The Parental Gods Have Spoken

By Michael

Jill’s crib is in the basement. We took it from her folks’ house with every intention of using it when our first child was born.

Then, the crib police decided the slats were too far apart, or maybe it was too close, and we had to go out and buy a new crib. Both girls used it and then we lent it out to a cousin, whose children seem to have turned out just fine.

Now it’s in the basement with Jill’s crib and we can’t use either one of them. After deciding Jill’s crib had the wrong slats, the crib police issued a new edict that made our girls’ crib a murderous vehicle of torture second only to the Iron Maiden.

When the girls were infants, we weren’t supposed to let them sleep on their backs. I forget why, but it probably had to do with choking on phlegm or pressure on the soft spot of their heads. Now, of course, we can’t let them sleep on their stomachs, due to concerns about SIDS.

We bought the right car seats for the girls, but they’re all wrong now. Formula was okay, then, but now it’s poison. I’m sure there’s something else we did that was oh-so-right then and oh-so-deadly now, but I can’t keep track. Right now, I’m still dealing with the concept of baby CPR, which is a highly recommended class in some hospitals.

Letting them cry themselves to sleep was okay, then wrong, then okay again and, who knows what’s the dogma du jour today.

By the way, I just learned that you should never carry your baby on your left side. They feel your heartbeat and, instinctively, their hear rate drops dangerously low. Okay, I just made that up, but wait a week and the Parental Gods will come up with a SCIENTIFIC FACT that’s just as crazy.

Which has me wondering. Exactly who are these Parental Gods and why do we keep listening to every new edict they issue from on high, especially when we know they’ll be changing their advice three or five or ten years from now? If these people were auto mechanics, we’d all give up and walk everywhere.

The answer, of course, is guilt. Once someone tells us we have to hold the spoon upside down when we feed our infants, we dare not turn it back upright. If something bad happens, if anything bad happens, it will be our fault. Because THEY told us to hold the spoon upside down and they know these things.

Until next week, when they tell us something completely different.

Michael Rosenbaum is 5 Minutes for Parenting’s first dadblogger. He is a business consultant, playwright and author of Your Name Here: Guide to Life.

Michael blogs on life issues at Your Name Here Guide to Life and manages the Adult Conversation discussion group on Linked-In.

13 Responses to The Parental Gods Have Spoken
  1. Kelly
    May 18, 2010 | 3:52 pm

    SO TRUE!

    I suspect many of us inwardly roll our eyes at the latest and greatest parenting admonitions. But like you said, the guilt goads us into following the They lest we somehow damn our children.

    However, the older I get (and the more experienced I become as a parent), the more I feel comfortable forging my own common sense path.

  2. The Parental Gods Have Spoken…
    May 18, 2010 | 10:50 pm

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  3. Hannah
    May 18, 2010 | 10:59 pm

    Amen to that! And they’re helped along admirably by the media, which loves to makes us afraid — afraid that we’ll do something horrible and that the world will find out about it.

    I agree with the previous commenter, that courage and confidence come with time.

  4. Krista
    May 19, 2010 | 3:27 am

    And we put both our sons to sleep on their tummies… otherwise they don’t stay asleep for more than 10 minutes at a time. Which means they cry and cry and that can’t possible be good for them. Or we have to get up and deal with the crying and after awhile it might cause shaken baby syndrome. Hmmm, maybe sleeping on their tummy isn’t so bad after all! 😉

  5. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)
    May 19, 2010 | 11:04 am

    I hear ya… it’s craziness.

    Since I almost always listen to any form of authority, I had a terrible time breaking away and co-sleeping, but I’m so glad I did.

  6. Anitra
    May 19, 2010 | 5:11 pm

    There are so many things I’m made to feel guilty for. And the things I do “by the book” (extended rear-facing carseat – we’re not hyper-vigilant about it, but it works for us), makes other parents think I’m weird and over-protective (I’m SO not).

    But as a new parent, you’re bombarded with information on how to keep your children “safe”. And who wouldn’t want to do that? It’s not until you become more comfortable as a parent that you realize that YOU (usually) know what is best for your children.

  7. Candace
    May 25, 2010 | 12:17 am

    So true. Info changes, gets updated, discarded,etc. BUT my husband and I choose to follow our own path and do what we think is best for our son. We are rebels!!!! LOL
    There are standards we follow like carseat safety. We never co-slept(seems everyone does now) and our son does not seem emotional distance nor does he seem any worse for wear. The one we always get the dissapproving looks are the fact we are one and done family!

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