Once a pregnancy is confirmed, many parents to-be expect to have an easy entry into what they might think of as the Parenting Club. Lots of their friends already have children and now there should be so much to talk about together! Sadly, some are disappointed. Many parents find that instead of one large, supportive Club, as they expected, there are dozens of small, exclusive, narrowly focused clubs, some with daunting membership requirements.
There is the VBAC Club for parents who advocate natural births following a previous cesarean birth. Pamphlets, donations and “efforts to get the wordsout” dominate these club meetings. Should you end up having a 2nd cesarean birth, you can’t belong – there is no Club for you, as far as I know.
The No-Circumcision Club is obviously only for parents who are against circumcision. These meetings are very large and loud these days, and club members must enter through the north door to avoid meeting up with the much smaller, quieter Pro-Circumcision Club.
The XYZ Best Birthing Classes Club meets on a different night from the ABC Best Birthing Classes Club. When members meet up accidentally in a baby products store, there is much comparison of advice and philosophy – usually with one of the Clubs… looking like the better choice.
The Home Birth Club meets on a totally different night from the Hospital Birth Club, in order to avoid discussion altogether.
The Breast-Feeding Club is a large, vocal club to which everyone must belong immediately after birth. You are automatically voted in, sometimes without your knowledge. Members are given large flags and ID badges. This Club meets anywhere and everywhere. Many people stay members for a year or more but for those who don’t, there is a “sub-club” called The Bottle-Feeding Club. This is a sort of an underground group and members meet much more quietly and don’t keep minutes. No badges. No flags.
The Attachment Parenting Club and the Conventional Parenting Club live in vastly different worlds. Many Conventional Parenting Club members aren’t aware there even is an Attachment Parenting Club – a fact that does not sit well with some AP Club members. The AP Club advocates long-term breastfeeding, baby-wearing, home schooling. Charismatic guru William Sears, whose messages inspire relentless advocacy and significant lifestyle changes, leads the AP Club. Guilt and fear mongering are tactics used by some club members in order to keep membership numbers high. The AP Club occasionally grows radical club branches with thorns that are intended to do harm to regular AP Club members and also to Conventional Parenting Club members.
Conventional Parenting Club members, on the other hand, don’t hold meetings regularly and have no guru, to speak of. Many are not even aware they belong to a club.
Other parenting issues around which Clubs may be forming at this moment, include:
Homemade Baby Food Club / Commercial Baby Food
Sleep Training for Babies / Baby will feel “abandoned” if you ever let them cry.
Baby Sign Language / No Need for Sign Language
Early Toilet Training / Child Led Toilet Training, sometime around 3 years of age.
I am disturbed by the divisiveness these issues and others are creating among parents. False pride, competitiveness and proselytizing only serve to make the most important job in the world – parenting - that much harder to do.
I hope you will weigh in on whether you perceive this negative dynamic in your own parenting life and send in your thoughts on how we got here.
As always, feel free to take advantage of Kitty’s expertise by booking your first conversation today and taking your first step to peaceful parenting and quieter nights.