Mommy Group Mutiny.

Noah and I just returned from what was to be a pool playdate by the beach, but it ended up being a livingroom playdate instead because the ocean fog never burned off and it was too cool to swim--yes, Hollywood has deceived you, this is typical of Los Angeles, even in the summertime. And while Noey now naps, I am left pondering all of the ways in which a good mommy conversation can go bad.

We had a wonderful time, but during our playdate the topics of sleep methods, vaccinations and television came up. And while the children casually played unaware of the slight intensity that ebbed and flowed as moms voiced then skirted the more controversial aspects of these issues, I quickly realized that I could be one of those "moms"--the mom who is talked about when they're not in the room, the mom who chooses paths scolded by the AAP, the mom who *gasp* doesn't believe in "crying it out" or in babies watching T.V. and is waiting to vaccinate. As the moms chatted, I at times found myself eager to share my ideas and the decisions that we had made on these topics. But, I kept finding myself self-censoring instead.

I don't want to lose all of these nice new mommy and tot friends that Noah and I have just made. Heck, we are just beginning to emerge into the world of pre-noontime playdates for a change. But, am I the only mommy that doesn't want her baby to cry himself to sleep in a cold and empty crib (despite the fact that we have been having sleep difficulties since he was born!)? Are we the only parents that have chosen an alternate vaccination path after doing hoards of very conflicting and confusing research and experienced our own vaccination horror at the 3 and 4 month checkups? I am sure that we are not--it's just that we can't, as moms, always feel comfortable enough to casually chat about these topics because of the taboo that surrounds them and plain and simply, not wanting to hurt someone's feelings, I guess.

I am not bellyaching. Okay, maybe I am, perhaps I am even being a little overly dramatic--but I don't mean to be. Really, I am proud of the decisions that we have made and respect those of others, don't get me wrong--I just don't want to go back to the "O Mothers, Where Art Thou?" days again!?

We actually do know quite a few crunchy families like us, I guess I just didn't hang out with any today. *pout, pout*


Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

This is probably why I'm such a recluse. I hate confrontation and I'm soooo *not* mainstream. I also hate shutting myself up when I disagree with people so I end up just being a loner. I look forward to living in a bigger city so I can find more people who are "crunchy" like me. There aren't a lot in my town.

Rosanna =) said...

I first read this post at 4am while trying to get my boy to sleep. It took 2 hours of trying different things but he finally did fall asleep. I'd much rather do this than to let him cry himself to sleep.

There are so many "touchy" subjects when it comes to parenting. I believe that different things work for different families and I wish that people would stop judging someone that chooses to parent in a way that is different from their own.

Sometimes I just want to give people the finger but that wouldn't be very mama-like, now would it? =)

FrugalinLA said...

Most, if not all, of my friends did the cry-it-out method. They are still my friends and they think that I was crazy for having my kids in my bed for so long. It worked for us... and that is usually the answer that I give. Every family (and child) is different and each one needs to find out what works for them.
I'm glad that I kept the friends that may have different parenting styles, just as long as you can all agree to disagree, THAT is important.

Anonymous said...

I think of these subjects as the religion-and-politics of the mommy set. When Henry was a wee little thing I went to a mom gathering where everyone seemed to be into some kind of swaddle contraption for sleeping and I felt like a total amateur loser hippie.

I'm starting to learn that things often feel different in the moment - we hadn't planned on sleeping with Henry in bed, but there he is, and I love it. Before I had kids I was SO judgmental about vaccines, sleeping, working, the way moms dressed...now I just want to go easy on myself and everyone else.

See you crunchy cats later...

XO Carrie

The Red Fantastic said...

I love sharing ideas and talking about methods, no matter how different mine are from those surrounding me. But what REALLY irks me is when others give me advice. I have a friend who keeps giving me advice about how to "schedule" Ava's feedings and how to get her to take more of her bottle when I am gone (I exclusively breastfeed and she drinks expressed milk when I am at work). This came from a woman who thought breastfeeding was "gross" and quit after a few weeks. Um, excuse me? I don't need your advice on how to feed my baby! I don't tell her how to feed her son!

I have never let Ava cry it out and we cosleep. Even her doctor knows and is fine with it. But lots of people look at me like I am going to murder my daughter when I mention it, or ask "how do you have sex?"

Really? ...really?

JJ Keith said...

I was totally unprepared for how contentious child-rearing practices can be. I feel pretty far out there most of the time, but I feel like I'm out on both ends of the spectrum. I'm a crunchy co-sleeper but also I drink beer while breastfeeding and am totally not above trying to get some me-time out of the swing. Parenting presents a difficult combination of elements: it's at once intensely personal but very public. Unlike most other aspects of our home life, we have to take this one to playdates and that makes for some difficulties.

jennifer said...

came here via sorta crunchy. browsing the archives for la. we are moving from long beach to la in a few months. love this post. i know it's going to take some time to get acquainted with the new neighborhood + new play date friends. just hoping to find some kindred spirits out there! any suggestions for where to go or where not to go? we will be in the marina del rey area.


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