28 June 2018

The Overcomplication of Parenthood

Now, don't get me wrong, parenting is complicated. Very complicated.

I mean, there's quite a bit to balance and to consider: health, family culture, language, child development, education, germs, finances, values, behavior, etc.


We received a very sweet little recipe book for making baby food and, among the recipes included was this one.

The riveting information contained on this two-page spread, including an artful, Pinterest-worthy photo, is that is possible to mash up a banana with a fork and feed it to a baby who has attained the age of 6 months or greater. Additional information is that 2 bananas will yield about 1.5 cups or 3 baby servings, and that bananas are a source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, and get this, they are also naturally sweet.

Who knew? 

Now, perhaps it is slight bitterness on my part that the publishing industry is one that seems so very limited in what books they accept for publication, and yet, also publishes books which contain 2-page recipes for a mashed banana...

But I think parenting has become overcomplicated in our modern era.

No longer is it a matter of holding your baby or wrapping baby up in a carrier so that your hands are free for other tasks, it's a "babywearing lifestyle" and an endless discussion of the pros and cons of ring slings and wraps and organic cotton fibers and structured carriers and a variety of Tula patterns and prints.

Where baby sleeps is of great concern with loud advocates for both bedsharing and sleeping alone, on their back, with nothing in the crib.

It's natural for parents to worry about their child's health, but now every possible decision is questioned. Vaccines are good or evil? Mainstream medication or essential oils or lifestyle choices? Breastfeeding is best or fed is best?

What is the precisely correct formula for the amount of screen time beginning at what age a child ought to have in order to achieve the balance of maximum intelligence along with maximum fun of just being a kid and having good memories of watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood with their family? Has anyone calculated the numbers, yet?

As parents, we need to know our kids. We should be putting thought into how we raise them, and we should advocate for their health and take initiative...although sometimes I think we should put a little more thought into how we train and raise their hearts and characters in comparison to the amount of thought we put into what organic foods we feed them.

Maybe, in this world of alarmism and clickbait on social media, what we need a little bit more of is to relax, and if you want to feed your 6+ month old baby a banana, get out a fork and mash it without becoming helpless and looking to baby cookbooks for advice on whether that is a thing that can be done. Maybe we need to trust our God-given brains and eyes and ears a little bit more in a world where the simplest decisions are debated endlessly. I mean, I don't know a whole lot about babies, but even I knew that feeding them mashed banana was a thing. Let's not "major" on the "minors." Let's make decisions about what is most important to prioritize for our families and our children, and not stress for days or weeks about the things that don't matter quite as much.

However, if it's too late, and you've already dove headfirst into the pool of overcomplicated childrearing, I've got a great recommendation for a baby cookbook. They also have recipes for pureed peas and pureed carrot, although carrots grown in your back garden with no fertilizer are really what's ideal if you want to do best by your child.
The Emerald Dove said...

Loved this post! I completely agree - everything is made so complicated and everyone has a different opinion on just about everything

Kay R. said...

I completely agree with you and I dont even have kids yet. Poeple have been raising kids for centuries without all the excess complications. Great post!

StephTheBookworm said...

I love this post and agree with all of this!!! Let's just take care of our little ones in our own best ways and stop worrying about the rest.
Who knew mashing up a banana required an entire recipe?! LOL

Unknown said...

This is so true! I remember vividly the endless amount of advice I received when my son was a baby. I remember feeling badly that I was not able to breastfeed him for long because he was in the NICU. Guess what, he is 12 years old and doing just fine! Its important to be cautious, but not delve into being an alarmist. Years from now these small things people obsess about with babies will be a long forgotten memory. You are right, caring for a child's heart and looking after who they will become later in life is much more important.

Courtney said...


And your last sentence had me loling

Callie said...

Totally agree with you! This whole post brings me back to my new-mom days, because all my friends were making such a big deal about all the issues you mentioned. I’ve learned to just do my own thing and stay out of those conversations as much as possible!

Angi said...

Love this and I totally agree with the whole post. I would almost feel offended by a "recipe" for mashed they think parents are so dense they wouldn't have thought of that? Babies and bananas go way back, haha.

"...sometimes I think we should put a little more thought into how we train and raise their hearts and characters in comparison to the amount of thought we put into what organic foods we feed them."

^^^^ THIS.

AnneMarie said...

Oh wow, that cookbook...I feel slightly horrified when I see books like that, because I think "Seriously???????? How did THAT get published?????" Parenting in our modern age just gets ridiculous. I cannot stand how divisive and condemnatory people are about various parenting choices. For some reason, people seem to like putting themselves into little groups (ie: "I'm a Babywise parent!" or "I'm a breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing Attachment Parent!") and then they promptly put down the other "groups" that don't align with them. It seems to me that when people put themselves in these groups and categories, they're restricting themselves from changing to adapt to whatever their (or their children's) future needs may be. Even though I'm still a few months out from birthing Baby #2, I've already been thinking through what kinds of things I want to try differently this time around.

This is one of the many reasons why I love chatting with old people at church or in my neighborhood-they talk to me about when their kids were young, and how they did things. They didn't scour the internet and deliberate endlessly over every tiny thing or worry about fitting a certain image; they just raised their kids and didn't worry about it.

Michelle said...

This is one of my favorite posts ever. I love every single thing you said. You perfectly voiced how I’ve been feeling since I was pregnant.

When Gracie was younger, I was aggressively bashed online by a mom condemning me for not doing things like she does (things like cosleeping and other non-important issues). She told me we’ll see who was right when our kids grow up and by the kind of adults they become. I was appalled. The vitriol moms have for each other shocked me. Why can’t we all just keep our heads down and raise our kids the way we feel is right?

The Lady Okie said...

I totally agree parenthood is completely over complicated on so many things! However, in defense of those types of recipes in cookbooks, before having R I really wasn't around kids a ton, especially small babies/infants/toddlers. When it was time for her to start solids, it was extremely overwhelming to me, and honestly I did not think about mashing up a banana! I'm not saying that's good of me to not think of it, but it really was a stressful process because I didn't know anything. I mean, I KNOW that you can mash up a banana with a fork, but you know. I didn't know it ;) Of course now I think how dumb was I to get that worked up about something so silly. Perspective is a wonderful thing!