole idea of how you are supposed to wear yourself out, sacrifice all of your own needs, and live to be there for your children *every second* is so very dangerous. It not only leads to judging anyone who does not do this as “lazy” and “negligent”, but it also makes people ashamed to reach out and ask for any help, lest they too be judged as not trying/working hard enough at it. And it just keep escalating.

    The whole return to “traditional family” set-ups doesn’t work with this sort of mentality. I hear so many moms (including some of my friends) talking about how hard it is and trying to figure out how our mothers/grandmothers/whoever managed to raise the kids, clean the house *and* cook meals from scratch… and the truth is that the were not making as much of a fuss about parenting. They were not worried about watching the child every second, nor were they obsessed with “doing it right” to the point where they worried every thing they did might scar the child’s psyche for life. The also tended to be bigger on asking friends/family/neighbors for help with the kids when necessary, and they believed in babysitters (and time for themselves!). Nowadays, people are so worried about being seen as a failure at parenting that they are killing themselves trying to live up to a past Ideal that never existed.

    Personally, I have found that my daughter does better with a mum who is relaxed and rested and not-stressed, thanks to my “lazy” ways and refusal to see every moment as a crisis waiting to happen. And, since my being “lazy” means she gets to do more for herself and on her own, she outright encourages it. LOL.

  71. SKL February 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Since we’re on the mommy guilt roll, I really wish people didn’t feel the need to add “I feel guilty” to every “admission” that they do anything away from their kids. Especially “work,” but also, go out with the girls for an evening or weekend, or even have a “date” with their husband.

    I believe it’s good for kids to have more than one caregiver. More than two, even.

    If I put my kids in daycare and I’m not guilty about it, does that mean I care less about my kids than another mother, who also works, but feels guilty putting her kids in daycare? I guess so. I guess dragging around a yoke of guilt all day (or pretending to) would be beneficial for my kids.

    I mean, it’s like if someone wrote “my friend is unfortunately gay.” Everyone would jump on that writer for the “unfortunately” part. But when it comes to leaving your kids with a caregiver, you’re supposed to add that “unfortunately” or you hate your kids. Ugh.

  72. BMS February 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    @Jen Connelly

    One of my sons’ foster moms owned a little restaurant in Guatemala City. She brought him to work with her every day, from the time he was a few weeks old. He would sit in his car seat on top of the freezer and sleep. Her 10 year old daughter would watch him and play with him after school, her co-workers would take turns cuddling him, and he got passed from table to table all through the restaurant. Everyone wanted to hold and play with the baby. When we came to get him, she held a going away party for him at the restaurant. There were, no exaggeration, 40 people there to say goodbye to my 5 month old. 40 total strangers (to me anyway) who were there to celebrate my little guy getting to go to his forever home.

    So yeah, I am pretty relaxed about strangers in a situation like you described. There is a lot of peace that comes from knowing that (gasp) strangers handled my baby, a lot, and he lived, and was a happier baby for it.

  73. Jennifer Herb February 4, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    And to add to the hysteria, the Discovery Channel brings us…

  74. Party Piper February 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Just out of curiosity…. if it happens so very rarely, how can they actually say that there is a “type” that can be watched out for? I mean, if it never happens, and the handful of times that it did happen, they were 20-30 year old women with a basic understanding of medical terminology and a pair of scrubs, that’s not to say that they’re a “type.”

    Sheesh… let’s make the parents so nervous, anxious, and nerve-wracked so that they really can’t be effective parents. Because we all know that how to be really good at something, something that is your most important job, is to NEVER EVER REST. Ummm… yeah… right after you line up for your surgery with the surgeon who hasn’t slept in three days, because that means SHE’S REALLY DEDICATED.

    *shakes head*

  75. Deidra Eisbach November 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    I am Looking for cash canada payday loans red deer . Can you help me find payday loans interest rates canada ?


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