"Child abuse": a little rant

How was your weekend?  Mine was quite lovely filled with lots of socializing – hello, fulfilled New Year’s Resolution! – and food.  Much delicious food, most of which was made by me.  Yesterday I made my friend Happy Geek’s favourite pasta salad, and now I am ruing the day that I discovered said recipe, as it was delicious and I ate the entire batch at dinner, my husband and children having opted for the ever popular “breakfast for supper” menu. 
I have a number of blog friends that I follow, and most of them are mothers.  What I do not follow, however, are any of the “parenting forums” that are rife on the internet.  I never, never read debates about child rearing or any of the issues that go with, because I find them inflammatory and negative.  I like to stay in my happy little world, for one thing, and for another, most of the child rearing issues that are most impassioned are the ones that deal with things I have already dealt with, such as breast feeding, diapering styles, and sleeping through the night.  I made my peace with my own decisions long ago and my children seem to be fine.  They are healthy, they have long been toilet trained, and they sleep just fine.  Of course, Jake did not sleep through the night until he was four and a half years old, but hey, he does now.
It was nearly six years ago that I read a debate on a parenting forum, with regards to breast versus formula feeding.  As always with this topic, there were many emotions involved.  One woman wrote, and I remember this so clearly, “You can formula feed all you want.  I myself do not subscribe to child abuse.”
Of course a comment like that would come from someone who has clearly low self esteem, someone who would speak so cruelly to other people, someone who has little space in their minds for empathy.  I remembered that comment and then swore to never read another parenting debate again, because even if an individual is crazy, and mean-spirited, those kinds of emotions have a way of glomming on to other people, and negativity breeds negativity. 
Then this past week I happened onto another debate, completely by accident.  It was a discussion about take-out food.  We very rarely get take-out at our house, we eat at restaurants once in a while, I try to cut out most of our processed foods in favour of whole foods, but I realize that there is flexibility needed in the world and having chicken fingers and fries in your freezer does not mean that your status as “good mother” will be revoked.  But in this debate, a woman – maybe it was the same woman? – stated that feeding McDonald’s to your children was akin to child abuse.
Now, I don’t eat at McDonald’s.  My children don’t, as a rule, eat at McDonald’s.  But here’s the thing: I highly doubt that anyone who has gone through the tragedy that is child abuse would compare their horrific experiences to formula feeding or a Big Mac.  I think that a Happy Meal is in no way comparable to fear and pain and trauma stemming from child abuse.  When I hear things like this it infuriates me; such insecure comments minimize important issues and are simply meant to be divisive.
We’re all doing our best. 

Comments

  1. Hi Nicole,

    I totally agree with you on this subject except we do eat at McDonalds once in a while. 😉
    To breastfeed or not is a choice, and a personal one at that. As are most parenting issues. Sometimes I wish moms would be more supportive of each other and not judge. We are all trying our best. While some of us may not want to admit it is a struggle, most of us know how hard it is, and try to do our best for ourselves and for other people. Run your own race…and stick with the people who are positive all the way.

  2. The thing about these Judgy McJudgertons is that they don’t know the whole story and really they should look to themselves and shut up about everyone else. Unfortunately, they rarely realize that. And I’m judging them for that.

  3. I find it shocking that people will write comments on the internet that they would never say in real life.

    Excellent point about insulting the victims of child abuse through comparing their experiences with fast food.

    Choosing to feed my children formula was not abuse. Without formula, my four children would have starved. (There is a certain percentage of the population who are unable to breastfeed for various reasons.)

    I’m totally with you on this rant!

  4. I just don’t see why mom have to be so judgemental of each other. And we need to realize that it’s extreme to call something child abuse.

  5. Hmmm, just took the kids back to school and guess what we had for lunch?!

  6. Yep. I try not to serve processed foods when I’m making dinner, but the evil McD’s does occasionally make its way into our house. I’ve also heard home-birth advocates compare delivering in a hospital to being raped. Yeah, let’s ask a real rape victim about that. I agree — it’s best to steer clear and avoid having to take blood pressure medication every time you turn on the computer.

  7. Following you from Theta Mom. Check out and follow my blog as well! http://www.grantandbrookestone.blogspot.com. Looking forward to following more of your blogs!

  8. Just found your blog through TMC. I too am a mom to two boys though mine are younger than yours. I could not agree with your post any more. We are all doing what we can to survive motherhood. It is irritating that people would compare something so serious, such as child abuse to something so trival. (i.e. McD)

  9. Kelly @ City Mom says:

    Urghhh…I share your views Nicole. I don’t enter into those forums…most women are super nice and supportive, much like the community on Canadian Moms…but for those women who are negative, uneducated (on given topic) and closed-minded ruin it for everyone!

    I am guilty X 2. Yes we eat McDs from time to time and I only breast fed for 3 months…but here’s what Ms. Ignorant doesn’t know. My choice to quite breast-feeding was to quite possible save my own life! It was either anti-depressants for severe PPD or breast feeding. I am confident that I made the right decision because I am here and my daughter is happy and healthy!

    Fuming…lol

  10. I have a personal policy to never read something on an Internet forum. Anything – ever. Seriously, I’ve never been to one where there wasn’t at least one person who made me absolutely insane. And who wants to subject themselves to that?

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