July 10, 2007

left holding the baby

It is popular at the moment to advocate parents to eschew the modern equipment of parenthood and go the 'natural' route. We are given lists of all the ways we are separated from our babies in unnatural ways. We are told the unnatural setups we use are damaging to our babies, and mess us up as parents. The implied best practice of parenting is to throw away the equipment and just act naturally around our babies. To hold, carry, comfort and pay attention to them constantly.

What these well-meaning people forget is that a tribe or village is full of other people who can (and do) help with the baby (or the other family chores). As a new parent I'm noticing the abundant supply of people who'd love to take Lias off my hands for 5 minutes to 5 hours a day. But in a modern, Western setting they are too far away for their offer to be of any use to me (or Lias).

I'm not suggesting the answer is to live on communes. I like my private space. I'm just recognising that it is dangerous to set yourself an unrealistic standard based on an incompletely understood model. The reality is the equipment helps you cope with the workload, and helps stop you becoming a cranky parent. So I say Use It! And enjoy your baby as much as you can.

Posted by carla at July 10, 2007 10:49 PM
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