In case you haven’t heard, Mayim Hoya Bialik, the former child star of Blossom and current co-star of The Big Bang Theory is really into attachment parenting. She took time off from acting and earned her Phd in neuroscience and then she wrote a book espousing the benefits of attachment parenting after she had her two sons, born in 2005 and 2008. Never mind that there is zero proof that attachment parenting produces perfectly functioning and healthy children (as opposed to those who don’t don’t use AP methods) Bialik uses her degree to purport that “intellectually” attachment parenting makes sense.
So, co-sleeping, breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding, home birthing, baby wearing, toy banning (what a kill-joy), diaper banning and gentle, child led discipline is the method for “intellectually” superior folks.
What I find so hypocritical is that Bialik claims that she was less of a mother when she followed a rigid, traditional style of parenting and how baby wearing, co-sleeping and breastfeeding for 20 years (okay, I exaggerate) created the cohesive family unit and zen she was looking for. Good for her, but it’s still a rigid path. It’s a narrow, self aggrandizing, subjective viewpoint which is totally unproven.
Letting your baby, toddler and child determine how to raise themselves, eating only organic food and breastfeeding for 20 years and letting kids shit wherever they want is just as much of a plan as not doing those things.
It’s like, what’s your plan?
That’s your plan? “Nothing?”
Okay, so I guess your plan is nothing.
But that’s not even why I’m writing this today.
I’m writing this because I saw a story on Bialik and about how she’s going back to work on The Big Bang Theory which made me wonder how long she’s been at that. (I don’t watch the show.) Apparently, she’s been working outside the home on this show and many others since at least 2009. Her second son was born in 2008, so that means, gasp, that Bialik didn’t have her sons attached to her 24/7.
I don’t know what it is exactly, but the bitch really annoys me.
I mean really, who cares what Blossom thinks. Who cares about Blossom’s parenting methods? Why is her life any more interesting or credible than anybody elses?
I think I’d much rather be in Team Heather McDonald (comedian) than Team Blossom anyway.
McDonald recently said in a New York Times article:
“Being a mother is part of who you are, but it should not be all of who you are. There is no parenting secret that ensures that your children will grow up and be successful adults. So why would you want to sacrifice your career, your financial security and oftentimes your happiness all in the name of motherhood? To me that is putting all your eggs in one basket, pun intended.
No, I did not breastfeed, make organic baby food or co-sleep with my children. I instead slept with their father, and I am still happily married to him today.”
The latest round of the current stay-at-home-mom vs. working mother debate has been refueled. The latest mom choice scrutiny can be attributed to Hilary Rosen, a Democratic political analyst at CNN. Last week, Rosen said that Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, has “never worked a day in her life.”
The comment left pundits on the right side of the aisle reeling and some on the left side a little embarrassed. Fox News has been beating the drum of the under-appreciated and persecuted stay-at-home-moms as a way to sway the public towards their ideological divide, claiming the comment was hurtful, insulting and elitist.
Ann Romney, who raised five children, battled cancer and Multiple Sclerosis, came out in the spirit of her husband’s rival by following the mantra that one never lets a serious crisis go to waste, responded via Twitter, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Rosen later apologized, but the political firestorm ensued.
To me, the debate is silly. Dare I say I agree with Bill Maher on the subject and agree that the outrage is completely manufactured.
I have done both. I stayed home with my kids through their infancies, but longed to go back to work. For me, I didn’t particularly enjoy staying home with my kids. For me, it was rife with enslavement and drudgery. I could only stack blocks for so many hours before I wanted to put a skewer in my ear and out the other end. I found it boring, tedious and under-stimulating.
It’s not to say that I didn’t love witnessing their first steps and feeding them and holding them. But something was missing from my soul as I wasted away in solitude, watching Caillou and pacing with a crying baby, trying to find what it is that he wanted. I felt like my brain was slowly withering.
There are pluses and minuses to both choices, although some choices are more forced than others, influenced by a family’s dynamic, education level, career choice and financial situation.
To me, staying home with children is mostly considered a privilege. And if you love it and you’re good at it, then a family can reap the rewards and benefits from having a parent around 24/7. And make no mistake, it is hard work. As stay at home moms like to point out, they never get a break.
After I went back to work, I used to joke that I went to work to rest.
But working outside the home presents another unique set of challenges and physical exertion that neither side has a monopoly on. Surprisingly, I find that many stay-at-home-moms suffer from self confidence issues and need working moms to validate their choice when it shouldn’t be that way. A homemaker doesn’t need any outside validation. Anybody who doesn’t think that staying home with young children is back-breaking work needs to get their head examined, but on the other side of the debate, anybody who doesn’t think that a working mom has her work cut out for her and works equally as hard, also needs to get their head examined.
When you work outside the home, not only are you dealing with pressures from bosses and companies to make things happen, but your motherhood responsibility doesn’t simply go away. Your responsibilities double. Not only do you have to get up at the butt crack of dawn, put on makeup and uncomfortable clothing, but you have to put out fires in the workplace all day and come home to a host of house management responsibilities — cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, going to sports games and parent/teacher conferences. If you have a helpful husband, as I do, this makes it much easier, but it’s still overly demanding.
Staying at home has a lot of fringe benefits. You can wear what you want, set your own schedule and go to the Zoo on Tuesday if you want and you don’t need an advanced degree to do it! I don’t say that as a criticism, but some women don’t want to go to college and decide they want to be CEO of their households instead. I’d compare it more like a work at home job. Most people would see that as a rare opportunity, while others feel more productive in a structured office environment.
I guess the difficulty level is largely based on your unique situation and your support structure.
So, do I feel sorry for Ann Romney who likely had a lot of help during her homemaker years? I would imagine, hired help. No, I don’t.
Do I feel sorry for the working mom who has quality child-care and a supportive husband? Not so much.
Do I feel sorry for the single mom who has to work full time and take care of kids? Yes. Sorry moms, if it’s a contest, she wins.
My 9 year-old daughter had a friend over the other day and they were playing in her bedroom with the door open. They had put on dress up clothes (one in a Can-Can dress and the other in a dress like Quasimodo’s Esmeralda, which kind of freaked me out since they were costumes from the same period and region, coincidentally). They applied play make-up in the way that little girls do (meaning they looked exactly like a Can-Can dancer and Esmeralda). Then they pulled out dolls and started to play.
Listening from the other room, while folding laundry, I got the gist of their play. They were both mommies and had quadruplets (obviously conceived via IVF since there was never any mention of a father), and they were both career women. One worked from home and one worked out of the home. That they decided right away, and then matched careers to both positions. After they had that settled, they superficially bickered a little over the pros and cons of each:
“You don’t have to get up early and leave the house if you work at home.”
“But, I do have to get up and get work done before the babies wake up.”
“You get to eat lunch out if you go to work in an office, and when you come home, your work is all done for the day.”
“But, I have to hurry to get all my work done at work before I leave, and then I have to drive all the way home in rush hour traffic. And you get to be with the babies all day.”
And so on. In the end, they were both satisfied that neither had a better job or working condition. For third graders, I was pretty impressed at the way they already viewed the world, as something malleable and negotiable. They knew there were options open to them, in marriage, family and career. And, they dressed however the hell they wanted.
When I was a little girl and played house, it was always so rigid and formulaic. One was the mom and one was the dad. Mom stayed home with the one (or two) babies, and dad went to work. Mom did laundry, cooked meals and played with the babies. Dad went around the corner and stood there until the little girl pretending to be him figured enough time had passed and she could go back to the “house” and announce she was home and have dinner served on play dishes. The kid who played dad certainly never identified a career choice or discussed options with the mom, nor did the kid pretend to do any sort of job after kissing the mom goodbye and clomping off to work. Dads were obviously very mysterious to us, and Moms were just housewives. Funny thing was, in my circle, none of our actual mothers were actual housewives. My dad was a CPA though, which was and still is pretty mysterious to me.
Listening to the little girls play in the next room, I realized that their liberation will benefit the boys, too. These little girls expect domestic partnership, friendship and balance when they grow up and have their own families. The needs of both spouses will be addressed, heard and nurtured. The children involved will be valued and cared for. I was rather proud to witness this snippet of casual (and certainly unbeknownst to them) feminism occurring in a random suburban Midwestern house on a random weekend.
Let me start off by saying a loud, resounding, “YES!”
What a brilliant shirt. What a brilliant message.
I may have a son, but I have what feels like 6,789 nieces. Finding gifts for them for Christmas, birthdays or whatever presents somewhat of a challenge since I refuse to purchase anything with the words “Diva,” “Princess,” “Lil’ Darling,” or “Drama Queen.” Yesterday I saw a pair of sweatpants which said “Bootylicious” across the butt. They were size 18 months. I also refuse to buy anything even remotely related to those Bratz dolls which resemble child prositutes.
Now, I’m not someone who generally reads too much into things. I’m pretty selective about the battles I choose and arguing with people about the fashion choices for gradeschoolers isn’t something I generally engage. I mean, I could go on and on about how difficult it is to find a basic pair of jeans for a little girl that don’t have beads, sequins or ribbons attached to them. Or, I could ramble on about the messages of Disney movies (i.e. Sleeping Beauty snoozing away until the perfect man rescues her and the Little Mermaid giving up her voice to have a chance to meet some good-looking dude) and I could prognosticate about the horrors of Barbies, but truth be told, I wouldn’t forbid my daughter to play with or watch any of those things. I think, tempered with the wisdom of an informed parent, Cinderella and her posse and even evil Barbie, are probably OK.
The hardest issue for me to swallow is the almost complete lack of an opposing viewpoint. Where are the cartoons where the princess rebuffs the handsome prince and opens her own 401K and starts a small business? Or, the Barney songs about, “First you get a college degree/Then you work for awhile/Only then, my friend, can you even think about getting married/”
Someday, if I have a daughter, you can bet your ass I’ll be dressing her in those shirts. If I don’t have one, I’ll at least be drilling into my son’s head that he should want to end up with a “Doctor” rather than a “Diva.”
The new film Knocked Up, written and directed by Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), is getting rave reviews from movie critics but an apparent thumbs down from some in another group — feminists. Why? Because of the basic premise — a successful woman (Katherine Heigl) gets “knocked up” by a lumpy loser (Seth Rogen) during a one-night stand, and instead of rushing down to Planned Parenthood, she decides to keep the baby. That’s it, that’s the big beef, that there apparently wasn’t any lengthy discussion of abortion. Linda Z, with WBAI Radio in New York, calls Knocked Up “right wing misogyny” (wait, I thought the liberals ran Hollywood — I’m so confused!) and says it drips with “not so hidden reactionary religious tones”.
There’s a more reasoned and less emotional discourse going on by Ann at Feministing about the film, saying that leaving out the abortion option is a “glaring omission”. Why? I’m staunchly pro-choice, but I don’t see why there should be some sort of obligation. While it’s maybe a valid point to make that Rogen and Heigl are acting a bit unrealistically, is that something to get worked up about? Doesn’t almost every romantic comedy made in the last 30 years have some ridiculous plot at its core? It’s not realistic that Julia Roberts would walk into a book store and fall in love with the guy behind the counter. It’s not realistic that Meg Ryan would dump her fiancé for some dope in Seattle that she heard on the radio. Can’t a movie just be fun and not tied to political correctness?
So why did the director choose to not address abortion? My first thought was that Apatow didn’t want to bring his light-hearted movie to a screeching halt (see also, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), or worse yet, feel the need to play up an abortion plot line for yuks. But the answer turns out to be even simpler — he just didn’t want to:
“[Keeping the baby] was the story I wanted to tell,” said Apatow. “I’m sure there are fascinating stories about people having abortions — ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High,’ one of my favorites, is about a girl having sex in high school and then having an abortion. I think both points of view [approaches to an unplanned pregnancy] are valid. But I wanted to make a movie about two people trying really hard to do the right thing.”
OK, so obviously Apatow disagrees with me on Fast Times, but the bottom line is I don’t care what awful social message the film supposedly has, it’s entertainment and escapism, not government propaganda — and if the rest of it is as funny as this R-rated international trailer, it’s sure to end up on my list of favorite films.
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