Then we got liberated and the world went to hell in a hand basket. Now, that's just my opinion and I have blogged about this before, in a post entitled The Old Bait and Switch, Feminism Revisited, which you can read here. After our mothers burned their bra's they were encouraged to have careers, get divorces, sleep with anybody they wanted to, and eventually not worry about raising their own children.
Not a lot fell for it at first, but like anything new, it caught on. Careers became necessary once the divorces went through, and those first "pioneers" muddled through with their mothers babysitting their children while they "brought home the bacon". As time went on, generations were raised by baby-sitters, those who stayed true to their sacred work as they saw it and were considered a bit slow witted by career women. Eventually even baby-sitter's were considered optional after a child was about 10, which ushered in the generation of "latch-key kids". After that, women proceeded to tear out each other's throats over the choices they made in a war that wages on to this very day. The family morphed into an mostly unrecognizable conglomeration of fast food and SUVs where everybody had a house but no one was ever home. On the rare occation when they were, everyone was in their own room. It's sad. But I digress.
Which brings us to today, when poor new mothers may not even have a mother or grandmother to go to for advice. Oh, there are plenty of books to read. In fact, there are new ones all the time, containing completely different information than the last bunch because of "studies", don'tcha know. The worst part is that we are raising generations of people who don't even stop to inquire who did the study, how many poor children were in it, everything that was actually tested or, most importantly, who PAID for the study. I'm starting to get a headache just writing this, but I consider it my sacred duty.
In the 60's and 70's it was decided that it was not necessary to nurse your child any longer. Why? Well, because someone had invented formula and needed to make some bucks. They gave the hospitals a cut and handed it out to everyone for "free" and there we went. Besides, with women working now nobody had time. It was the age of rebellion, free love and aquarius. Those women's mother's arguments fell on deaf ears. Everybody was doing it! It must be right! It was a new age. Nobody argued that!
Once the corporations realized that women were no longer looking to their mothers for advice, and would believe just about anything that they could cite a "study" for, they really got going. Books were written and careers were made.
In the course of my adult life I have seen many phases come and go. For instance, when I was about 15: Feed your baby food at 3 weeks, put them to sleep on their stomach, pick them up whenever they cry. 10 years later: Feed your baby food at 3 months, put them to sleep on their side, don't pick them up every time they cry. 10 years after THAT: Feed your baby food when they can sit up on their own, put them to sleep on their back, pick them up when they cry a LOT and have not soothed themselves back to sleep yet. Family beds were big for a short time. And car seats. CAR SEATS!!! *throws back head and laughs* First there were no car seats. Then there were car seats for babies. Then there were car seats for kids who did not meet certain height and weight requirements. NOW we are up to car seats with, and I cannot say this with a straight face to this day, are you ready? Ahem, car seats with *expiration dates*. Yes. We have gone from a world where if it didn't work no one bought it, the crap was recalled and replaced with something that did work, to car seats with *expiration dates*. That's right. It seems that companies were not making nearly enough money on car seats. Anyway, this is where we are at, folks. Read it and weep.
The sad part is: women, and even men, since we are all so equal now, are listening to this crap. It makes my head want to explode. It is my sad duty to report that we are living in a world where grown women are so easily led they call the health department to ask when to start their child on food, for the love of God. The health department! If they do ask their mother or grandmother, those women may not even know, and even if they do, they will be afraid to say anything. Partly because they aren't sure what is right and partly because what is right changes so often that they have lost track. Mostly because they have been raised not to question authority, even if authority is very questionable.
It's gotten to the point that young mother's are getting stressed over taking their babies to the Dr. because they are harangued by said Dr.s over how many ounces the baby eats how many times a day. It seems they must have done a *study* and established a quota that everyone is supposed to meet. Or else! As a mother and a grandmother, I am happy to tell all you young mothers that this makes me LAUGH. My sweet young honey pies, please do not believe that for centuries mothers sat around and kept charts of how many ounces their babies drank and how often. NOBODY did that! That would have been crazy, especially when mother's had babies about 2 years apart like clock-work and several little ones like stair-steps running around the house. Plenty of those children ate plenty of dirt, played and slept with dogs and cats, fell out of trees, stepped on nails, hit each other in the heads with hammers, or bricks and turned out to be fine upstanding citizens. My own dearest Rock Star once pulled a smashed piece of brownie off the bottom of my sock and ate it before I could stop him. I gave myself grief over that for years, and yet he lived with no ill effects! Nothing happened! Take it from me, you are to eye any Dr. that asks you such poppy-cock questions with serious suspicion, grab your diaper bag and leave the building like Elvis, babe. That Dr. is probably reporting such drivel for a study! Screw that! If they want that kind of information, let them sit at home and write down every ounce their own kid eats and how often. Make them do their own work!! You do not need such negativity in your life and that Dr. can stick it where the sun don't shine. I wouldn't even pay them. I would make THEM pay ME.
The point of this post is not to lament women, or doctors, losing their way. The point of this post is to help women regain empowerment. And because I am the QUEEN of this domain, I grant you the authority to raise your own child(ren) the way you see fit and think is best, (unless you were horribly abused or neglected as a child and were raised by the state-which it pains me to say is more common every day, may God have mercy on those souls). I am not afraid to say anything, and I fear that I may be a dying breed, so listen up while I'm still alive and talking. I'm talking to you! When you have questions, I urge you to call your mother, aunt, grandmother or some other woman who you trust and perhaps helped raise you. Go to women you trust. They will tell you the truth and at least you know they are not making money from whatever they tell you to do.
Pick your baby up any damn time you want to. It's your baby! You got this!! If you want to see if it will stop crying on it's own, don't pick it up. See what happens. Bring your baby to bed and let it sleep with you if you want. You can! Or not! It has a bed, let it sleep there if you want! Do what you want when you want as long as your baby is happy. Lay it on it's stomach, side, or back, whatever works best for your baby. I know people whose heads almost explode if I say this, (because they did a study!!! No, not them, someone.......someone they don't know.......blah blah blah) and yet, I laid THEM on their stomachs when they were babies and they did not die!! No one can raise that child like you. God gave it to you and if He trusts you, no one else's opinion is needed or matters. Don't let it matter to you. This is your baby. This is your sacred duty. This is your life. And if you encounter those who want to harangue you for your choices? Try to be polite, but stand your ground. They get to see what happens just like you do. Never be afraid to grab your diaper bag and make like Elvis!
If your baby seems hungry all the time, give it a little rice cereal. If your baby is not hungry all the time, don't worry. it will eat when it's hungry. And you will know when it's hungry! You will know just by the way it cries, after a few weeks, exactly what it needs and your baby will know what you will do when it cries. If the rice cereal isn't cutting it, try some baby food. Green beans, peaches, it doesn't really matter what. Even mashed potatoes and gravy are a big hit when you never tasted food before. The Rock Star had his first taste of a hot fudge shake from Tastee Treat at 3 weeks, courtesy of his father while his mother protested strongly and he did not die or suffer any ill effects!! Will it's cries and needs change? YES! All the time! For more years than I care to mention right now because I know you are really tired! But guess what? You will figure it out together and you will be great at it! There will also be times when you are not so great at it, and you will learn and do better next time. There are no instructions, which is the bad news. The good news is that there is no test at the end and no final grade to haunt you except for the one you give yourself.
Will you make mistakes? Yes! Will some bad things happen? Probably! Will it ruin your lives if you do something wrong? NO! That's life! There is no cheat sheet and psychics are hard to come by, but regardless, you will do fine and your baby will grow up and you will get older and one day it will all be over and you will have survived. It will be over. That baby will be walking around in the world acting like the person you spent the last 18 years raising, and you will be proud and amazed. You wouldn't have missed it for the world, and you will realize that you did all right. Not perfect, but what fun would that have been? Each baby is unique, and if you don't believe me, ask another mother with more than one child. In some ways you always have to start all over, except for one thing: self-confidence. Your self-confidence will get better and better with each day and each child. They are all different and need different things at different times, but a mother's love can handle it all, a thousand times. Not in the same day, but they only happen one at a time. Don't stress out over anything that isn't happening today.
Believe in yourself. Be easy on yourself. Give yourself some of that overwhelming, all consuming love that you have for that baby, and don't worry so much. It will be all right and you will laugh about all this one day. Take it from one who knows. Please! And those books can be found adnauseum in any 2nd hand store. Nobody else wants them either.
Thanks for listening. I just had to get that off my chest before the world gets all the way to hell. This hand basket is even starting to fall apart. I need to go talk to an older woman than me who remembers how to weave........you love those babies anyway you see fit. They're yours. Own them.