I've mentioned before that I am a member of a due date club on Facebook. The *only* real common thread everyone shares is a baby due some time between late October and early December, mostly throughout the month of November. Quite a few of us cloth diaper, as the FB group was an offshoot of one on a cloth diapering board. Some women are on their first kid, a couple are on their seventh. Some people vaccinate on schedule, some don't vaccinate at all. Some home school, some send their kids to public school. Some breast-feed, some formula feed. There is, in other words, a pretty huge range of parenting.
And being women, we bounce ideas off one another. Today's big topic of conversation? Toys we don't allow our kids to have. This was my initial response:
Now, look at that and tell me what you think is controversial. I will admit, I have at different times gotten shit for every single thing on that list, but still today's blow-up took me by surprise. I guess 'cause I wasn't expecting it.
It wasn't my preference for real guns over toy guns. It was the "no baby bottles" dictum. I have only gotten flak for this once before, from my former father-in-law, and he is older and we never got along so it didn't surprise me.
There is no great political statement here, y'all. Truly, there is not. I don't let my kids play with baby bottles because I don't want bottle feeding to be the default feeding method in our house. As far as I am concerned, they get that message enough other places--baby bottles are ubiquitous and a symbol for infants in a lot of contexts. So I don't buy dolls that *have* to have a bottle to be played with (very uncommon), and I usually toss the bottles that do come with dolls.
Know what has nothing to do with that decision? Other people. Look, I know that not every woman can breast-feed. I don't go around giving the stink-eye to women who stick a bottle in their kid's mouth 'cause I don't know their story. (Nor do I care, to be frank; minding my family's business is quite enough for me.)
But somehow my off-hand mention of this one thing in a list of things horribly offended some random gal in the group:
The idea that I made this parenting decision a fucking decade ago as an insult to someone I didn't meet until last year is laughable. The idea that my parenting choices are in any way a commentary on anyone else is laughable.
Quite a few of the other women have banned Barbie dolls, Bratz dolls, and Monster High dolls because (and this is what they said, not something I'm guessing at) either they find the body types unrealistic and don't want their daughters exposed to it or they find the clothing/makeup to be skanky and don't want their daughters thinking that's okay. Me, I have plenty of Barbies and Monster High dolls floating around this house, because I don't think dolls make enough of an impact as far as body image goes. Now, does that mean I'm silly for thinking, then, that baby dolls with bottles are going to affect anything? Quite possibly. I see it as a small part of a larger issue, as I imagine is the case for the women who've banned stupidly-shaped dolls. What I do not do is think that their decision to not have these toys has jack shit to do with me and my love of slutty high heeled shoes.
'Cause it doesn't.
Y'know, I used to say that the Mommy Wars need at least two participants. I am forced to reluctantly admit I'm wrong. There are apparently women out there who are capable of fighting with themselves all day long.
It's kind of sad.