Archive | May 2012

Parenting vs. Mothering

The fourth article I read in The New York Times was by Anne Urban, a blogger who write about parenting, feminism and social justice.  The name of her article is “It’s About Parenting, Not ‘Mothering’.  In the article Anne directly speaks to the book by Elisabeth Bodinter concerning attachment parenting.  The author of the book references attachment parenting to “voluntary servitude” and an obsession with perfect mothering and the reversal the progress her generation made.  Anne’s main point in her article noted that too often the discussion about women’s choices whether to stay home or go to work, ignores the role of fathers.  She noted she breastfed her children for two years and her husband washed diapers.  He also took six years off from his career to stay home until their youngest son was three years old.  She stated for her husband and herself, parenting was not about perfection but an investment in their relationship with their children which was the easiest way to parent.

Attachment parenting can make it easier for working mothers to bond with their children when they are together, but not something she can do alone.  It requires a partnership – at minimum and a village – ideally that does away with traditional patriarchal models of motherhood.  In the end she says she hopes our struggles, and victories will pave the way for political and societal changes that allow our daughters to have both the career and the family that they want and for our sons to do so too.  Do you think fathers have been taken off the hook for parenting their children?  Do you think it today’s economic world where millions of mothers have to work it is fair to take the fathers out of this discussion?

Why Does Feminism Have to Be a Dirty Word?

The third article I read in The New York Times was by LaShaun Williams, a columnist and blogger who writes about parenting and culture.  The name of her article is “Good Riddance to Feminism!”  In her article she spoke to women being unable to be powerful professional women and good mothers too.  She believes women cannot have both and that is why working mothers have feelings of guilt and inadequacy.  She also believes the “feminism movement” is responsible for encouraging women to follow their dreams, devalue marriage and family, causing them to choose self-indulgence.  She also stated she didn’t think all working mothers were bad mothers but the feminist climate pressures women to work.  LaShaun stated, “the damage that attachment parenting is doing to feminism is a good thing.  “Her stand is that when we as women bring children into the world we should sacrifice parts of ourselves”.  She also feels parts of feminism deserve to be re-examined because it has marred some of what it means to be a woman.  She says she is not saying attachment parenting is the best method or demonizing working moms, but she just wants to highlight its support of being a strong presence in a child’s life.  Do you think working moms have forgotten that family comes first?  Do you think that being a working mom is about a career or monetary necessity?

Working Mom and Still Attached

The second article I read in The New York Times was by Heather McDonald, a stand-up comedian, a series regular on “After Lately”, a writer and producer for “Chelsea Lately” and   author of “You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again”.  The name of her article is “Working Moms Are Right to Be Realistic”.  In her article she talks about attachment parenting and working mothers.  Heather started by admitting that she never breastfed either of her two sons and two months after her oldest son was born she had an opportunity to work on a film.  She felt she would have turned them down if she had been breastfeeding.  She also said the bonus of using formula was that her husband did every 5 a.m. feeding for both boys.  I like her statement, “being a mother is part of who you are, but should not be all of who you are”.  She stated there is no parenting secret that ensures that your child will grow up and be a successful adult.  In the article she also made this amazing statement, “No, I did not breastfeed, make organic baby food or co-sleep with my children.  I instead slept with their father and am still happily married to him today.  Plus, believe it or not, neither of my formula-fed sons have ever had a fever, an earache or even been on antibiotics”.  She also mentioned her oldest son is the tallest on his baseball team and when asked by the other team’s mom what she was feeding him, she proudly said: “Cow’s milk and animal meat bought from a regular grocery store”.  What do you think, can you be a working mom and attached?  Would you give up breastfeeding your baby to see your spouse bottle feed and create a bond with his baby?

Attachment Parenting – What is it?

The first article I read in The New York Times was by Mayim Bialik, an actress who is currently starring in the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” and the author of “Beyond the Sling”.  She also has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. The name of her article is “Attachment Parenting is Feminism”.  In her article she defined what attachment parenting is, “an umbrella term” coined by pediatrician William Sears.  He described it as a style of parenting that embraces the normal biology of pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding and bonding that ensure raising children who demonstrate the psychological classification of being securely attached.  Mayim stated that by definition this type of parenting is not perfect but instead seeks to educate women and families about natural, organic and normal ways our bodies were made and how to maximize the potential for securely attached children.  The harmony exists for children with parents who are not afraid to be imperfect.

She states mothers who practice attached parenting are concerned about what hormonal contraceptives do to your body and your brain.  Why doctors prescribe birth control to teenagers and adults who don’t have “regular” menstrual cycles.  Along with the intervention of Pitocin during labor, the belief that breast milk is biologically and nutritionally superior to formula and that sleeping next to your baby releases positive hormones that facilitates bonding. At the end Mayim asked the question, now tell me how attachment parenting is inconsistent with feminism?  How would you answer this question?

Blog Series: Motherhood Vs Feminism

Before Time Magazine came out with their controversial cover regarding breastfeeding a three year old child, I read an article in online version of The New York Times on this very topic of breastfeeding.  The April 30th article consisted of the perspective of five different women, they are Mayim Bialik (actress and author), Heather McDonald (comedian, producer and writer), LaShaun Williams (columnist and blogger), Annie Urban (blogger) and Maria Blois (author).  I will be writing a blog series based on the opinions and real life stands of these women.  This dialogue began in response to the book, “The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women” by Elisabeth Badinter.  Based on this book, the Time Magazine article and the opinions of these women we can bring debate and dialogue on this topic.  My first post will be “Attachment Parenting – What is it?” the next “Working Mom and Still Attached”, followed by “Why Does Feminism Have to be a Dirty Word?”, then “Parenting vs. Mothering” and finally “Realistic Parenting”.  I am hoping we can take a good look at this topic and generate some helpful comments.  If you have read the Time Magazine article, The New York Times articles or just an opinion – let me know what you think.

Who Are You Reflecting to the World?

I went to an event at the YWCA of Greenville yesterday called “The Secrets of “Powerful” Personal Branding for Women”.  There were four women speakers at the event, Taryn Scher (owner of TK Public Relations and Event Planning), Leslie Duncan (Event Planner and Marketer), Vanessa Underhill (owner of the Green Elephant marketing company) and Becky McCrary, CSP (certified speaking professional, trainer and author).  These women spoke about branding businesses but more importantly, personal branding.

Tayrn Scher spoke about keeping up your appearance at all times.  She noted by doing this you are protecting your personal brand.  Leslie Duncan talked about staying true to yourself and censoring what you put out on social media sites.  She stated you must ask yourself, who am I trying to portray?  Vanessa Underhill spoke more along the lines of marketing your business but noted that when marketing your business you are also marketing yourself.

The last speaker was Becky McCrary; she spoke about networking and gaining as much as you can from the people you meet.  She said when a meeting person you admire and want to emulate the best thing to do is ask great questions.  To get the most out of your meeting, always ask questions incorporating who, what, when, where and why.  Never ask “what do you do”?  She said you will most likely get the HR definition of their job and not gain much information about the actual tasks that they do.

So remember, In Control Women know who they are and make sure you are always portraying your best to the world.  Make sure you always stay true to yourself and let the statement you make always be something you can fulfill.  Who are you reflecting to the world?