Live and Let Live

By now, I’m sure you have seen this video from Similac, about the parenting/mommy “wars”.   It was moving and funny, but for me, left a bad aftertaste.  I both loved and hated how it played into the typical parental stereotypes – the “yoga-loving, earth mother”, “career mom”, “stay-at-home dad”, “cloth-diaper environmental fanatic”, “natural birth zealot”, and “breastpolice”.  The hyperbolic stereotypes definitely added to the humor – “drug-free pool birth, dolphin-assisted”, anyone?

The video also struck me as so…American.  My reaction doesn’t stem from a judgmental, everyone-should-live-like-Europeans way, but just how in American culture, we tend to reduce issues to black/white, liberal/conservative, wrong/right.  We draw lines in the sand and take sides.  The implication is that you can’t be the nursing mom who also supplements with formula, that you can’t love your career and love your child, or that generally, by making one choice, you are rendered incapable of seeing how someone else might make a different choice.

Somehow, it is a bit more nuanced over here.  They tend to see things in shades of gray, rather than black and white.  You want to breastfeed, that’s fine.  You want to bottle feed?  Also fine. Ireland has one of the lowest rates for breastfeeding in the EU, but I was never made to feel out of place or uncomfortable.  Co-sleeping? Definitely not the norm, but not criticized either.  The working vs stay-at-home debate is circumvented by generous maternity leave policies.  My Irish friends see the mommy wars as so over the top.  “Why would anyone want to fight about that?  Why would anyone care?” they ask.  I can’t recall any heated conversations I have had about parenting choices with my Irish friends. None.  Sure, my friends knew about my choices, and I know about theirs, but it just isn’t topic of debate.  (Now schooling choices…that’s a whole other ball of wax!)

Cynics might call this “Moral Relativism” – basically whatever is right for you is fine, and whatever is right for me is fine.  Even this is phrase is over the top, as it implies a moral choice.  That somehow, one option is morally superior to another.

I would call it:

Live and Let Live

 

3 thoughts on “Live and Let Live”

  1. In reading Amy Poehler’s book, she had a great line about mommy wars and women’s choices in general: “Good for her. Not for me.” I think I love that notion.

  2. i had an awful experience with an american mom in ireland totally shaming me for not considering breastfeeding….no pressure from the irish side, but funnily enough – almost all my irish mom friends WERE breastfeeding….

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