This is the only way to raise your kids

Listen up, Mom.

Here’s how to raise kids the right way:

Love them with all your heart, but not too much or you’ll ignore their faults and they’ll turn into brats.

Respect them, but not too much or they’ll walk all over you.

Nurture them, but from a healthy distance, or you’ll become a helicopter mom and you’ll still be wiping their asses when they’re 16.

Care for them, but don’t be overbearing or they’ll become weak adults.

Give them chores, but not too many and not the wrong ones and not too early and not too late.

Keep them safe, but don’t watch them every minute or they’ll be helpless and useless.

Celebrate their triumphs, but sparingly or they’ll become narcissistic.

Make time for yourself, but not too much time or you’ll disregard your kids’ needs.

Have enthusiasm as a parent, but not too much or you’ll be empty and your life will be meaningless when they grow up.

Give them independence, but not too much or they’ll get hurt and someone will let the police know you’re neglecting them.

Get them help, but don’t put labels on them.

Ignore labels and let them develop as you did, but willingly take the blame for every consequence of their future actions.

Feed them well, but not too well or you’ll spoil them and spend too much money on groceries, and people will find you insufferable.

Indulge them, but not too much or you’re part of our country’s health epidemic and people will think you’re trash.

Let them do things on their own, but know that when they get hurt it will most certainly be your fault.

Medicate them when they need it, but not too often or you’re giving us all superbugs and screwing up your kid’s brain chemistry.

Keep an eye on potential threats, but don’t be too vigilant or you’ll be projecting your own fears on them and giving them a host of anxieties.

Encourage them to succeed, but don’t push them too hard or they’ll break under the pressure and that, too, will be your fault.

Let them express themselves, but set boundaries or you’ll have aimless kids living in your basement in 15 years.

Teach them to love their bodies, but not too freely or they’ll become young parents and it will reflect poorly on your parenting skills.

Make rules, but don’t be too uptight or they’ll become naive young adults and people will take advantage of them.

Be responsible for your mental health, but not if it takes too much time away from supporting your children.

Follow safety regulations, but not too rigidly or you’ll humiliate your children.

Let them experiment, but understand that you’re a bad parent if they try drugs and alcohol and cigarettes.

Have a sense of humor, but don’t cross any lines or in any way disrespect your kids.

Earn your keep, but not at the expense of your children.

Discipline them, but not too forcefully or you’re warping their notions of authority and they’ll seek out unhealthy relationships and that will be your fault.

Avoid corporal punishment, but know that some people wish you would just hit them once or twice.

Calm down, but don’t take time for yourself or you’re abandoning your family and your responsibilities.

Have a drink or smoke a joint, but not too frequently and never in front of the kids or you’re setting a horrible example.

Volunteer at school, but don’t bother your child’s teacher with too many emails or you’re one of those parents.

Dress your kids tastefully, but don’t be a prude about it.

Stand up for your kids, but cut the cord already. 

Do your research, but don’t obsess. 

Share what’s hard, but don’t share too much or you’ll bring everyone down with your whining.

Celebrate what’s wonderful, but not too often, because no one likes it when you brag.

Take pictures, but not too many and don’t share them or you’re putting your kids in grave danger.

Don’t demonize strangers, but know that if your child is harmed by one they’ll ask, where was the mother?

Be honest, but don’t overshare, no one cares what you really think.

Share your story with other mothers, but don’t skimp on the awful things or we’ll all know you’re a fake.

Or.

Instead.

Think back to the first voice you ever heard. Not the one that told you not to gain so much pregnancy weight, not to tell your friends and family too early, not to use a surrogate, not to expect special treatment, not to try again, not to share your pregnancy news with too much enthusiasm, not to take too much time off work, not to name your unborn child, not to plan your birth, not to adopt from overseas, not to try that expensive fertility treatment, not to grieve for lost hopes, not to become a parent at all. No, not that one.

The other one. The voice that assured you that out of the whole universe, and all that ever has been, and all that ever will be, you were meant to be your child’s mother. Only you. No one else. Out of all the infinite possibilities and connections, your life and your child’s life became connected.

That voice, so sure of herself, so content, so fierce with love and fear and hope and unspeakable devotion — she is the only truth-teller. Live by the sound of that voice.

That voice will guide your palm to your child’s feverish forehead, will encourage you to grasp your child’s small hand while you can, will gently remind you when you’ve misstepped, will calm you when you’re angrier than you’ve ever imagined you could be because your child isn’t listening, won’t listen, won’t obey you. And that voice will lead you when you let go, little by little, in painful, brilliant, joyful increments.

No one loves your child the way you do. Listen to the truth in your heart, Mom:

The only way to raise your kids is the way you’re doing it, right now.

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The Problem With Similac’s Formula Commercial Has Nothing to Do With Breastfeeding

Similac’s The Mother ‘Hood lampoons the Mommy Wars, those cute arguments moms get into on the internet while they should be watching their kids. That’s the toxic undercurrent of a video that went viral by manipulating women who feel marginalized by their parenting choices.

Heartwarming, right?

This is familiar territory. Women with strong parenting opinions are shamed for perpetuating mommy wars. The cutesy term dismisses women the moment they have an opinion. A moms wants to avoid exposing her baby to plastic bottles? That’s not a decision rooted in research and deep consideration of a child’s best interests. It’s precious and might cause a kerfluffle at mommy group. It’s adorable.

The Mother ‘Hood takes the classic Mommy Wars trope a step further. Just as the absurd gangs of parents gather for a brawl, a forgotten stroller rolls down a hill. Yes, the narrative goes there. A baby’s life is put danger of dying because mommies (and some daddies) were arguing and not parenting.

Of course, the parents drop their differences and rush to save the baby’s life. Because that’s what all parents should want in the end. Happy, healthy babies. It’s the same poisonous attitude that shames women for attempting to have choices in childbirth.

Shouldn’t you just want a healthy, living baby? Why are your opinions so important?

At the end of the heartwarming formula commercial, all the cartoonish parents who were hurling insults at each other warmly gather. It’s OK now. The arguing is over. Welcome to the sisterhood of motherhood.

Isn’t it lovely to put aside our differences?

Shouldn’t women get along?

Shouldn’t mothers be paying attention to their babies instead of having strong opinions?

The Mommy Wars narrative is a tool to silence women. In this case, it’s convenient to a corporation eager to remind breastfeeding mothers that they should be keeping their eyeballs on their babies instead of pushing their extreme “breast is best” agendas on potential formula customers.

In every case, it’s a sexism at its most subversive. Quiet down, ladies. Pay attention to your babies or they might die.

Women argue about parenting choices. This isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t catty. It isn’t inconsequential. It doesn’t take away from an adult’s ability to supervise a child.

Women argue about how they raise their kids because childrearing decisions are incredibly important. Children’s lives are important, and no one recognizes this as keenly as the parents who are deep in the trenches.

Sisterhood doesn’t mean agreeing on every issue. It doesn’t mean being owned by fear that something awful might happen to a child. The true sisterhood of motherhood is acknowledging that every mother has a unique path to follow.

That mom posting to Facebook about cloth diapers isn’t trying to push a radical agenda or start a fight. She’s talking about something that’s currently using up a lot of her bandwidth. (Have you ever washed and stuffed cloth diapers? It’s all-consuming.)

Women discuss their parenting choices and seek like-minded parents because that’s a healthy, normal part of building a community. Some moms work outside the home because they want to or need to. They’ll fight for better maternity leave policies and they’ll struggle to maintain a sense of balance. They’ll discuss it not to shame moms who stay home, but because they have every right to discuss it.

Moms aren’t caricatures. Every mom wants to nurture a healthy child into adulthood, but that isn’t a well-marked path despite how many women have walked it. It’s irresponsible to tell mothers that they have to get along, just as it’s irresponsible to tell women that they have to agree for the sake of feminism and sisterhood.

Moms are going to argue. They’re going to have strong opinions. They’ll research all night and fight on forums and order parenting books at 2 in the morning and they’ll exchange knowing glances with those who fit into their tribes.

Characterizing parenting disagreements as cattiness and pettiness does every woman a great disservice. Moms are not at war. They’re desperately seeking sisterhood in like-minded parents, and they have every right to cast a side eye at the playground. Being opinionated isn’t an act of war, it’s a part of life we should be celebrating, not shaming.

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