I'm sick of the hater-players, bring on the regulators
With the flavors like a farm team fucking with the majors
You runnin your mouth, but don't really know what you be talkin about
You should retire, get that complimentary watch, be out!
-Mos Def & Talib Kweli
Whenever I travel overseas, I strive to learn from my experiences and take home lessons that might not otherwise be absorbed. For example, on my recent trip to Vietnam, I discovered quite a bit about both myself and the natural world around us. Like what, you may ask?
- It's possible to sweat so much that you don't have to pee for 6 days.
- Scooters can safely carry 5 people at a time.
- Most Vietnamese never saw "Platoon" or "Apocalypse Now" but they LOVED "Finding Nemo."
- Even when dubbed in Vietnamese, the TV show "Joey" still sucks ass!
- The locals don't think it's funny when you yell out, "all pho one and one pho all!" before every meal. (They also don't think it's funny when you keep saying, "pho, pho, pho!")
Anyway...whenever I go on one of my 3rd world journeys, I always return back to the U.S. with a renewed sense of appreciation for how easy our lives are here. Sure, we do our best to make things as complicated as possible but if we just sat back and reflected on our great fortune, I think we'd realize how much we can learn from those who have far less.
I bring this all up because, upon my return to the U.S., I started catching up on all the posts I missed on Blogging Baby and the other 5 millions parenting blogs I read on a daily basis. Man, I couldn't believe all the hating I was seeing out there. It's one thing to disagree with someone else but it's another thing to attack them personally. People criticizing Tertia's motherhood choices? Busting on my boy Dutch? Attacking Kristen personally because she's against leashing her kids? Mocking Dooce's battle with depression?
Everyone needs to chill the fuck out! So someone chooses to raise their kid differently than you, what's the big deal? With everything going on in the world, it seems a little absurd to be so critical, doesn't it?
Personally, I think all of these so-called parenting controversies are really just symptomatic of people having too much free time on their hands. Most people around the world are just worried about putting food on their table, giving their kids a good education and ensuring for their family's safety. Somehow, here in the U.S., we've decided that EVERY aspect of raising a child is a life-or-death controversy that needs to be seriously addressed. On closer inspection, I really don't see why many of these issues are controversial at all.
Let's take a look at a few of them, shall we?
I never understood the controversy about breastfeeding. BossLady really wanted to breastfeed the Peanut and personally I didn't really care one way or the other. I was never breastfed. Neither was my buddy, The Doctor, and as he's fond of saying, "I wasn't breast-fed and look how fucking brilliant and well-adjusted I am!" Me? I think the best reason for breastfeeding is solely taste. I tried my wife's milk and thought it tasted like melted ice cream. On the other hand, formula almost made me puke!
Nursing in Public
When did we become so puritanical? Don't people understand that women aren't nursing in public just to show off their engorged breasts? They're feeding their kids! People need to stop being so judgemental and leave nursing mothers alone. You say you're morally offended by seeing a woman's breasts in public? Then don't look! Personally? I'm morally offended by baggy jeans, coin slots, ass chaps, sideways baseball caps and Birkenstocks. So I'll tell you what. You join me in fighting for a universal dress code, and I'll join you in banning women from baring their breasts in public.
Why do people care how other people sleep train their kids? Do you really think parents who let their kids "cry it out" are evil people? Do you really believe that parents who choose to co-sleep are self-deluding idiots? Get off your high-horses and go on with your bad selves! I'm sure everyone wants to get a good night of sleep, don't they? Does anyone really choose to be sleep deprived? The fact of the matter is that some kids are good sleepers and others aren't. Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do. No real need to criticize another parent's methods.
Parents need to stop freaking out about whether their kid is potty trained or not. I hear mothers in the playground stressing out about this all the time and criticizing one another's approaches. Let me ask you something. How many adults do you know now who aren't toilet trained? (ok...aside from Fergie.) There are probably a bunch of ways to toilet train your kid. Want to use bribes? Shame him into using the toilet? Forcefully take away his diapers? Be my guest! Sooner or later, the kid will figure it out.
As many of you know, I don't allow the Peanut to watch television. It's not a big deal or anything. I just tend to agree with studies showing that television provides no educational benefit for children under the age of two. I'd rather have the Peanut sit on my lap so we can read together. Surprisingly, friends of mine are incredulous about my anti-television stance and some will even argue with me about how much their kids learn from television. Personally? I don't really give a shit what their kids learn from television. It's called choice, my friends!!! It's what makes this country great!
Logic follows that I also don't let Peanut watch the Baby Einstein videos. However, I will admit that we have quite a collection of BE DVDs in our apartment. Sometimes, I just wish I was childless again so I could invite a few friends over, take some mushrooms and spend the weekend staring at all the psychedelic images. The fact that this is even a controversial issue at all shows how short-sighted we've all become. It's just a kid's video, people! Chill.
Materialism and Consumerism
I totally respect people who choose not to shop at big-box chain stores or purchase petroleum-based toys for their kids. Personally, I've always been a big fan of consumerism. If a plastic doll at Wal-Mart makes my daughter happy and puts a big smile on her face? Shit, I'll take two. And wrap them up in some non-recyclable plastic bags while you're at it, will you? As sweatpants mom wrote in a brilliant post recently, "even though we live green, we can still effectively contribute to the global landfill. And boring PC toys are really no match for anything that lights up, spins around and spews soap bubbles out of a spinning princess hat." As always, one man's junk is another man's treasure. Is this really worthy of controversy or antagonism?
We make life so complicated sometimes, I'm surprised parents from other countries don't laugh at us. Maybe they don't know the depths of our modern depravity but these so-called controversies are really just high-class problems. No need to be hating on other parents. Really. Can't we all just get along?
As my man Jay-Z says, "sensitive thugs, y'all need hugs." So c'mon, bitches. Let's be like Piven and hug this shit out!