In the midst of a very fussy, clingy stage with Eloise, I have been thinking a lot about how I parent. Am I teaching bad habits by giving in or ignoring her needs by letting her cry? I just try do what's right for us, but with so many parenting philosophies, so much information and many, many opinions, I can't help but feel pressure to do the 'right' thing.
It turns out that I am not alone. Last weekend the Vancouver Sun ran an article about the pressure modern mothers face - the expectation that we must breast feed, get back to our pre-pregnancy weight immediately, prepare homemade, organic food and more, all while devoting ourselves to the every need of our children. My mom likened the expectation mothers have of themselves and each other to the "Martha Stewart" effect; that we must do everything perfectly, all the time, while making it look totally effortless.
I didn't feel pressured into breastfeeding and cloth diapering as was suggested by the article - both are conscious choices I made for our family - but I do sometimes feel I'm letting Eloise down by not doing some of the things other moms do. For example, not everything she eats is homemade. We feed her what we're eating and other than that I buy organic jarred baby food and snacks. Honestly though, I think pasta has become one of her main food groups and a piece of buttered toast is a hit at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I admire the concoctions that other mommies produce but I just can't seem to get it together to do the same.
On top of keeping up with other moms there are a staggering number of baby and parenting books available, all with their own ideology. My parenting style falls most in line with the Sears', a family of paediatricians who have become my go-to (their website is a fantastic resource) on everything from breastfeeding to sleep and vaccines to nutrition. Dr. Sears is a guru for many modern parents though his 'attachment parenting' is not without its critics, most recently when paired with a provocative Time Magazine cover featuring a mother breastfeeding her three year old. Have you seen the cover and what are your thoughts? Is striving to be the (super)natural mother who constantly tends to the needs of her child making us slaves or are we raising a generation of happier, healthier kids?