Parenting: One More Thing To Be Competitive About

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

From sleep training to attachment parenting to breastfeeding, there are many ways to approach raising children—some methods work well for one family while they fail in another. Hillary Frank, host of the podcast The Longest Shortest Time, and Kate Bowman-Johnston explore parenting debates and whether it’s possible for moms to share their parenting triumphs without making each other feel bad.


Kate Bowman-Johnston and Hillary Frank

Comments [17]

"The broader cultural narrative tells us that we shouldn't be friends because we have different ways of doing things with our children".

This is sad and irritating. This "broader cultural narrative" will only remain "broad" if people give it credence. I have lots of friends with kids, and we all do different things differently. We discuss our different methods, sometimes getting good advice or ideas from each other, and at other times respectfully disagreeing.

It is also painful to hear this woman (the one on the phone) constantly worry that she's being judged. THAT might be her larger issue.

Jun. 03 2014 02:10 PM
Mitchell from Park Slope

If a mother is just breastfeeding, the baby may be crying and not sleeping because the mother isn't producing enough milk. Our pediatrician, despite that our daughter wasn't gaining weight, said, "It's just colic. Keep breast feeding for another month and if she still isn't gaining weight, we'll consider supplementing." I asked if we should give her the breast milk that was being expressed between feedings. The pediatrician said, "You can if you want to." Our daughter drank a month of stored milk in two days." Colic is a name for crying like cancer is a name for disease. If you're just breastfeeding and the baby is crying a lot don't wait for common sense from a pediatrician. Insist on the pediatrician weighing the baby on their precise baby scale before and after a feeding. Our daughter got an ounce and a half at the breast and drank another four and a half ounces from a bottle. Colic in her case meant not getting enough breast milk.

Jun. 03 2014 01:12 PM
elsie from Brooklyn

This has got to be one of the saddest conversations I've been privy to in a long time. If we needed any further proof of how far women haven't come in America, this conversation would be it. What are your "triumphs"? How infantilizing and ridiculous. Breast feeding is considered a triumph? Something that women have been doing (or not) for centuries? Getting our child to sleep? A triumph? Having a natural childbirth? A triumph? Well certainly not for the millions of women who have died during childbirth.

Who needs the patriarchy these days. Upper middle class women squash women far more efficiently than any patriarchy ever could. And let this be said - this is entirely a middle class (white) issue. For the rest of the world (which is in fact the majority of the population, though you would never know it from the topics discussed on NPR), this conversation is a sad sad statement on how powerless women still are.

Honestly, women, get a life. Go and cure cancer or world hunger. If you settle for empty triumphs like getting your child to sleep through the night, women will never get anywhere.

Jun. 03 2014 01:05 PM
Kim from Nyc

Thank you for this segment! I'm a new mother, my daughter is 4 wks old and indeed folks are often quick to judge, I look forward to following the podcast.

What's more is that as new parents we are so quick to judge ourselves. I'm working through trying to not judge myself for not exclusively breastfeeding my baby( I'm also supplementing).. But still feel guilty for it :)

Jun. 03 2014 12:58 PM
janny1006 from jersey city

If crying it out caused ADD, every baby boomer would have it!

In hindsight, I most likely would've let my daughter cry it out..she had sleep issues til about the age of 8-9. The good news is she is now almost 18 and a terrific sleeper.

Jun. 03 2014 12:57 PM
Jenny from Bedford

Once again I am struck by how parenting has become about *parents* outdoing each other and not about raising real, live human beings. Kids are individuals and you don't always get the one you thought you were going to get. And kids certainly don't read the same parenting manuals that we read! Breastfeeding for three years isn't a triumph. It's a choice that works for some children and parents. "Succeeding" in having a kid who sleeps well is as much about luck as it is about using the superior method. These same parents will soon be talking about how their kids are reading at three years old because they did XYZ. And I assume that when the kids head off to college, that will be a parenting triumph as well. I wonder when these kids are going to get to be individuals and not their parents' projects.

Jun. 03 2014 12:56 PM
John from NJ

I found the Sleep Lady, Kim West has great advice on this. It is between Ferber and the hell of co-sleeping. It taught my one kid to sleep, we didn't do it with my other. Big difference.

Jun. 03 2014 12:52 PM
John from NJ

I found the Sleep Lady, Kim West has great advice on this. It is between Ferber and the hell of co-sleeping. It taught my one kid to sleep, we didn't do it with my other. Big difference.

Jun. 03 2014 12:51 PM
Nick from UWS

People of this level of narcissism who need to use their children for their own ego validation should probably not be having children in the first place. They haven't yet reached adulthood themselves.

Jun. 03 2014 12:51 PM
BK from Hoboken

Holy cow these ladies really over analyze everything. I am a young parent of two kids and frankly couldn't care what other people think of me.

Jun. 03 2014 12:47 PM
suzinne from bronx

These woman are such turns offs. Do they stand on their heads and spin in a circle to get their baby to sleep? WHERE do you find these people - Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights? Geez. Put your baby to bed, and let the child teach her self to fall asleep. Watch Supernanny, it's that freaking simple people.


Jun. 03 2014 12:47 PM
Nick from UWS

She succeeded at that...I failed at this..I was proud of that...I was ashamed of this....she made me feel this..she made me feel that....I'm not trying to brag about something I'm bragging about.......the narcissism of these women is starting to get on my nerves.

Jun. 03 2014 12:46 PM
Lezza from UES

Boy I hate when this show goes off the rails and has affluenza days. I swear where does he find all these kvetchy middle-aged white women wrought with child-rearing issues?

Jun. 03 2014 12:46 PM
Mike from Cold Spring NY

Bottom line. People have been having kids since people have been around and nobody has figured it out yet. The worst thing you can do for a child is riddle yourself with guilt over an imaginary standard.

Jun. 03 2014 12:45 PM
Nick from UWS

What in the world did the fact that the woman living under her was her landlord have to do with that anecdote?

Jun. 03 2014 12:43 PM
Nina from Brooklyn

as a parent of a disabled child, it's difficult to participate in conversations with parents about child's attributes, except within a support group

Jun. 03 2014 12:41 PM

Pitiful parenting is boring.

Jun. 03 2014 12:40 PM

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