My unexamined life

I kind of knew it would happen. Type the words “baby” “have” and “I” on any blog and it’s just a matter of time.

There will be a mommy drive-by. To wit:

Momma2babies Says:
October 23rd, 2006 at 6:41 am

she’s a cutie pie!!!!! Awwww….!
But aren’t you afraid to let her grow up without your presence? I mean, you work and study and all…
My feminist choice was to turn stay -at-home mom because I believe that a mother’s presence is vital for healthy development of a baby. That’s what I call a career! And I wont let anybody claim I’m less of a feminist because of that choice (since some ppl try)…
So maybe it’s something you’ll like to consider although it’s being labeled as unfeminist and maybe that’s why many women opt to go to work and leave their baby in daycare….

Now it’s mildly mean to gang up on Momma2babies as she does make some excellent points. She’s not less of a feminist because she stays at home (and that is a very cute baby).

And Jill, Leslie, piny, belledame, pretty much everyone has already covered the stupidity of this statement in the thread, i.e. women often work because they have to, a working mom isn’t any less “present,” no one is claiming stay-at-home moms violate feminism (well, nobody crazy, in my opinion).

But what really gets me about this is the assumption that I haven’t considered staying at home. Like all I needed is to have some random Internet commenter to say, “You know, you could just stay at home,” and a new world would open for me.

Really? I can be a stay-at-home mom? I had no idea! I’ve never even thought of that before!

Tsch. Thank you for saving me with your knowledge. And thank you for assuming that because I’ve come to a different conclusion than you I just haven’t thought about it hard enough. It’s like telling a lesbian she just hasn’t met the right man.

I ran into this same type of person a while back with the femme-y clothing issue. I’m much more physically comfortable in a skirt than a pair of jeans because jeans are always either too narrow for my ass, have too short a rise, or are too big in the waist. And along came a woman who suggested that I just try to find a pair that fit better.

Like I haven’t been looking. For all of my adult life.

I’d like to think it’s the safety of the internet (as in, you don’t have to look someone in the eye while claiming they’re not as self-aware as you are) that affords people such brashness, but I’m sure its not. It just seems to bring it out in people more.

**ADDED** Yes, I edited this post about 50 times after publishing. I promise to use the ‘preview’ feature in WordPress next time.


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61 comments for “My unexamined life

  1. October 24, 2006 at 1:40 am

    I’m much more physically comfortable in a skirt than a pair of jeans because jeans are always either too narrow for my ass, have too short a rise, or are too big in the waist. And along came a woman who suggested that I just try to find a pair that fit better.

    Like I haven’t been looking. For all of my adult life.

    Before all of the serious and thoughtful comments start up in a minute, here, I just wanted to say – OMG, yes. EXACTLY.

  2. zombieprincess
    October 24, 2006 at 2:41 am

    i wonder what Momma2babies would think of my “stay-at-home-dad” husband?

    anyhow, my two cents…don’t stress about the thoughtless comments–you know what’s right for you and your family, and that’s what is important.

  3. Soren
    October 24, 2006 at 3:06 am

    I am currently engaged in a discussion on a Danish christian forum about the Biting Beaver and her ordeal with emergency contraception.

    The people I’m debating with, claim that by having an abortion she is not taking responsibility for her actions. A guy says that when you are pregnant you cannot just go to the doctor and have the pregnancy terminated, there are a thousand aspects of the situation you have to consider.

    Well duh. Thats why she used contraception in the first place. The starnge thing is he cannot see that his claim that there are a thousand aspects to the situation, and his claim that she is not being responsible is a contradiction. If there was only one aspect of being pregnant, then – perhaps – there would be only one good choice, but how can you claim that there are thousands of aspects, and still claim that all actions but one is wrong?

  4. October 24, 2006 at 4:49 am

    Er, yeah, I don’t think if you were a male blogger with a job and a baby that anyone would dream of saying:

    “But aren’t you afraid to let her grow up without your presence? . . . I believe that a father’s presence is vital for the healthy development of a baby!” etc. etc. While I am sure the commenter is a good feminist in many respects, it doesn’t strike me as very feminist to lecture other women about how they aren’t fulfilling traditional gender expectations.

  5. Marian
    October 24, 2006 at 5:35 am

    That sounded specifically like a troll post.

  6. Louise
    October 24, 2006 at 5:35 am

    I was thinking to myself about the sheer busy-bodiness of M2B’s comments- would she be so forward in a supermarket (ie, face to face) to a new mom? Doubtful…and if the tables had been reversed and a stranger was questioning HER parenting choices, I wonder what her reaction would have been.

  7. October 24, 2006 at 6:48 am

    You and the Happy Feminist are clearly nicer people than I am. While I think it would be mildly mean to gang up on her for not being a feminist simply because she’s a stay-at-home mom, I see no issue with ganging up on her for shaming another mother who doesn’t stay home. There is nothing feminist about that last action. Especially when it’s backed up by “it’s against nature”, as opposed to any analysis of why it might actually be beneficial to women ourselves. I don’t agree with Hirshman re: stay-at-home motherhood being anti-feminist, but she backs up her view with an evaluation of why staying at home can be harmful to women. At least that’s an analysis in a feminist context.

    As for Momma2babies being a good feminist in other aspects, I’m trying to figure out what those other aspects might be. That women should have the right to vote? That women without children should be able to work and get equal pay? That we should be able to control our reproductive choices? I suppose, maybe. I just have a really hard time getting past the “conform to traditional gender roles, mothers, or you’re being bad women and going against your nature.”

  8. evil fizz
    October 24, 2006 at 8:30 am

    While I think it would be mildly mean to gang up on her for not being a feminist simply because she’s a stay-at-home mom, I see no issue with ganging up on her for shaming another mother who doesn’t stay home.

    Word. I have yet to get the impression from any woman that her choice to work or stay at home was anything less than considered, even if it wasn’t optimal.

  9. ks
    October 24, 2006 at 8:55 am

    I’m with Evil Fizz and Lesley. She may or may not be a feminist, I really don’t know, but I fail to see how it is any of her business whether you stay home with your kid or not. Aside from the economic issues (i.e., some people have to work), some of us just weren’t made to stay home with children, whether we could technically afford to or not. That doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids or aren’t good mothers, it just means that in order to be the best mothers possible, we should be happy and not resent the hell out of our kids for having to give up an actual adult life. Like I told my sister when she was contemplating going back to work last year, ‘you’ll like your kids a hell of a lot better when you don’t have to spend every waking moment with them.’ And, at least for me (and her), that is an absolutely true statement.

  10. October 24, 2006 at 9:01 am

    Marian is right. It reads like a form letter, there’s not enough content specifc to you to convince me otherwise, it could be very smart spam with keyword searching.

    And note that M2b is all about the strawfeminist, the evil dyke man-hating bitch slut hag sexbot careerist who wants to abuse all mothers for their evil motherhood and abandon all babies for being cute.

    Seriously, this is anti-feminist spam created as an excuse to pervert feminist into strawfeminist vs. SAHM feminist. Don’t buy in.

  11. October 24, 2006 at 9:02 am

    yeah, good call, it is the same as the “pants are CATEGORICALLY more feminist -and- more comfortable than skirts; clearly you just Haven’t Found the Right Pair Yet.” She was all like, “You can’t feel that way! I have that exact same body, and I don’t feel that way, plus, PATRIARCHY! so, stop deluding yourself. splunge! blorgle! QED! why’s everyone so AGGRESSIVE?!”

    well, except for, like Marian, this one sounded to my jaded ears a bit more.. consciously baiting.

    then again, who the hell knows. and while either or both may be perfectly sincere, it’s also still trolling if you’re deliberately trying to piss people off, which i think pants babe was doing by the end, at least.

    it’s very Zen, really. “When is a troll not a troll?…”

    anyway, this is something that generally has driven me absolutely starkers from the beginning: this -weird- apparent inability a lot of…people?…have to distinguish between their own sweet selves and that other person over there.

    What I’m less clear on is whether this is something specific or at least even more common to certain kinds of feminist discussions/interactions (does it boil down to female merging? female socialization to people-please? or need to fit in ideologically?) or if it’s really just -everyone- and i’ve just been spending way too much time in certain arguments, circular.

    But, or, well, as i said elsewhere, in response to the cwazy pants chick:

    ***

    …I mean, this sort of thing has been pretty common ’round the ‘sphere, just usually a tad more sophisticated; that is, i rarely see someone come right out and say directly to someone who’s just -spoken in I-statements herself-, “no, you don’t!” Usually it’s more, I have experienced such and so, ergo Women experience such and so (or maybe just, skip directly to Women); someone else comes in like Vanessa, except they’ll be more likely to put it as, since we’re already in this sort of territory,

    well, SOME women don’t, for example, me–

    and then they’ll start in with, ah, but, the patriarchy, blahblahblah!

    and -then- when other person gets frustrated, it’ll be like, what? i’m not trying to tell you what to do! just think about WHY you like what you like! like me! this is what consciousness raising IS! I clock you on the head with my own experiences disguised as EveryWoman until you either concede that i am right or scream with exasperation and leave! the fact that the latter seems to happen much more frequently than the former simply means i must DO IT MORE; the defensiveness means i am ONTO SOMETHING IMPORTANT. or some damn thing, who the hell knows,

    i mean, that’s what i -thought;- of course the natural corollary to “I do not understand the difference between me saying ‘I don’t like pudding’ and ‘Women like pudding, because the patriarchy has conditioned them to do so, and i have examined my pudding, and even though it was delicious and succulent i am putting it away from me, away i say! because it was BAD for me, i came to realize. or not; i do still indulge; but i EXAMINED my pudding. that’s all anyone is asking. why are you so defensive about your pudding? hm? how selfish. it’s only pudding! don’t you understand that if we all gave up pudding at once, the world would split open? you are letting us all down! you are holding back the Revolution! in some way which has yet to be explained! pudding is part of the key–oh, no, don’t be so literal-minded, we are not speaking -only- of pudding, but of all commercially made, over-sweetened desserts. possibly all desserts period, and maybe even all food, but that’s not important right now, the POINT is, god! can’t you ever talk about anything but “yay! pudding ROOLZ!” 24/7? you are so SELFISH and UNTHINKING. but, no pressure, really.”

    …i guess it makes sense that in turn, it would make sense for such a person to, when confronted with someone who says, simply,

    “look, i like pudding; i find it creamy and succulent, and chocolate especially pleases my tastebuds”

    to respond, “no you DON’T! -i- don’t like pudding! so -you- CAN’T. you brainwashed patriarchy-fucker.”

    …it’s just kind of doing my head in is all. i mean, i understand that neither therapy speak (“I-statements,” people!) -or- the grammatic difference between first and second and third person -or- social graces 101 for anyone -not- raised in a barn are not exactly as universally taught as one might hope; but somehow, i think this disconnect goes beyond any of those things…

  12. ks
    October 24, 2006 at 9:15 am

    Oh, and just want to say that while your baby is surely cute, she is definitely not as adorable as my two, who are (objectively speaking, of course) the most beautiful children on the planet. ;) I would prove it, but I don’t have a blog and there aren’t any pictures of them anyplace online.

  13. Dianne
    October 24, 2006 at 9:42 am

    Two points: First, studies have demonstrated that stay at home moms actually don’t spend any more time with their children than working moms. (See, for example, here So vanessa’s child is probably no more “without her presence” than M2B’s child, although perhaps because M2B made a conscious choice to stay home she also makes an effort to spend more time with her kids.

    Two, there is some indication that day care may actually be good for children, at least after infancy. My child has learned quite a bit about interacting with her peers from her preschool. Of course, the daycare has to be high quality or the child suffers, but a child may actually benefit from spending some time interacting with her peers in a safe daycare situation than spending all day alone with her mother. (Which is not to say that I think M2B is making a bad decision by staying home–just that her claim to superiority doesn’t really hold up.)

  14. October 24, 2006 at 1:47 pm

    Momma2babies Says:
    So maybe it’s something you’ll like to consider although it’s being labeled as unfeminist and maybe that’s why many women opt to go to work and leave their baby in daycare .

    Somehow I seriously doubt that many women (perhaps excepting Linda Hirshman, whom you already pointed out is missing a few screws) choose to work outside the home solely to prove they’re more feminist than their peers. Economics, intellectual stimulation….of all the women with kids that I know that WOH (and many identify themselves as feminists), none state they did it to keep their feminist credentials. Quite a few say they did it to keep their sanity or to be able to afford luxuries like a mortgage, groceries, etc.

    As for “natural” – I would suggest that Momma2babies check out Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s Mother Nature for a rather eye-opening look at what is natural in terms of human mothers.

  15. Rhiannon
    October 24, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    ‘you’ll like your kids a hell of a lot better when you don’t have to spend every waking moment with them.’

    EXACTLY!!! I was a stay at home mom for a year when I was on welfare (part of my states rules, 1 year to mommy and then go to school or get a job) and within 3 months I wanted out… of the house. I managed to get through that first year but it was enough to teach me that, no- I could never be a stay at home mom. As annoying as it is to get up early every morning for work, it’s so much more fulfilling to be working than dealing with a demanding toddler 24/7.

  16. piny
    October 24, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Really? I can be a stay-at-home mom? I had no idea! I’ve never even thought of that before!

    Right. Like, “Wait, who’s this Jesus guy? Never heard of him.”

  17. Beatrice Divina
    October 24, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    I’ve learned something, as a stay-at-home mother.
    Not everyone should do this.
    There are many people who truly and honestly are not cut out to stay at home with tiny, inarticulate, incontinent humans who scream 50% of the time. Oddly, I rather like it, but I tend to enjoy solitude and I’m an insomniac anyway. Half the moms I know would go completely b@tsh!t crazy staying home with their offspring, which would serve no one.
    I grew up going to daycare and babysitters and feel I had a really good upbringing. I stay home with my sprog because I like it, and we can afford it, but Jesus Gay, I would never tell anyone they “needed” to do it.
    Kids are happiest, I think, with happy parents who love them. Full stop.

  18. ks
    October 24, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    Rhainnon,
    I know. I used to be one of those ‘every woman who can afford to stay home should stay home’ types, until I tried it. I stayed home full time with my oldest until he was 18 months old and I just about went insane. Turns out, I’m way less maternal that I expected. With my second (now 16 months) I went back to work when he was 3 months. And now I look forward to spending time with them in the evenings and on weekends, instead of dreading getting up in the morning because I never got a break from them. And I hate summers. I teach part time at the local U and sub part time for the local public school district and so I don’t work in the summer and I also don’t get paid, therefore daycare becomes prohibitively expensive (we can just pay the essential bills on the husband’s salary). So the kids stay home with me in summer and, after about a week of it, I long for August like the kids long for Christmas.

  19. thegirlfrommarz
    October 24, 2006 at 2:27 pm

    Kids are happiest, I think, with happy parents who love them. Full stop.

    What Beatrice said!

    Sounds like M2B doesn’t have a lot else in her life other than taking care of the babies (what’s with the identifying herself only through being a mother??) – she’s not guest-blogging on Feministe, after all… Wonder if she’s jealous and trying to put you down to make herself feel better?

  20. thegirlfrommarz
    October 24, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    Not that I’m saying that there’s anything wrong with being a mother, just to be clear! But I have noticed that people of the sort (you know, the sort who begin all sentences, “As a parent, I…”) tend to be obsessed with parenthood way beyond anything normal and don’t have any other way of defining their identity.

  21. October 24, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    This is also an appropiate place to link to this (and look! based on actual research! not a culturally driven idea of what’s ‘natural’ or ‘best for kids’): http://www.mothersmovement.org/noteworthy/noteworthy.htm#childcare

  22. KnifeGhost
    October 24, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    i mean, that’s what i -thought;- of course the natural corollary to “I do not understand the difference between me saying ‘I don’t like pudding’ and ‘Women like pudding, because the patriarchy has conditioned them to do so, and i have examined my pudding, and even though it was delicious and succulent i am putting it away from me, away i say! because it was BAD for me, i came to realize. or not; i do still indulge; but i EXAMINED my pudding. that’s all anyone is asking. why are you so defensive about your pudding? hm? how selfish. it’s only pudding! don’t you understand that if we all gave up pudding at once, the world would split open? you are letting us all down! you are holding back the Revolution! in some way which has yet to be explained! pudding is part of the key–oh, no, don’t be so literal-minded, we are not speaking -only- of pudding, but of all commercially made, over-sweetened desserts. possibly all desserts period, and maybe even all food, but that’s not important right now, the POINT is, god! can’t you ever talk about anything but “yay! pudding ROOLZ!” 24/7? you are so SELFISH and UNTHINKING. but, no pressure, really.”

    Jesus Jones. That may be the most wonderful thing I’ve ever read.

  23. October 24, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    I totally agree with the previous posts. Being a stay-at-home-mom (shit, can we get another term here??) is definitely NOT for everyone. Moms or Dads. Most of my friends went back to work and they didn’t have to. I stayed home. Daycare is so expensive that we would actually lose money if I got a steady job. I also work from home and I am an actor. So, I am not sure if I am a true stay-at-home-mom. But there are days when I could literally run screaming from the building – straight to the closest bar.

    Mommy2babies is the exact reason why I have had stay away from mommy specific blogs. Everytime I have checked any out they seem to be chock full of more damn acronyms than I can deal with, and the posters are these really smug sounding, judgemental “Parents.” They all had their children “naturally” and at home, in the bathtub, and now they are home schooling little ***(acronym here – you really shouldn’t need an acronym guide to read a blog). That is not to say that any of these choices is wrong, these choices are right for some people — but these people seem to use them as a judgement line for your success as a parent.

    I always find myself backing out of these sites with a very “Ooops, sorry, wrong room” kind of feeling.

    There is so much that women can do to help each other be better parents and feminists and yet, these types of spaces with these types of people are at every turn.

  24. October 24, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    why thankyew.

    was just coming here to note, i was starting to read and uh examine this book (on my blog), which may possibly be the most annoying little collection of essays i have read in a very long while, “The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism” (Dorchen Leidholdt & Janice Raymond). midway through i got overwhelmed and shelved the post. maybe i’ll come back to it. but anyhoo, this bit was relevant her, maybe, from the opening essay by Catherine MacKinnon:

    Each woman was all women in some way….When women were hurt, this movement defended them. Individually and in groups, it organized and started shelters and groups of and for all women: battered women, incest survivors, prostitutes…We did it because…we knew that whatever could be done to them could be, was being, would be done to us. We -were- them, also.

    ah, but were they you, also? and Kitty, did you ever ask if they wanted you to be them? Well, at least now i know (“we,” excuse me, i mean us, we mean i mean–damn!) that yup, the whole crazy-making “I’m Every Woman” deal also has some ideological basis here.

  25. October 24, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    slip

  26. pram in the hall
    October 24, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    Why is this discussion centering around whether women with children should feel an imperative to abdicate paid work? I think a better question is, do kids need a parent at home? And if they REALLY REALLY do, why is it up to mothers? I its so all-important, why don’t more dads do it?

    And just so M2B knows, just because both parents work, their kids are not necessarily in daycare. For financial reasons, my husband and I worked swing shifts when the three kids were small, so they had a parent home all the time but we both earned much needed money.

    The idea that there is one right way to be a mother is so solipsistic as to boggle the mind.

  27. twf
    October 24, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Everybody loves to give unsolicited know-it-all advice! Because obviously *I* know more than you about the choices you make and the factors that influence it.
    This is why fat people need to be told they should exercise and eat more. The poor uneducated sots. If someone just *told* them to eat fewer donuts, why, they wouldn’t be ignorant and could stop being fat! Childless women need to be told to think about having children. Gays should just *try really hard* to like people of the “correct” gender. Infertile couples should just relax. And as piny said, the heathens just need to hear about Jesus!

  28. October 24, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    and we all need to wear pants! even if they cut into our crotch and the wasitband doesn’t fit! becuse they’re objectively more confortable! and because nothing says “i am sexually available and vulnerable” like a skirt! except maybe for assless chaps!

  29. piny
    October 24, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    assless chaps!

    I see this all over the place, and have to ask: isn’t this redundant? Are there modesty chaps that come all the way up, or what?

  30. October 24, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    i guess it should really be “jeanless chaps”–modesty chaps would just be wearin’ em over pants like God intended, i guess

  31. piny
    October 24, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    modesty chaps would just be wearin’ em over pants like God intended, i guess

    Are modesty dudes allowed to wear leather at all? I mean, not counting chastity belts?

  32. Momma2babies
    October 24, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    Now there is one thing I really don’t understand about this tread, so please, answer my question!!!
    (You see, I gave up arguing with you about baby rearing, since it seems that the majority of pl here aren’t really interested in this discussion, but rather are really nervous and heated about something. I’d like to try to understand what it is.)

    So. What is this stuff about pants and crotches and asses? Specifically there seems to be this one person who devoted all of her (plentiful) posts on this thread to the hell of pants wearing (belledame). Also, Vanessa mentioned it in her post. But why is it causing you such strong emotions? If you can’t wear pants, just don’t, what do you care what some person told you on your blog?! Maybe she never saw a woman like you? Maybe she’s just clueless? No, definitely I see how it’s wrong to force somebody to wear pants (especially when you have really big hips pants look just horrible on you. I have one friend like this and she should only wear skirts, so I definitely understand where you speak from, LOL)
    But why are you worring about it so much? Why is it all that important? Aren’t there more interesting things in life to speak about? Even this discussion I started…

  33. Norah
    October 24, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    Erm, I think the pants vs. skirt thing was being used as a metaphor.

  34. October 24, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    Over at plucky punk, a commenter said:

    I only said that it sounds to me like BULLSHIT to claim that skirts are more comfortable GENERALLY (and yes that’s what you said actually) to you BECAUSE you have a curvy figure. That some pants don’t fit you in your crotch and are tight around your butt means ONE thing – THESE pants weren’t made for your figure! But you can aquire well fitted pants, and yeah they will be more comfortable than skirts because they have two legs. So this way you can spread your legs (in a purely functional manner XD), sit everywhere you want, ride a bike, climb trees etc…Same with high heels – and btw the fact that your calves hurt from walking normally (assuming you use some pads for your flat feet) means that they are DEGENERATED and some time at the gym wouldnt hurt either – with regular running shoes – RUNNING!!. And why do you wear make up? Is it physically comfortable too?

    As well as other generally hateful things with regards to Vanessa’s life choices. Hmmm…where have I heard another person doing the exact same thing? Huh. I just had it a second ago.

  35. October 24, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    Now I have the mother of all earworms: “Eat your pudding. If you don’t eat your meat, how can you have any pudding? How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”

    i mean, that’s what i -thought;- of course the natural corollary to “I do not understand the difference between me saying ‘I don’t like pudding’ and ‘Women like pudding, because the patriarchy has conditioned them to do so, and i have examined my pudding, and even though it was delicious and succulent i am putting it away from me, away i say! because it was BAD for me, i came to realize. or not; i do still indulge; but i EXAMINED my pudding. that’s all anyone is asking. why are you so defensive about your pudding? hm? how selfish. it’s only pudding! don’t you understand that if we all gave up pudding at once, the world would split open? you are letting us all down! you are holding back the Revolution! in some way which has yet to be explained! pudding is part of the key–oh, no, don’t be so literal-minded, we are not speaking -only- of pudding, but of all commercially made, over-sweetened desserts. possibly all desserts period, and maybe even all food, but that’s not important right now, the POINT is, god! can’t you ever talk about anything but “yay! pudding ROOLZ!” 24/7? you are so SELFISH and UNTHINKING. but, no pressure, really.”

  36. October 24, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    ks, so with you. I stayed home for 2 1/2 years. Just about killed me. By the time he was 3 I had my tubes tied!

  37. kate
    October 24, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    You know, I was a stay at home mother because my ex wanted it that way and made it impossible for me to have a driver’s license, continue my education or any number of things associated with getting out and having life beyond the home and family.

    Also, once I divorced, my children had a plethora of issues that required that I put off any desires for education or career development or economic development. The near twenty years I sacrificed to raise my children has basically put my entire life much further behind than any people I would consider my peers.

    I find it highly irritating that middle class women like this consider themselves some kind of damn saint because they have a man who apparently can afford to carry her and the kids alone. It is a priviledge to have that, neither guaranteed nor a gift that nature bestows on virtuous woman.

    Her comment basically says that women like myself are inferior in that a) we made a bad decision and didn’t choose a good ‘provider’ and b) we are selfish bitches because we don’t want to have to trade our own personal/economic development for dependency on someone else in order to guarantee we won’t be living in a rooming house at 65, eating cat food because our little time in the working world gives us a paltry social security dividend.

    And frankly, I agree with Linda Hirschmann, she has the only workable prescription for women who want to have a family but also have economic independence.

    M2B is lucky, not talented, not gifted, not saintly, just damn lucky she got it right, for at least right now and has someone who will carry her and the children.

  38. mythago
    October 24, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    I doubt Momma2babies is a stay-at-home mom, really.

  39. October 25, 2006 at 12:06 am

    pram in the hall Says:
    And just so M2B knows, just because both parents work, their kids are not necessarily in daycare. For financial reasons, my husband and I worked swing shifts when the three kids were small, so they had a parent home all the time but we both earned much needed money.

    Not that it matters, but that’s exactly what me and Brian are doing now. He’s got the day shift, I’ve got the night shift.

    Momma2babies Says:
    (You see, I gave up arguing with you about baby rearing, since it seems that the majority of pl here aren’t really interested in this discussion, but rather are really nervous and heated about something. I’d like to try to understand what it is.)

    Actually, it’s the same discussion. Your helpful advice to “consider” staying at home, as though since I don’t I might never have even heard of such a thing before, is just another example of the same type of person offering unwanted and frankly condecending advice, the woman who suggested that I just buy a pair of jeans that fit and maybe go to the gym being the other example.

  40. ks
    October 25, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Over at plucky punk, a commenter said:

    I only said that it sounds to me like BULLSHIT to claim that skirts are more comfortable GENERALLY (and yes that’s what you said actually) to you BECAUSE you have a curvy figure. That some pants don’t fit you in your crotch and are tight around your butt means ONE thing – THESE pants weren’t made for your figure! But you can aquire well fitted pants, and yeah they will be more comfortable than skirts because they have two legs. So this way you can spread your legs (in a purely functional manner XD), sit everywhere you want, ride a bike, climb trees etc…Same with high heels – and btw the fact that your calves hurt from walking normally (assuming you use some pads for your flat feet) means that they are DEGENERATED and some time at the gym wouldnt hurt either – with regular running shoes – RUNNING!!. And why do you wear make up? Is it physically comfortable too?

    Thanks, Jack for pointing this out. I haven’t read Vanessa’s blog and I was wondering where all the pants/skirts crap was coming from.

    And just for the record, I prefer skirts. I can run, climb trees, play soccer with my kids, etc., all in a skirt. I can even do most of that stuff in heels, thank you very much. Because, quite frankly, even if I could find pants for my figure (28 inch waist, over 40 inch bust and hips–I have a very exaggerated hourglass figure, plus I’m tall), the cost would be prohibitive, in terms of time, effort, and money. Because quality stuff costs. In fact, the main times I wear pants are at the gym (sweats with a drawstring) and I have ONE pair of jeans that I had to get altered that I wear for times when skirts just aren’t appropriate (i.e., yard work when it’s cold out). So whoever said that, screw you. All women just aren’t made the same way and those of us who don’t fit the standard can’t all afford to have our clothes custom made just so we can wear pants.

  41. Momma2babies
    October 25, 2006 at 10:13 am

    “I doubt Momma2babies is a stay-at-home mom, really.”

    Why is it? Because I’m literate? Or is it because I’m not bitching about it , and actually happy about my situation?

  42. Momma2babies
    October 25, 2006 at 10:21 am

    “I was thinking to myself about the sheer busy-bodiness of M2B’s comments- would she be so forward in a supermarket (ie, face to face) to a new mom? Doubtful…and if the tables had been reversed and a stranger was questioning HER parenting choices, I wonder what her reaction would have been.”
    You know, I don’t usually adress strangers on the street about their way of life. I don’t know if this kind of behavior looks acceptable to you, but I definitely consider it to be very strange and impolite. However a blog is different, and ppl writig blogs and chosing to “out” their life for other ppl to read are expecting comments. Sometimes these comments don’t miror their or other commenters point of view, but that’s life.
    Btw, it’s interesting how in your example I’m supposed to meet the generic new mother in the supermarket of all places. Do you think sahm’s don’t go to other places as much or more often? if you were a man I’d definitely call it chauvinism, pure and simple.

  43. Momma2babies
    October 25, 2006 at 10:29 am

    “I know. I used to be one of those ‘every woman who can afford to stay home should stay home’ types, until I tried it. I stayed home full time with my oldest until he was 18 months old and I just about went insane. Turns out, I’m way less maternal that I expected. With my second (now 16 months) I went back to work when he was 3 months. And now I look forward to spending time with them in the evenings and on weekends, instead of dreading getting up in the morning because I never got a break from them.”
    i’m sorry, but if you only see them in the evenings and on weekends, why did you need to have children at all? Basically they are raised by day-care. You hate spending time with them and were actually happy to send them to day care even in summer, then you do stay home. What did you have them for? And two of them with such a small difference, which indeed makes caring for them hell (as I know from my friends) The biological continuity? Passing your genes to the future?
    No really, I don’t unerstand, if you just can’t stand your kids for a week, why have these kids?

  44. Momma2babies
    October 25, 2006 at 10:48 am

    “i wonder what Momma2babies would think of my “stay-at-home-dad” husband?”

    Shocked! I have no worlds.You turned my whole world upside down.

    “Marian is right. It reads like a form letter, there’s not enough content specifc to you to convince me otherwise, it could be very smart spam with keyword searching….etc”

    “And note that M2b is all about the strawfeminist, the evil dyke man-hating bitch slut hag sexbot careerist who wants to abuse all mothers for their evil motherhood and abandon all babies for being cute.

    Seriously, this is anti-feminist spam created as an excuse to pervert feminist into strawfeminist vs. SAHM feminist. Don’t buy in. “

    I didn’t understand all this thing about sexbot dyke being against strawfeminist or whatever it’s called (btw, am i a strawfeminist? I don’t know. Or maybe a sexbot?), but i want to assure you it was a serious post an not spam. Also, what purpose could such spam possibly serve? As of yet, I’m not selling you pamperses…

    Sounds like M2B doesn’t have a lot else in her life other than taking care of the babies (what’s with the identifying herself only through being a mother??) – she’s not guest-blogging on Feministe, after all… Wonder if she’s jealous and trying to put you down to make herself feel better?

    You have your point. But deep in my heart I still know that somebody like me will never guest-blog on feministe, so my revenge on Vanessa isn’t so sweet ;-(

  45. October 25, 2006 at 10:54 am

    I really wanted a TV. That doesn’t mean I watch TV 12 hours a day. Should I not have gotten a TV?

    I really wanted cats. That doesn’t mean I spend 12 hours a day with my cats. Should I not have gotten cats?

    I plan to get married in a couple of months. I don’t expect I’ll spend 24 hours a day at my husband’s side. Should I not get married?

    Finally — Would you ask the same question of a man? After all, they’re his kids too… why would a man sire children if he would let daycare raise them? Why bother having kids if he isn’t going to spend all day with them?

  46. ks
    October 25, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    Ponygirl, you took the words right out of me. Just because I don’t want to spend every single moment with my children doesn’t mean that I don’t want or love them. It just means that I don’t want to spend every waking moment with them.

  47. Momma2babies
    October 25, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    Finally — Would you ask the same question of a man? After all, they’re his kids too… why would a man sire children if he would let daycare raise them? Why bother having kids if he isn’t going to spend all day with them?

    Yes, sweetheart, of course I would. At least one of the parents should at least have a desire to spend his days with his kids.

    Also, kids aren’t tv or cats. Cats are fine on their own and kids aren’t. They require care all day long when they are little, then less, then they are adults and leave the house to be self sufficient adults. If you can only wish to see your kids on weekends and in the evenings maybe you’ll be better off getting a cat or a tv indeed.

  48. Kat
    October 25, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    At least one of the parents should at least have a desire to spend his days with his kids.

    So its okay for me to put them in daycare as long as I feel guilty about it?

  49. October 25, 2006 at 12:27 pm

    Momma2babies Says:
    (btw, am i a strawfeminist? I don’t know. Or maybe a sexbot?),

    Okay, I admit, that one made me laugh. But you’re still missing the point of everyone’s objections. No one is saying you shouldn’t stay at home with your kids if that’s what works for you. The problem happens when you start suggesting that another woman’s child is suffering because she is doing something different.

    Not only does your suggestion seem like you’re making the very arrogant assumption that you’ve made a very careful choice and I’ve just kind of blithely flipped a coin about it or something. It shows an astounding lack of empathy.

    I know I could be a stay at home mom if I wanted to. I don’t need you to suggest it, oh-so-helpfully.

    (Not to mention the whole money issue. I actually *couldn’t* stay at home because we need the money.)

    Plus, I know you say you were a feminist ‘before your children were born’ but both your insistence that a mother being the primary caregiver is more ‘natural’ and your comments to ks stating “i’m sorry, but if you only see them in the evenings and on weekends, why did you need to have children at all” really, really make you sound like you’re not one anymore.

  50. October 25, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    Also, kids aren’t tv or cats. Cats are fine on their own and kids aren’t. They require care all day long when they are little, then less, then they are adults and leave the house to be self sufficient adults. If you can only wish to see your kids on weekends and in the evenings maybe you’ll be better off getting a cat or a tv indeed.

    That’s a false dichotomy, dearie. Unless you’re suggesting that Vanessa locks her children in a closet while she’s away at work, she doesn’t just abandon her kids “on their own.” She finds people to take care of them. Just like, when I leave my cats for more than a day, I find someone to take care of them and make sure that their needs are met. Should I not ever leave for vacation, because the cats, who rely on me for food and water, cannot be cared for by anyone but me, who loves them dearly? Or would you tell me to get a TV instead, because obviously, the desire for a cat is interchangeable with the desire for a TV — naturally! Will you listen to yourself, honestly?

  51. October 25, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    Also, as someone who was placed in daycare by my mom, let me just say I’m so fucking sick of this nouvelle mommy bullshit about how you’re going to stick it to the last generation and raise your kids “right” and be with them every minute and not pay other people to “raise” your kids for you.

    I was in daycare: Here’s what it was like — I spent several hours a day playing with friends, having stories read to me, learning stuff, and taking intermittant naps. Then, I got to spend time with mom and the family at night.

    I never pitched a fit because I worried mom was “abandoning” me when I was dropped off at school. I can’t say the same for the preschoolers and kindergarteners who were suddenly not without mom for the first time in their life.

    I learned to find independant interests, have a good sense of self and learn ways to occupy my time in the ways that interested me, rather than constantly look to my mom for stimulation.

    In short, deciding to stay home with the kids is a decision for you, not your kids.

  52. spit
    October 25, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve pretty much stayed the hell away from this argument, but would just like to say that wanting kids does not translate into wanting kids to be your whole existence. Frankly, I think it’s just as healthy for kids to understand that mom, like the rest of humanity, needs her personal space sometimes. The idea that becoming a mother translates into kids having absolute control over the entire scope of one’s time is IMO unhealthy for both mom and kid — which I’ll also add, before I’m misinterpreted, doesn’t mean it’s good or bad in itself to be a stay at home mom, either. Just that either way, kids have to learn at some point that mom is an individual, not just a care-bot.

  53. pram in the hall
    October 25, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    If we’re arguing what’s natural for mothers to do, I suggest reading the following New York Times article on animal mothers:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/09/science/09mama.html?ex=1161921600&en=57269a4353a897a1&ei=5070

    Apparently it’s natural for mothers to do things such as eat their children, starve their children, encourage fratricide, or spend only two minutes a day with their babies. I would say that BOTH Vanessa and M2B look pretty good in comparison.

    And isn’t it interesting that no one is defending M2B’s ideas except…M2B. Hmmm…

  54. Louise
    October 25, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Mythago, you’re probably right. Missed that one… where the heck is the troll repellent?

    But on the off chance…M2B. You found it a better choice to attack what I said than answer the question. So again- how would you feel if someone gave unsolicited advice and questioned your parenting choices? Let’s say, oh, while mountain climbing on K-2, where the most absorbant diapers are kept and the best food for families are sold…chauvinist. WOW. That’s rich.

  55. October 25, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    No spam filtration, eh?

  56. October 26, 2006 at 5:15 am

    You know, my aunt and uncle have twins, going on for two years old now. They have a woman who comes in to help “nanny” a few times a week, and a day care center for the rest of the time. the kids are happy healthy and thriving. if anything they may be slightly better socialized than kids who only spend time with the parents.

    you know, there is also such a thing as -quality- time. my uncle is head over heels in love with those kids.

  57. October 26, 2006 at 5:16 am

    speaking of troll: “sexbot -dyke-?” Um, who else mentioned the word “dyke” here, M2B? i think your slip is showing. Sweetheart.

  58. Katryn
    October 26, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    M2B-
    I have to really disagree with your assertion that kids are better with one parent at home full-time. Both my parents worked full time, so I was definately a day care kid (which I only have fond, crayon filled memories of) and I have a great relationship with my mom and dad. Heck, I spent a month every summer with my great-aunt, even though my mom doesn’t have to work in the summer.

    And, strangely, I have a much better relationship with my Mom than any of my friends whose mother’s stayed at home. My Mom is probably one of my best friends and even during the teenage years, we almost never fought. While I applaud you for staying at home, I don’t think it’s absolutely nessecary. To say that a working Mom can’t have a close relationship with her children is placing emphasis on quantity of time, not quality of time.

  59. Dianne
    October 26, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    Btw, it’s interesting how in your example I’m supposed to meet the generic new mother in the supermarket of all places. Do you think sahm’s don’t go to other places as much or more often?

    I’m not the person you were addressing, but I do think that SAHM go other places. In fact, so often that the “average” SAHM (whoever she may be) spends no more time with her children than the average working mom (see reference in my previous post.) So why all the angst over “letting strangers raise your children” when statistically you’re probably spending no more time with your children than vanessa.

  60. pram in the hall
    October 26, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    And why not lecture other stay at home moms about why the heck are they at home for the sake of their children if they don’t actually spend any more time with their kids than employed moms AND deprive the kids of the benefits of a second income. Perhaps M2B spends more than the average amount of time with her kids, but then there must be another SAHM out there who spends less. It’s even possible that Vanessa spends more than the average amount of time with her daughter and that M2B spends less. In any case, it seems like certain people should examine the facts before posting.

  61. Louise
    October 26, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    I AM the person M2B was addressing- and I was a SAH mom when the kids were little (up to age 3 for youngest), then started up a business with my husband for 4 years. Once that was running well, I went back into SAH status so kids could come straight home after school and get homework done before activities or dinner. I still help with the business as needed.

    I think parents have to just do what feels best for their family and not worry about what “Mrs. Grundy” next door thinks. Daycare was a good solution for us and GREAT for the kids- their nearest cousins are 50 miles away, and they got to make friends with future and current classmates.

    Oh- and my TVs and cat were all just fine while we were gone. ;-)

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