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Your baby's needs and your happiness shouldn't be mutually exclusive

Theresa Edwards

by

Shark Wrestler

Theresa Edwards is a freelance writer and professional whiner. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her family where she enjoys reading, roller derby, and complaining about the heat.

Do your kids a favor and don't be a mommy martyr

Sacrificing your own needs to care for your child is a great recipe for resentment.

There is a mythical mother that I'd like to meet; she's written about by incensed bloggers everywhere, who all seem to know her through a friend of a friend of an acquaintance of a co-worker. This mother is hardly worthy of the title, and her offenses are many. She goes clubbing. She wears slutty clothing. She has a nanny, even though she stays at home. She hates Daniel Tiger. She lets her baby cry it out. She feeds her kids Lunchables. She's the worst. Why did she even have kids?

This mythical mom disappeared from my radar for a while, and then showed up again, unannounced, in a blog post I read about how if you aren't surrendering your identity and desires at the altar of sainted motherhood, you are a monster. Worse, you're selfish.

It takes issue with the phrase "happy mom, happy baby," which the author contends is a cop out, and an excuse. If you've heard the phrase, you know it's meant to encourage mothers (and fathers, in my opinion) to make sure that their mental health and security ducks are in a row, because it will ultimately benefit their children. It's a reminder to cut yourself a break once in a while so you can be your best, happiest self for your kids.

The author of this particular post takes a dump all over that, and falls prey to what I recognize as the "hey, this is so easy and natural for me, why do you suck so bad at it when everyone is exactly the same?" line of thinking that comes from a certain subset of parents who are high on the smell of their own farts.

Here's my favorite part:

"Today 'happy mom, happy baby' is a euphemism for parent-centric parenting. (And that applies to dads too.) It represents leaving a young baby to cry it out because a mom wants her beauty sleep. It represents schedules that fit the mom's life while ignoring the natural rhythm (and needs) of the baby. It represents the false idea that our lives should continue as they were before baby and that the onus of adaptation is on the baby and the baby alone."

So first of all, eyeroll.

Secondly, this is so catty I can barely stand it. She addresses dads for like, half a second before getting all verklempt about how moms just want that "beauty sleep" and for their kids to fit their schedules. Dads can get up, too. If they want to sleep train their babies does that also make them shallow garbage people, or is that just moms or what?

Finally, it assumes that people all want their babies sleeping through the night because it's a nice, convenient luxury, which is ignorant and tone-deaf and smacks of privilege.

There's an ongoing hate-boner in the piece for cry-it-out in particular (complete with studies!), the realm of selfish mothers of future serial killers. And sure, the studies are a little problematic, but who cares when there are other parents to denigrate?

I will never understand why people can't just be happy that their parenting jam works for them. They always have to put someone else's down to feel completely validated, which is ridiculous.

I am so tired of the idea that once you have children, you have to shackle yourself to them, but not for the reason you think. If my kid let me, I would superglue her cute little face to mine and walk around like that, but she's not into it for some reason.

My issue is that if you make your entire personality about your kid, eventually they will resent you for it. They have their own identity, so they don't need to be yours, too. Plus, I'm going to guess that being a really vocal judgy jerk is going to be worse for your kids in the long run than a little Ferberizing. But hey, they haven't done a study on that — yet.

More on mom-judging

Have you ever been 'mommy shamed' by another mom?
Dear mom who didn't have a home birth: Stop judging me
Selfish mom 101: Why all moms should enroll

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