Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Chiasma of Judgment

Despite my recent accolade as a mommyblogger and my honorary degree from vagina university, I am still a man. That means I am pretty dense about some heavy shit, like all the fucking insecurity and the "judgmentality" among interacting parents (particularly moms). Despite all the shit that went down a few weeks ago and all the veterans of the mommy wars banging their tin cups all over the internet, it didn't really dawn on me until my wife explained it recently: "parenting is a really fucking hard job," she says, "one that certainly makes me insecure. So we all slog through this job wondering if we're doing the right thing and always feeling terrified that we're not, and then when we encounter someone who has done some other thing, made some different decision, we take that insecure energy and turn it into judgmental hate." Now that I fully understand this subtext, I have heard playground interactions and seen blog conflict where all this runs like electric current through every passive (or not-so passive) aggressive comment. It makes sense. For many of us this is the first time in our lives that our every decision affects the future of someone other than ourselves, and that's an enormous, uncomfortable responsibility. I was reading MamaC-Ta's post from a few weeks ago about all the hate she was getting for dressing her kid the way she wants to, and I really started thinking about how all this insecurity and judgment boils down to a relatively simple chiasma:

(1) Parent A makes an intentional values-based decision to do something (i.e. formula feed, co-sleep, cry-it-out, let her baby watch television, leash or spank her kids, or feed them junk food).
(2) Parent B makes an intentional values-based choice not to do the same thing, often creating a false sense of both insecurity and superiority in Parent B, who feels that it takes so much more effort and sacrifice to make the value-based choice she has made for her child.
(3) Parent B resents (and judges) Parent A for making the "easy" choice.
(4) Parent A feels the blatant judgment from Parent B, often creating a sense of guilt or insecurity for making the choice she has made. Parent A now resents (and judges) Parent B.

In any interaction, multiple values-based conflicts may exist at once, creating a tangled web of judgment and insecurity. Nearly every values-based parenting choice exists on a continuum between two dichotomous poles. Any time a parent takes a strong position or makes a particularly "polar" values-based decision (i.e. "No TV! Only wooden toys!" or "TV teaches my babies to read! They learn so much more from their leapfrog toys than they do from wooden blocks!") the judgment just becomes intrinsic to the choice. You really can't win, unless you learn to just accept that judgment and insecurity are a part of this process, and ultimately if you have a strong sense of personal values you just make decisions according to those values and try not to ignite the insecurities in the other side. Easier said than done.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sweet Juniper Blogroll

a bunch of b.s.
a girl and a boy
a little pregnant
a mommy story
a smeddling kiss
angel baby annabelle
back to me
bernal girl
bird nest
bite my cookie
blair necessities
blissfully bitchy
byrne unit
charlie and nina
cheeky's hideaway
childsplay x2
chocolate makes it better
city mama
crazy virgo
cynical dad
dad gone mad
daddy types
daydreams and musings
dear lucy
dolly mama
elevated umbrella
fluid pudding
girls gone child
heading east
her bad mother
home on the fringe
homesick home
house of pudding
how bourgeois
hygiene chronicles
it's a crazy world we live in
izzy mom
laid off dad
little bun's blog
magpie tendencies
mary tsao
meg fowler
melanie in oregon
miles, etc.
misfit hausfrau
morphing into mama
mother bumper
motherhood uncensored
mr. nice guy
nanny anya
neal pollack
nice but nubbly
nonlinear girl
nothing but bonfires
o pish posh
oh, the joys
pants on fire
paper napkin
post hip chick
prolly all the time
que sera sera
queen of spain
raising chooks
roc rebel granny
sarah and the goonsquad
step into my thimble
stitch marker
suburban bliss
suburban turmoil
sunday school rebel
sweet | salty
the bradsteins
the rainbow goddess daily
the sarcastic journalist
the weirdgirl
three minute player
two okapis
under the ponderosas
woulda coulda shoulda
your little squirrel
zygote daddy

Friday, June 09, 2006

This "blog" exists solely to cover meta-content for Sweet Juniper, that I don't want to trouble our readers with there (blogroll, surveys, etc.).