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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:34 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
I know that someone in the childfree thread talked about parenting as the hardest job. Valenti notes that

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It's not just the guilt that dangerous- because then you're telling women that their natural role is only that of a mother, it's that much easier to convince them that they don't need to be doctors, scientists, and politicians.


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While, according to the AAMC website, the percentage of women holding tenured professorships at medical schools has now reached 35% and the percentage of female medical students has grown to 47.9%, women in medicine still face a number of challenges. In 2008, for instance, Brian McKinstry, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, published an article in the British Medical Journal entitled “Are There Too Many Female Medical Graduates? Yes.” In it, McKinstry argues that female doctors work part time more often and are less likely to participate in research. However, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that “it is possible for women to combine motherhood with a fulfilling career in academic medicine” and found that 83% of female doctors return to work just 12 weeks after childbirth.


I don't think the problem is that women don't want to become doctors etc, which is why if you look at graduation rates, the number of women and men are generally comparable.

When I worked at Goldman Sachs, I worked on the NY Bar White Paper on Women in the Legal Profession, examining why, at a time when more than 50% of law school graduates are women, only about 2% of law firm partners are women. And the reason, we kept coming back to for the poor retention rates was that it was impossible to find a work-life balance. And perhaps part of the problem is that men are trained to believe that it is acceptable to work so hard that they never see their kids, and women are not. When my mother was dying, I was at her side, working for a client from my laptop. And when my boss's father was dying, he was still available for conference calls. Because that is the culture of working in firms and investment banks. You are always available for your client or your client goes elsewhere. And even now, people will contact me and offer me jobs, but no one can offer me one where I can reliably see my daughter, or I would take it like a shot.

I completely agree that the whole "Mothering Is The Most Important Job" does a number on people. First, it removes fathers from the equation (why isn't it "Parenting Is The Most Important Job"?) and that means that we still have a society where it is okay for men to have very little balance between work and family, which means that either a disproportionate burden falls on their partners or on paid help (which is also often female). Second, as Invictus says in the other thread, no one believes it, so it is a really sanctimonious pat on the head, because we all know our society generally rewards important jobs with money and as C&S says, childcare and teachers are both poorly compensated, so we know that society doesn't really value childcare.

It is a very difficult situation for women who choose to become mothers, because as a culture we really don't offer much in the way of work-life balance. And at the same time, by making it acceptable for men not to demand it, then it makes the societal structure so much harder to shift. If every father was expected to be an equal partner in child-rearing and the men in power insisted on having balance our society would shift really fast.

I really liked the Atlantic's article "Why Women Still Can't Have it All" which has a great run down of some of the changes we would need to make as a society to retain women in the workforce. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... ll/309020/

Quote:
Enlisting Men
Perhaps the most encouraging news of all for achieving the sorts of changes that I have proposed is that men are joining the cause. In commenting on a draft of this article, Martha Minow, the dean of the Harvard Law School, wrote me that one change she has observed during 30 years of teaching law at Harvard is that today many young men are asking questions about how they can manage a work-life balance. And more systematic research on Generation Y confirms that many more men than in the past are asking questions about how they are going to integrate active parenthood with their professional lives.

Abstract aspirations are easier than concrete trade-offs, of course. These young men have not yet faced the question of whether they are prepared to give up that more prestigious clerkship or fellowship, decline a promotion, or delay their professional goals to spend more time with their children and to support their partner’s career.

Yet once work practices and work culture begin to evolve, those changes are likely to carry their own momentum. Kara Owen, the British foreign-service officer who worked a London job from Dublin, wrote me in an e-mail:

I think the culture on flexible working started to change the minute the Board of Management (who were all men at the time) started to work flexibly—quite a few of them started working one day a week from home.
Men have, of course, become much more involved parents over the past couple of decades, and that, too, suggests broad support for big changes in the way we balance work and family. It is noteworthy that both James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state, and William Lynn, deputy secretary of defense, stepped down two years into the Obama administration so that they could spend more time with their children (for real).

Going forward, women would do well to frame work-family balance in terms of the broader social and economic issues that affect both women and men. After all, we have a new generation of young men who have been raised by full-time working mothers. Let us presume, as I do with my sons, that they will understand “supporting their families” to mean more than earning money.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:46 pm 
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torque wrote:
women are going to school longer and getting higher degrees and told from young ages that they can be anything. higher education teaches them their opinion matters, and how to engage in debate, to research, to theorize, to participate in citizenship by writing to representatives and demanding X Y and Z. Women are trained for one thing in college and then suddenly oh, shiitake, it's time to reproduce. Career often on hold, but way of thinking prepared for more intellectual activity. Is it any wonder that women feel the need to share their information, to try to educate others, to try to convince others [maybe not in the best or most tolerant of ways] about the situation they're in at that time? Why NOT apply what they've been taught to this new sphere they find themselves in?

I think the internet has a hell of a lot to do with this too. Anyone and everyone can ring their opinions from on high and you don't have to really know all that much to get a good following on a blog. I am reading a different book that talks about how easily things like conspiracy theories are spread these days because the whole world has access to your ideas very quickly. And if you are more vocal, you will draw more people.
But I would be interested in what j dub thinks about this higher education you bring up since she mentioned attachment parenting in relation to class, race and education.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:48 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
I think the internet has a hell of a lot to do with this too. Anyone and everyone can ring their opinions from on high

oh absolutely, the soapbox of the internet is a slippery (and dangerous creature).

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:52 pm 
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The first quote I included was from The Yale Journal of Medicine & Law: http://www.yalemedlaw.com/2012/05/women ... -medicine/

Apologies for not including the proper cite.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:13 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
I find it fascinating that while there is male agreement that full-time mothering is a challenging and important job, there is little male participation in stay at home parenting without work for wages. Valenti quotes Oprah as saying that "moms have the toughest job in the world if you're doing it right." Does that mean you are not doing it right if you don't agree? Why is there not a cultural ideal that fatherhood is the most important job a man will ever have?

There's that language I'm talking about again! I think Oprah is full of shiitake most of the time but she influences so many damn people. That's just double crepe because as invictus stated, moms don't have the toughest job in the world and the whole 'doing it right' bit is again setting mothers up for failure. I am also curious if this is talked about in the book if anyone remembers. Where these cliche placating phrases came from and when they started?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:19 pm 
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torque wrote:
pandacookie wrote:
I think the internet has a hell of a lot to do with this too. Anyone and everyone can ring their opinions from on high

oh absolutely, the soapbox of the internet is a slippery (and dangerous creature).

An interesting point of the other book has also been that there can be a kernel of truth or bit of (true) interest in some of the theories that get put out there, but then they get taken and twisted around and turned into something that is a rather extreme version. So a point of interest becomes the bogeyman. And then you have an original citation or fact that is used as evidence when it bears little relation to the extreme version.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:56 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
Someone mentioned in the "women who choose" thread that the "mothering is the hardest job" thing is so much lip service and I agree deeply. People say that, but no one really buys it.

This is interesting in relation to that Oprah quote that Valenti talks about as well. Although I would argue that a lot of people must be buying it in some way. Or do you think the people who parrot these thoughts back don't really believe them? I think social media is a great place to see these sorts of memes and posts about blessings and bests and the trend of trying to outmother other mothers or anyone.

"You don't know joy until you've looked into the eyes of a newborn." Where I would believe that a parent found great joy in their newborn I would strongly doubt that it is not possible to know joy until you experience that. But that sort of absolute language really seems to dominate talk about parenting and also permeates into discussion about women who choose not to have children (we are well known for not knowing joy and being barren and reading our Shulamith Firestorm while alone. We also hate men). At a certain point it is funny because it is so ridiculous but then it isn't funny because someone agrees with these things or it wouldn't permeate the culture so much.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:07 pm 
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She does talk about setting mothers up for failure. I can go get some quotes. I will look up some of the quotes. She does talk about the use of fear to make mothers believe things that are not necessarily true, like the idea that if you don't breastfeed you are somehow harming or at best, doing less than an optimal job of being a mother.

She talks about the idea of Google University when she talks about the anti-vax movement. There's a sense of "knowing" something to be true and acing on that. It's the idea that there is a maternal instinct that is to be trusted and believed in. I find that troubling because if women have a special "instinct" than it's to be expected that they will take on the burden of most of the childcare.

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The truth is, of course, that we're not experts in everything. Women aren't experts just by virtue of being women, or by being mothers. Doing research on Google does not put us on par with an inoculation researcher, and staying on top of the minutiae of our children's lives does not mean that we don't need help and support from actually experts.
It may be that American mothers are so desperate for power, recognition, and validation that we'd rather take on the burden of considering ourselves "expert" moms rather than change the circumstances that demand such an unreasonable role for us.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:23 pm 
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Ha. I obviously meant Firestone, not Firestorm above.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:06 am 
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OT: since we seem to have some of the key players here....
i don't feel comfortable posting in the not-having-kids thread since the presence of parents seems to threaten people there, and i'm OK with respecting that. but some of the points are really interesting. posting a new thread seems like it's going to get flak. what do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:35 am 
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Well, I started this thread to specifically discuss discuss Valenti's book and her ideas about motherhood and parenting. She has a pretty harsh critique of people like Dr. Sears and natural parenting. I didn't want to get dogpiled in the Playground which is why this thread is about her book and ideas. I agree with the posters there who have said that there are many threads in the Playground where people who have other ideas can post.

Personally, I think that parents posting in the other thread really only cause issues when they are obviously defensive and angry, spending space to defend their choices. I am posting in that thread to engage people about the issues I care about related to women and identity.

What sort of thread would you like to start?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:43 am 
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and i don't want to sully this thread with other things, and know it's off topic, so i appreciate your indulgence of my discussion here.

i think just the presence of parents is making people upset and don't want to wade in there.

i wanted to discuss
1) what you just said "dogpiled in the playground"- i spend a lot of time there but don't see people getting slapped around for commenting without being a parent. Is that really how nonparents see the playground? i have heard people get shot down for commenting about menstruation without being a female, but that's about it. is that people's experience, and how can we make people feel safe?
and
2) your and lepelaar's experiences with people saying "you couldn't know because you're not a parent". Shockingly rude to assume that someone is not even capable of basic empathy simply because of their reproductive status.
However, rudeness aside, would the question [and the answer] be different if it were "you're not childfree so you can't know"? "you're not gay so you can't know"? "you're not a person of color so you can't know" or "you're not a woman so you can't know"?

It's not meant as a challenge, just a question. I honestly don't think that's a fair statement about parenting, having a child hasn't given me any special abilities or superpowers. some parents are terrible with children, and some non-parents are fantastic with children.
but the statement itself certainly could be interpreted as a challenge.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:52 am 
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I know a lot of people just don't read the playground because they don't have kids but would still be interested in this thread. And really, I only clicked on it because it was out here. If it had been in the playground I would've thought it was a book about pretty much the opposite of what it seems to be about. So I definitely think this is a better place for it for people like me who now just know about a really interesting book that's not all about The Joys of Parenthood.

The issue of "you couldn't know because you're not a parent" I think sometimes that phrase has its place. It's not like it's nothing that should ever be uttered because it's so offensive. But I do feel like parents sometimes just use it as a catch-all defense. For example, when someone vents about someone that happens to be a child or parent on the ppk - unless that person is a parent themselves - they catch flack. The children or parents get defended by some other parents, hypothetical complications are brought up that explain why that child or parent shouldn't be complained about. However, if it's a parent in the playground venting about another parent or another child, there's no hypothetical "well what if they were having a really bad day?" brought up. It can feel a little like the parents that do this feel that childfree people aren't capable of empathy or that we're not realistic. It's not that we don't understand that children get cranky and that it's not the parent's fault, we're just annoyed we had our seat kicked for 3 hours. Probably the same as a parent would be.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:13 am 
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I put this book on hold at the library, but it will take a while for me to get it since there's a queue of people waiting to read it.

One thing I am interested to see if this book touches on, is what I think of as the dominance of children in our society now in many ways. I'm not sure how to explain this, but I feel like a lot of things seem to need to be brought "down" to what people think is appropriate for children, in general, whereas I feel like kids can understand and even be benefited by hearing and experiencing things that are above them or that they don't understand. Also, the fact that children are used as sort of "human shields" for a lot of issues, in that people will cry out that "we need to protect the children!" as defense for all kids of regulation issues.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:14 am 
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Quarantined wrote:
I put this book on hold at the library, but it will take a while for me to get it since there's a queue of people waiting to read it.

One thing I am interested to see if this book touches on, is what I think of as the dominance of children in our society now in many ways. I'm not sure how to explain this, but I feel like a lot of things seem to need to be brought "down" to what people think is appropriate for children, in general, whereas I feel like kids can understand and even be benefited by hearing and experiencing things that are above them or that they don't understand. Also, the fact that children are used as sort of "human shields" for a lot of issues, in that people will cry out that "we need to protect the children!" as defense for all kids of regulation issues.

I don't think Valenti talks about that specifically, but she does talk about historical reasons for why people have children which I think touches on this. Back in the olden days, parents had kids (for one reason) as a means of labour. And you had many kids because there were higher rates of death and you needed more to help work the farm or take jobs to bring in money. Kids did not have a prolonged childhood, they were working at young ages. And with shifts in technology and child labour laws and ideology and such, people now choose to have kids mostly because they want kids. (Which is not to say that they weren't wanted before, but it was a different way of looking at it).
She quotes a Kate Bolick article in The Atlantic: "a post-boomer ideology that values emotional fulfillment above all else", which she also ties to ideas about marriage (people now marry for the idea of love, rather than duty or tradition).

And with that shift in thinking children became more of a precious commodity, which I definitely think ties into the ideas that they need to be protected and that for some their status would be elevated.

And it also ties into why having kids can be fraught with disappointment for some women, because there is this idea put out in society (that has been kind of the crux of these threads) that children are supposed to fulfill you (emotionally) as a woman and that for a lot of women it falls short of the idea of what it is built up to be. And if it falls short, then comes the guilt for not feeling like you love your kid enough. And yes indeed, this is not the case for all women. But if we ignore this growing trend by saying 'I don't feel that way, my kid is the best thing ever' we're really failing to provide support for the women and men who do feel this way and it just furthers that guilt because of course, you're supposed to be filled with joy.
And again, that of course does not affect all parents. But as long as society is tied up in this idea of children=fulfillment for women then those who don't feel that way have it much harder. It also ties into women who choose not to have kids, because of course we're told we are missing out on the joy. It's difficult to talk about because it is just such a underlying and pervasive thing in society that people don't really think about it, which is why I think it is so important to have these conversations, to start realizing why we have the assumptions we do and why they can be so harsh for so many.

That goes a bit beyond your question, but that was one of the most interesting things I found in the book.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:29 am 
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In regards to some of the above comments, let's try to keep this thread on topic by discussing Valenti's book or ideas.

Parents and non-parents are completely allowed to comment in any thread they want on this board. The important thing is to respect the topic at hand and not get defensive about what is being said. I think it's important to remember that the world doesn't revolve around any single individual and not every internet comment needs to be taken personally.

I'm glad Vantine posted here, though, because this book seems super interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:30 am 
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For those that have kindles, this book is now free to borrow from Amazon.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:37 am 
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linanil wrote:
For those that have kindles, this book is now free to borrow from Amazon.

THanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:36 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
Quarantined wrote:
I put this book on hold at the library, but it will take a while for me to get it since there's a queue of people waiting to read it.

One thing I am interested to see if this book touches on, is what I think of as the dominance of children in our society now in many ways. I'm not sure how to explain this, but I feel like a lot of things seem to need to be brought "down" to what people think is appropriate for children, in general, whereas I feel like kids can understand and even be benefited by hearing and experiencing things that are above them or that they don't understand. Also, the fact that children are used as sort of "human shields" for a lot of issues, in that people will cry out that "we need to protect the children!" as defense for all kids of regulation issues.

I don't think Valenti talks about that specifically, but she does talk about historical reasons for why people have children which I think touches on this. Back in the olden days, parents had kids (for one reason) as a means of labour. And you had many kids because there were higher rates of death and you needed more to help work the farm or take jobs to bring in money. Kids did not have a prolonged childhood, they were working at young ages. And with shifts in technology and child labour laws and ideology and such, people now choose to have kids mostly because they want kids. (Which is not to say that they weren't wanted before, but it was a different way of looking at it).
She quotes a Kate Bolick article in The Atlantic: "a post-boomer ideology that values emotional fulfillment above all else", which she also ties to ideas about marriage (people now marry for the idea of love, rather than duty or tradition).

And with that shift in thinking children became more of a precious commodity, which I definitely think ties into the ideas that they need to be protected and that for some their status would be elevated.

And it also ties into why having kids can be fraught with disappointment for some women, because there is this idea put out in society (that has been kind of the crux of these threads) that children are supposed to fulfill you (emotionally) as a woman and that for a lot of women it falls short of the idea of what it is built up to be. And if it falls short, then comes the guilt for not feeling like you love your kid enough. And yes indeed, this is not the case for all women. But if we ignore this growing trend by saying 'I don't feel that way, my kid is the best thing ever' we're really failing to provide support for the women and men who do feel this way and it just furthers that guilt because of course, you're supposed to be filled with joy.
And again, that of course does not affect all parents. But as long as society is tied up in this idea of children=fulfillment for women then those who don't feel that way have it much harder. It also ties into women who choose not to have kids, because of course we're told we are missing out on the joy. It's difficult to talk about because it is just such a underlying and pervasive thing in society that people don't really think about it, which is why I think it is so important to have these conversations, to start realizing why we have the assumptions we do and why they can be so harsh for so many.

That goes a bit beyond your question, but that was one of the most interesting things I found in the book.

Very interesting, thank you. I can see how the shift in reasons for having kids would change how those children are then valued and perceived. Also possibly, when children are supposed to be fulfilling an emotional need there might naturally be greater emphasis placed on protecting what people perceive as childhood innocence, whatever specific interpretation that might have.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:18 pm 
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I would also point to Jerry Falwell and the rise of the moral majority in the early 80s as someone that added to the "won't someone think of the children" attitude. He was so very anti-women's rights and pushing the pro-traditional families idea and was very influential. Tie that in to the rise of consumerism and feel good americanism that accompanied Reagan at that time and there had to have been a shift in some sectors that really reinforced the idea of 'good' parenting and 'precious' children. And that was hitting those baby boomers at their child bearing years.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:30 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
coldandsleepy wrote:
Someone mentioned in the "women who choose" thread that the "mothering is the hardest job" thing is so much lip service and I agree deeply. People say that, but no one really buys it.

This is interesting in relation to that Oprah quote that Valenti talks about as well. Although I would argue that a lot of people must be buying it in some way. Or do you think the people who parrot these thoughts back don't really believe them? I think social media is a great place to see these sorts of memes and posts about blessings and bests and the trend of trying to outmother other mothers or anyone.


Well, I don't know how to say this without sounding like I'm judging someone but I'll do my best: I think the people who say things like that probably believe that they actually believe it. At least some subset of them do. However, I think that a rather large subset of those people are also undergoing cognitive dissonance; they may legitimately believe the statement "mothering is the most important job!!" but they very rarely seem to also agree with statements like "there needs to be more infrastructure to support parents, because their jobs are so freaking important". Kinda like how some anti-abortion people say "all life is important and must be protected!" but then can't agree that there should be stricter gun control laws, assistance to people living below the poverty line, etc.

For my own part, I have never felt *less* valued by society than when I was "just" a stay at home parent. It's funny because when I re-joined the work force, and later when I started back in grad school, people treated me totally differently.

I think part of the danger of a certain type of mommy blog (and some other forms of public discourse on motherhood, such as the weird recent focus on celebrity motherhood) is not just that it gives stay at home parents complexes about what they're not doing "right", but that they reinforce some hideously unrealistic (and damaging) views that the general public has with regards to what stay at home parents actually do.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:31 pm 
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erynne936 wrote:
linanil wrote:
For those that have kindles, this book is now free to borrow from Amazon.

THanks!

+1. I am very excited to read this book. I am following the conversation and quotes without commenting because I haven't yet read it but will be doing so now. Fascinating subject for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:41 pm 
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I'm really enjoying this thread and I'm going to read this book (one day). It really sounds like she touches a lot on things I have been thinking about lately.

One thing I just noticed was a comment about dads not having books aimed towards them, I'm sure there are some now, but a friend with a 3 year old said when his partner was pregnant the only resources for dads basically said to stay out of the way and watch your sports.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:34 pm 
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I started listening to the audiobook because of this thread.

Since I'm not a parent, I'm connecting the stories to a lot my mom's experiences with my brother and me. She raised me a lot differently because she felt she did the whole parenting thing wrong with my brother and subsequently overcompensated with me (overprotective, always worrying about messing me up, pushing her own life and goals to the side to focus on the kid, identifying more as "mother" than anything else). Listening to her talk about parenting trends in the 60s-70s compared to the 80s-90s has been really fascinating!

One thing that makes me really sad is hearing about all the different messages mothers get about the "right" way to raise a child. All the judgement from companies trying to make money, other parents trying to one up each other, and society in general is wild! I'm not a parent so I don't really get it. I keep thinking, who cares if you formula feed, breast feed 6 months or to 2 years, make your own organic purees, baby wear, practice elimination communication or do disposable diapers till the kid is 4. It's probably going to make very little difference in the end product, so stop worrying and do what's easiest for you and your kid! Of course, that's just one part of what this book is about but it's the one thing that's sticking out to me right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:20 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
One thing that makes me really sad is hearing about all the different messages mothers get about the "right" way to raise a child. All the judgement from companies trying to make money, other parents trying to one up each other, and society in general is wild! I'm not a parent so I don't really get it. I keep thinking, who cares if you formula feed, breast feed 6 months or to 2 years, make your own organic purees, baby wear, practice elimination communication or do disposable diapers till the kid is 4. It's probably going to make very little difference in the end product, so stop worrying and do what's easiest for you and your kid! Of course, that's just one part of what this book is about but it's the one thing that's sticking out to me right now.


This seems to be exactly what Valenti's project is: to identify and work to dismantle this kind of pressure that is almost exclusively on the women/mothers (as littlebear notes, it's not on the dads.) And what I like is that she notes that this kind of anxiety-making is bad for everyone involved: the moms who fall into the perfectionism/absolutism, the dads who are left out, AND the people w/o kids who society kind of erases from the whole equation.

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