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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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Toast another Blog Tuesday

Reading is my passion as is learning from others and about others as they experience life as parents.

On a weekly basis, I discover new and worthwhile blogs. Recently, I came upon the words of Devon Corneal. I would like to introduce her blog to you with this post.

It is a poignant post about what it is like for her as she raises her son. She reveals her fears and her “aha moment” when she tries to understand why “Little Dude” is suddenly afraid of the dark.

I hope she illuminates some thoughts for you …as she did for me.

I would love to hear some of your own “ahas” .

Little Dude, my 4-year-old son, is afraid of the dark. For the first three years of his life, he slept like a rock in a pitch-black room with the door shut. For the past few months, though, he wants the room illuminated

via Devon Corneal: Shed a Little Light.

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Interesting reads of my week….enjoy.

I love taking pictures of all kinds of things…my favorite subjects are people especially babies. Babies are beautiful and photographing them with a telephoto lens can really capture some wonderful ‘shots’ without disturbing their moment. Here are some tips on photographing those tiny baby hands and feet….nothing cuter!

It’s an adorable way to share something precious and personal with your friends, family, and followers, especially if you haven’t published photos of your lil one’s face yet. Here are a few tips on getting a great shot of those tiny feet and hands to share on social media.

I don’t think I’m ready for finger pointing, and I’m starting to wonder — is sibling rivalry unavoidable? Are brothers destined to bicker with, resent, blame, ignore, irritate or annoy each other? Is fighting just part of the deal? Could it be that even having kids 12 years apart might not be enough to save us?

Remember the party hostess who warned me to not be sidelined by non-issues? Well she’s got to be feeling smug this week. You can’t listen to a newscast or read an item without an explosion of the Red versus Blue Mommy Wars.

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I’m a pediatric urologist, and here’s my response to the parents of Izabella Oniciuc, the famous potty-trained 6-month-old: I know you are excited about your precocious pooper, but watch your daughter closely, because she may be headed for trouble.

Potty training is and has always been a topic up for discussion…after potty training two girls of my own and helping with my granddaughter, I feel comfortable saying that each child is different.

My statement, that each child is different in and of itself, is not earth shattering, But if you deeply believe that every child is unique it is my opinion that potty training will viewed as more of a natural process without the pressure that some parents feel with all the well meaning advice that they read and hear.

I think that this particular article has a lot to say to parents about some of the ideas that are ‘floating’ around potty training.

“My son wasn’t trained until he was 3.5 and it just clicked. My daughter is 3 and is giving me a hard time, but I have a feeling it will be the same way. Rest assured, they will not be going off to school still wearing diapers, so I don’t push it. There are more important things in life to stress over.”

via Steve Hodges, M.D.: A Doctor Responds: Dont Potty Train Your Baby.

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Friday the 13th…are you superstitious?

Interesting reads of my week….enjoy.

Alicia Silverstone has defiantly defended her practice of re-feeding her 11-month-old baby son.

Ms Silverstone said she has no regrets about publicly portraying how she feeds Bear, her son with rock musician husband Chris Jarecki, even though many medical practitioners say it is unhygienic and can cause bacteria and viruses to be passed from mother to baby.

The Good Wife” of the Master’s Golf Tournament!  The dad dilemma over diapers and divots tournament…guess which of these won that match.

Interesting discussion about how sport celebs deal with parenthood and tournament schedules…their feelings on the subject of daddy dilemmas.

On March 28, Watson and his wife, Angie, announced that they had adopted a 1-month-old baby named Caleb. Suddenly, Watson found himself far, far more interested in being a new father than in returning to Augusta National. He told Angie that he wanted to come here later in the week, but she quickly shut that down. He said that she told him, “No, you need to come in here and practice like normal.”

How many habits can you say this about?

The habit of meditation is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever learned.Amazingly, it’s also one of the most simple habits to do — you can do it anywhere, any time, and it will always have immediate benefits.

Have a great weekend and if reading this in the U.S. don’t forget Monday is April 15th…taxes!

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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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The Hunger Games…I have not read the book …I have not seen the movie.

But I have read an excellent review on a website that seems to be a good find if you want to know how to keep pace with your children and their exposure to technology and media.

What parents need to know…Parents need to know that although the bestselling Hunger Games books are enormously popular with tweens, theres a clear distinction between reading about violence and seeing it portrayed on screen. Developmentally, the 10- to 12-year-olds whove read the book may find the movies visceral, sometimes bloody teen-on-teen violence upsetting — especially the brutal scene that opens the Games, in which several teens are slaughtered by their fellow contestants. Even young teens need to be mature enough to deal with the 20+ deaths in The Hunger Games; characters are viciously dispatched with various weapons — including spears, arrows, and swords — as well as by having their necks broken, their skulls cracked, and their bodies ravaged by carnivorous and poisonous creatures.

Discussion suggestions for parents and kids:

  • Families can talk about how the Hunger Games’ “last man standing” premise (minus the actual killing, of course) compares to current reality shows. Which shows pit people against each other? Why is it so much fun to watch the alliances and the voting off and the cattiness of these programs? How far do you think shows like this could go?
  • Use the movie’s depiction of Panem — particularly the relationship between the Capitol and the 12 districts — to discuss how much kids understand about totalitarian governments and dictatorships. What does President Snow mean when he says he doesn’t root for “underdogs”? Or that too much hope is a dangerous thing?

via The Hunger Games – Movie Review.

Related sites:

www.commensensemedia.org

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