I spend a little bit of time on mommy message boards to fill my need for socialization. It's usually a quick and easy way to connect with other parents with similar concerns or going through the same things I am. I don't put much stock into these online relationships, but they do serve to keep me from feeling overly isolated. It isn't often that I get riled up over what goes on in the conversations on the boards, but something recently really struck a nerve with me.
   A little bit of a debate started over relying on studies and scientific research to influence our parenting decisions. On a thread discussing whether or not TV is bad for babies under 2, one mama linked to a study that showed a correlation between low income, large amounts of TV watching at home, and developmental lagging. She didn't say 'Moms who let their kids watch TV are horrible and probably poor' or even really offer her opinion on any of it. She simply said 'Here is some current research on the subject.' I was floored by how many women jumped all over her and got remarkably offended.  She was called judgmental, offensive, and attacked for being 'an inexperienced first time mother.' It was suggested by many of the moms of more than one kid that only someone with one child would ever care what research said when, in their estimation, personal experience was much more important. I certainly trust moms to know what's best for their little ones, but the whole 'Well we do it this way and we're just fine' argument doesn't really fly with me.
   I constantly amazed by other moms getting offended by other people choosing to do things differently than they do or did. Some of what I hear all of the time:

'My kids/I got formula and they are/I am fine.'

'My baby is happier facing forward in his/her car seat.'

'Letting them cry is good for their lungs.'

'There are no effects to baby from an epidural, so why not use it?'

   I could keep going, but I won't. Just because I didn't choose to do things that way and have evidence to support and explain why, doesn't mean I'm bashing you or your choice. Parents are (and should be) free to raise their kids however they want as long as it isn't abusive or neglectful.  I'm pretty good at minding my own business as long as no one asks my opinion and generally try to be supportive of moms I know.  Still, I often get asked about some of the decisions I've made or route I've chosen to take with my parenting. If I get asked specifically or am taking part in a discussion, I will absolutely note when the science backs up my position or choice. I'm a researcher by nature. I wouldn't buy a blender or a sheet set without research, I certainly wouldn't expend less care or effort when it comes to my kid. Some people are just like that, but I consistently see and hear other moms take offense when someone has something more than personal feeling or anecdotal evidence behind her position. My (or any other mom's) ability to defend a particular way of doing something with more than 'I just know' or 'That's how I/my mom/everyone else do/did/does it' is not mean or offensive.
   I think when people get offended by that, it comes from feeling less than secure in the choice they've made.  I don't mean when some moms get judgmental and put down other moms for their choices, but when they are simply defending or explaining their own.
   Ok, I'm off my high horse. I hope everyone has a fantastic week! I'll be MIA until Friday at least because we are taking the baby bear to see my grandparents at the lake. I may be missing longer than that though, as Sunday is my birthday and my parents are coming to see us. Yay! Happy Mardi Gras!!

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