Thursday, July 26, 2007

Angry, Angry, Angry People
I've been seeing a lot of things lately that made me want to blog on it, but individually, they didn't amount to much. So I thought hey, I'll compile some and just call them Angry People. I don't know what's wrong with people. Sure, I rant. I rant when one of my favourite shows lets me down. I rant when I'm overcharged for something. I rant when I get a tax bill saying my home has been reevaluated and now I have to pay back-taxes for the past 3 years, even though I've only owned the house for two... (stupid Toronto government... I really do have to call them about that one). I rant about a LOT of things.

But there are so many people out there saying stupid things about people, just generalizing everything and everyone, and they come off looking like morons. So let's start with Moron #1.

Looks like his Y chromosome had a bit of stupid attached
Canada's National Post had a column a few days ago about how women are still being paid less than men. So this rocket scientist thought he'd weigh in and let us all know the REAL reason why women aren't paid as much as men. After years of research and argument, thank you thank you Mr. Clark Brown for providing the definitive answer:

Re: Why Men Earn More, editorial, July 23.
The bottom line is that if women want to earn as much as men, they have to behave like men in the employment marketplace. That usually means: work longer hours at intellectually challenging, personally unrewarding careers that offer a poor workplace environment, physical hazards, pay linked to performance, an imposition on nonworking lifestyle choices or some combination of the above. Furthermore,
women would have to take on more responsibilities, make family sacrifices and be more productive in the jobs they have. That's how men do it. Women can do it too, if they so choose. — Clark Brown, Maple Ridge, BC

Well, ladies, I hope we've all learned our lesson. Thank goodness Clark Brown of Maple Ridge, BC has shown us the light. I guess this means men will start having the babies for us. And we need to stop skiving off work at 3pm and sitting in the corner twiddling our thumbs.

Wha? I reed! I reed book alot!
Andrew K%$!n, that guy bloggers love to hate (and won't write his name so he can't google himself), has written an AWESOME study of how the blogosphere is killing mainstream media and is made up of a bunch of stupidheads who don't read books and who can barely think, let alone spell. No offense to newspaper reporters -- I'm married to one, most of my friends are newspaper reporters, and I think there are some amazing ones out there -- but there are a lot of bloggers whose opinions on movies, television, books, etc. I'll take over theirs any day. Anyone read the movie section in the Globe & Mail lately? Maybe if they'd hire a reviewer younger than 75, I might actually listen to their advice.

Boobs are Bad
Now, this might not be for everyone, but having been through the experience (and no doubt will go through it again in a couple of months) I feel for this person. This blogger is posting an email that a friend of hers received from a family member, telling her they can't wait to see her at their daughter's birthday party, BUT... could she not breastfeed in front of anyone, please?

Now, I understand that some people might not be used to the sight of a breastfeeding mother. I remember going to a dinner party once when I was on my first pregnancy, and the mom of 3 suddenly grabbed her infant and pulled her top up and started feeding her while she never missed a beat in the conversation. At the time, everyone tried to avert their eyes, but now that I think about it, what was she supposed to do, leave the table?

I had my share of breastfeeding problems the first time around. It's not an easy task, but it's SO important. Our mothers are from a generation that generally formula-fed, so you won't get much help there, and there's still a stigma in society that breasts are genitalia. I spent the first month or so of motherhood pulling the drapes, locking the doors, and sitting in darkened rooms. And then I thought, to hell with it. I even came into the office one day and did it during a staff meeting. Now, I don't throw up my shirt and sit there topless while carrying on a conversation. If I'm in a swivel chair, I swivel away, latch on the baby, throw a receiving blanket over her, and swivel back. It's not hard, and since nothing is showing, the other person has no reason to feel weird about it. I'd say something in advance and ask if they wanted me to leave, but rarely did anyone say yes.

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, was a whole other ball of wax. She told me it was disgusting, asked me to go upstairs and close the door, told me that she didn't want me doing it in front of other people, told her friends I was starving my child because there's no way a child could be getting enough nourishment that way, and actually started to do things to try to thwart my chances, believe it or not (the worst was one morning when I went to yoga, and she dropped by, found some milk in the fridge, gave it to my daughter, and by the time I got home, with my body telling me to feed that kid NOW or you're going to burst, I was met with a happy, non-hungry baby, and a beaming mother-in-law who bluntly said, "I already fed her, so you don't have to now." Of course, I ALSO had problems pumping, so that milk had taken me 3 days to make so my husband and I could go to our first movie out together that night, and we had to cancel). So I've been through this. I've already been informed by her that I'd better not try that breastfeeding "nonsense" again. This time I'm going to just walk around her house topless, whether I'm feeding him or not. ;)

Is Your Child an Assmonkey?
And I've been meaning to post this one for AGES now. It made me laugh out loud when I read it. I'm not a huge fan of right-wing Jonathan Kay (or worse, his mom's columns) but this was funny nonetheless. Jonathan Kay wrote a piece about going to a restaurant with his kids, and was met with such a fury of hate mail that he had to post a second story about it (this was a few months ago). He got a lot of letters from people objecting to the term "childless" and saying they are "child-free," i.e. free of that horrific thing known as children. His favourite was from the man who wrote this:

"Mr. Kay, I hope we never have the misfortune to have your family ruin a nice restaurant near us, because I could hardly resist the compulsion to empty ice water into the faces of both you and your broodsow of a partner. Attention, Mr. Look-My-Sperm-Works, your job as a parent does not end at ejaculation: Would you please show the rest of us the Get Out of Courtesy card that they gave you when your wife [birthed] your first replicant? Polite parents do not assault diners with their loud brood of assmonkeys."
I must admit, while I laughed out loud at this letter, I have sometimes been walking down the street, belly out-to-there, wondering, "Is anyone looking at me as nothing but a heifer right now?" because according to this guy, I'm a "broodsow."

Does anyone else detect the bitterness and anger here? His reference to Kay as "Mr. Look-My-Sperm-Works" makes me think that maybe his, um, doesn't.

I have absolutely nothing against anyone who decides to go child-free: three people to whom I am closest in this world have made the choice to not have children, and I think it's a wonderful and selfless choice. They've said, hey, I don't have the time for a child, and I've decided to make this decision now, rather than having them and dumping them on a nanny. I think that's a pretty amazing thing to decide. And don't get me wrong -- these are people who love children.

But these people don't deride me for making the choice to have them. The latest barrage lobbed against parents is that we are DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT by having our kids. If everyone would stop having children, these environmentalists argue, then the Earth wouldn't have any burden of population on it.

Yep. And in 80 years, it won't have any population at all.

I have a daughter and will soon have a son, and my daughter is well behaved. I take her to East Side Mario's, and would never go to an upscale Italian restaurant with her, so parents DO need to take responsibility for their children, and not ruin a quiet night out for someone else. But to take it to the length this particular writer has taken it? Is that really necessary?

Why can't we all just get along?


Anonymous said...

I breastfed both my children for 10-11 months. Went back to work with the 2nd after 8 weeks, so I did the whole pump thing. So I am no stranger to that time of life.

However, I never really *wanted* to breastfeed in front of others, whether or not I was covered. I mean, I didn't mind in front of my husband or my mother when she came for a visit, but I don't think I would do so at a dinner party or during conversation. It is just my preference.

How is leaving the room to breastfeed so terrible? I don't quite understand the degree of frustration some women have not being able to do everything they ever wanted while breastfeeding without some people being uncomfortable.

My only request? That more public restrooms have at least ONE chair in there. For those of us who don't particularly want to sit out in the mall food court and feed the baby.

There's a way to be discreet. I get that breasts are not solely sexual objects, but you have to agree, that they are treated that way by men AND women. So for someone who has not been through the baby thing (men & women), it can be very uncomfortable to see someone 'whip it out.'

Nikki Stafford said...

I think there's a time and a place for everything. If the baby is breastfeeding for 45 minutes at a stretch, every 2 hours, that gets difficult to get up and leave the room when you're at a Christmas gathering with family or something. I think there's a difference between breastfeeding around acquaintances and breastfeeding with family. I was always sensitive to a single person who hadn't been around a lot of kids and moms (I'd usually excuse myself around them) but in front of a mother-in-law who raised 3 kids, it's a little different, IMO. Especially when everyone else in my family is encouraging me to just stay put.

My daughter was 4 months old at her first Christmas, and I ended up going and sitting in another room for 45 minutes eating turkey and stuffing, alone except for my husband who came in with me because he didn't want me to be alone. I wish I'd stayed out in the main room, because I always would talk to my grandmother at dinner more than any other time, and she died suddenly a couple of weeks later.

I think a person should be discreet, I agree with you. I only once breastfed in a restaurant, and we'd asked for a corner table, and I had a blanket over her. I wouldn't breastfeed in a bathroom stall like a lot of moms do (I don't want to eat my food near a toilet, so I don't expect my child to) so I refused to go that route, and for the first couple of months just didn't go out or I'd zip to a car if I had to feed her. But after a while, I got pretty comfortable with feeding her in a sling while we were in a mall or something. If I had another shirt on underneath with holes in it, so no one could see my stomach, and the sling covered from below my bra line to my shoulder, then how could that make anyone uncomfortable? How do they even know what's going on under there?

I think the more women who breastfeed in public, the more people will see it, and the less of a stigma it'll become. :)

Thanks for posting! I really appreciate your comments, and congrats on breastfeeding both kids for so long! And pumping for the last 9 months; you are seriously a hero. :)

Kerry said...

Well put. I wish you ruled the world!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I tried to cover my first baby with a blanket when he was feeding, but I was ample and couldn't really get it to work that way - so I'd put the blanket over both our heads and hope nobody noticed. I 'spect they did.

Nikki Stafford said...

Kerry: Just for saying that, when I DO rule the world, you can be my second-in-command. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a mom, but my mother always breastfed us in private. Breastfeeding is good for bonding mom & child, is good for the kid as it provides nutrients/enzymes that can't be found elsewhere (drink alcohol -- more nourishing, Grandma always told my mom). Anyway, here in the U.S. some moms are now "lactivists," and are for being able to breastfeed in restaurants. I got the impression they want to do it in a very public way (no blanket). Commentator Bill Maher (on HBO), made a profane but pointed analogy that made a lot of sense (ie: Do it in private). If I had kids I might feel differently. But Nikki, you've gotta tell Monster-in-Law that you've gotta breastfeed: The kid gets all your enzymes, nutrients, and other "goodies" that regular milk won't provide. I'm surprised she doesn't know this!


Nikki Stafford said...

Glenn: Kudos to your mom for breastfeeding! It's something that wasn't really done in the 60s/70s/80s and only recently saw a resurgence, luckily, so I'm always happy to hear about women in those decades who did it. As for Bill Maher, his comment is one of the most loathsome and horrific things I've seen recently. I think he's an asshole for saying what he did, in the way that he did (comparing new moms to lazy dogs? Thanks, ass... let's see you try to push one out), and I couldn't disagree more about doing it in private. If you knew what it entailed, you'd understand how difficult it is. As someone whose child is now 3 days old, I can tell you that you start feeding at 1, child ends somewhere around 2, and is hungry again at 2:45. You start again, finish around 3:30, child hungry again at 4. So how do I do anything? If people come over, should I come down to visit with them in 30 minute intervals and disappear (with my child who is doing the obscene thing of EATING) for an hour upstairs again? If I'm in a restaurant, should I leave the table and go sit in a bathroom stall for 45 minutes, or better yet, just let the kid sit there and wail? It's easy for non-breastfeeders to say, "You should do it in private, because I don't want to see it" but I find that the most narrow-minded and silly thing imaginable. Because something tells me Bill Maher likes his boobies when there aren't babies attached to it. It shows just how tragically infantile he really is.