UrbanBaby Redux

July 20, 2006

I don’t know if anyone popped over on Elisa’s link to the article about UrbanBaby, but it had some real gems. According to the reporter, no matter who you are or what your stance is on any given parenting topic, the anonymous New York moms on UrbanBaby are gonna slice and dice you. And maybe…just maybe…that’s a good thing.

…maybe people go to UrbanBaby to be judged in the first place. Certainly, there is something masochistic about the experience, because no matter what you do, someone will disapprove, starting with the day you give birth. Refuse the epidural, and someone will sneer that you’re a hippie fool–beg for the drugs, and someone else will suggest you’re a weakling. Home-birth? Lunatic. Scheduled C-section? Control freak. IVF? Unnatural. You can hire a doula and a midwife and a lactation consultant and be called a flake, or hire a nanny, a night nurse, and a maid and be called a spoiled brat. Or you can hire no one and get called a “martyr mom.”

Perversely, this is a comfort: If there are no right choices, there are no wrong ones either.

There’s a whole host of nicknames and acronyms for whatever kind of mom you are, most of them predictably derogatory. Elisa and I had some fun labeling ourselves in UrbanBaby parlance: She’s an Über-boober” (a self-righteous mom obsessed with breast-feeding), and I’m a BPP (bitter poor person) who also falls into the category of “mother nostalgic for the 70s”:

…when (the fantasy goes) motherhood was a freewheeling, chain-smoking, martini-swilling, no-car-seat experience, and we all came out just fine.

2:15 P.M.
“I remember sliding around on the vinyl backseat of my grandparents dodge swinger.”

2:17 P.M.
“Fun, right? I remember getting a dozen kids in the back of a neighbor’s pickup to go swimming at the unattended lake.”

Reading this article was like holding up a mirror that reflects back all the ways one might be reduced to a stereotype, a good exercise in not taking oneself too seriously!