In a recent post, we quoted from a New York Times front page story about the relentlessness modern-day parenting expectations imposed by social norms, "experts," laws and/or guilt:
It starts in utero, when mothers are told to avoid cold cuts and coffee, lest they harm the baby. Then: video baby monitors. Homemade baby food. Sugar-free birthday cake. Toddler music classes. Breast-feeding exclusively. Spraying children’s hands with sanitizer and covering them in “natural” sunscreen. Throwing Pinterest-perfect birthday parties. Eating lunch in their children’s school cafeterias. Calling employers after their adult children interview for jobs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the idea that parents should be constantly monitoring and teaching children, even when the science doesn’t give a clear answer about what’s best. It now recommends that babies sleep in parents’ rooms for a year. Children’s television — instead of giving parents the chance to cook dinner or have an adult conversation — is to be “co-viewed” for maximum learning.
Some commenters said: Wait a sec! Parenting Practice X or Y is EXTREMELY important! Don't lump it together with the other ones!
Pentamom responded with this comment, neatly summing up everything Let Grow believes:
The point isn’t that any or all of these things are bad or counter-productive, but that feeling that your kids don’t have a chance or you’re a bad parent unless you do ALL of them and don’t slack, is both bad and counter-productive. Do the ones that make sense to you, or don’t do any of them if doing other things makes sense to you, but don’t erect this idea of Perfect Parenting that has this exhaustive, and exhausting, list of things you HAVE to do lest you be a parenting failure.
In short: Don't be so hard on yourself, or anyone else. Children don't need perfection. If they did, our species would be long gone. - L.