Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wearing Parenting on Our Sleeves

I loved this Friday post from The Elmo Wallpaper on throwing labels around. All this talk about how we parent got me thinking. It's just the seed of an idea, expressed in a this half-baked comment to Mama's post (someday I'll explore it more!):

I agree--enough with the labeling and judging already! HOWEVER, and this is just my opinion, one element missing from Jennifer Senior's story and the response to it is that SO MANY people are serving up their parenting for public scrutiny. From the proliferation of parenting blogs (I'm guilty of writing one, too) to the dozens of parenting TV shows ("reality" or otherwise), we seem to be wearing our parenting styles on our sleeves these days. Which has the positive effects of reminding us we're not alone in this crazy endeavor; gives us valuable advice for what to do--or not do--the next time OUR preschooler runs naked through the grocery store; and in general gives us a measuring stick to gauge our responses and reactions. But it also carries the unintended (and sometimes negative) consequence of setting us up to judge and be judged. Parenting seems to me a much more public enterprise these days, one no longer bounded by the circle of family, friends, and the occasional person in line at the store watching over our shoulders. As much as I agree--enough with the judging already--the reality is that we parents will need to grow thicker skins in this brave new world.