Diversity in Parenting Styles Is Good!
One of the things I will never understand, no matter how old I get, is why it is that we parents so often rush to judge one another on the ways we conduct our lives.
Parenting ought to be a personal thing, a thing where you make decisions based on your own personal parenting goals, and that's that. But it's not. Parenting has become like religion, with sects and people rushing about trying to convert one each other from one point of view to another, as if a competing parenting theory somehow threatens your own theory, your own parenting. I'm as guilty of it as the next mom, guilty of internally raising an eyebrow when I see a parent with a dirty wailing child, despite the frequency with which I am accompanied by one of the same. I'm guilty of making snide little comments to like-minded friends when I encounter a not-like-minded mother. I'm guilty of trying to convince people to do like I do (public school versus private, daycare or no, city living versus suburbs) even when they're obviously comfortable in their choices.
I remember writing a letter a long time ago in response to an online parenting column in which a home-schooling mom, who was supposedly talking about all the wonderful things she was able to do with her kids, was unable to resist taking multiple potshots at the parents of kids who are sent to public schools. It so infuriates me when I hear some parent justify their choices by putting down mine. What's to be gained by that?
I don't understand why I so often hear moms talking about how they need to find "people like me" to hang out with. Diversity is good. Differences between people mean a variety of ideas. It means learning. And yet I look at my closest friends, and they are indeed like me, in the ways that count to me: in general parenting philosophy, in level of intelligence, in the sorts of professions they pursue.
It's so hurtful, this thing we do to each other as parents. We live in these glass houses, lobbing stones without a thought for what good having shards of broken glass all around us will do. Wouldn't it be better just to open up the windows and let some fresh air in? Why can't we do that? Why does that feel so threatening?