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Is either WOH *or* SAH part of NFL? - Page 7

post #121 of 209
"We don't live in a culture that supports mothers, and we all know that motherhood in any context can be isolating. I think that's a narrow view - for mothers, families, society AND children. When oh when can we let go of this Cleaver family view that dictates that the only choices are either A) mum cares for child in isolation at home or B) she must work outside the home without her child. The many voices here proove that there are soooo many alternatives and different situations. Fact is, throughout history and throughout the world, women have participated actively in their communities WHILE caring for their children. Its a pretty short window of time in a very specific part of the world that has decided that choices A) and B) are it. Its the either/or conundrum that's got to go. This mindset seems to trap us in "the mommy wars", as well as covering up the zillion and one happy, healthy options available. "

I think this hits the nail on the head.

We didn't evolve being SAHM moms in isolation, and we didn't evolve bby leaving our children for hours and days at a time. Women, thoughout evolutionary history, worked very hard, gathering food for their families...and they had their children with them. There were other women around, and lots of other little kids around.

It is not natural for mothers to be separated from their infants/toddlers. However, it is also not natural for women to be made to choose between WOH and being with their children.

And by the way, I personally am offended by feminist rhetoric. I grew up believing that a woman could do everything, all at once. Well, you can't. No one can. You can do everything, but NOT all at once. You can't be with your kids all the time AND WOH. And being a SAHM is more work then anyone can imagine, until they've done it...especially into the toddler years! So while I agree that women can and should have whatever careers they like, I also believe that those of us who give up our dream careers, or who put them on hold for a few years, so that we can be the mothers we want to be should be equally respected and praised for the very difficult work that we do.
post #122 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mothra
I've always wondered exactly what "tribal" societies she's talking about. The Yanomamo is South America? The Masai in Africa? I hate this essentialist, often racist talk of "tribal" societies. Physical punishment, circumcision, child rape, and domestic violence are all things prevalent in many tribal societies. I've never seen any talk of a specific tribe.
Thanks, Mothra, I wanted to post this, too. Never have I seen documentation of a specific tribe and point in time when this justification is thrown around.
post #123 of 209
Thanks Cynthia, for the clarification. That makes me feel much better. Reading this thread last night made me sad and grumpy.

To the PP, though, the word "abandon" is heavily loaded and will always spark deep feelings and cause hurt, no matter what definition is used. My future daughter, for example, most likely WILL have been abandoned by her birthfamily (as in left somewhere to be found, taken to an orphanage and never seen again by her family). The idea that she will be abandoned again every day when I go to work, despite the fact that she will be with the best caregivers I can find for her, really is horrifying.

I do feel that both SAHM's and WOHM's should be equally supported, and feel much better that Mothering seems to be a place that does that.
post #124 of 209
I just want to thank everyone (well, almost everyone) for their insightful and supportive messages on this thread. Ultimately, your validation counts for so much more for me!! Your validation and the fact that when I get home every day I am greeted by a very happy, healthy, attached child.

The "mommy wars" bother me but not that much. I really do think that those who get the most involved are those who are not comfortable with the decisions that they have made--for whatever reason.

Quote:
She's a SAHM and happy to be one. But she has never given me the slightest bit of judgment or pity, only love and support and friendship. If not for her help, I'm not sure how I would've finished law school. She has never tried to tell me what to do; she respects me enough to trust my ability to make the best decisions for me and my son. She never makes me feel like a charity case, just a friend and a sister. She seems to think that we're on the same side - that we should be helping each other raise our kids, instead of competing or cutting each other down. Isn't that nutty?
I have this too. With my sister. She has made it so much easier for me to be a WOHM because she helps out when I need help and never ever mades me feel bad about my choices. I also totally respect the choice she has made to be a SAHM. So I don't really get all the bickering.

So here is a very big to all the mamas who are supporting other mamas in being the best mamas they can be--regardless of whether or not we (or our families) look the same or different!!
post #125 of 209
Cynthia, thank you for your post. YOu know, I try not to get too wrapped up in the Mommy wars (I find that in many ways they're inflamed by the media, which always likes a good example of why women can't get along). But the idea that Mothering actually had an official stance which was actively exclusionary is just plain painful. So I'm looking forward to a clarification.

Working Mother is a good mag in many ways. But it's not an AP mag. I would never expect Mothering to become a magazine devoted to WOH mamas who practice AP, but it'd be nice to be recognized!
post #126 of 209
Asherah? Mean? :LOL

Asherah is one of the kindest, wisest and most loving mommas on MDC.

em&namama, whatever you know to be your honest intention of the word "abandon" you missed the mark hugely. I was very offended by your post.

To all the other mommas here that have contributed to this thread with such eloquence and truth, you are all why I continue to stay. Thank you!

post #127 of 209
Thank you for the clarification, Cynthia. What you posted sounds much more in line with the MDC and Mothering I've come to love and trust - or at least how I've wanted it to be.

Again, thank you.
post #128 of 209
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your posts #117 and #120, Cynthia. I truly appreciate them.

At the same time, like Nate and others above, I continue my suggestion (and I'll probably follow up this post with a formal letter to Peggy) that Mothering magazine and its editor Peggy O'Mara embrace WOHPs more explicitly, with an editorial, policy statement (yes, I think an "NFL includes WAH/WOH/SAH parents" statement IS possible -- you pretty much wrote one yourself, Cynthia, in post #117), stories and images that evidence true inclusion of ALL possible work scenarios within NFL. Specifically, how about --

--recognition of work. No, not every page need be about jobs, or even about parenting. But work, the need for money for our families, is a huge issue in every family. Family discussions don't end with "how can we afford one of us to stay home?" Money and jobs have huge impact throughout our lives. When the magazine largely ignores work, it makes those of us who work, those pertnered with someone who works, those considering or going to school for eventual work, and our kids considering future work -- have I listed everybody there? -- feel excluded, and makes us discouraged about our realities and our choices. Mere mention sometimes of these issues is helpful as a reality check.

--practical information, like how to select a daycare that's most AP/NFL-friendly? Sample checklists of questions, and brief "blurbs" to help more mainstream care providers be open to AP/NFL on such issues as allowing cloth diapering [e.g., for me it was as simple as assuring her I'd take the used ones home each evening], reheating breast milk safely [different than formula preparation, e.g. shouldn't shake it], considering other comfort measures [for me, I brought in a sling just for her use and emphasized that this freed her hands] and other nap locations than a crib.

--scientific/psychological information, like recognizing the reality that ALL parenting decisions (by all types of parents) are fraught with second-guessing and guilt, especially in the early months with hormones and sleep deprivation and newness being big factors. Encouragement to ALL parents, deciding the role of work in their families, to keep plugging away, keep being proud of doing such tough jobs [and all parents in ALL situations have tough jobs], and be open to changing the role of work in their lives. (Lots of us planned on a certain role for work -- WOH, SAH, whatever -- before birth, and then once we were parents our feelings, and sometimes outside influences like partner layoffs or an unexpected additional child, changed. Parents should be encouraged that it's okay to change our minds, even several times during our parenting/career years.) Briefs on studies showing that the worst effect on kids is adult resentment and unhappiness (there are many such studies in the single parent annals; basically, kids don't realize they are "underprivileged" or unhappy until their PARENT thinks so and shows it; kids mirror their parents' satisfaction to a very very large degree.)

--support, like inspirational "you're doing a terrific thing"-type speeches to ourselves, of the "why I'm proud!" variety.

--continual encouragement of INCLUSION and of parents' support for MORE viable options for ALL parents and of acceptance for all of these options (within the NFL/AP realm, naturally). Maybe suggestions for cross-group communications, or examples of how one community successfully has a playgroup with WAH, SAH *and* WOH parents.

--recognition of "peers" of all sorts. Please have more more more profiles of ALL kinds of different families who AP/NFL, and how they make AP/NFL work (especially for "minority" groups of us who might otherwise only hear mainstream info): lesbian couples who adopted and induced lactation (after much effort, which is described). Single working moms who succeed at creating a terrific attached bond with their kids. SAHDs and the "but you can't breastfeed" flak they get. SAHPs and their frustration over being so lonely for adults, yet too tired to be able to connect. This thread for instance has been healing for me because I hear voices like mine, so I'm not alone, and also voices dissimilar to mine yet harmonious, so my world and my own song is enriched.
post #129 of 209
Seasons, those are excellent suggestions. I would love to see any and all of those articles.

CM, thank you for the clarification, that's helpful and encouraging. Thanks also for following up w/ Peggy on this.
post #130 of 209
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by guerrillamama
Seasons, those are excellent suggestions. I would love to see any and all of those articles.
And if Peggy runs with this, I'll EAGERLY apply -- no doubt with many others -- to write a regular column. Really.

(And sometimes I might write it with my child napping, so I'd be a WAHM, and sometimes while she's at daycare being enriched with other children/adults/crafts, so I'd be a WOHM. I won't ever change my sex to write it as a SAHD, though. :LOL )
post #131 of 209
Seasons, thank you for such a wonderful, thoughtful post. Reading it brought tears to my eyes. Really.

And thanks for raising this issue. So happy to see it addressed in such a productive manner...

Back to work!
post #132 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by asherah
My real, heartfelt response to the accusation that I am abandoning my child would get me banned. Though on some levels it would be worth it... to just once.. really let it fly here.

Thankfully, the amazing responses by some of the amazing women here have lent me self control.

And see, that's why I stay. Despite the fact that it is ok to say things like that to sister mamas here. Can't have harmless innuendo, noooo... but we can say things that strike poison at the very heart-center of another woman. Can't call someone too strongly on their racism or homophobia.. cause that would hurt their feelings.. but we can spew such base toxin at other women it makes them choke on their tears..
Quote:
Originally Posted by asherah
Child "abandonment" is a CRIME. Your protests that the word is not ugly seem very disingenuous.

Apologize for it, and I might actually care what else you have to say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shonahsmom
Asherah? Mean? :LOL

Asherah is one of the kindest, wisest and most loving mommas on MDC.

em&namama, whatever you know to be your honest intention of the word "abandon" you missed the mark hugely. I was very offended by your post.
Call it what you want. Her words are very mean and harsh. See what you want to see in them. I know you also must love it when people call you a liar because of course they know your intentions better than you.

How did I miss the mark? I apologized for the use of the word and for offending or hurting anyone by it's use. Obviously you are not satisfied because you want me to admit it was deliberate and can't believe that someone would be naive enough to not know what it would imply. Well I guess I'm naive then. Now that it's been pointed out I can see how the use of the word for some might bring to mind child abandonment in the negative sense but that didn't even cross my mind in any way, shape or form. But you aren't willing to accept that.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWine
"We don't live in a culture that supports mothers, and we all know that motherhood in any context can be isolating. I think that's a narrow view - for mothers, families, society AND children. When oh when can we let go of this Cleaver family view that dictates that the only choices are either A) mum cares for child in isolation at home or B) she must work outside the home without her child. The many voices here proove that there are soooo many alternatives and different situations. Fact is, throughout history and throughout the world, women have participated actively in their communities WHILE caring for their children. Its a pretty short window of time in a very specific part of the world that has decided that choices A) and B) are it. Its the either/or conundrum that's got to go. This mindset seems to trap us in "the mommy wars", as well as covering up the zillion and one happy, healthy options available. "

I think this hits the nail on the head.

We didn't evolve being SAHM moms in isolation, and we didn't evolve bby leaving our children for hours and days at a time. Women, thoughout evolutionary history, worked very hard, gathering food for their families...and they had their children with them. There were other women around, and lots of other little kids around.

It is not natural for mothers to be separated from their infants/toddlers. However, it is also not natural for women to be made to choose between WOH and being with their children.

And by the way, I personally am offended by feminist rhetoric. I grew up believing that a woman could do everything, all at once. Well, you can't. No one can. You can do everything, but NOT all at once. You can't be with your kids all the time AND WOH. And being a SAHM is more work then anyone can imagine, until they've done it...especially into the toddler years! So while I agree that women can and should have whatever careers they like, I also believe that those of us who give up our dream careers, or who put them on hold for a few years, so that we can be the mothers we want to be should be equally respected and praised for the very difficult work that we do.

Thank you redwine for being able to express a much better example of what I was trying to say. Someone finally took the time to help me understand and not attack me instead. You have supported my feelings that it is natural for babies and young children to be near their moms/dads and not left for longer periods of time w/o them but at the same time you have shown me that working is also perhaps an intrinsic desire that goes way back and that's what I didn't understand. I never understood how someone could leave a young baby at 6 weeks because I don't care whether I'm working or not to fulfill my needs. Putting it this way you have helped me to see that for many women it is just as natural as my desire to be with my child. I can now look at women's reasons for working in a new light.

Thank you also for recognizing that contrary to what many WOHM's believe SAHM's have it just as hard if not harder. Society supports a WOHM if not in action at least in thought. SAHM's are looked down upon by almost everyone.

I, too, hope that one day some of the alternatives will be looked at and embraced. These alternatives would truly give women a choice and enable them to have it all.
post #133 of 209
Cynthia- Thank you for the clarification, I do feel much better after hearing what you have to say on this issue.

I am a single mom and have to work/school out of the home. Even if I had the skills to be a wahm and keep my children at home with me I wouldn't. In my case I think it would be worse for my children. They would not appreciate the isolation and lack of attention that would be unavoidable in my case. I am sure there are women who can wah and still provide for their childrens needs but I am a person who needs downtime or I will go nuts.

My ds has been in daycare since he was 3 months old. He was a fully BF baby with reverse cycling and 3 feedings at daycare. I believe that his confident outgoing nature is largely due to his early care by so many loving men and women. It was great to have him cuddled and played with by different people and it really took the pressure off me. I love caring for my dc but I am not the best/happiest SAHM. I do best when I have sometime away doing adult stuff. I would love to only work part-time and have a flexible schedule and I am working to make that happen. In the meantime I believe my children are in very good hands.

On the abandonment issue- I never relinquish control or care of my dc. I choose their providers, communicate with the providers about their needs, am always available if my dc need me... I AM ALWAYS THE PARENT!!!!!!!! The other care providers that I HAVE CHOSEN CAREFULLY assist me in providing love and care for my children THEY NEVER REPLACE ME IN ANY WAY!!!!!!!!!

There are some things about MDC that I wish were different but I accept those things and stay because no where else would I be able to listen to the wisdom of the many FABULOUS women here. I am a human being, a woman, a mama...
post #134 of 209
I know I'm chiming in late here, but I wanted to bring some balance and, maybe some peace in the mommy-wars.

I am a SAHM. During the fall, I'm a pt WAHM. I do this for a few reasons. One, my earning potential can't come even close to my husband's. Two, I would be able to earn less than the cost of child care. So, the decision was easy.

That's just a little background, but I just wanted to say to all the WOHM, that you don't have to explain yourselves to anyone. You don't have to justify the decisions that you have made for your family.

We are all doing the best we can.

I don't think we should be necessarily celebrating WOHMing or WAHMing or even SAHMing. What we should be celebrating it Ming! And all the trials and tribulations that come with it, including working, not working, cosleeping, feeding, pottying, schooling, etc. All the things that make the fabric of a rich, fulfilled life.

I hate the pity that is sometimes dispensed here. "Oh, you have to work, you poor thing." I pumped exclusively for a year and bottle fed my cleft palate baby, and have not escaped the sentiment (not an actual quote) of , "You poor thing, you can't nurse." Damnit, I didn't care about nursing, I cared about feeding my child! I have vowed not to be so demeaning to mothers and their choices/needs.

If you have to work or you want to work, fine. I support you, and your decisions, and the right to make those choices. I'm there if you need a shoulder to cry on about having to make those decisions, and I respect you for having the strength to do what is right for your family.




Bec
post #135 of 209
bec, you write very eloquently.

It's all too easy to judge the other side, because we all have our very powerful, personal reasons for choosing the path we have taken.
post #136 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWine
"We don't live in a culture that supports mothers, and we all know that motherhood in any context can be isolating. I think that's a narrow view - for mothers, families, society AND children. When oh when can we let go of this Cleaver family view that dictates that the only choices are either A) mum cares for child in isolation at home or B) she must work outside the home without her child. The many voices here proove that there are soooo many alternatives and different situations. Fact is, throughout history and throughout the world, women have participated actively in their communities WHILE caring for their children. Its a pretty short window of time in a very specific part of the world that has decided that choices A) and B) are it. Its the either/or conundrum that's got to go. This mindset seems to trap us in "the mommy wars", as well as covering up the zillion and one happy, healthy options available. "

I think this hits the nail on the head.

We didn't evolve being SAHM moms in isolation, and we didn't evolve bby leaving our children for hours and days at a time. Women, thoughout evolutionary history, worked very hard, gathering food for their families...and they had their children with them. There were other women around, and lots of other little kids around.

It is not natural for mothers to be separated from their infants/toddlers. However, it is also not natural for women to be made to choose between WOH and being with their children.

And by the way, I personally am offended by feminist rhetoric. I grew up believing that a woman could do everything, all at once. Well, you can't. No one can. You can do everything, but NOT all at once. You can't be with your kids all the time AND WOH. And being a SAHM is more work then anyone can imagine, until they've done it...especially into the toddler years! So while I agree that women can and should have whatever careers they like, I also believe that those of us who give up our dream careers, or who put them on hold for a few years, so that we can be the mothers we want to be should be equally respected and praised for the very difficult work that we do.
Beautifully written.
post #137 of 209
(In response to post #25)
How sad that otherwise caring people would be so callous regarding "non conformists" when they themselves are generally seen by the *majority* as "non conformists" themselves.

Don't we have enough criticism, snobbery and general belief-ism in the world?

To me, an AP parent is one who cares for, respects and shows affection and their choice to try to do their best for their child(ren) and family.

It does not depend on whether or not they cloth diaper or are SAHM or sling or co-sleep or breastfeed - though those are common things that many AP parents do - but they are NOT REQUIREMENTS to be "AP".

Isn't there enough pain, anger and hurt in the world? Can't we all get along?? Why does Mothering (or any other AP group/information source/whatever) have to be exclusionary? Isn't that contradictory to the whole "attachment" mindset?
*sigh*
post #138 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhurd
My dh is the primary caregiver. We know it works, don't we ladies?
Absolutely.
post #139 of 209
Em&namama -- yes, I understood what you were trying to say. I was not offended, and I agree with you.

At the exact same time, I completely understood why so many of the others WERE offended and did not agree. And I also agree with them.

I'm not trying to be wishy-washy. I too am a SAHM, and I too do not understand how women can leave their kids everyday.

HOWEVER -- I have WOH friends with small children, who spent years building their career, it is a part of who they are, and they do not want to give it up. Those mothers have made every effort to have the best qulity care they can for their children. They trade shifts with their husbands, they get their parents to help, or they scour the earth for what they feel is quality outside-the-family care. They are doing their best.

Since I was in grad school when I became a SAHM, I was not leaving a loved career in which I had invested many years, etc. I do not feel that any occupation is a part of who I am. I have many interests, yes -- but no one career that I feel helps define me as a person. So to me, it is difficult to understand why anyone would choose going to work over staying at home.

To my friends, they have difficulty understanding why I stay at home, why I love what I now do...and I KNOW they have no clue as to how much work this actually is (I sure didn't, until I actually became a SAHM).

So in my opinion, the mommy wars will be endless, because our personal histories plant us emotionally more on one side than the other.

So I guess we all just have to realize that we all have different lives and respect the difficulties of each, even if we don't "get it" at times.

Peace, Trish
post #140 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by em&namama
Thank you also for recognizing that contrary to what many WOHM's believe SAHM's have it just as hard if not harder. Society supports a WOHM if not in action at least in thought. SAHM's are looked down upon by almost everyone.
Umm, no one is arguing that SAHMs also have a tough row to hoe. We all do. And I'm not even arguing that SAHMs are looked down upon by many (although I won't go so far as to say almost everyone), and that there are unique disadvantages to SAH.

But this thread isn't about recognizing the problems (or advantages) of SAHM. This thread is about asking Mothering magazine, and MDC, to recognize that

a) WOHMs are an active part of this community.
b) it IS possible to WOH and AP/NFL
c) WOHMs also need the support & encouragement of Mothering and MDC.
d) Mothering and MDC could reach and help many women--and help defuse the Mommy wars--by actively recognizing and reaching out to ALL mothers, and by using their status as the "voice" of NFL to educate their readers on these issues.

It's also (I hope) turning into a thread focusing on how we can PRODUCTIVELY deal with the exclusion that many WOHMs feel within the AP community.

I could add e,f,g, etc. But I don't have time, and it's not necessary.

RedWine, thank you for your thoughtful posts. I think you really get to the heart of the matter in describing why there will always be some element of bickering about this...
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