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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:59 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
There are hateful individuals out there, and just as there are those individuals out there who demonize breastfeeding (there are plenty of people who think it is gross and breasts are for sexytimes!) there are individuals who demonize formula. But we as a society do not. 75% of mothers formula feed, formula is widely available and encouraged by advertisements, pediatricians etc.


Legislation that tracks and restricts access to formula is demonizing it. Worse is the bullying that many mothers face.


This is an absurd mischaracterization of the legislation, which is intended to keep hospitals from sabotaging women who want to breast feed, and does not restrict access to formula for women who don't want to breast feed. And not making new parents targets for aggressive advertising sure sounds like a good thing to me. On the whole, medical professionals push formula rather than help women through breast feeding problems, even when there are no actual problems and all the mother needs is more time and support.

I did experience bullying about not breast feeding and it was exclusively from people who would consider themselves breast feeding advocates. I also had internalized shame around not being able to breast feed so I often feel judged in public for feeding my daughter formula, even if nobody around me is actually judging me. That shame came from the need to be perfect in my mothering and from what I learned from my culture as constituting perfection.

Tofulish, I don't know where my bf diatribe was, either on your Facebook or mine, feel free to quote if you find it.

I shall return after reading the book, although I have plenty to say on the topic of motherhood and feminism without having read it yet!


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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:20 am 
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Ariann wrote:
molasses jane wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
There are hateful individuals out there, and just as there are those individuals out there who demonize breastfeeding (there are plenty of people who think it is gross and breasts are for sexytimes!) there are individuals who demonize formula. But we as a society do not. 75% of mothers formula feed, formula is widely available and encouraged by advertisements, pediatricians etc.


Legislation that tracks and restricts access to formula is demonizing it. Worse is the bullying that many mothers face.


This is an absurd mischaracterization of the legislation, which is intended to keep hospitals from sabotaging women who want to breast feed, and does not restrict access to formula for women who don't want to breast feed. And not making new parents targets for aggressive advertising sure sounds like a good thing to me. On the whole, medical professionals push formula rather than help women through breast feeding problems, even when there are no actual problems and all the mother needs is more time and support.

I did experience bullying about not breast feeding and it was exclusively from people who would consider themselves breast feeding advocates. I also had internalized shame around not being able to breast feed so I often feel judged in public for feeding my daughter formula, even if nobody around me is actually judging me. That shame came from the need to be perfect in my mothering and from what I learned from my culture as constituting perfection.

Tofulish, I don't know where my bf diatribe was, either on your Facebook or mine, feel free to quote if you find it.

I shall return after reading the book, although I have plenty to say on the topic of motherhood and feminism without having read it yet!



This was in the context of Valenti talking about feeling bullied into breastfeeding by mothers on blogs and in person who attacked her and judged her (she felt) for using formula. Valenti did not use the word "demonized"--that came up in this thread, but she talks a lot in the article linked above, and others, about a culture of mothers (whom she calls "breastfeeding supremacists") who "shame" (her word, not mine) some who choose formula. Some people, as linked in the NYTimes article, find the legislation very troubling.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:22 am 
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People who find the legislation troubling are mostly talking out their asparagi. I was agreeing with you, though, that formula shaming is a real thing, although I am nowhere near worried about it coming from medical professionals, who err way over on the other side of things.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:23 am 
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Vantine wrote:
Many of the in-vogue parenting techniques are labor-intensive; that is energy and work that could be spent, in part, in the public sphere.


I want to get back to this idea for a second. I read the Continuum Concept a few years back, which I think is the book that started the modern attachment parenting movement. But the main idea I got from the book was "live with your kids, not for your kids". Integrate them through your every day life instead of warping your own life around them. You breastfeed and babywear because it allows you to be mobile and live your own life. You cosleep because it allows you to not depend on a crib, etc. Here's another article by the same author, where she describes her ideal parenting method as a "non-activity". I don't know how solid her anthropological claims are, but in any case, I find it interesting that their modern application are at the antithesis of what their author intended.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:28 am 
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Thanks for linking that aelle. I have not heard of her but have read that Dr. Sears is credited with writing about and popularizing attachment parenting. It looks like his earliest books came out later than hers, however. I'm not sure if he was pulling ideas from her (they are quite similar), but his recommendations are certainly informed by his Catholicism/Evangelicalism (about mothers needing to stay home as one example). Some of his writing can get a bit Moral Majority as well, which is going to lean to the right ideologically.

I personally don't find people comparing modern life to how primitive tribes or our ancestors did things to be super useful. When reading her article I couldn't help but think it sounded like the Paleo version of parenting. Anything that is advocating babywearing 24/7 is presupposing that a woman is not working outside the home which is a pretty big leap to make if you are working a 40 hour a week service job in the US rather than being a mother member of a Venezuelan tribe in the 1960s.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:50 am 
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This is exactly why I attachment parent! Thanks aelle. And those sentiments are echoed by Dr. Sear's pieces, he talks about how the child becomes part of the family, and the key is really seeing your child as an individual, honoring those needs and then balancing the child's interests as one of the members of the family.

aelle wrote:
Vantine wrote:
Many of the in-vogue parenting techniques are labor-intensive; that is energy and work that could be spent, in part, in the public sphere.


I want to get back to this idea for a second. I read the Continuum Concept a few years back, which I think is the book that started the modern attachment parenting movement. But the main idea I got from the book was "live with your kids, not for your kids". Integrate them through your every day life instead of warping your own life around them. You breastfeed and babywear because it allows you to be mobile and live your own life. You cosleep because it allows you to not depend on a crib, etc. Here's another article by the same author, where she describes her ideal parenting method as a "non-activity". I don't know how solid her anthropological claims are, but in any case, I find it interesting that their modern application are at the antithesis of what their author intended.


Valenti's experience is so different from my experience, attachment parenting. Everyone is really supportive and its certainly not all middle-class, white women. Though my real issue with her writing is how many errors there are (like the vaccine stuff I quoted earlier) that could easily have been corrected by a simple Google search. It just doesn't seem very academically rigorous or accurate, so she loses points for credibility in my view.

Ariann wrote:
Tofulish, I don't know where my bf diatribe was, either on your Facebook or mine, feel free to quote if you find it.


It was the piece about the medical establishment's unwillingness to research the causes of, and support women undergoing, lactation failure, even though the rate of women who will have issues with their milk coming in is about 1 in 160. And it was in the Playground. You just did a really great job describing the way the entrenched patriarchal assumptions end up not serving women. It certainly wasn't a diatribe!

I also think its really problematic to insist that "choice feminism" gives us the right to judge other women. Its not that far off from the Christian/moral majority movement that judges women because of the negative impact their actions have on society.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:10 am 
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For the record, as Valenti has noted, Dr. Sears does not believe mothers should work outside the home. She mentions that his daughters are mysteriously absent from his childcare empire. He does speak from a conservative Christian position.
In a chapter called "Women are the Natural Parent" she says

Quote:
Dr. Sears's three daughters - Hayden, Lauren, and Erin- are not involved with the AP empire- apparently it's only men who are qualified to give mothering advice. Sears's wife, Martha, and RN who calls herself a "professional mother," is also featured on the website and in Sears's books but her advice is often featured as an aside. (It's a bit disconcerting, this feminist must day, to the see the homepage list the photos and names of the clan - Dr. Sears and his sons all get full salutations while his wife is listed simply as "Martha.")


Quote:
Whether you call it Attachment Parenting, natural parenting, or simple maternal instincts, this false "return" to traditional parenting is just a more explicit and deliberate version of the often unnamed gender divide. Whether you're wearing your baby or not, whether you're using cloth diapers or teaching your four-week-old to use the toilet: it's still women who are doing the bulk of child care, no matter what the parenting philosophy.Putting a fancy name to the fact that we're still doing all the goddamn work doesn't make it any less sexist or unfair.
One of the major reasons women- new mothers especially- report being unhappy in their marriages is because of the unequal division of work in the home, including child care. In fact, even marriages in which the partners describe themselves as equals will start to become more "traditional" once a baby enters the picture. All of a sudden the shared responsibilities give way to mother-knows-best essentialism- because the argument implicit in "natural"parenting is that it's women who should be embracing this return to the instinctive maternal. We're the moms, after all.


This idea that somehow women are born knowing how to parent and are best suited for the task has a long history of contributing to the oppression of women.

I am happy to discuss Valenti's chapter on breastfeeding but it will be hard to discuss it with people who have not read the book. I really don't have the time to type the entire thing here. This is meant to be a discussion of parenting from a feminist perspective, not a critique of any one person's life. Talking about parenting and critiquing the messages popular culture and society send to women about parenting will necessarily mean discussing choices that people may have made.

I don't think that it's healthy to wholesale support AP parenting without breaking into the fact that it places a huge amount of the work on women and don't work for many women, especially women who work.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:22 am 
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Vantine wrote:
For the record, as Valenti has noted, Dr. Sears does not believe mothers should work outside the home.


Sears has said that his thinking has evolved from that position. Here is Dr. Sears guest-blogging (in his own words) in response to the Time article on him.

He talks about how AP, modified to fit a working mother's schedule, can help busy parents reconnect with their children, to make finding a work-life balance easier. He also talks about the need to support parents in finding that balance.

He talks about how it isn't an extreme parenting style, but really needs to work with the family (mother and father).

I'll post more later, but definitely read his own words in the piece above. I think mischaracterizing Sears by using outdated quotes and information, falls into the category of the errors that I think make this book problematic (see my post above). I'm not sure if Valenti either doesn't check her facts or if she deliberately misstates things to prove her points, but either way, I find all the inaccuracies troubling.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:09 am 
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Quotes from the article linked like "women are the best multi-taskers in the world" actually prove Valenti's point more than they don't. Why are women the best multi taskers? What if I'm not? Does that make me less of a woman? more of a failure? It's not realistic statement or ideal and upholds the societal belief that we are just innately better at parenting and work life balance. My children are older than the "attachment parenting" movement. But it is safe to say my husband and I did a version of attachment parenting that worked for us but to say it is the only, or the best way to parent and that those that don't will have lesser children is unkind at the very least. (tofulish I am not saying you are implying that...but Dr Sear's quotes in the linked article certainly do.)

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:43 am 
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I attached the article to point out that Valenti's statement doesn't reflect Sear's actual position re women working.

I also don't see where he says that its the only way to parent or even the best. He says that in his experience over 40 years he has seen that children who have secure attachments to their parents are more empathetic and compassionate. He does have his biases for this method of parenting, I agree. It is impossible to quantify happiness and he does say that there are no linear studies that scientifically prove one is better than the other. I'm on my phone and need to think about the multitasker thing more though.

My second point (after pointing to the fact that Valenti misstates things to prove her point) is that AP isn't all or nothing. As you say, you use the same principles on your kids, as do I, and they don't include a lot of the things Valenti points to, that are labor-intensive and a competitive New Domesticity uber alles.

There are definitely women who do practice those things, but its not accurate to say that all parents who do AP do them. And I think its a strawman - you define AP as something more extreme than it is, and then you use to discredit AP as being too labor-intensive, when as aelle points out, many of the principles actually make life easier and also cheaper (no expensive strollers, no disposable diapers, no crib).

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:45 am 
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if you do a basic internet trawl for multitasking along gender lines you find a lot of conflict with both sexes claiming the ability. Obviously. but my point is that the best thing i've seen about this (after last year there was a study that claimed women are not as good at multitasking) is this, from http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... g-than-men . It's the conclusion to several points answering the reader's question about who wins the multitasking award....
Quote:
First, women multitask more not because they’re naturally better at it but because the need to juggle work and family compels them to. Second, the myth of an innate female gift for multitasking serves two socially useful purposes: it enables women to rationalize having gotten stuck with the scutwork, while for you it’s an excuse to avoid helping out.

In other words, it sounds to me just like the lip-service "mothering is the hardest job in the world" pat on the head.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:47 am 
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I am actually not critqueing attachment parenting and its value at all. I find that the language and hyperbole used by Dr Sears in the blog post illustrates Valenti's point about the unrealistic expectations new mothers in particular have placed upon them to fulfill some sort of unrealistic ideal.
I am merely analyzing the statements and language from a feminist perspective. As far as the actual parenting style that is quite another issue and not in my mind the problem it's his discussion about the parenting style I find less than ideal.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:49 am 
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Again, though, if we're just discussing the Valenti book, my point is that Valenti misstates Sear's position and AP isn't as extreme as she is saying.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:51 am 
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torque wrote:
if you do a basic internet trawl for multitasking along gender lines you find a lot of conflict with both sexes claiming the ability. Obviously. but my point is that the best thing i've seen about this (after last year there was a study that claimed women are not as good at multitasking) is this, from http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... g-than-men . It's the conclusion to several points answering the reader's question about who wins the multitasking award....
Quote:
First, women multitask more not because they’re naturally better at it but because the need to juggle work and family compels them to. Second, the myth of an innate female gift for multitasking serves two socially useful purposes: it enables women to rationalize having gotten stuck with the scutwork, while for you it’s an excuse to avoid helping out.

In other words, it sounds to me just like the lip-service "mothering is the hardest job in the world" pat on the head.


Exactly! Am I the best multi tasker or simply the only one expected to develop the skill because I am woman hear me roar. In reality I am quite lucky because my partner and I have switched traditional gender roles throughout our marriage whenever it made sense. (He babywore my son because I worked and he was at home). I realize that for most that is not the norm and I recognize that I was enormously priviledged in that regard.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:22 am 
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geekywhitegirljoan wrote:
Quotes from the article linked like "women are the best multi-taskers in the world" actually prove Valenti's point more than they don't. Why are women the best multi taskers? What if I'm not? Does that make me less of a woman? more of a failure? It's not realistic statement or ideal and upholds the societal belief that we are just innately better at parenting and work life balance. My children are older than the "attachment parenting" movement. But it is safe to say my husband and I did a version of attachment parenting that worked for us but to say it is the only, or the best way to parent and that those that don't will have lesser children is unkind at the very least. (tofulish I am not saying you are implying that...but Dr Sear's quotes in the linked article certainly do.)

There is also a sort of Mansplaining that Valenti addresses as part and parcel of the Sears empire. He makes some heady claims with no evidence. There is an implication that if you don't follow his style of parenting, you are doing less, your children will be less, and it will be your fault. It always falls to what the mother does and does not do for her child.

In reffering to parenting styles that depend upon women doing the heavy lifting as "natural" or "instinctual" he's actually highlighting a belief that women are born to parent and are expected to be "experts."

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:43 am 
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I see that clearly in his "well no there is nt scientific study but the children bloom like sunflowers (paraphrasing a bit of course)". The flip side being implied is that unless you do this your children will not bloom in this way....so then what are they...weeds? I think even this blog post reinforces Valenti's point about so called parenting experts and the implications for women and their view of themselves as inadequate or lacking if they are not living up to this expectation.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:51 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Again, though, if we're just discussing the Valenti book, my point is that Valenti misstates Sear's position and AP isn't as extreme as she is saying.


We are not talking about how you personally attachment parent. We are talking about a pervasive language that absolutely stems from Sears books and attachment parenting blogs and other parenting blogs and the mama bear trend and the tiger mother trend and a whole host of things. The pervasive language of mothers and women not being good enough while simultaneously being paid lip service about how they are amazon warrior tigers. And a hell of a lot of literature surrounding attachment parenting ideas contributes to this. The class implications alone of saying mothers should stay home assumes partnership, enough wealth to make that possible and the desire to stay home and not work. And Sears may have written a blog post now about how you can now work and do attachment parenting but that does not mean that the idea that women should be home with children is not out there in books, blogs, etc, as part of the attachment parenting lexicon and the broader conservative language we use when talking about what is 'good' parenting.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:53 am 
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geekywhitegirljoan wrote:
I The flip side being implied is that unless you do this your children will not bloom in this way....so then what are they...weeds?

This is great.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:57 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:19 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
I am happy to discuss Valenti's chapter on breastfeeding but it will be hard to discuss it with people who have not read the book. I really don't have the time to type the entire thing here. This is meant to be a discussion of parenting from a feminist perspective, not a critique of any one person's life. Talking about parenting and critiquing the messages popular culture and society send to women about parenting will necessarily mean discussing choices that people may have made.


pandacookie wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
Again, though, if we're just discussing the Valenti book, my point is that Valenti misstates Sear's position and AP isn't as extreme as she is saying.


We are not talking about how you personally attachment parent. We are talking about a pervasive language that absolutely stems from Sears books and attachment parenting blogs and other parenting blogs and the mama bear trend and the tiger mother trend and a whole host of things. The pervasive language of mothers and women not being good enough while simultaneously being paid lip service about how they are amazon warrior tigers. And a hell of a lot of literature surrounding attachment parenting ideas contributes to this. The class implications alone of saying mothers should stay home assumes partnership, enough wealth to make that possible and the desire to stay home and not work. And Sears may have written a blog post now about how you can now work and do attachment parenting but that does not mean that the idea that women should be home with children is not out there in books, blogs, etc, as part of the attachment parenting lexicon and the broader conservative language we use when talking about what is 'good' parenting.


torque wrote:
i put my kid in daycare, and she turned into kudzu, true story.


I agree with all of these things, especially torque's kudzu-kiddie.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:24 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
Tofulish wrote:
Again, though, if we're just discussing the Valenti book, my point is that Valenti misstates Sear's position and AP isn't as extreme as she is saying.


We are not talking about how you personally attachment parent. We are talking about a pervasive language that absolutely stems from Sears books and attachment parenting blogs and other parenting blogs and the mama bear trend and the tiger mother trend and a whole host of things. The pervasive language of mothers and women not being good enough while simultaneously being paid lip service about how they are amazon warrior tigers. And a hell of a lot of literature surrounding attachment parenting ideas contributes to this. The class implications alone of saying mothers should stay home assumes partnership, enough wealth to make that possible and the desire to stay home and not work. And Sears may have written a blog post now about how you can now work and do attachment parenting but that does not mean that the idea that women should be home with children is not out there in books, blogs, etc, as part of the attachment parenting lexicon and the broader conservative language we use when talking about what is 'good' parenting.


I was curious about Sears and I found a blog post from 2011 talking about working mothers. The overarching belief seems to be that you shouldn't work away from your child but if you are this is what you should do... But he seemed to reinstate a couple times that you should try not to work as long as possible or change jobs that would be more conducive to being with your kidlet, etc, etc.

And I agree totally about the pervasive language that 'you should really do this or else..' needs to stop. I remember talking to a friend who cried about the fact that she switched to formula because her son rejected breastfeeding. She was also the primary wage earner in the family so she had to work outside of the home. A mother shouldn't feel that type of guilt.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:34 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
This is exactly why I attachment parent! Thanks aelle. And those sentiments are echoed by Dr. Sear's pieces, he talks about how the child becomes part of the family, and the key is really seeing your child as an individual, honoring those needs and then balancing the child's interests as one of the members of the family.


The implicit judgement in this that if you don't AP your child does not become "part of the family" or seen as an individual is so gross.

It seems important to note that in lieu of writing another how to parenting (or lack thereof) manual, Valenti is writing a social critique through the frame of her experience.

In terms of AP and power, Valenti says this in a Sept. 12 interview about the power of the AP movement "Well here’s the thing – they may be on the fringes population-wise, but not in terms of their cultural power and significance" which ties back to J-Dub's point elsewhere about class and power and influence. One of Valenti's points is how that power is exerted via the blogosphere and the flurry of parenting books.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Something I keep mulling over when AP floats into the discussion: I agree that ANY parenting style that puts the burden on one parent is a problem. But I don't think the problem is that AP is inherently bad or that the solution is scrap AP altogether; I don't see how that helps women any. Would anyone actually argue that "mainstream" parenting isn't mom-centric and labor intensive? Pushing a huge stroller isn't any better than wearing a baby all the time if you're always the one doing it, you know what I mean? Doesn't matter what you're feeding the baby in the middle of the night if the person feeding him in the middle of the night is always mom. And so on.

To me, it seems like the issue is more one of spreading the burden across multiple parents. The only tenet of AP that men can't do is breastfeeding; if you breastfeed, there is a necessary physical burden on the mother that's not there with formula. But everything else can be done by either parent* so why isn't it in so many families, mainstream or "crunchy" or otherwise?

Seriously, what is the genesis of that? And how can we change it?

* My partner can tell you that in our house, if he's home, who does any kid related task is pretty much a coin toss. (He babywears more frequently than I do when he's around, though I probably still change marginally more diapers.) I do not know how any family gets by without this sort of fair division of labor.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:03 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
Something I keep mulling over when AP floats into the discussion: I agree that ANY parenting style that puts the burden on one parent is a problem. But I don't think the problem is that AP is inherently bad or that the solution is scrap AP altogether; I don't see how that helps women any. Would anyone actually argue that "mainstream" parenting isn't mom-centric and labor intensive? Pushing a huge stroller isn't any better than wearing a baby all the time if you're always the one doing it, you know what I mean? Doesn't matter what you're feeding the baby in the middle of the night if the person feeding him in the middle of the night is always mom. And so on.

To me, it seems like the issue is more one of spreading the burden across multiple parents. The only tenet of AP that men can't do is breastfeeding; if you breastfeed, there is a necessary physical burden on the mother that's not there with formula. But everything else can be done by either parent* so why isn't it in so many families, mainstream or "crunchy" or otherwise?

Seriously, what is the genesis of that? And how can we change it?

* My partner can tell you that in our house, if he's home, who does any kid related task is pretty much a coin toss. (He babywears more frequently than I do when he's around, though I probably still change marginally more diapers.) I do not know how any family gets by without this sort of fair division of labor.


This is kind of what I was getting at with my previous comment. If AP was first described as a non-activity and ended up being turned around as another version of "mothering is the most important activity in the world", the problem is probably more with our culture at large than with specific methods in that culture.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Have kids? by Jessica Valenti
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:10 pm 
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aelle wrote:
coldandsleepy wrote:
Something I keep mulling over when AP floats into the discussion: I agree that ANY parenting style that puts the burden on one parent is a problem. But I don't think the problem is that AP is inherently bad or that the solution is scrap AP altogether; I don't see how that helps women any. Would anyone actually argue that "mainstream" parenting isn't mom-centric and labor intensive? Pushing a huge stroller isn't any better than wearing a baby all the time if you're always the one doing it, you know what I mean? Doesn't matter what you're feeding the baby in the middle of the night if the person feeding him in the middle of the night is always mom. And so on.

To me, it seems like the issue is more one of spreading the burden across multiple parents. The only tenet of AP that men can't do is breastfeeding; if you breastfeed, there is a necessary physical burden on the mother that's not there with formula. But everything else can be done by either parent* so why isn't it in so many families, mainstream or "crunchy" or otherwise?

Seriously, what is the genesis of that? And how can we change it?

* My partner can tell you that in our house, if he's home, who does any kid related task is pretty much a coin toss. (He babywears more frequently than I do when he's around, though I probably still change marginally more diapers.) I do not know how any family gets by without this sort of fair division of labor.


This is kind of what I was getting at with my previous comment. If AP was first described as a non-activity and ended up being turned around as another version of "mothering is the most important activity in the world", the problem is probably more with our culture at large than with specific methods in that culture.


Yes. There are really two issues: the tasks involved in parenting that have come to be labeled attachment parenting are not innately sexist. Any parenting tasks that are not shared equally and come to be the "burden" of the mother whether identified as AP parenting or not are a problem. And the language, myth, culture that has been built upon around mothering and mothers --whether labeled as attachment parenting or not that reinforce an unrealistic female stereotype are also a problem. That is what I get both from Valenti and the attempts at discussion we are having here.

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