This took me a long time to write, mostly because my own life has been so crazy busy with the new baby, but it touches on something so important. This is the first on a series of posts on why the “you can do anything you set your mind to” philosophy is problematic..and ultimately inhumane.
This first post is about AdjunctMom, who I found when she posted this story. Go read it – it is about comments around her not breast-feeding. The judgement and cruelty to which she was responding were so…blithe. It really hit me. AdjunctMom had medical reasons for feeding formula, which she bravely discussed in a later post. Go read that too.
Could she have breast-fed if she “put her mind to it.” No, not at all. And yet, I suspect that all the commentary she received came from well-meaning in their own minds people who firmly held that belief.
And what about the Mom who works as a super-store clerk, has no paid leave, can’t afford to take leave, and can’t get breaks to pump? Is the issue that she can’t put her mind to it? No…and I hope no one dares to suggest that she shoudn’t have kids. Seriously, $ don’t make a parent. My own parents weren’t perfect, but I can assure you that being “working class” did not, in any way, make them lesser parents…
And maybe I will post on THAT another time as well.
And so, those of us who faced no medical or financial barriers to this lovely experience should not feel righteous, or like “we had the right attitude.” No, I don’t think so. And I suspect that mind-set leads many to be cruel in their words and deeds, as experienced by AdjunctMom. Instead of counting one’s blessings, one pats one’s self on the back and says “I made that happen,” and then goes on to accost others who arent’ “making” the same reality.
Seriouly, maybe it did take work, maybe a person deserves a pat on the pat. Maybe you do. But when we start judging others by our own stories, we become desperately poorer.
If we have a happy story, if things have worked out well for us, well, some of what we have, some of our own story, we earned. Some of it , we made happen, and some of it, we had a lucky opportunity to make happen. Some of it, we didn’t do a darn thing to make happen.
And I know this one first hand:
If things goes sour, if something we desperately wanted doesn’t go as planned, despite tens of thousands of hours of hard work and the right attitude, well, a soul might find knowing the differences between, “I made this happen”, “This is a blessing”, and “Damned bad fortune” to be a blessing too.