After reading this and other articles about Gina Ford’s latest book, I’ve thought hard about where Ms Ford might be coming from, and have to come to the conclusion that she simply wants parents to pretend they don’t have babies. Just try to forget about them.
Clearly this must be the overall view of a woman who advises us to ignore our baby’s cries, have nights out away from them when they’re just a few weeks old, don’t talk about them, and don’t let them affect our sex life. Just act like nothing’s happened really.
This seems a very strange attitude. Dare I be so bold as to wonder why one would have a baby if one wishes to pretend it doesn’t exist, or at least, behave as much as possible as if it doesn’t exist? Extraordinary.
Yet Ford is popular. Parents are either unaware of the evidence and research that warns us in no uncertain terms against such methods as controlled crying, and are fooled by the apparent success of these methods, since any damage done is neither visible nor immediately apparent, or they are buying into the notion that you can ‘have it all’; that you can have a baby and still keep all the things in your life the same. Here, Ford tells many parents what they want to hear.
The problem is that life just isn’t the same after you have a baby. It will never be the same again. And trying to make it the same not only means we’ll be fighting a losing battle (not a good recipe for being ‘contented’ I’d say), but we’ll be putting our own needs before that of our baby.
OK, OK, there is no perfect mother, we all have to put ourselves first at times, there has to be a balance, we can’t parent if we’re a mess etc etc, but to say Gina Ford takes this too far really is an understatement.
It is quite natural for parents to seek help and support and to want to do things ‘right’, and the simple fact of Ford’s reputation is enough for unsuspecting parents to feel they must live up to the standards set out in her books, to doubt their own instincts, and trust in this seemingly wiser philosophy. But parents deserve better than this. They deserve real support, help and information, from real experts, not childless celebrities more interested in success and popularity than in what’s best for children.
Gina Ford gives childcare writers a bad name. This might seem like a contradiction after I have just made reference to how influential Ford’s reputation makes her, but what I mean by this is that parents who are aware of the issues associated with Ford’s methods push her books aside, and too often push all other parenting books aside with them, having drawn the conclusion that parenting books are bad, throwing the baby out with the bath water as it were. I have heard this sentiment expressed numerous times, and this is a great loss for parents.
I know how much fantastic literature there is out there and the huge, positive difference it has made to my own parenting. Shame on Gina Ford, not just for her bogus advice, but for frightening off parents who are reaching out for genuine help and support.