Changing tone

To Suki and anon and anyone else who hasn't commented but feels a changing tone:

I'm sorry you feel sad and/or marginalized.

I've felt the same changing tone, too. In the beginning, I think people were just so happy to be at a site where they weren't being kicked in the gut for making little decisions that seemed huge at the time but are so minimal (the angst over pacifiers, for instance) that everyone was so nice to each other.

But over the past few years, I think Ask Moxie has gotten a reputation for being a place where anything goes. And, to some degree it is, in that I really do think people are trying to do the best thing for their own kids and it seems all the commenters do, too.

So when I step in, and make what sound like mean posts, or like everyone has to agree with what I say, I do it on two very specific occasions:

1) Advocating spanking and physical abuse as a valid disciplinary method. I do believe it's wrong, and my stance on that is not going to change. I do not look down on any person who spanks. But spanking itself as a valid choice I do not agree with, and I'd hope that people who use spanking specifically could look at other methods. This is never going to be a site that OKs violence against kids.

2) Comments that denigrate other people. And that's what the comment that started this yesterday did. The commenter basically said that moms who fed formula had no right to complain because they should have breastfed. A few months ago there was another comment that came out blazing against a huge segment of the moms who read this blog, and I responded the same way.

The very reason I started this site was so that people wouldn't be denigrated for making the decisions they do. And yet when I patrol the comments it's too mean.

I see a huge difference between being a safe space to confess weaknesses or talk through a process, and being a safe place to judge other people. Remember that this site gets around 40,000 hits a week. That's a lot of people coming to read and comment. Maybe it's just suffering the same fate as the rest of the internet–more posts = judgment.

I really wish we could get back to the days when no one dared to sayanything mean about someone else. They expressed opinions, but not in
an inflammatory or offensive way.

What's the solution? Should I just let commenters duke it out among themselves? Would that make things feel comfortable like they used to? I'm not sure it would. I feel like I need to step in when someone says something hurtful, or else I'm complicit in the hurt.


Food safety

So I don't know what to make of the tainted formula. Aside from the fact that it makes me really, really !@#$%ing angry. As angry as I was back a few years ago when they discovered that most women had enough jet fuel in our systems that our breastmilk had trace amounts of jet fuel in it. (I can't find a decent link for that old story. If anyone has one handy, please link it in the comments.)

What I do know is that if anyone uses this melamine thing as an excuse to make anyone feel bad about feeding their baby formula, that's going to break my heart in addition to pissing me off. The bottom line is that we should be able to feed our children foods that are safe. And we can't. Not if we nurse, not if we feed formula. And we can't trust the government to keep us safe, either. (Sorry, FDA, but if you can't figure out a "safe level" of melamine for infant formula, then don't patronize us by telling us it's probably OK.)

It would be one thing if we had control over it, and were just mindlessly pumping our kids full of Diet Coke. But when even breastmilk isn't completely uncontaminated, what can we do?

Add to the list the lack of safety of fish, factory farmed-meats and poultry, dairy contamination, genetically-modified vegetables and grains (nightmares for people with allergies) and it's a big unsafe soup.

Are you guys feeling as mistrustful and defeated as I am? It's starting to feel like a diet of non-stop Lunchables is just a different kind of unsafe from whole foods, since we can't guarantee the safety of the whole foods.

Tell me what you're thinking.