People continue to find ways to make parenting harder

Well, it's been awhile.  In my defense, the plagues of Pharaoh have continued, and without getting into a work discussion (which I assiduously avoid here), a few weeks ago I helped medically evacuate a colleague from rural Tanzania.  She fell and broke AND dislocated her shoulder.  And, in an entirely separate incident, a spitting cobra tried to attack her.  Yes.  Also, I thought I had a deep vein thrombosis but it turned out to be a muscle issue.  Still, even fake DVT is stressful.  On the plus side, I finally lost a few pounds, which I thought had ceased to be possible in this life.  On the whole, however, 2018 has sucked like a turbo-charged Dyson so far.

On the other hand, I no longer have to diaper or potty train my two children, and this is a good thing, because not only does it appear the cloth diaper trend is gaining steam, threatening to become the latest form of ritual mommy shaming, I have recently discovered that actual women, in the developed world, with actual money and other resources at their disposal and actual jobs and actual non-mud homes and presumably normal mental health, are choosing of their own free will, while living in mostly functional democracies, to forego diapers of any kind, or to use them on a very limited basis, in favor of teaching their babies to use toilets from birth.  If, like me, your first reaction to this news was to say that this, like a President of the United States paying hush money to a porn star, can't possibly be true because it sounds so ridiculously insane, let me assure you that it is indeed true, and a quick google search will reveal that there is in fact an entire movement of people who are willing to endure the time, effort, energy, not to mention the absolute sh**show required to teach an infant, who cannot walk or talk, to use a toilet, which incidentally, is called Elimination Communication (EC).  And also that a President of the United States paid hush money to a porn star.

These seem to be their key arguments:
1) Obviously diapers, even cloth diapers, are destroying the earth.  Never mind that one plane flight to Europe, to which these people are no doubt traveling in order to teach their highly evolved, potty-trained 6-month-olds about Gothic architecture, produces more carbon emissions than a Mt. Everest of poop-filled diapers.
2) It is more natural to poop and pee unencumbered.  It is also more natural to live outdoors, walk everywhere, live off berries and nuts, go naked, and die of dysentery at age 35.  And also not to even have toilets to begin with.
3) Diapers are "coercive" and strips babies of their "dignity." Really? Based on how long it took to potty train my kids, being able to take a dump or a wiz without even having to pause your TV show is definitely more freedom than having some crazy adult sit you on a toilet and gently tell you to release your bowels.  And let me tell you, anyone who has ever been a mother knows that it is you who are robbed of your dignity. Every. single. day.  I mean, half of northern Virginia has manhandled my breasts at this point.
4) Women in the pre-modern and developing worlds don't use diapers, so why should we?  Um, BECAUSE WE CAN? This one has to be my favorite, since I was raised in the developing world.  First of all, I have been peed on by plenty of Kenyan babies, which raises doubts about how well these developing world women are implementing EC.  But also, I know for a fact that these mothers would give body parts for a steady supply of disposable diapers--and formula and reliable birth control and vaccines and epidurals and good bras--and they would find it absurd and frankly rather patronizing that anyone with access to these modern wonders would be like, You know what? I'm passing on that, because the Kenyan ladies don't do it, so why should I?

OK, so I confess, I am completely being judgmental here, and that is not good, and it is not right.  If people want more direct contact with the bodily fluids of others, they should be able to do that, and I should not have anything to say about it.  So, Bad Holly. Stop judging, it doesn't have anything to do with you.

But here's the thing, it kind of does.  This is yet another example of women insisting on making life harder for their species right as things should be getting easier, due to modern technology, greater opportunities, more equality, and eroding patriarchy.  It's like that friend of yours that deep down doesn't think she deserves success and happiness and finds ways to self-sabotage and marry misogynistic billionaires.  I feel like that is what is going on with women and motherhood right now.  Because the bar just keeps. getting. raised.  Women just keep finding new ways to make this already-impossible gig that much more challenging.  And to feel superior to those who can't hack it.

And here's the other thing--for most mothers, this is simply annoying, and they will roll their eyes and move on.  But there are a lot of mothers out there who are really and truly struggling. They have postpartum depression or anxiety disorders or they are working an incredibly demanding job or barely making ends meet or fighting to keep a crappy marriage together.  They do not need to be told that they also need to potty train their newborn.  They do not need to be told that Breastfeeding is Best.  They do not need to be told that screen time is destroying their children's minds.  Or that non-organic produce they can actually afford is giving their kids cancer. Or that disposable diapers are destroying the planet.  They need to be told--if you are meeting your kids basic needs and showering them with love, you are doing more than just fine, you are succeeding beyond your wildest dreams.

So for those who need the extra challenge--Congrats, I'm happy that you are truly enjoying your cloth diapers and your breastfeeding and that these things are manageable for you.  But do you really have to talk so much about it?  Or can you find some fellow over-achiever moms with whom to share tips?  But consider that your announcements of how your chosen, more difficult path is the best way to parent is crushing the souls of the vulnerable who need to hear how to make this thing EASIER, more bearable, less daunting.  You are not helping.

And yes, that is judgmental of me to say.


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