As a twenty-something married slacker, I can only observe this parenting thing from the outside, but what I see appears to be a mirror image of high school. It’s subject to the cliques, the cults of personality, and the pecking orders we associate with high school. There is a constant cycle of judgment and criticism over if you have the correct cycles of breast-feeding, sleeping, eating, the right stroller, the right crib, the right stool consistency! Everyone just seems to be in this mad race to be the crowned the most attentive, most awesome parent on the block. Indeed, the author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes”, the non-fiction book that eventually became the movie Mean Girls, felt it necessary to also pen a guide-book for parents specifically on dealing with other parents.
I find disconcerting the existence of people like Jenny McCarthy, who want to replace routine immunization with gluten-free diets. There was a recent case of a mother kidnapping her son to avoid the chemotherapy that would allow him to live. What’s actually terrifying about these stories is the amount of controversy among parents over whether the parents are doing the right thing. There shouldn’t be any controversy! This isn’t a clash between a mother’s love and the harsh establishment of experts. Kids have actually died from this kind of monkeying around in the face of hard medical facts. However, it’s tough to find a source of parenting info on the internet that doesn’t discredit medical professionals, or professionals of any kind because apparently years of study in a subject can’t hold a candle to women’s intuition. If you love science and you love your kids, where do you go for off-the-cuff parenting advice?
Mainstream Parenting Resources may sound a little non-descript, but who needs a cute name when you’re trying to supply actual information? My wife found it while surfing on Kirtsy. The author, Estherar, is a part-time family physician from Israel who is also the proud parent of 3 children. I love how she takes to task some of the assumptions we make on what’s good for children. One post called “Evolution is not an excuse” picks apart the argument that so-called “natural” forms of parenting are the best because they’ve been developed over thousands of generations by our ape ancestors.
“…our environment today is radically different: most of us live in well-protected houses, many live in climates colder than the African Savanna and use soft beds and heavy covers. The chance of a baby dying of SIDS/SUDI is now greater than being carried off by wolves. Furthermore, the evolution of human medicine and ethics means we no longer tolerate babies dying for preventable reasons. What once was the fittest solution may no longer be the case”
Of course, you can’t attack the columns of modern parenting without some criticism. Estherar responds to many of the comments on her blog, even the ones with profanity. Some people might consider her a little cheeky, but that’s what happens when you bring your knife of anecdotal evidence to peer-reviewed study gun-fight. I realize that no one can be completely prepared for parenting. There’s always something that’ll throw you a curveball. But if you like to take your advice from someone who has an actual degree and can save your life in an airplane at 50,000 feet, look no further than Mainstream Parenting Resources.