BlogHer convention and the annual Career Circus put on by Media Bistro, a great digital media organization. As Barbara noted, no, I did not tweet from BlogHer, possibly an unwritten infraction.
Met some remarkable and fascinating folks including some well-known parenting bloggers, including Katherine Stone who won a Bloganthropy Award at BlogHer10 for her tireless work at Postpartum Progress, her site that's almost single-handedly wrestled the stigma of postpartum depression away one post at a time while acting as a true resource to women in crisis. She's a friend of science and rationality. I've admired her for some time (see her link on my blogroll) and I'm happy to report she's passionate, smart and kind in person. Funny too. Congrats to her. Annie of PhDinParenting was there too - spoke on a panel about social action. Woman's got a lot of resolve, moxie and a lot of fans. She's taking on Nestle for "unethical business tactics" - must be the formula, no? Don't know how often I actually agree with her positions but she's done well for causes. Also met Dr. Susan Niebur of Toddler Planet, not your typical mommy blogger either who's also an astrophysicist and cancer surviver and blogs about it all.
But one of the most persuasive folks I encountered there, Stephanie Roberts of Little Purple Cow Photography, was not at all outspoken. In fact the soft-spoken Southerner just back from Nepal used very few words - which is how she approaches her work too, as a photographer of distant people and places. Her soapbox? The gorgeous, vivid photos of people who don't look like us or live like us and whom she reported are quite happy counter to our expectations.
So her persuasive "quiet" got me thinking. If you've been here before you know I don't believe in silence but in giving out the facts. Okay, at times, some opinions. And some skewering of pseudo parenting advice (Jenny McCarthy) or authoritative and/or extreme recommednations not totally justified by evidence (APA's stringent breastfeeding guidelines) or downright dangerous "experts" (e.g., the former Dr. Wakefield) but I do try for "quiet" in one sense...
I don't mean to judge the choices parents make.
Of course I have my own opinions, who doesn't. I'd be stuck in my driveway or worse yet the cereal aisle if I didn't have any preferences. But it's not my place to judge you or anybody else as a parent. Or tell you how to feed, bathe, school, entertain, educate, discipline or otherwise raise your children. Unless of course, you're cussing out your child in the grocery store, letting your first grader stay up until midnight (I'm a stickler for bedtimes), or other questionable acts that merit a call from social services or the principal.
Now I may tell you the evidence behind your choice is solid or skimpy. I may question the science behind expert advice. I may call the news coverage simplistic. But that doesn't give me the right to judge what's best for you and your kiddies. Nor by the way does anyone else, unless you're standing before the judge in Family Court.
Just as Stephanie holds up her images I hope to provide the scientific evidence as a lens so o. And though I'm not nearly as gracious or humble as the photographer, I do hope I've learned some of her "quiet". And if not, I will try harder, because truly, how is it any of my business whether you use cloth or disposable? Or choose any other path?
So breastfeed, don't breastfeed. Co-sleep, buy a crib. Work, stay at home. Have ten kids, have one. Invite the whole school, screw the the birthday party all together. But don't tell me or anyone else what to do based on bad or stretched 'evidence". Don't cherry pick the studies. Don't make authoritative directives. Don't try to scare me, guilt me or bully me. Unless you wanna hear a whole lot of noise.
But what do you think? Should mommy bloggers take a serious stand? Even when it's clearly more of a personal choice not based on evidence?