Thursday, May 20, 2010
I should be barefoot, pregnant and tied to the kitchen sink. Or, as they say here in Germany, "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" (children, kitchen, church). I should spend my entire day, every day, gazing adoringly into the eyes of my children. Or so they say.
In my post on 50 reasons for breastfeeding anytime, anywhere, jenny said:
People make snarky comments about all sorts of behaviors that go on in public it’s not just BFing. You’re not singled out victims. Getting SO wrapped up in this issue just seems like time you could be spending bonding with and feeding your beautiful child.
When I wrote about the sodium levels in Nestle's Stouffer brand food, a Concerned Citizen wrote:
And the bigger question I have heard the parenting community ask is, “How does she have time to take care of her kids and spend quality time when she spend ALL HER TIME on her blog and answering tweets.” I think a call to the equivalent Child Protective Services in Canada is in order. This behavior is NO BETTER than the Octomom or Kate (of Jon & Kate plus 8 ) of the US.
I only hope you take a hard look at yourself and realize the values you are sadly exposing your children too. Kids mirror their parents and I would hope you want more for your children than someone who presents herself falsely to the community and spends ENDLESS hours attacking others. Really? Take a few lessons from Mahatma Gandhi, although I am sure you would attack him too.
Do better, so your kids will know better. You reap what you sow…..
Later, on a my post called Nestle Answers: Canada being a signatory to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes means nothing, the same Concerned Citizen wrote:
Wow. You really need to focus on making the world a better place. Try volunteerism… peace.. you might like it!
Ah yes...because blogging has nothing to do with making the world a better place or volunteerism. And then there was Maggie, who thought I should be trying to solve the homelessness problem:
I’ve been around long enough to understand that breast-feeding can be done without flashing your breasts to everyone else around you. So why has this become such an issue, do you really have nothing else better to do but bitch and complain that not everyone else in the world wants to see your breasts? I agree that it is a natural beautiful thing but I would hope that if you have children then you are adult enough to understand that there are differences in what people are comfortable with, and that you would at least have the decency to respect that. Grow up and quit making such a big deal out of nothing. If you guys made such a big deal out of something that actually mattered, like how solve the homelessness problem then it would have been solved by now.
So I told Maggie a little bit about the homelessness problem.
I could find more examples of comments like these, I'm sure...but I should probably go and stare at my sleeping children or mop the kitchen floor or something right now.
Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I'm a huge proponent of attachment parenting. I believe that the bond between a child and her parents is essential. But I also believe that women in general, and mothers in particular, have an important role to play in shaping our world and in changing it for the better. From that perspective, I'm always perplexed and amused, but also annoyed, when I get a comment saying that if I am spending time doing advocacy work or writing articles to help other mothers, that I must be neglecting my children.
This is ridiculous because:
- My children (and everyone else's children) are the ones I'm doing the advocacy work for.
- My children do not need my undivided attention 24/7 (and if they did, I would never survive). They sleep. They spend time with other loved ones. They occasionally even entertain themselves. I know, I should probably be knitting them sweaters, ironing their underwear, and baking fresh bread every evening. But I'm not. How awful.
- I want to be a role model for my children. I want them to observe how I balance family, work, volunteering (yes, advocacy is volunteer work), and me time. I want them to be proud of my accomplishments and also to learn about the importance of balance in life.
- Society needs mothers, who are often caring for three generations, to speak up about the issues that are important to them. If they do not, our world will continue to be about the issues of middle aged white males, rather than about the issues of our women, children, seniors, people with disabilities, and more. The voices of mothers can help restore balance in society.
- Giving birth did not turn off my brain. I have opinions and I am going to share them with the world.
To those commenters who do not think I should share my opinion with the world, I will say the same thing I say to those who don't think women should breastfeed in public: It is your problem, not my problem. If you don't like what you see, look away. Because I'm going to keep on exercising my rights. That said, feel free to disagree with me. I'm happy to debate and discuss as long as it is done civilly. But pulling the "shouldn't you be with your kids instead" card when you've run out of other things to say is just plain ridiculous.
Image credit: stobor on flickr