It’s that rare gift of an ad that has something to offend everyone because everyone brings her own brand of offensiveness. Nursing mothers swing braless breasts at women wielding baby bottles. Other mothers tug at the lapels of their manly dark jackets and speculate aloud about the idleness of the stay-at-home moms who have just accused them of part-time parenting. One stroller-pushing mother, chastised by a baby-wearing mama, brags about how her Precious came into the world: “Drug-free pool birth. Dolphin assisted.”
There’s a quick shot of lesbian mothers, too, because whom they love is a lifestyle choice, you understand. There’s even a group of dads with babies strapped to their chests.
Don’t get your hopes up. It doesn’t take long before they’re making breast jokes. In advertising, dads are such reliable clichés.
The ad ends with a moment of supposed camaraderie as everyone abandons his or her agenda long enough to chase a runaway stroller. What a clever ploy: Let’s traffic in the stereotypical mommy wars to sell baby formula. I thought it was ridiculous until I started reading young mothers’ responses.
Schultz calls for a “truce” among parents who would be judges:
What strikes me about these conversations is how readily we as women give more authority to our critics. We may have a dozen friends who support and egg us on, but it’s that nasty one person who gets to pitch a tent in the primary real estate of our heads.
Perhaps this happens because pain is more memorable than camaraderie or even joy. I suspect it also has to do with the inherent insecurities of parenting and the easy shame that catches our breath whenever we fear we’ve screwed up. Again.
Pediatrician Anthony Kovatch suggests a truce of sorts in the vaccine/anti-vaccine war:
Parents will always be parents (with skepticism and anxiety just like the rest of us) and I personally believe that we pediatricians must change our strategies as our clients change. We are practicing in an era of parental self-determination and organic, natural heath approaches and we pediatricians must evolve — not compromise, evolve. We should consider endorsing selective vaccine schedules and safe alternative health measures for those who desire them and replace our dogmatism with flexibility. As per Thoreau, we do not want to practice in “silent desperation” under the pressures of bureaucracies, but we must try to reverse the negative trends (flight from the medical home, etc) we see every day in primary care through non-judgmental and creative efforts.