The New York times recently produced this article in response to the claim of feminist Erica Jong that alternative parenting imprisons mothers who are trapped by their roles and choices. There was also this article inspired by Elisabeth Badinter’s new book that discussed why attachment parenting is joyless.
The New York times article says:
“In the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s, women were encouraged to free themselves of the excessive guilt and demands of motherhood in favor of a new womanly ideal that denied the reality that many women actually enjoy and are fulfilled by parenting their kids”
The new feminist approach fails to accept that some mothers love being at home with their children. In fact, it implies there is something ‘wrong’ or ‘alternative’ about doing what comes naturally. In reality, these parents are not in the least bit trapped or tied down as their passion is fuelled by the power and purpose of raising the next generation. How can this be a bad thing?
The parents these articles target are primarily those who embrace natural or attachment parenting ideas. They are stereotyped as being ‘alternative’as if a strong commitment to raising a family instead of working is ‘abnormal’, ‘weird’, ‘odd’or ‘bizarre’. The question seems to be, why on earth would you want to be with your children ALL the time?
Parents who are considered ‘alternative’ are extremely committed to their children. Those who practice attachment parenting make sacrifices in order to keep their children close during crucial years of psychological and emotional development. It is interesting that keeping your baby close in a sling or in your bed at night is perceived as alternative. Apparently it is more popular and socially acceptable to want to get away from your kids as if they are an inconvenience.
What has impacted our thinking so much that the thought of being with our child 24hrs a day makes us cringe? Are children that much of an inconvenience to our modern lives? Are they a disruption? An annoyance? A burden?
Call me ‘alternative’ but I genuinely enjoy my kids. It has been harder than I ever could have imagined but it has also been rewarding beyond my wildest dreams. I adore them. Do I enjoy a break every now and then? Of course! But do I constantly feel the need to ‘get away from them’ or ‘have time for myself’? No.
It’s not just feminists. Popular culture plays a role in influencing this attitude too.
How many TV ads picture feral kids running around and getting dirty followed by an encouragement to ‘take some time for yourself’ by consuming or buying a said product? We’re being conditioned to perceive our children as noisy, dirty annoyances that leave us desperately needing a break and therefore requiring a new product or service.
Don’t believe it. Our children are a gift.
If we see our children as a burden it won’t be long before they see themselves as burdens – an inconvenience or an ‘alternative’ to the life their parents REALLY wanted.
As parents, we have the choice to raise the next generation as strong, confident, empowered individuals OR an insecure generation believing they are a burden that requires their parents to work long hours to maintain them or get away from them.
In our modern day culture, we are spoilt for choice. We can choose to stay at home with our children or we can choose to work casually, run a business from home or work full time. We have options. We have choice. It is a personal decision.
Mothers who stay at home or use natural parenting methods are using their power of choice too. They are not forced to do so – they CHOOSE to do so. This choice should not be condemned by popular culture and modern day feminists.
If enjoying my kids makes me ‘alternative’ then so be it.
Are you an ‘alternative’ parent? What do you think about the attack on more natural forms of parenting?