Keep Your Comments Off My Baby I related so much to this article by Kate Fridkis from Salon. It discusses a lot of the same ambivalence I feel about putting anything about my child online. I’m so nervous about holding myself out to be judged like that because somehow being called a bad mother is worse than just about any name I can think of. There are a lot of lines here I could have written myself. But Fridkis is right: all parents need to have a thick skin for criticism, and learn to ignore the voices that aren’t helpful. Sharing stories online is a way to find support while growing that thick skin.
How Becoming a Parent Amped Up My Feminism Molly of First the Egg articulates so well how having a child can make you more aware of gender issues because “being visibly pregnant invites the whole world to treat you like a big walking uterus.” (Not looking forward to that stage of pregnancy; so far I love “passing” for a non-breeder.) I love how she reconciles a deep appreciation of the power of a woman’s body with a complete rejection of the idea that a woman’s entire purpose in life is to have children.
Another old article from the same blog, Breastfeeding, Sexism, and Feminism, reminded me of when I read and reviewed The Conflict. Molly and I reached some of the same conclusions about judgement and how families should be able to choose freely between breast-feeding and formula. Molly has a view of the broader context, though, that I didn’t have back in May. She points out that “if the act of breastfeeding can feel oppressive in our society, then there are obviously problems in how our institutions and culture treat breasts, parenting, work, domestic responsibilities, children, sexuality, and the public/private dichotomy.”
As I mentioned a while ago, I am planning on breastfeeding, but primarily for its benefits to me, especially my waistline and my bank account. I am not sure if, absent these benefits, I could summon the determination to do something so time-consuming and potentially painful for the sake of miniscule health benefits for my baby, especially since I’ll probably encounter resistance from our dysfunctional culture and institutions. As my essay from yesterday on Musings makes clear, I’m wary of making excessive sacrifices and embracing martyrdom for the sake of being a perfect mother. Molly discusses how incredibly positive an experience breastfeeding was for her, but I think if I set my expectations that high, I would be setting myself up for disappointment. I’ll give it my best shot, and if it doesn’t work out, then God help anyone who tries to guilt-trip me about it.
I haven’t read mom blogs very extensively yet, but I think my favorite one so far is Scary Mommy. I love the Scary Mommy Manifesto, which emphasizes non-judgement, non-competition, humility, self-acceptance, and a sense of humor. If all mothers lived according to these wise words, we’d have a true and lasting peace in the mommy wars.