"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Step in the Right Direction

I'm rather used to seeing pretty ridiculous feature stories on MSN.com (see here for an example), but I was pleasantly surprised today to log in and see the headline "Perfect Mom' Mythbusting: Why you're a great mom, no matter how you mother"
Sounds pretty positive, right?  And, for the most part, it is:
"Fortunately, parenting is not one-size-fits-all. "What works for one mom may not work for another - or her kids," says Michelle Borba, author of 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know. And it's important to get comfortable with your innate parenting style. "If you're always worrying - am I doing it right? - it could hinder your ability to parent effectively," says marriage, family, and child therapist Lisa Dunning, author of Good Parents Bad Parenting. "But if you trust yourself as a parent, you can focus on what's best for you and your child."
Now for the problems with the article.  The first is that it takes the typical viewpoint that Moms are the only parents who should be worrying about this sort of thing in the first place. I think I can give it the benefit of the doubt on this, though.  Not only does the article comes from Redbook, a publication aimed at women, but it was written in direct response to the overwhelming pressure put on mothers (and mothers alone) to second guess all of their parenting decisions and to be made to feel that the well-being of their children rests entirely on their (and not the fathers') shoulders.  And for taking on that societal pressure and reminding women that they can ignore it, this article is a good thing.
The only other issue I have with the story is that, for an article that aims to relieve mothers of the burden of scrutinizing their parenting, the approach of offering "five steps to get comfortable with your particular parenting style" takes the same prescriptive attitude the article originally seemed to be trying to criticize.  I suppose this advice format is typical of women's magazines, but it's slightly amusing how contradictory the sentiments are.
Still, it's nice to see positive, affirming, pro-woman stories that communicate trust in women rather than patronizing ones that try to tell us how to parent or how to live.  I think it's a step in the right direction.