Trying to Create Extraordinary Children Is Futile

baby studies overwhelm moms
This is a normal baby
As someone who has been in the parenting game for almost six years now, I didn't think any study could surprise me. This latest in baby and mom interaction doesn't surprise me, as much as make my head explode. The study, which videotapes moms and their babies interacting and is then analyzed for cues, seems innocuous. But it just put me over the edge. Way over. 

Not because it's giving out "wrong" information, or calling us all bad mothers. But simply because it highlights an obsession with perfect parenting that we're all sucked into if we pay attention to the news, or blogs, or what other parents are saying in playgroups. I realize as a parenting writer, I'm spreading this information. I realize I'm part of the problem I'm currently having with this (really!) very non-controversial study that is designed to help us bond with our babies. But enough is enough, people.

I mean, what do we even want, as parents?

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I can't even answer that question, and I pay attention to all of the new ideas on to spank or not to spank (not), to breast or bottle feed (you know this one), red-shirting or getting your kid enrolled in kindergarten ASAP (it's ASAP). Of course we're all trying to do the best things for our children, but for what end? Do we want super-achievers? Considerate citizens? Good-looking and charming socialites? All of the above?

Here's a news flash: We aren't perfect and neither are our children. It doesn't matter if we read to them in the womb or behave in the approved manner while being videotaped to ensure optimal bonding, mistakes will be made -- by both you and your child. No videotape analysis or school philosophy is going to change the fact that we are human. I'm not saying we shouldn't be aware of toxins in our baby bottles and the effect on hormonal development. Or to ignore information about the health and well-being of our babies. We should pay attention. But something about this videotaping project just strikes me as the straw that broke the mama camel's back. Enough is enough. Really.

The Beatles actually had it right when they told us all we need is love. Love your child, talk to your child, feed your child well, and be considerate of his needs while trying to take care of your own. Trying to create the perfect bond or the perfect child will only end in disappointment. Instead, sit back and relax and enjoy your babies without wondering what the videotape will show.

What do you want for your child?


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