Category: Motherhood

My Top Ten First World Problems

There’s nothing quite like working until midnight followed by an alarm going off at 6:30AM the next morning to get the kids up and ready for a dentist’s  appointment at 8AM. Who was the genius who scheduled that appointment at such an ungodly hour?

That would be me.

I’m so tired right now. And I’m annoyed at everything.

So here’s a top ten list of my annoyances today. Otherwise known as — my top ten list of my domestic first world problems.

1. Going into the kitchen to unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning — only to find that whoever loaded the dishwasher the night before, put cookie sheets in front of the soap dispenser. Therefore the soap dispenser did not open.  Therefore the dishes were still dirty. Therefore the dishwasher needed to be run again.

2. The kitchen trashcan. I guess when I’m at work, everybody thinks it’s okay to let the house go to shit. Because that trashcan was overflowing like a fountain. Like a fountain of fucking trash. And this particular fountain wasn’t pretty.

3. Laundry. My awesome in-laws were here for a week, and when they left, they folded up their dirty towels and sheets and stacked them neatly by the washer. Nice, right? Well my husband who likes to do things in a hurry, decided to throw them in the wash. Completely folded. So when I went to switch the laundry over, I came across wet folded sheets and towels in the washer. Therefore they didn’t get clean. Therefore I had to run the washer again.

4. Hot water heater. Dirty clothes. Dirty clothes piled up against the hot water heater in the laundry room.

What. The. Fuck.

House fire, anyone?

5. This didn’t happen today, but yesterday I found popcorn kernels in the garbage disposal. A few dozen of them. I guess somebody thought it would be a good idea to rinse their popcorn bowl and wash the kernels down the drain? I guess? And did I mention that we JUST had the garbage disposal fixed?

6.  Raccoons. Raccoons got into the trash cans in the backyard. You know why? Because we don’t have trash can lids! They’re broken — because we bought cheap trash cans. So this morning we had trash all over the back yard. Good times, right?

7. Smoke alarm. And this is SO fucking unsafe. My dear husband removes the smoke alarm whenever it goes off. And the only time it ever goes off is when he’s cooking.  So he just takes the whole thing off the ceiling so he doesn’t have to hear it. Then he forgets to put it back. And half the time I don’t realize it’s not there. So a few days will go by and then I’ll notice that our smoke alarm is not in place. Can we say danger? Can we say death by fire?

And I just want to add that my husband is amazing. Just a bit forgetful. Forgetful in a potentially dangerous way, but still a fabulous person. And I’ll love him forever as long as our children don’t die in a house fire.

8. Clothes. Everywhere. I can never find anything to wear. Who’s fault is that? Mine. I know this. How does this happen? I put my folded laundry on my bed with every intention of putting it away later. Then when I’m going to bed I’m confronted with a pile of folded laundry that I really don’t feel like putting away. So what do I do? Throw ’em on the floor. Like a teenager.

Wait. No. When I was a teenager I slept under my clothes on the bed. Hey! At least I’m making progress — 20 years later.

9. Getting a notice in the mail from the bank that our car payment is late when IT ISN’T. We paid it and have the receipt, but now we have to go to the bank and show the receipt and blah, blah, blah and go through more bullshit to prove we paid it.

10. It’s a gorgeous day outside and I really can’t find anything else to complain about at this time.

And as I was writing number ten, the power went out. I’m not kidding.

The week can only get better, right?

P.S. — I know I’m being a whiny little bitch.

The Alpha Parent Shows Me The Error Of My Ways

I wanted to bestow upon you this image that I came across on thealphaparent.com.

It’s a gem.

chips.jpg

It’s pretty amazing, huh?

Amazingly fucked up.

First of all, the image is not original or creative. It’s one of the lactivists most frequent comparisons: Formula as fast food.  Formula as junk food. Formula, essentially, as poison.

I haven’t read very much of The Alpha Parent blog. It’s pretty hard to stomach — my pregnancy is making me nauseated enough.

But I did come across this gem from 2011 titled: Why the way you feed your baby is MY business.  I know, right? A typical, blatant, mean-girl title that’s meant to garner as much attention as possible.

Well unfortunately, this title caught my attention.

I will summarize her blog post for you. Because it’ll be fun.

The way you feed your baby is HER business BECAUSE:

1. If you use formula, you’re saying YES to dead babies in developing countries. Because these evil formula companies (and I acknowledge that they’re not very ethical — they ARE big business after-all) force their food on the poor, illiterate women who end up mis-using the formula. Tragic and awful? YES. Is it prevalent enough for me to go through even more agony so I can provide breast milk that only has marginal benefits compared to formula? NO.

And if this is a major concern for you, research your formula companies. Or go for local formula companies such as Vermont Organics infant formula.

2. She finds the way I feed my baby offensive because she cares about all the diseases/illnesses/bacteria he will acquire from such junk food.

As I don’t use formula you may wonder why I’m troubled by this. However just because I did not give birth to the children suffering or put at risk because of formula feeding, this does not prevent me from feeling compassion for them. I find it short-sighted and self-centred that people expect me to care only for children to whom I have a genetic link.

Essentially — she cares about my children more than I do.  Because I put them at risk by formula feeding. By the way, I’m still waiting for my almost three year old to get an ear-infection from all the formula I gave him.

Yeah, still waiting.

Waiting.

Oh, nothing yet? Okay, well now I’ll wait for another (insert horrible disease here.) In the mean time, I’ll cry myself to sleep every night because she cares about my children more than I do.

3. Formula feeding mothers are ruining the environment. I’m honestly just too tired to deal with this one. That must mean I don’t care about the environment. I hate myself!

4. If you use formula, you’re not a feminist.

Excuse me while I have a laughing fit.

Okay, I’m done.

Consider her far-reaching reasoning:

Furthermore, a common conception of formula is that it aids a woman’s economic mobility through strengthening her role in the workplace. She is no longer tied to a dependant infant and can instead pass a bottle of formula to grandma and return to being economically active. However this perceived benefit is negated by the fact that formula fed children are significantly more likely to fall ill, and numerous studies have shown that a child’s illness commonly results in the mother rather than the father taking time off work (Journal of Early ChildhoodWeimer.JNursery WorldMother and Baby;Working Mums Magazine). Thus when a woman is taking more time off work she is seen as a burden by her employer. This does not strengthen the role of women in the workplace. Consequently women of childbaring age are viewed as liabilities. This is not to mention the strain on employers caused by their employees sick children results in lower incomes for working families, thus reducing income tax revenues which pay for government programs and services that benefit everyone.

So I’m trying to understand what she’s saying here. Is she saying women should just stay home and nurse their babies to further the women’s lib movement? Or we should be chained to breast-pumps to mitigate any illnesses that MIGHT happen? I have an interesting piece of anecdotal evidence (yes I know this is not considered “real” evidence), but my two breastfed children had far more illnesses than my formula fed child. My daughter who was exclusively breastfed, had numerous ear infections as an infant and toddler.

Dear Alpha Parent — perhaps just the act of bearing children is considered a liability — not HOW they’re fed.

So, in essence, you must feed your babies through your bleeding, cracked nipples to prove that you’re not a slave to formula companies. This makes you a strong, independent woman!

Thanks for your concern, Alpha Parent!

5. By formula feeding my child, the Alpha Parent is concerned that I’m contributing to the puritanical idea that breasts are strictly sexual and not for breastfeeding — that breastfeeding women shouldn’t nurse in public. I’m kind of flattered that she thinks that I’m contributing to all these problems — and to my country’s distorted view of breasts. I think Alpha Parent needs to take a deep look at herself and wonder if maybe — just maybe — part of this backlash of nursing in public is related to the lactivists smug, self-congratulatory, mean-girl status — and their scathing judgement on those who don’t breastfeed.

By the way, I think nursing in public is awesome and should be done more often.

6.  She’s concerned about my child’s intelligence. She’s worried he’ll be stupid or some such shit.

The following quote is pretty hysterical:

But why do I care about the IQ of other people’s children? As formula feeding lowers the IQ of the population, this means less scientific advancements. We’re talking about cures for cancers and other diseases, new amenities, new technologies, strategies to combat global warming, and so on.

Ah yes, the Baby Boomer generation produced nothing but dunces — no scientists, literary geniuses, lawyers, politicians, mathematicians, doctors, etc, came out of that generation — all because most of them were formula fed.

7. I’m more likely to abuse my child because I use formula. Apparently. Or something like that. You know, because I don’t care about my child.

But Alpha Parent cares. She cares more than me.

8. My formula feeding choice effects Alpha Parent because I’m producing the spawn of satan. Essentially — my child will be the next Charles Manson — or something along those lines.

9.  My baby is going to get her baby sick. And she cares about that because it effects other children as well. Pretty soon my baby will be getting everybody sick. It’s gonna be like that movie Contagion up in here, folks!

10. She cares that my child will be getting colds and the flu or some such shit. Because breast-fed babies don’t ever get sick, remember?

11. Giving my children formula means that I’m uneducated and will continue to have babies, perpetuating the cycle of poverty in this country. Maybe she’s right! I AM having my fourth child after all.

12. She’s concerned that formula fed babies are going to take all the doctors away from her children.

13. Apparently she thinks I’m anti-breastfeeding, and that I’m hurting other women’s chance at breastfeeding successfully. I won’t dignify this accusation with a response.

14. My child is a drain on the medical community.

And hilariously, Alpha Parent concludes with this:

Just to clarify, I fully defend a woman’s right to chose how she feeds her baby IF that choice is fully informed, free from bias and backed up with adequate support…

I find this statement laughable after she lambasted all formula feeding mothers for being uneducated, selfish, and anti-feminist.

Sigh.

But, whatever.

Excuse me while I tend to my suffering, wasteful, unintelligent, abused, juvenile delinquent, germ-infested, medical doctor hogging offspring. I have a lot of work ahead of me to “fix” my children so they can be contributing members of society.

Thanks, Alpha Parent, for showing me the error of my ways.

Goat Cheese

So as I try to make this blog all encompassing — as in talking about things other than motherhood — the truth is, I AM a mother.

And I’m pregnant.

Pregnancy is consuming my mind right now. Therefore, I have surrendered to the fact that I’ll be one of those super boring mommy/pregnancy bloggers. At least until February.

I DO apologize. Oh so sincerely. I’ll try to add a few intelligent sentences in every now and then.

I could add these posts to my other blog, but even though that blog is dedicated to parenting, it’s just much easier to stick to one blog. Like a one-stop shop, ya know what I’m sayin’?

So now that I’ve told you that boring piece of news, it’s time to move on to how I feel.

I feel like shit, okay? 

I’m still in my first trimester and I’m fucking hungry. But I can’t eat. Cuz that makes me feel sick. And then I get even hungrier. Then I eat. Then I feel even more like shit cuz food be fuckin’ everything up in the digestives.

Not that I’m complaining. Cuz some assholes would be happy to point out that I got myself into this situation after all.

I mean — we DID get pregnant on purpose. We thought a fourth child would kind of — you know — round things out in the sibs department.

But damnit. Pregnancy is hard. Especially when you feel like shit.

So I guess I have a right to complain — to spew these words out of my brain organ into this blog and out into the universe to whoever the hell reads my captivating words.

So I feel like shit. And I’m tired. But my amazing husband is putting up with me and encouraging me to get as much rest as possible.

I fucking love him.

So to end this post, I just want to say that —

Orange Is The New Black is my new favorite show and I watched the entire season within two days.

All thanks to my husband. Who encourages me to lie in bed and rest. With the laptop.

I guess this pregnancy thing ain’t so bad after all.

And just to add — the title of this blog post is entitled Goat Cheese simply because I couldn’t come up with a title — and I’m really craving goat cheese.

Insane Anti-Breastfeeding Lady Is Insane

Just a little follow-up on the breastfeeding post…

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. And frankly this attitude is quite disturbing.

It’s an anti-breastfeeding post by One Sleepy Mom.

Now — I firmly believe that women should be able to make their decision to breastfeed or formula feed without guilt.

And as a woman, I celebrate choice — whether it’s the womb or the boobs.

But that doesn’t mean I blindly support every choice a woman makes. It doesn’t mean that I agree with her reasoning.

And I have to say that I find this woman’s reasoning quite appalling and completely lacking in — I don’t know — logic?

Just a few highlights:

I am personally horrified by the thought of my mother’s breast in my mouth, and my children are extremely happy that mine was never in theirs.  There goes the “bonding” theory.

I just… what?

If you can’t sterilize or boil it, it shouldn’t go in your child’s mouth in my opinion.

Kids put their HANDS in their mouths all the time — do you sterilize and boil their precious fingers?

Have you ever sat across the table from a breastfeeding mom?  They just pull out their breast and go at it.

This has not been my experience. Almost all women that I’ve seen breastfeeding in public have been covered. But if a woman just “pulled out their breast” to “go at it” — I wouldn’t care. I think it’s great! This woman is obviously projecting her issues on other women.

I would NEVER, EVER, subject my child to knowing that my unsanitary breast was in her mouth.  If you choose to feed your child breastmilk, that’s great.  Breastmilk is the best for your baby, and you should do whatever is best.  But before you go shoving things in your children’s mouth without their consent and offending everyone around you, you might want to think about it and invest in a pump.  If you can’t afford one, your local WIC office will lend you one.

And I don’t think I need to comment on this to point out how incredibly insane this statement is. I’ll just let you bathe in it’s absolute lunacy.

Happy Wednesday!

How To Give Up Breastfeeding And Not Feel Guilty About It: Part 1

A few days ago I posted the intro to my breastfeeding series. Then I got into an car accident and I’ve been busy with car repairs. So that’s why there was a delay in my follow-up post. My sincere apologies.

But anyway…

Breastfeeding. It’s supposed to be the epitome of motherhood — of womanhood. It’s what the educated woman does. The informed, conscientious mother offers her breasts to her newborn to give the milk of life and health.

I’ve experienced this with two of my babies. I was blessed with the ease of breastfeeding. My nipples seemed to form to their little newborn mouths perfectly. There was only brief pain in the beginning. The only challenge being that my first child was attached to me constantly for the first four weeks of his life — so much so that I looked at the formula samples in my cupboard with envy. What if I had my husband feed him just this once? Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a little break?

No.

I was told formula was inferior.

Not just inferior — practically poison.

bottle with green ring

Only “uneducated” moms fed their babies formula. I knew some moms had genuine difficulty breastfeeding — that sometimes there were health issues involved that prevented breastfeeding. But I had it in my smug little head that such situations were rare. And besides — if they really wanted to breastfeed — they could pump — or go to one of those breast milk banks. I mean, WHY would you give your baby something inferior unless you were — I don’t know — uneducated or misinformed?

I know this is a story that’s been told a million times. The breastfeeding story. But I strongly feel that you can never offer your fellow sisters enough encouragement when it comes to breastfeeding. Next to abortion, it’s one of the other major female dilemmas of choice. But it’s a dilemma of choice that we should have — and a choice that we should not be ashamed of making regardless of the decision we make.

The difference between the choice of abortion and the choice of breastfeeding is — obviously — stark. In one, you’re eliminating the zygote or embryo for your own human physical and mental well-being — in the other, you’re offering your body for the physical and mental well-being of another.

But there are similarities. With abortion, you’re told by old white republican men what to do with your body. With breastfeeding you’re told by upper-middle class white liberal women what to do with your body. I’m speaking in generalities here, of course.

Women just can’t win.

English: WPA poster promoting breast feeding a...

My first two babies were champion nursers. I supplemented with formula with my first baby after I went back to work, but he mainly got pumped breast milk. My job offered my a very generous lunch break so I could run to my in-laws house and breastfeed my infant. With my second child, I exclusively breastfed. I don’t think she ever got a bottle. She went straight from breast to cup.

As it should be! — I thought.

I had friends who tried and “failed” at nursing. I heard various stories from them. It hurt too much. The nipples were inverted. The breasts weren’t producing enough milk. The baby had thrush, or the mom had mastitis.

I nodded sympathetically.

Yes, yes. Of course I understand. I would say. But just get through the first four weeks. Once you get over that hump it gets so much easier. You just need to fall into a rhythm. Just stick with it!

Of course I had good intentions and I don’t necessarily think that I gave bad advice. Didn’t all the research point to the fact that breast milk is the perfect food? Who wouldn’t want a smarter, healthier, disease – free child? Why would you switch to formula and risk your child getting diabetes later in life, or becoming obese, or getting a kazillion ear infections, or getting RSV, or — or — or — yeah. Like, shit. There’s a million things that can go wrong if you don’t breastfeed.

But I’m sure these women had heard those words of “encouragement” from all the lactation specialists, La Leche League, family, friends, blogs, etc. As a breastfeeder I was told that there is so much pressure NOT to breastfeed — that we must resist the evil formula companies, avoid pediatricians who support supplementing, say no to those formula gift bags that the hospitals send home with you — that the media is filled with mis-information about breastfeeding and we must avoid the negativity towards breastfeeding at all costs and stand-up for our rights as breastfeeding women!

A blog that I used to read and agree with whole heartedly was PhD in Parenting — a smart and educated blog about parenting and other subjects as they pertain to women and family. In this particular post, the author talks how she was disturbed by another mother’s comment that encouraged women to give up breastfeeding after 2 weeks it it wasn’t working.  The author, Annie, went on to say that she was saddened by this woman’s attitude. I see Annie’s point of view — and I know that breastfeeding women need support — but her comment drove me crazy:

A woman wrote an honest first person account of her difficulties with her attempt to breastfeed her baby. Her story is sad. She had significant difficulties breastfeeding. She got questionable advice. She had people judging her instead of helping her. In short, the cards were stacked against her and she was set up for failure. I don’t blame her. This happens to a lot of women and it is unfortunate. I can’t say for sure if she would have been able to breastfeed successfully if things had been different and even if she could have, hindsight is 20/20 and there is no point in rehashing that now. So while I was saddened by her story, I don’t judge her (or anyone) for choosing formula if they feel that they cannot breastfeed for whatever reason.

It’s this particular attitude that gets me. And I used to have the same attitude. It’s the idea that the woman was misinformed — she received “questionable advice.” Poor lady. If only she had the right information, she would probably still be breast feeding. Right?

I know this may sound terrible, but — who cares?! If she can feed her baby with a nutritiously sound alternative, then why not? And what if she gave up breastfeeding because — I don’t know — she wanted to — because it’s her body? Annie goes on to say:

I sympathize with the woman that wrote the original post and I know her heart is in the right place when she tells people they should give up at 2 weeks, but I don’t think she realizes that she is undermining them if they do want to continue and that recommendations like this can have disastrous results for breastfeeding rates and subsequently for our healthcare system.

With all the information that’s out there, with all the education that’s available for women — I hardly think that this type of attitude will affect breastfeeding rates. Women need to be given a bit — a lot — more credit.

But this does not mean I’m anti-breastfeeding. I’m just pro-choice when it comes to boobs.

On the other end of the spectrum, I believe women should be able to breastfeed in public without people throwing a fit — even uncovered. I think it’s good for people to see how babies can be fed, regardless if there’s a boob showing or not.

But I will tell you this — when I started supplementing formula with my third baby, when I stopped offering my breast when he was three months old, when preparing bottles with this so-called poison — this so-called “baby junk food” — became the norm for my husband and I — that’s when I felt it. The judgment. Not just my own feelings of failure — but the condescending nature of lactation specialists and breastfeeding mothers. Not directly. Not to my face. But the message was clear in mommy forums, articles, blogs like Annie’s, and books.

And the consensus was this — You didn’t have enough information. Did you read this such and such article that explains the benefits of breastfeeding? You just needed to stick with it a little bit longer. It’s not too late! Start pumping again and you can get your supply back! It’s so easy to give up in the current anti-breastfeeding climate.

Holy fucking hell.

I was filled to the brim with education on breastfeeding. I was very successful with my first two.

But on top of that — my boobs were on fire.

But I’ll get to that tomorrow in Part 2 — wherein my nipples become open wounds. And how I had a chance to continue breastfeeding — but decided to quit.

How To Give Up Breastfeeding And Not Feel Guilty About It: Intro

breastfeeding

breastfeeding (Photo credit: sdminor81)

This week I will be doing a series of posts on breastfeeding.

And as you can see from the title — I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.

My feelings on breastfeeding are a bit complicated. I nursed my first two successfully for well over a year. And I was quite smug about it. Things changed with baby number three. It was a struggle that made me re-think my entire philosophy on breastfeeding and how breastfeeding is yet another guilt – inducing choice that women have to make. And the conclusion I came to when I went through my breastfeeding hell with my third baby was this:

Breastfeeding culture is not friendly to women — it’s coercive.

And here’s where it gets complicated — because I’m not anti-breastfeeding. I’m a breastfeeding advocate. A breastfeeding advocate who thinks it’s a woman’s choice as to whether her breasts will be used as a feeding device. And perhaps the term “feeding device” is not correct — because the breasts are also a source of nurturing for the infant — an experience — that if it all goes smoothly — is actually quite lovely.

But when it’s not a lovely experience, then the whole nurture aspect goes out the window. If mommy is stressed, then baby is stressed.

A woman should not have to make excuses as to why she’s not breastfeeding. A woman doesn’t “give up”. She comes to the conclusion that:

  • It’s not for her. Period.
  • She gave her body up for nine months and for the love of god she just wants it back.
  • It’s none of your damn business what she does with her boobs.
  • She gave it a go but complications arose and life is too short to worry about feeding her baby from her boobs when there’s a perfectly acceptable alternative — formula.

The F word.

Formula. It ain’t poison. It’s food. And whether you believe it or not — if prepared correctly — it is a perfectly acceptable and nutritious alternative to breast milk.

For the next week I’ll touch on how my idea of breastfeeding has evolved from a you-must-breastfeed-your-baby-even-if-it-means-martyring-yourself mentality to the idea of breastfeeding as it relates to feminism, choice and Total Motherhood. 

Total Motherhood being an ideology held up by society that is, according to Joan Wolf a professor of Women’s Studies at Texas A&M University, a “moral code in which individual mothers are ultimately held responsible for any harm that befalls their children.” A code that, essentially, expects women to anticipate any and all harm that may befall their children, and eradicate it. If a mother fails, then she is made to feel guilty — perhaps not directly, but indirectly in the form of mommy blogs, articles, and mommy forums that reflects a general message pervading our society:

That mothers hold the key to our children’s well being, and if we choose not to breastfeed, we are throwing away the key. An idea so fucking backwards that it essentially throws women under the bus all over again.

I mean, really. Don’t you think women have endured enough? Aren’t you tired of being made to feel guilty about every decision you make?

Tomorrow I’ll touch on my past beliefs on breastfeeding and the difficulties I faced with a baby whose hunger for life literally mangled my breasts — and how a certain blog helped me through it.

Until then, may you feel empowered with every decision you make!