First, Beyonce breastfed her newborn daughter in public, at a swanky restaurant. Then, January Jones announced that she had ingested her own placenta, in pill form after the birth of her son. Finally, Alicia Silverstone posted a video of her feeding her baby boy, by mouth. She actually chewed up her food and spit it in his mouth.
Are these women a new crop of progressive moms, who put the needs of their children, or their own postpartum health above what society deems acceptable? Or have they gone too far, grossing out society, and surely embarrassing their children when they are old enough to read about their moms’ behavior?
I should start by saying that I nursed my son until he was 18 months old, often in public, made his own baby food (in a blender, not my mouth), and have debated taking my own placenta in capsule form when I have another child. Why not? It’s rich with nutrients, and certainly less gross than the “pink slime” I apparently had been ingesting in my ground beef. Ok, I digress…
I think what I find more fascinating than the actress’ parenting choices is that Americans have such strong reactions to them.
Beyonce’s breast, Alicia’s mouth, and January’s medicine cabinet don’t affect you or me, and certainly don’t harm their children. Yes, I know Alicia is passing on potentially harmful germs to her baby boy, but I don’t know many moms out there who haven’t used their own mouths to clean a pacifier or teething toy when it drops on the floor. And who doesn’t kiss their baby on the mouth? I know that includes a lot of slobber with my toddler, and we often share colds, even though I have never fed him like a hummingbird.
We seem to obsess over how celebrities parent, how much weight they gain (please, for the love of goldfish crackers and Elmo, stop talking about Jessica Simpson’s pregnant figure), how long it takes them to lose it, how long their children use a pacifier (the horror!), what their tiny tots wear, how much their wardrobe costs, where the kids go to school, when the moms will have another kid…..the list goes on and on.
I know I have been guilty of this, too. I read the tabloids and find myself critiquing celebs, and comparing my own parenting style with theirs. But, I think it’s time to cool off.
Cut these women some slack. They, like me are new to this whole parenting thing and are just trying to do what they think is best for themselves, and their child. That’s what we all want, right? To do the best we can, and hope we don’t mess up our kids too much.
I think we moms can all agree that there is nothing more painful than someone questioning our parenting. And if we don’t have one another’s backs, then what do we have? A bunch of moms, and dads, and even those who don’t have kids making a mom feel like she is less than…well, less then perfect-because let’s be honest, most of us put an immense amount of pressure on ourselves when it comes to parenting.
So, January, Alicia and Beyonce, I say go on with your bad self. Buck those societal norms and raise your kids however you see fit. I support you, and I hope a few others will too.