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Mommy wars...very much in the news.

I have never really dwelled much on the external and internal ‘mommy wars’ that most of us moms experience daily.

Though lately, these ongoing cold wars have been hard to ignore.

In the past couple of weeks SAHM(stay at home moms) were criticized when Mitt Romney‘s wife came under fire for being a SAH privileged mother who could not relate to working moms, who were in the workforce because they had bills which they could not pay if they did not work.

SAHM are accused of not working…or at least not balancing a job outside the home. Working mothers are seen as more fiscally aware. It is women against women in this seemingly never ending battle.

This is not the only ongoing ‘mommy war’.

There are several other mommy wars being waged… the breastfeeding moms vs. the formula feeding moms…the attached moms vs. the not so attached moms…the cry it out sleep training moms v.s the co-sleeping moms …women against women.

If these wars aren’t enough, now there is a book on the real and virtual shelves examining another woman’s war.

It is the internal war that moms face in the age of too much information and the pressure bombarded upon themselves from all that information.

It seems moms are warring with each other trying to be  “natural” mothers …cloth diapers, elimination communication, breast-feeding until their child is in school and so on. These moms seem to be warring within themselves as well… the natural mom vs. the feminist mom.

” If we absorb a message that to breastfeed on demand, to protect one’s children from all dubious chemical exposures, and to take on full responsibility for their physical and psychological health at all times are crucial to our children’s well-being, then does that message also push women away from the work force, and back into the realm of home and family?

Motherlode Book Club: Elisabeth Badinters The Conflict. Has Motherhood Replaced Sexism in Oppressing Women? – NYTimes.com.

It is the war to end all wars, the one ‘to have everything and do everything not just well but perfectly well’.

Elisabeth Badinter’s book, “The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women,” is guaranteed to feed that fire. Not only does she believe that the best course of action for any woman, no matter what her maternal status, is to stay in the work force, but she also argues that the women who have chosen to do otherwise have essentially been sold a bill of goods.Influenced and deceived by the modern natural-parenting movement — with its labor-intensive breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and requirement that infants be properly stimulated and nurtured at all times — mothers “choose” to stay home because if they do not, they cannot meet the standards of this new ideal.

via Motherlode Book Club: Elisabeth Badinters The Conflict. Has Motherhood Replaced Sexism in Oppressing Women? – NYTimes.com.

One of the worst failures of feminism has been its tendency to alienate men. Ms. Badinter sees men as the victors and women as the victims of this trend, but women are the perpetrators and both mothers and fathers are losers.

via Book Review: The Conflict – WSJ.com.

Are we mothers and women so conflicted about our roles that we are victims of our own internal war?

Are we being undermined by Modern Motherhood?

I am one of those  women who tried to have it all…I thought as a nurse I would be able to accomplish this because I would always be employable. For numerous reasons that was the case … due to relocating three times, caring for my own family…caring for my elderly mother, and caring for my own health needs. Reasons beyond my control took me out of the workforce on and off for the last thirty years.

I was also not a warrior feminist. I fully supported women’s rights but not to the point of alienating men.

I worked primarily with physicians, who were mostly men in the early 70’s. In fact I married one, whom I met in the workplace. It was a different world at that time in NYC.

Fortunately, back in my day…in the NYC academic hospital settings nurses and doctors were encouraged to work in a collegial atmosphere so it was not necessary, at least in my eyes, to draw territorial lines and assert myself as a feminist. It was simple…I needed to be the best professional nurse I could be and respect in the workplace followed.

Now I know this was not the case for most other women in the workplace at that time…I did not have to look far to find women who were suffering. My mother was a single parent and never experienced equality in the workplace…which was one of the deciding factors in my decision to become a Bachelor’s degree prepared nurse at a time when they were few and far between.

I was very young…our country was at war (Vietnam) and there were anti-war protests everywhere…it was a time when you had to pick your battles.

Today the ‘mommy wars’ disturb me immensely because I see women fighting among themselves and thus weakening what could be a very strong alliance. I guess I am older and hopefully somewhat wiser.

Can we not as women accept other women’s choices and focus on the real issues at hand?

Wouldn’t a change in attitude serve our children just as well and enable us all to be ‘natural moms’ and feminists in one way or another?

Just some thoughts…

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Today is my birthday…I have learned so much in my life and there is so much more to learn.

As I reflect back…there are things that I would have wanted to know before I had kids.

But I can’t lie, in many ways I am glad that I had to learn through experience and by sharing with my mother and by remembering the ways that my grandmother dealt with parenting issues since she was my ‘mom’ when my own mother was working.

Anyway, I post this today in celebration and thank you to all who have made this a Happy Birthday!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Having Kids | The Stir.

I read the above post today and I really did not enjoy it…maybe it was the language that was used ….perhaps, it was just that I did not relate to what this mom had to say at least, not in the way that she chose to say it.

What I can relate to, is the fact that looking back there is plenty that I personally wish I had known before having kids of my own.

But then again…may be knowing too much would have take away some of the joys that come with learning new things too late to use them in your own life but not too late to use these nuggets of knowledge with your grandchildren.

Here is my list of “Wish I Had Known…”

  • Having a baby would change my life forever and ever…for me this was a good change.
  • Two children are more than double one and three is exponentially more than three and so on….
  • Two babies in diapers is TWO in diapers ….two in diapers cannot be that difficult is not a true statement.
  • Having kids close in age  is not necessarily  better…they will not necessarily be very close to each other nor friends.
  • Children are all different when it comes to toilet training
  • You can help your children to self-soothe themselves to sleep.
  • You should not establish a bedtime habit with your kids that you won’t want to continue until they graduate from high school.
  • You do not need to carry around guilt for a lifetime if you did not breast feed.
  • Pregnancies and deliveries are all different …
  • There are really good reasons to have to have a c-section.
  • Temper tantrums can be diffused…read “The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.
  • Do not be the one to hold your child when they get ‘shots’ or any invasive procedures…be present only as support for hugs  and kisses afterwards.

to be continued….

I could go on indefinitely.

However, the more I learn makes me realize how ‘simple’ my life was 30 years ago without the internet. It makes me appreciate the importance of my own mother’s understanding and help.

It was enough knowledge then…it had to be…

What things do you wish you had known before having kids?

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http://thefeministbreeder.com/judging-moms-may-be-good-for-your-traffic-but-its-bad-for-your-feminism/

Titles are everything in the blogosphere …it can make a major difference in whether your post gets a “click” or not.

I had to click on the above post…the title caught me and here is what I thought about what I read…

The post was about feminism and the judging of moms which is rampant in the mom blogger arena. The mom judging is sometimes beyond a discussion…it can be an assault which in my opinion is very unprofessional, in addition to being unpleasant to read. This type of post puts me on the defensive…even to the point of wanting to defend the person or persons being attacked. I literally have to stop reading and refocus at times to not take sides until after finishing a post.

In the end, The Feminist Breeder certainly shredded a fellow writer’s post to make her point…I am not sure that her harshness was absolutely necessary to create a discussion on the hot topic. Her points were valid but focusing primarily on one feminist blogger did nothing for me coming over to her viewpoint.

I do not see any of this going away soon…in general, it seems that readers and watchers like cat fighting, it is like blog bullying with no real reasons behind the assaults or criticisms.

Here is the link to the post in this discussion…http://thefeministbreeder.com/judging-moms-may-be-good-for-your-traffic-but-its-bad-for-your-feminism/

I would love to know what you think about blog bullying, assaults and attacks on bloggers by fellow bloggers.

Do you think assaults are necessary in some cases?

OR

Are critical evaluations enough to generate good discussion?

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Recently, one of my tweets, was from a mom of three  who announced that NYC where she lives was in a way calmer than visiting her hometown in Northern California with her three young kids.

Now there were probably more reasons for this statement than I realized but I tried to understand what she meant through my own eyes and my own life experience as a mom and now a grandmother.

I grew up in a city of 300,000 just outside of NYC…sometimes it felt like just an extension of Manhattan and the Bronx… trains, buses, trolleys, subways, we walked to the grocery store or had groceries delivered…we walked to school and church…we walked and played in parks, visited a museum within walking distance of our apartment which also, to our delight, had a planetarium.  Although we had a car…we only had to use it to actually leave the city to visit relatives in the country.

We were apartment dwellers…2 bedrooms with a view of the Hudson River and the Palisade Mountains…we shared bedrooms and had a postage stamp of a kitchen out of which came all our meals…never take-out… there was one tiny bathroom, a living room and dinette.

Life was simple…clutter was a minimum…saving stuff was impossible…closets were shared so we had what we needed but not too much more. Food was bought every day…storage was limited.

After 30 years in New York with a four year college stay in Washington, D.C.…I moved with husband and my own family to the “country”. I had never ever lived in a house…what was a washing machine that was not coin-operated…where was the garbage chute? More importantly, where or where was the handyman when I needed one if not on the other end of the phone or an elevator ride away? Life was SO different…

Life in the suburbs or country with kids entails a myriad of stuff, more than a stroller…which in the city sometimes doubled as a laundry and grocery cart. Now we had cars…with car seats and loads of trunk space to fill with groceries and loads of kitchen space to store all the extras bought at the bountiful super giant food store….we had Walmart and now Costco…oh… but now after many years in the burbs our house now resembles Costco as we have filled every crevice, closet and corner with large sizes of everything.

Yes, I mean everything we could possibly need… only not to be able to find it when we do finally need it.

When our kids were young they slept in our bedroom many nights…I guess it was kind of like co-sleeping, back in the day. They usually made their way to the floor of our room with their pillows and blankets due to bad dreams or thunder storms. We could have saved a lot of money if we had only known that a two bedroom apartment was all we really needed back then.

Of course in the burbs it was impossible to walk anywhere…we drove our girls to school and everywhere else…no public transportation for them even if it was available…not even a school bus. After all no one else walked anywhere.

I think you can get the picture…country mice with a home filled with stuff, who forgot how to walk anywhere, bikes, scooters, and their own cars to drive to school when they got old enough. Suburban spoiled…

Often, I longed for a more simple life…less space to lose stuff … windows that had a cityscape view…people walking, horns honking, public transportation, cabs, little restaurants around the corner, small grocers where I would not be tempted to buy things I did not need and where nothing was so huge I could not carry it home.

For my kids…I longed for them to be able to walk to places like museums, stores, even to school if possible. As young children I would have enjoyed the city parks with them… I longed for Central Park… which was my idea of country in the middle of one of the best cities in the world.

Now, I long for a much smaller park like the one off of Lake Shore Drive a short walk from Water Tower in Chicago and the Oak St. Beach. I long to share my city life love with my granddaughter.

In my own way, I understand what my Twitter mom was tweeting…when she essentially said her NY city life was more calm than her week in the suburbs with her kids.

This City Mouse will hopefully return to city dwelling sooner than later…a little  lot older and wiser than she was when she was last an urbanite with much less stuff than she had as a suburbanite.

In the meantime…these stories come to mind.

via The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In the original tale, a proud town mouse visits a friend or relation in the country. The country mouse offers the city mouse a meal of simple country foods, at which the visitor scoffs and invites the country mouse back to the city for a taste of the “fine life”. But their rich city meal is interrupted by a couple of dogs which force the mice to abandon their feast and scurry to safety. After this, the country mouse decides to return home, preferring security to plenty or, as the 13th-century preacher Odo of Cheriton phrased it, “Id rather gnaw a bean than be gnawed by continual fear”.[2]

Beatrix Potter retold the story in The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918). In this she inverted the order of the visits, with the country mouse going to the city first, being frightened by a cat and disliking the food. Returning the visit later, the town mouse is frightened of the rain, the lawnmower and the danger of being stepped on by cows. The story concludes with the reflection that tastes differ. A segment from the tale was incorporated into the children’s ballet film The Tales of Beatrix Potter, danced by the Royal Ballet with choreography by Frederick Ashton (1971). The ballet was subsequently performed onstage in 1992 and 2007.

Are you a country or city mouse?

If you have children, where do you want to live and raise them?  Why?

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Chilling…

Relaxing is something that I have had to learn to do over the years as parent. It isn’t easy for me to stop and smell the roses.

It has taken me forever to find something that relaxes and takes my attention away from all of the things that need to get done at any given moment in time.

Actually, it is not one thing that I have found…it is several things…the beach, a view of the water, yoga, knitting, breathing are a few of my favorite things.

It is hard to find a favorite thing while I am in my own home in suburban Chicago….I do not have a water view…but I do have my breath, a yoga mat and knitting needles filled with unfinished sweaters, scarves and hats. It is finding the discipline to get off the treadmill of life and relax a bit.

How many of you have this same situation?…

What do you do to carve out a few minutes of peace and quiet?

What are some of the relaxing things you enjoy?

Do you have a favorite picture that you imagine when you want to go somewhere to relax?

"Martha's Vineyard"

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It has been years  decades actually since I became a mom.

As a nurse, it seems that I was overwhelmingly  aware of various symptoms for which I should contact my doctor during pregnancy and in general.

Admittedly, it is nice having a medical background but it has some disadvantages, like  knowing just a little too much and thinking the worst when a symptom appears…so it is ALWAYS better to check with your medical professional.

If you develop any one of the symptoms like the ones in the list below, a visit to the doctor would be advised.

But do your homework before you arrive for your doctor’s appointment so that you can get the most out of it and come away with an understanding of your symptoms and a plan to diagnose and relieve them.

A doctor’s visit is an anxious event and for me it is no different.

I have had my share of medical issues for which the ultimate diagnosis and plan resulted in open-heart surgery and a Mitral Valve repair.

When it comes to medical appointments I go prepared with questions and I come away with answers and a written plan with the help of a pad and pencil.

Here is a list of health symptoms that no one should ignore especially moms, (we tend to care for everyone but ourselves).

These are a few symptoms that could be easy to correct or they could actually indicate that you might need some serious interventions.

In general, a young, healthy mom will probably need more sleep, some vitamins, diet adjustments and exercise. But in some cases if you have diabetes or thyroid problems, more treatment will be indicated.

Have a look at this link and don’t have a panic attack if you have any of the symptoms…don’t look up all info on Google…just make an appointment with your physician.

If you don’t have a doctor…now is the time to get one.

9 Health Symptoms Moms Shouldnt Ignore – Parenting.com.

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Dear Friend…

CANCER SUCKS!

this week our dear, elderly neighbor with recurrent cancer

made the lonely decision to end his life.

since hearing this very sad news,

intermittent thoughts of him continue to come to mind

I feel pain for his loneliness and suffering.

I feel sorrow for his wife, children and grandchildren that are left behind.

I feel we in medicine somehow failed him

by not realizing how afraid he was,

how affected he was by his cancer diagnosis

as it reared its ugly head again,

after seemingly being beaten back by chemo.

he did not see any relief from the pain

only the eventual outcome

death, in small steps.

he wanted a say over the when and where…

had he only known another way

to relieve his pain…

he might have chosen it.

I am praying for our friend and his family…

without him, life will never be the same but it can still be good…

as husband, dad and grandpa

he would want it that way.

RIP dear friend…

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