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Right Versus Wrong Parenting

By Beth Anne Ballance |

So there’s this little magazine called TIME that came out with this little article about Attachment Parenting and the photo is attention-grabbing and the idea is to pit mom versus mom.


I’m going to let you in on a little secret about my life that I’ve learned a) from strangers at Target and b) from strangers on the internet:  No matter how you parent, it’s the wrong way to do it.

Oh, so you breastfeed?  Well, that’s gross.

Oh, so you bottlefeed?  You’re a selfish twat.

Whether or not you’re parenting “right” or parenting “wrong” absolutely depends on who you talk to and the culture of the area.  But I think we can all agree that articles like TIME’s “Are You Mom Enough?” just dig at the root of our worries – are we enough for our children? It feeds this awful guilt within us that twists into dark places and creates the beast that is “mom guilt.”    I’m tired of being told that choosing to bottle feed my baby was “unnatural” when I have a thriving and healthy two-year-old.  I’m tired of being praised that babywearing helped us become attached.

On the other hand, I thought I’d have a little tongue-in-cheek fun with the “theme” of the day, regarding the right and wrong ways to parent in the 21st century:

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TIME's Natural Parenting Article


I formula fed from the start. Zero breastmilk went into this kid & he is still smart & healthy.

Go ahead and giggle.  It’s all out of good fun! Because the truth is, what I did “wrong” wasn’t wrong - it was right for me, right for my baby, right for our life.  And what I did “right” wasn’t always right – after a few months, I hated making baby food and trying to get the perfect texture when he preferred the smoother jar baby food.  I’m just doing the best that I can and that makes me “mom enough” for my toddler.

More from BA:

Remember Momma With Love  – a love letter to life

The Most Crazy Morning EVER.  Like, ever.

My toddler drinks chocolate milk.

Beth Anne writes words & takes pictures on The Heir to Blair.
You can also find her on the Twitters & Facebook.


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About Beth Anne Ballance


Beth Anne Ballance

Beth Anne Ballance is a born and bred Southern Belle, blogging at okay, ba and using words and pictures to celebrate the challenges of motherhood and the joy of life. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Read bio and latest posts → Read Beth Anne's latest posts →

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21 thoughts on “Right Versus Wrong Parenting

  1. Amber says:

    Love this so much.

  2. jennifer says:

    I think the blog post yesterday on did a perfect job talking about mommy wars & how the biggest war should be that kids all over dont even have a mother! Who cares if you breast fed or bottle fed- some babies don’t have moms to give them food! This is a mommy war worth fighting!!

  3. Megan B says:

    This is so funny. I have a 3-year-old right now and twins that are due in a few weeks, and lots of people are shocked that I’m not planning to cloth diaper. But cloth diapering TWO babies while still giving attention to my toddler son? I am looking forward to simply eating daily, sleeping every other day, and maybe even showering twice a week after they get here. I’m just not up to the cloth diaper challenge. I guess I’m just not mom enough. ;)

  4. Tracy says:

    Love this!!

  5. grace at {Gabbing with Grace} says:

    truth. thank you.

  6. Violina23 says:

    You rock!

    I’m glad so many bloggers, such as yourself, are calling the cover of Time out for the BS that it is. It seems like most moms are not falling for it, and if anything, the people most upset seem to be hard-core attachment parenting people who feel (justifiably) vilified.

    Stay strong, mommas. Resist the urge to get sucked into this crap AGAIN.

  7. Meghan says:

    BA, you hit the nail on the head! I loved this so much! Thanks for letting us into your life. You are an inspiration and role model… you encourage me to be better at this “mom” thing!

  8. Megan says:

    I truly believe there is no ‘right’ or wrong’. I nursed, babywore in early months, put him to sleep in his own crib in his own room from day one. I was formula fed and am hardly ever sick, he is almost never sick as well. I blame genetics and not boob juice.

  9. Nikki says:

    I have no idea what kind of label I have as a mother. I breast fed, but also supplemented (is that even allowed?!). My child slept in our room until he was four months old, but in a bassinet. I don’t CIO, but I do put my toddler in time out (call child services now!) In some mother’s eyes I’m a terrible mother because I’m not 100% one way or the other. But in my son’s eyes, I’m a great mother…and that’s all that matters to me.

  10. Morgan (The818) says:

    Love this, love you, love it all. I too am an Oxymoronic Mama.

  11. Audrey says:

    I have twins, they just turned a year old this month. I never cloth diapered and I see nothing wrong with that. It may be for some people but not for me. I breast feed for 3 months only and that is because my daughter would not latch no matter what I did, my son was a trooper at it but she just refused. I did pump for her but I had to supplement with formula just so she was getting enough. Both of my babies had to start taking soy formula because regular was hurting their stomachs. They were on it till 11 months and now their both on cows milk. I made my own baby food for a while but then daddy got a virus and then we all got it and after that I couldnt get either of the twins to take the food me and my husband made but they would take the jar baby food so we started giving that to them. I don”t care who thinks its right or wrong. Its what was best for my family and I don’t regret any of it.

  12. Joanna says:

    Yes, I think this just goes to show that (with the exception of a few people) you cannot parent via philosophy. We parent based on our instincts. Based on the information available to us. Based on the child. Based on the family dynamics. Based on economic, cultural, and social factors.

    I breastfed my daugther, but supplemented when pumping wasn’t enough.

    I cloth diapered for 6 weeks and then switched to ‘sposies when I felt the bulky cloth made my daughter unhappy.

    I stayed home for 3 months maternity leave and then went back to work to provide my daughter with a little something called a roof, food, and medical insurance. She is in daycare, but we call it “school”.

    I made my own baby food because I enjoy cooking and she enjoys eating my cooking. I also found it easier than stocking up on tiny jars.

    I used my own version of CIO, because my daugther needed to sleep, and my presense only kept her awake. (Hell, we still do this when necessary at 18 months old – she is a difficult sleeper).

    I tried to get her to self soothe with a pacifier or her thumb, but she really only enjoyed my boobie for sucking. (IE, she screamed louder and harder when I put anything else in her mouth)

    I give her time outs after she hits me, because she needs to learn hitting is wrong, and who better to teach her than me?

    I don’t give her time outs for whining, because she is too young to understand what she is doing.

    I leave work at 4 every day to pick her up from “school” and come home to make dinner for us to eat as a family. It is a top priority for me.

    I lose my patience with her, and regret it.

    I stay present when I can, and remember toddlerhood is short. I am the best mommy I can be at those times. I read to her, we make “art projects”, she “helps” me cook, we sing songs and act silly. I tell her I love her all the time. I kiss her cheeks until she pushes me away. I praise her whenever I “catch” her being good. I love her to the moon and back. In my opinion, the only thing that counts is this last paragraph.

    1. bethanne says:

      @Joanna, I LOVE your response. Also, we sleep train Harrison more now that he’s a toddler in a bed he can get out of. ::sigh::

  13. Carla says:

    @Bethanne, THANK YOU for writing a post about this Time article that isn’t in some way actually participating in the “mom war” they are fueling, and rather gives us all a good laugh at it. @Joanna who posted right up here ^ above me. You rock. You are indeed right that your last paragraph is all that counts. If all mommas would finally realize this, and REALLY truly believe it, then the mom wars would end for good.

  14. Hana says:

    Thank you, this is great! Let’s get over the snark and just do what’s right for our kids! Now that I have two-(and POLAR OPPOSITES at that)- I’ve realized that you’ve got to roll with each kid and their needs. Something that works for one may not for another. That’s why it ticks me off when people get preachy. If you know every child on the planet, then I will consider you expert enough to listen to. Until then, I’ll use Huggies and Similac as much as I please, thank you….

  15. Erin says:

    My Mom laughed when she found out that someone had taken all these parenting practices from the ’70′s, and bound them all neatly into a tidy package for new moms to obsess about. She said something along the lines of, “Back then you just took care of your kids. No one needed to give it a name.”

    I still don’t know how anyone can encourage individuality and yet expect that one parenting style will fit all kids.

  16. Amber says:

    OMG this is the best thing I have ever read.

  17. Jess M. says:

    My husband and I are not large people and we fight over the space in a king sized bed- I’ve gotten a nice elbow to the nose a few times…I can’t even imagine trying to throw a 3rd small being in the mix. Our daughter slept in her crib from the start as well (granted her bedroom door is one giant step from ours), so out of all the ‘right’ and ‘wrongs’ I still think the ‘kid in the bed’ is the weirdest one if not just for comfort’s sake (you know, besides the whole blanket suffocating and rolling over them).

  18. The Mommy Psychologist says:

    Apparently, no one was reading Time which is exactly why the editors published it. It was like dumping gasoline all over a simmering fire and then throwing a match on it. We all know what you get. A hell of an explosion. And we all proved we were lemmings. Meanwhile, all of the marketing executives and editors are high fiving each other backstage. I talk about the end of my role as a lemming here:

  19. Chrissy says:

    @Violina23- you hit the nail in the head. I am an AP parent, because it works for ME and MY BABY. And that Time cover and article enraged me. It made it seem as if AP parents push the philosophy unto others, we are psychos, and don’t respect other parenting styles. Do I secretly judge and think “that’s not how I would do it”? Of course! Everyone does! But I would never dream of telling another parent how to do their job. Whatever works for u, as long as there’s love. That’s the key to every pareting style.

  20. Catherine Brockette says:

    Great POV. I bottle fed too. I was looked down on by the Pediatrician. Needless to say, we switched. My daughter had thrush, so it was a bit rough. She got some breast milk, then I had to supplement. When we moved to the bottle it was a loving experience b/c I wasn’t in pain, so she could relax. People need to chill out. There is no ONE way to raise a child. They are all different and so are we. Although that TIME photo does creep me out. How old is that kid? 28?

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