Mommy Wars: No. 19 of 40 Forts
So this is where I got stuck. I suppose that it was because of my conflicted feelings of where I stand in the mommy blogging world. I have been blogging for five years and only a mother for less than one. But once you are so immersed in something, it is natural that you blog about what is on your mind day and night. A lot.
Plus my friends and family like to keep up with Lucy and ask when I don’t blog about her. Around this time, which was mid-March, Jennifer pointed out that I hadn’t updated Lucy’s blog lately. I reminded her that it was actually my blog. I tried to be polite. I wasn’t mad, but just wanted to clarify. I like that they are able to watch her develop since we are so far away.
But I often think about how this blog is going to continue to evolve. Soon after I had her and I was on my iPhone night and day, I looked up my horoscope chart. I am an Aries, which is no surprise, but I am also a Gemini rising, which I had no idea. I don’t technically know what this means (and I guessed at my time of birth), but I think that this explains my tendency to be so hot and cold. One day I think I am never going blog about Lucy again. And then I turn around at write something completely revealing, even bordering on TMI, the next day.
But I have found that blogging has been cathartic, especially when facing a lot of the challenges that motherhood brings. For me, that has mainly been breastfeeding and sleep.
When I first got pregnant, people started telling me about the books they had read. Then in September, I read Parenting, Inc., which describes how experts on everything make you lose confidence in your parenting abilities so that they can sell you solutions. From books, to DVDs, to products, to workshops, to consultations. The list doesn’t end for this trillion dollar industry.
I have read a few books between now and then, and the guilt is spread on thick on almost every single page. While some ideas are useful, most are very prescriptive, like an algebra problem. You can only do it this one way, my way, or else your child could still be facing this problem at 18. Yes, 18. One book said that.
So people become pretty passionate about every single topic and product related to parenting. Issues have become almost as partisan as Capitol Hill itself.
Around the time I was creating this piece, there was a motherlode of mommy-related media in my mind. I was reading Lenore Skenazy’s book Free Range Kids. If you have to select one parenting book this is it. Stop being so afraid!!! I don’t make decisions based on fear. And this book confirmed why I should make that a personal rule for my family. But even if you are afraid, she provides different levels of allowing your kids a little freedom until you become more comfortable. Plus her blog is highly entertaining if you think parents today are a little over the top.
So I am reading about the difference between my childhood and today’s childhood. And then I started running into hateful comments about other mothers from mothers. To put it mildly, it made me a little uncomfortable. I stumbled across one mommy blog, who suggested she should have hit this mom she hates because she is not at the bus stop on time every single day. Based on Lenore’s book, maybe she has a tendency to hover a little bit. To put it nicely. But when another person said she became a group of moms that she hated because she forgot to write thank you notes, I thought I do not have time for this. If I am going to waste my time on the internet, I would much rather read tweets from Jimmy Fallon’s monologue.
Then a series of pieces popped up in the New York Times. It seemed like they were all in one day. The first was an article on a blog boot camp. A little demeaning, but okay. I’ll be honest, it really made me want to hang up my blogging hat. But I was struggling with that anyway.
Next, this Op Ed piece highlights the Mommy Wars. I just read the intro and thought it was too much. VBAC vs. Cesarean, breast milk vs. formula, disposable vs. cloth, wraps vs. strollers I was one push away from a Cesarean; I gave my baby formula before I was able to breastfeed her; I still may try out cloth diapers part time; and I wear a wrap when I’m close by and take my stroller when I need to walk. That last one really drove me nuts. Are people thinking about everything a little too much? What about deciding to use a wrap because of where you are going? What’s wrong with convenience?
If you want to see how heated things get, just read the comments on the New York Times blog Motherload. And if you are not interested in this topic, click around. Seems that most any story brings out some heated fingertips.
This paper tent is made out of an article related to Berlin from Travel and Leisure. I edited the following pull quote from the article:
…Berlin’s guilt infrastructure is almost completely in place.
It now reads:
The guilt infrastructure is alive.
One side shows happy, active kids jumping up in the air. The other side shows an empty space void of any kids or activity. Why would you let your kids play on a train platform? The things that could happen are innumerable. I’m kidding. Seriously.
This is the first piece that the folds are pushed up, in fact, overinflated, as is the culture war, to reveal the text. This is the only piece that does not include a handwritten “biostanza” referring to a female third person.
This paper sculpture, roughly the size of a coffee cup, is one of forty forts I created during Lent 2010 as a creative exercise and spiritual exploration.