Friday, May 25, 2012

balance: it takes work

I believe a lot of us think of balance as letting go. To go with the flow more. And not work so hard. Stop striving towards the impossible goal of fitting it all in. Let go of perfectionism. (I too have been thinking in these terms). However, last week, I came to another conclusion. — Achieving and maintaining a sense of balance takes work. Real, hard work.

It's like in yoga. When you practice a challenging balance post, you have to muster all your core strength and mindfulness not to fall out of the pose. Balance is hard to attain and it's easy to fall out of. But in yoga, if you fall out of the pose, the idea is to always enter the balancing pose again before moving on to the next pose.

Monday, May 21, 2012

why we must normalize, not hyper-sexualize breastfeeding

With the lingering effects of the controversial Time cover that has a mom and her nursing son gaze at a voyeuristic (and thereby sexualizing) camera, I am re-posting a post that I wrote a while back in response to the hype around a European baby doll made specifically to teach little girls about breastfeeding. Writing against the negative sexualizing of breastfeeding, I also address the healthy sexual aspects of breastfeeding and our bodily functions. And the need to normalize breasts and breastfeeding in our culture, also by teaching young girls about it.

little girls need to learn to breastfeed  
Reading a post about a European Breast Milk Baby toy coming to the U.S. had me thinking about the unfortunate hysteria that lingers around breasts in this culture that apparently obsesses about the female sex while bemoaning it. Think for instance of the public outrage Janet Jackson’s now historic naked breast during the Super Bowl halftime show caused, which had Europeans shrugging their shoulders incredulously. Or nursing tents used to cover up the breast (and pretty much all of baby) while mama nurses.

I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding, and my toddler daughter (whom I still nurse) will often pull up her shirt to "nurse" her baby dolls. I would not invest in $89 to purchase a specific doll for her to pretend nurse, but I think the concept is interesting. The (small Spanish family owned and Christian) manufacturer of this novelty toy claims that “little girls need to learn to breastfeed.” While this may sound preposterous, I actually agree that this is the case for American girls where breastfeeding is not sufficiently supported.

Friday, May 11, 2012

quizzical mama's feminist vision at the mamafesto

Quizzical mama aka Anne G. Sabo
I was proud to be featured at The Mamafesto's "This Is What A Feminist Looks Like" series this week. In case you missed it, here's a link to it. And below is a brief excerpt.

At least here in the US, I see working for more comprehensive, paid parental leave as one of the most pressing items on the agenda for feminism. With only 6 to 12 weeks of maternity leave, many new moms opt to sacrifice their careers to stay home with their children, and for good reasons too, breastfeeding being one of them. This pattern will continue to reinforce traditional gender roles to the detriment of women and men. Cut to Norway, where political groups are now lobbing for an even more equal division of the one-year parental leave between the parents, lest the women lag behind in the workforce in terms of promotion and retirement plans.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

french parenting is not for me

Pamela Druckerman: wannabe French
I got interested in Pamela Druckerman's memoir Bringing up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting based on a couple of reviews that suggested I had some things in common with French moms. As it turns out, we got just about nothing in common. Nor do I care much for their approach to parenting.

Druckerman, on the other hand, does. Druckerman is practically drooling in awe over French moms' approach to parenting, from how they get their kids to sleep, eat, and behave so well, to their attention to adult time and sassy looks.

Of course, all these things sound great. But then take a minute to pause as Druckerman learns to do the French way with her children and consider this: practicing the pause in terms of (not) checking on their babies when they are learning to "do their nights" when only a few days or weeks old (and at least by three months) is the same as Ferberizing or even crying it out at a very young age. It only has a different name and since "everyone" in France practices it, nobody worries about it either.
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