Category Archives: Parenting

Breast feeding in the pool: yuck yuck yuck

breastfeedingno-food-pool-fat-guy-4

Now, trust me, I believe that a woman should be able to breast feed her baby. If she wants to leave the house at all with a new born who feeds like every waking minute, this is important. But the fact that a woman is complaining to the Human Rights Commission for being kicked out of a public swimming pool for breast feeding is just wrong.

This is not a human rights issue, it is an issue of respect. I don’t want to see someone eating a sandwich in a pool, spitting in a pool, blowing snot into a pool. You can’t feed a toddler a box of milk in a pool. The rules are clear, no eating or drinking aloud. Why should breast feeding be any different? I just can’t understand why this woman couldn’t get out of the pool and breast feed on a chair nearby. 

Advocates argue that breast feeding in a pool does not cause any health issues, sure – but it’s just rude. 

Unfortunately, this story takes away from many women’s legitimate concerns about being discriminated against for breast feeding in a coffee shop or in a mall. And while our culture definitely has a problem with seeing breasts in public, that aren’t perfect, perky and wrapped in sexy lingerie, I really think there is such a thing as going too far. 

This article elicited almost 150 responses from the public echoing this view. Just have some common sense and respect for others. I don’t want baby spit up floating by me, even if it won’t make me sick.  

On the other hand, if women want to argue that they shouldn’t be harassed or discriminated against for breast feeding in public, then were talking about something important. But when this woman takes her grievance public, one that most Canadians would disagree with, it takes away from the real problem.

I spent several months living in Nepal and this is a very conservative culture. Revealing knees or shoulders in public is a no-go. But interestingly enough, breasts are no big deal. Breasts actually share the same Nepali word with milk: duhd. (Dude: ha ha). In Nepal, most women of child bearing age wear shirts(cholahs) that actually un-latch to make it easier to reveal a breast for the purpose of feeding.

Now it would be nice if are culture could accept that breasts actually exist to feed babies, not to be used as male fun pillows.

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Filed under Government intervention, Parenting, Sexism

Americans happier without kids

Have a gander at the latest issue of Newsweek and you’ll come across an article exploring research from several sources revealing that most Americans describe themselves as happier when they are childless. Americans with children, feel that their children make them more unhappy. 

Contrary to popular belief, parents are not declaring their undying happiness derived from their bundles of joy. They feel a greater sense of purpose, but not happiness. How tragic. This is really sad. But I truly beleive it is a product of the modern North American model or living and parenting.

Basically, tell me how a family of four, in our culture is supposed to live. Mom and dad get up, get the kids ready, shuffle them to school, go to their jobs, work all day, run errands at lunch, pick the kids up, get dinner, cook dinner, clean, help kids with homework, take kids to play dates, sport practice, bla bla bla, watch TV and pass out in bed. This is a horrendous way to live everyday.

Now not all families live this way, and some days, of course, are going to unfold like this but I really think that life is very different in Europe for families and for three main reasons:

1) VACATION: Europeans have 5-6 weeks vacation. In addition to this, many have flexi time, they have time off for doctors appointments, they have schedules that allow them to wait at home for the repairperson to fix the fridge. How do families live in America with only two weeks vacation? Ten days to spend outside of work a year? This is insane. Families don’t have anytime to devote to each other. And then, when you go home, all you have to face are chores and responsibilities and never a good time. Most of the Euro families I know take off for a full month every year. They go to the beach, they go camping, they go see relatives. The whole family, together. Now trust me, this quality time keeps families closer, teens out of trouble, couples having sex. And I can’t understand why North Americans only receive two weeks vacation. Show me people working on a Friday afternoon. Just show them to me. Instead, many Europeans actually work all week long so that they can get everything done for their vacations. 

2) SUBURBIA, no offense to the many of you who live in American suburbia, but when life revolves around driving to big boxes, you can’t possibly feel very happy. Now big boxes exist in Europe, but the majority of people live in centres so that they can walk, bike or take a train everywhere they go. Walk to the local butcher, grab a bouquet of flowers from the street vendor, pick up a fresh pie and a baguette at the baker. This is so much more desirable to fighting the masses at Costco so that you can fill the freezer with pre-made dinners no? If I had to spend two-three of my free hours everyday in traffic or line-ups that smell like ketchup, I would be pretty miserable as well. It’s pretty fantastic when you can really live off everything in your own community. 

3) CRAZY PARENTING: child-centred parenting is just that. And when you make your whole life revolve solely around your child, something is going to give and your own happiness is likely. Parents forget they need to enjoy their lives and wether it is doing family activities that everyone can enjoy or having nights off for dates and for fun and relaxation: it’s necessary.

How insane is it that most parents describe their children as a source of unhappiness? One survey found that parents were happier grocery shopping or sleeping than they were spending time with their kids. Ouch. 

Doesn’t this raise some red flags that things need to change. No one wants a life that revolves around chores or 100% sacrifice to keep up with play dates. So why are parents making themselves so unhappy? It’s time to look at how they are living their lives and what are some of the underlying problems. Because while I am sure parenting is not always easy and can take a lot of time and stress, shouldn’t it be enjoyable to have children? Seriously. 

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Why women aren’t having kids

    V.    

A recent article/book in the New York Times takes a look at the declining populations in Europe. 

It pretty much goes on to say that embracing the realities of a declining population is inevitable but that the best models for encouraging more children, are those that embrace the equality of women. The Scandanavian countries have the highest birthrates in Europe and also the most family inclusive policies that encourage work/life balance and a women’s role in the workforce, even after she has had children. 

Of course the modern world makes it less appealing for women to have 14 babies. And once an educated woman has been in the work force and living a very independent life, why would she want to be at home only caring for the household and the children? Now some women may want this and most women don’t even have the option but I believe that most of us would like to balance both worlds. And that balance can be achieved through government support for initiatives that make this balance possible and of course the involvement of men as equal partners in the whole endeavor. 

The author goes on to say that the U.S. population is at a high not seen since the 1960s. He says it’s due to the flexibility of the American working environment. I think what he was saying is: “There’s lots of work in the States so it’s easy to get a job even after taking a few years off to be a stay-at-home mom.”

My question is this: where is the population increase in the States? Let me save you the trouble…It’s not in the blue areas. So you can’t say that religion and the rise of fundamentalist Christians are not having a HUGE impact on this population increase.  Just like in most Muslim countries, populations are growing because it is a woman’s duty to bear fruit. Telling people they can’t use birthcontrol and have to produce god’s will is a good population strategy. And the U.S. is definitely voicing those opinions loud and clear.

[In fact, sometimes I think producing a little liberal, feminist army of children to fight against the growing conservative religious front is the best argument I have ever heard for reproduction]

Anyway….my vote is for making a more equal world for men and women so that they can work together, clean together, rear and raise children together and be happy in both roles and bask in the glory of a nice balance. 

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Filed under Demographics, Government intervention, mommy wars, Parenting

To C or not to C-Section

There really has been a flood of articles about C-Sections since the OBGYN society of Canada decided that they needed to put out a big press release/warning. Interestingly, the press treat the rise in c-sections like every Canadian getting one is a Posh Beckham wannabe trying to schedule her birth after her morning meeting and before her night out on the town. 

Truth is, if we want to decrease c-sections, we should promote nutrition, since obesity seems to be the leading cause. And of course, women are having babies later in life. Well, if they require a c-section, then so be it. It’s reality. Don’t discourage that or Canada will cease to even exist. We can’t afford an even lower birthrate. 

I find it very strange that all of a sudden, there is all this talk of the increased risks to the mother and baby. Funny, since the only OBGYN I know, just gave birth to her first baby via scheduled c-section in Toronto and she told me, and I quote, “I don’t know why any woman would ever have a vaginal birth. It’s way easier to have a c-section, and you have way less stretching and pain. It’s the only thing I would do.” Hmmmmmm…..

Now I was all, “go c sections” for a long time, till I had a conversation with a mom, whose feminism I respected, and she mentioned the fact that really women’s bodies know what to do when it comes to birthing. Their kindof wired for that shiz and they should not be challenged by modern technology.

Point taken….

My husband was bottle fed because in the late 70s they thought that formula was better than breast milk. Ummm…Not quite. (But to all the breast feeding nazis, he hasn’t yet died from ashma, low IQ, allergies, or all those other doomsday formula disorders…..).

But really, a step in a direction to make women more at peace with their bodies is always a good one. But how about, instead of claiming all these horrific risks that women are taking with their health and their babies, let’s put out some warm fuzzy information about childbirth.

How about promoting vaginal births, providing more education around childbirth, encouraging and respecting midwives and doulas for the wickedness that is them. In Holland, childbirth is not even considered a medical procedure and almost all Dutch women give birth at home. Now, I would pass on that one, who wants to clean up that mess? But I think it demonstrates the fact that society has a lot of influence on what flies. And we tend to be creatures of the latest fashions.

A good friend of mine was reading this hippie book from the 70s when she got pregnant. She didn’t want to read page after page of mind numbing ‘information’, instead, she wanted to read about how many women have very intense albeit wonderful birthing experiences. Complete with retro pictures, from back when women’s bushes were so gigantic it’s hard to imagine how they got pregnant through all that jungle, the book had some really good advice. The jist:

Women have been having babies for like….forever. And women in their forties, where popping out number 10 and 11 at one point and so we really need to have some faith in what these bodies of ours can do. And maybe being put down by a most likely male doctor, to have the baby extracted is not so necessary. But hey, if that’s your thing, do it sister, but maybe have a gander at the smiling 70s broads before hand, may help you feel some positive juice. Cause hey, if you have seen a birth on TV in fiction land, you of course think it’s the most horrifying thing possible but some women actually get off on the pain. (Yes the book actually goes into this and even provides a picture, but why not imagine that outcome instead of the alternative???). 

So how about it? Less “WOMEN: YOU ARE RISKING YOUR HEALTH AND ENDANGERING YOUR UNBORN BABIES…!!!!!!!” And more “Go babies, go babies, go vaginal, let me hear ya, you can do it, you’re wicked, go babies, out the birth canal, you go girl.”

Just a thought…..

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Filed under Important Information, Parenting

Couples seeking cheap wombs for rent in India

“Are babies commodities to be planted and harvested?”  A good question asked by Joseph Gathia in his article about surrogacy in India

Sick, sick, sick. Yet again, we bust in to countries with a lot of poor people just trying to get by, and we exploit them. This time, renting women’s bodies so that they can pop out our babies on the cheap.

Is there no end to our selfishness? I think Surrogacy, maybe by a friend or family member in order to help a loved one who can’t conceive is understandable, but hiring a stranger to grow and birth your child for you, for money?????? I just can’t wrap my head around that one. And then going out of country to save some bucks because there are lots of poor people, who don’t abuse drugs and alcohol over there…..just boggles the brain. 

Global culture indeed. Where’s our moral culture to go along with it? 

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Stay-at-home dads on the rise

So more dads are taking pat leave than ever before. This is great news. Yay for incentives that offer both men and women time off from work to care for the kids. It really shouldn’t be just up to the women to stay home and this is a refreshing trend.

(By the way…there are wayyyyyy more dads taking pat leave in Quebec because Quebec is the only province that allows pat leave on its own. While these family incentives are very costly, if you want close, happy families and a sustainable, growing population. I think it might just be worth it.)

Interestingly, the Globe article mentions some research that shows that kids with a close bond with their fathers from an early age tend to have all sorts of behavioral benefits. I can totally see it. I think kids get a lot of different things from mom and from dad and it’s great to see families working as a team. I know a lot of women who make more money than their partners and sometimes dad staying home makes more sense. A lot of guys however feel that there is a major stigma attached to being a stay-at-home dad. That’s so sad.

Just as women having great careers is no biggie these days, we also need to work on breaking down the boundaries for dads to stay home. While I know a lot of women making more money than their partners, I also know a lot of guys who would make way better primary care givers for their kids than their wives/girlfriends.

I truly think that morphing these traditionally gendered roles and duties in terms of parenting and working is a major MAJOR step towards equality for men and women and will ultimately lead to happier family lives for all.

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Filed under Canadian News, Gender, Good News!, Parenting

Cause every little girl wants to grow up to be a stripper…..

A very interesting report put out by the Quebec status of women, (which still receives funding because apparently women are still considered equal in Quebec) points out a huge problem with marketing sex to prepubescent girls. The report makes several recommendations on how to improve the equality of women by helping young girls to understand and resist the marketing machines that are turning them into pint size sex objects.

A great article in the Gazette by Brett Bundale sums up the problem nicely in the intro:

Walking down some stretches of Ste. Catherine St., you might have trouble telling a strip club and a toy store apart.
Dolls come dressed with black leather miniskirts, fishnet stockings, thigh-high boots and red feather boas.
The ads for Club Super Sexe portray women as girls, with pigtails, schoolgirl skirts and ruffles.

Bundale goes on to discuss:

Padded bras and thongs advertised to 7-year-olds.

The fact that 65% of girls aged 12-17 have experienced mental or physical sexual violence

And that 20% of girls who had sex before 16 thought that they had to.

Hmmmmm…..I wonder where they, and the young guys having sex with them, got all these messages about sex.

Besides the La Senza girls and the Brat dolls, teens see porn. They see sex on TV, in the movies at their friends but mostly on the internet. Sadly, we all know what the internet looks like. And trust me, your 12-year-old did not click the “I’m under 18 button.” What a joke.

And you may supervise your kids on computers at home, but when they are at Jimmy’s……or Cara’s……..exactly…..you had an inkling.

While we as teens, may have stumbled across dad’s Playboy, kids these days, get face shots, double penetrations and maybe an occasional round with a donkey. It’s a fact of life. It’s not a pretty fact that our internet is completely dominated by porn. When my liberal feminist blog brings people to my articles because they did a search for “kiddie vagina” or “teen face shots” I am extremely discouraged with our world. But then I think, maybe they’ll read about what a young student escort is really thinking when she has sex with them and they wont be able to get it up next time and maybe stay home and read a good book instead. (Yes, I’m an optimist) A digressing one…

The report’s conclusion states that the main concern is that young girls feel increasingly like objects. This is a horrifying by-product of our current cultural climate.

I remember feeling very empowered as a 14-year-old listening to the Sunday Night Sex Show with Sue, reading Sassy magazine, listening to Liz Phair.

Today, these girls have Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Jaime Lynn Spears as role models. Be stupid, look pretty and you’ll bag a rock star or a hockey player. (And totally have the coolest babies with them.)

I remember so clearly the day I realized that most likely, in tight jeans, as I walked away guys would check out my ass. I was 27. Growing up, it never even crossed my mind that as I schooled a guy at pool, because I used to be a bit of a teen shark, he may have been looking for cleavage as I leaned over the table. And maybe, thanks to my mom and her dress code for my early years, I didn’t feel like a sex object until I was able to understand what that meant and deal with it accordingly. (O.K. maybe I clued in a bit late, but trust me, it wasn’t a bad thing.)

Today, young girls become sex objects at such a young age. They don’t get a chance to play on the ball field with the guys without worrying that since it’s chilly out their nipples may be showing and the second baseman will for sure notice so they might as well miss that fly ball. Or maybe they are wearing extra short shorts so that the centre fielder misses his own fly balls. Same diff…

What we have is a big cultural void for our young girls. They don’t have Riott Girl and 80s career movies. They don’t have Liz Phair singing about one-night-stands and Ani Difranco about periods. They get Surf School instead of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. They look up to Venessa Hudgens, not for the brutalness that is High School Musical, but because they  know that in real life, the actress landed a sweet gig, posted nude pics, and is actually dating Zach Efron and can make out anytime when Disney is not in charge.

The markets feel that selling sex to teens is worth while. Clearly it’s worth while because it works. These little girls are eating it up and nothing is standing in the way. Or at least competing.

So the Quebec report makes some recommendations. Among them:

– Discuss sexuality and the media in the ethics and religious culture course that is to begin in public schools this fall.
– Launch a media awAreness campaign to promote equality.
– give youths and parents better access to information about sexuality.

Now besides the fact that these recommendations are totally mundane and most likely useless, they are important in that they will get people who can have some influence some information and hopefully a kick in the ass to take action.

But I have a few recommendations of my own:

  • Teach your girls that they are not different from boys in that they will be curious about sex, have sexual feelings and want to explore their sexuality. Then talk to them about doing things and behaving in ways that make them feel good about themselves and not bad.
  • Tell your girls, as my mom told me: “You have your whole life to dress like a tart, preserve being a kid, it’s the best life has to offer, it will go quickly, don’t rush it.”
  • ENROLL YOUR GIRLS IN SPORTS!!!!!! And not ballet, horse back riding and yoga. Sports. Like soccer, football, hockey. Trust me, when the other girls make fun of Molly for wearing eyeliner to practice, she will think twice about how cool it is. And unlike dancing, girls bring the skills they learn playing these sports with them everywhere in life. Whether it’s a 21st birthday party at a bowling alley, a pick up game of football at the company barbecue or a game a pool at the singles bar, women with skills, agility and physical acumen kick ass. (not to knock dancing etc. but supplements of sports are well worth while.)
  • Talk to your boys. It is not cool to have conquests. It is not cool to brag about what you’ve done. The boys who don’t need to beg for it or tell everyone about it are always the ones that all the girls swoon over. If he really likes you, and you like him, he’ll wait. If not, he’ll leave right after. Let’s get real here.
  • Ask your girls how they feel about their bodies, about boys. Ask them if they are being pressured, harassed, or our curious about making out. Trust me, if you never ask, she will never tell you. Girls are scared to talk about these things. They are scared to talk about sexual violence. They feel guilty and don’t want you to know. But often, they really want to tell you….if you ask.
  • And: don’t treat your girls like little wall flowers who only do what boys want and have no hormonal desires themselves. Childhood innocence is pretty much a bust. Preserve it for as long as it will last, but once it’s over, it’s really over, so get real. She can google it and trust me, you don’t want her to follow the advice on hotteensexforu.com.

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Filed under advertising, Parenting, Uncategorized