I wandered into a local children’s boutique on a mission. I was in full-on nesting mode, decorating the nursery for my soon to be born daughter. The item I was searching for? Crib bedding. It had already been decided that yellow and gray would adorn the walls and decorations. It had been eighteen years since I had a baby and I remembered being able to purchase a bed-in-a-bag with all the matching sheets, crib skirts, blankets, and throw pillow.
“Can I help you find something?” The sales clerk asked.
“Yes, I’m looking for crib sets.”
“You mean like crib sheets?”
“I’d like to find a whole set with blankets and bumper pads, too.”
“We don’t sell bumper pads anymore. They’re too controversial!”
“I didn’t know bumper pads were controversial,” I said, confused.
“Oh honey, what’s not controversial these days?”
She was right. As I began to prepare for the birth of my daughter, I was learning that many things deemed “normal” when I had my older children were now considered taboo. I fed on demand, co-slept, and didn’t abide by a stringent feeding schedule or practice sleep training. Apparently I am a bad parent because of that. How could things have changed so drastically in the course of two decades?
After my daughter was born, my husband and I were excited to get her ears pierced. In my family, girls getting their ears pierced was a rite of passage. In my husband’s Hispanic family, it was a cultural tradition. I had taken both of my older daughter’s to get theirs done after their four month vaccinations. I expected to do the same with this daughter, but I wasn’t sure where to get it done. Naturally, I asked my Mommy Group on Facebook.
If you belong to a Mommy Group, you know that at times, they can be the most supporting and understanding group of people on the planet. Other times, they can be the most judgmental, mom-shaming gang of mean girls you’ll ever encounter.
“How can you justify mutilating your baby’s body just for your own selfish wants?” One mom responded. Another mom said, “Piercing your baby’s ears is equivalent to child abuse.”
Child abuse? Mutilation? Whaaaaat?
There were other moms offering advice, suggesting the local pediatric clinic as well as piercing parlors. I learned that it was better if needles were used rather piercing guns, though I am still not sure why. I did not expect to be met with such disdain. The post turned into a full-on contentious debate between pro and anti-piercers. I had never seen the words “body modification” tossed around so much on one thread. It even sparked an argument about circumcision. Uh, yes, my twenty-one year old son is circumcized, just as his father and grandfather before him. My ears are pierced just as my mother and grandmother before her.
Call me old-fashioned, but I would like go back to the time when you parent your way, I parent my way, and we all bring our favorite dish to the potluck block party in peace.
…now get off my lawn.