My complaints about Mothering's neglect of working moms - an appeal - Page 5 - Mothering Forums
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Site Help > My complaints about Mothering's neglect of working moms - an appeal
Greensleeves's Avatar Greensleeves 03:04 AM 09-19-2007
d

shayinme's Avatar shayinme 10:51 AM 09-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerwest60610 View Post


the unfortunate reality is the more time a woman spends out of the workforce the more difficult it is to get back in.
Sad but true. I left the traditional work world 5 years ago for family reasons but during that time, I got my masters, worked pt and contract but even still its hard to get back in the ft game. Now I am dealing with the fall out from that choice. Frankly I would love to see more options professionally that don't penalize you for taking time off.

Shay
siobhang's Avatar siobhang 11:28 AM 09-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by hipmummy View Post
This may have already been posted but there is a magazine called working mother that focuses on all of these issues. I think it is pretty black and white NFL-is Sahm or wahm and wohm is mainstream with parenting and parents magazines.
I used to be a subscriber to working mother magazine (stopped my subscription mainly because I forgot to renew and then never bothered to get it sorted out).

Working mother magazine is NOT AP/NFL by any stretch. It touches on breastfeeding (revolving around pumping breaks) but doesn't touch GD or cloth diapering or babywearing or homebirths, etc. It is specifically about combining work and motherhood, but not expressly about motherhood. And it is predominantly about middle and upper middle class professional women who work full time - it doesn't (often) address concerns of other working women.

You do realize that by saying

Quote:
think it is pretty black and white NFL-is Sahm or wahm and wohm is mainstream
what you are saying is that if you WOHM you "can't" be AP/NFL, so why should Mothering magazine, "the" AP/NFL parenting magazine, bother to address WOHM concerns?

Trust me, parenting magazine (which I also used to subscribe to when I got it for free) does not glorify WOHMs - in fact it is pretty pro SAHM - but is also very pro mainstream parenting.

In fact, I think the most valuable contribution mothering makes to parenting is not support for the AP/NFL checklist, but rather a statement about questioning the gross commercialism of parenting in general. Lots of AP/NFL things fall out of that questioning - trusting your instinct, not a book or a tool, knowing that your kids need you, not stuff.
Brenda2005's Avatar Brenda2005 11:31 AM 09-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerwest60610


the unfortunate reality is the more time a woman spends out of the workforce the more difficult it is to get back in.
Ugh, tell me about. I went to work after 8 wks with my first 3 but with the youngest I stayed home for a year. I've been working since Feb and I just don't want to go, but when I'm home I feel like being out there. I have tried temping, full and part time. Finally, I just settled for per diem which is pretty much any day. Maybe I can slowly get myself into a happy medium.

Anyway, back to the OP, I agree that mothers working outside the home need a bit more attention due to the differences in the way they work. SAHM's have a certain way of working, not easier though, I think it's a lot more difficult than WOH. But mamas who work outside the home also have a hard time. I worked, pumped, nursed, did all that, not easy but in time it just became routine. Before I had my babies I told my boss I needed time to pump when I started to feel full (yep, I said it just like that), after about the 3rd child, he pretty much understood. All I do is answer phones, customer service and stuff like that. If I needed to pump, I asked my boss to cover the phones for me..lol
aprilushka's Avatar aprilushka 11:32 AM 09-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
I
In fact, I think the most valuable contribution mothering makes to parenting is not support for the AP/NFL checklist, but rather a statement about questioning the gross commercialism of parenting in general. Lots of AP/NFL things fall out of that questioning - trusting your instinct, not a book or a tool, knowing that your kids need you, not stuff.
ITA and I think that -- along with a lot of other AP and NFL issues-- do not depend on the WOHM/SAHM or whatever status of a mother, which is why I don't worry too much about the silly people who come around here who feel the need to categorize everyone and focus instead on the positive things I get from here and concrete areas where one can get useful advice.
siobhang's Avatar siobhang 11:37 AM 09-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greensleeves View Post
This is really interesting to me, I think it might be a perception thing. In my experience SAHP's are not generally well thought of. And it's worth remembering that the majority of parents in the US are WOHP's.
Here is the reality.

If you are a SAHM, our pro-productivity, pro-consumerist, pro-individualist culture says "you are not contributing, sitting around eating bon-bons all day, wasting your brain, mooching off of society."

If you are a working mom, our "pro-kids", pro-volunteer, someone needs to be blamed for the ills of the world culture says "You are neglecting your kids for your SELFISH aims. Your kids are being damaged by your insistence on working and therefore you don't have the right to reproduce."

We cannot win. Let me repeat this - WE CANNOT WIN. There is no perfect position that will lead to universal praise and support from our culture. This because we are asked to do contradictory and impossible things - and we will always fall short.

So when SAHMs say they are not supported, I agree. But this doesn't mean that SAHMs are NEVER supported - they get lip service support and then condemnation. And so do WOHMs. We just get condemned about different things.
leewd's Avatar leewd 12:35 PM 09-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
Here is the reality.

If you are a SAHM, our pro-productivity, pro-consumerist, pro-individualist culture says "you are not contributing, sitting around eating bon-bons all day, wasting your brain, mooching off of society."

If you are a working mom, our "pro-kids", pro-volunteer, someone needs to be blamed for the ills of the world culture says "You are neglecting your kids for your SELFISH aims. Your kids are being damaged by your insistence on working and therefore you don't have the right to reproduce."

We cannot win. Let me repeat this - WE CANNOT WIN. There is no perfect position that will lead to universal praise and support from our culture. This because we are asked to do contradictory and impossible things - and we will always fall short.

So when SAHMs say they are not supported, I agree. But this doesn't mean that SAHMs are NEVER supported - they get lip service support and then condemnation. And so do WOHMs. We just get condemned about different things.
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Damned if you do, damned if you don't
stickywicket67 12:37 PM 09-19-2007
wow. i stepped away to have my baby and this thread took an odd turn.:
i guess i was thinking that the OP was interested in hearing what Mothering magazine felt it's role was in making our society better for all mothers. and specifically why it does not seem to spend any considerable energy on articles about pro- AP legislation related to working parents and pro-AP workplaces.
am i confused?
maybe that's what i was hoping to get out of this thread.
i'm not that "enlightened" and i often look to magazines to give me insight on what's going on in our society. (for example the Utne Reader). i guess i was hoping Mothering would do the same from an AP perspective.
and if the magazine wasn't interested in sharing and disseminating this info then how could we, as an internet community, do this.
i think i said this back in one of my earlier posts, but i'd like to see a sticky on here that holds this kind of info so that anyone looking to find out more and get involved in their community/local politics/state legislation would have a resource for doing so.
i didn't think the initial post was aimed at picking apart the magazine, i took it as a more pro-active positive criticism kind of way.
fwi, i love the magazine. i just think they could exercise their power and media access more fully on this front.
BelgianSheepDog's Avatar BelgianSheepDog 11:42 PM 09-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I would say no, that it is not equally AP to have the father at home instead of the mother.
Guess it's a good thing I don't base my whole freaking life around what is considered sufficiently "AP" then.

Breastfeeding is one of the things my daughter needs, and she gets it. She also needs a lot of other things, not just material things but emotional, spiritual, physical, etc. I also have needs on all those planes, and as a human being I have a right to have those needs filled, within reason. Not because it makes me a better mom, not because I'd "go crazy" or "starve" without them, but because I am a human being with human rights. I have a soul. I am not a milk machine. I have a personality, and it doesn't fit into a one-size-fits-all "mother" costume.

The best way to get everyone's needs met around here is for me to NOT be cooped up in the house all day with no other calling in life than to breastfeed and play mommy. It's not good enough to give me "permission" to leave the home once she's 4 or 5 and in school. I need it now. I needed it when she was 7 months old, when she was 4 months old, but I waited until she was 12 months old. And I regret it, because not only did it hurt my emotional and physical health, it made me less capable of enjoying my time with her and making the most of it.

It's not about consumerism or paying the bills, though it IS about me having some independence, financial and otherwise. It's not about the capitalist rat race and needing to "get ahead." My goals in life would make most wed to that system scoff, at best. It's about being a whole person, and showing my daughter that mothers can be whole people, that it's not necessary to step outside of society to nurture.

It's ridiculous to say that SAHMing is the only right way to raise a small child. Ridiculous and offensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou View Post
I tend to get depressed about these conversations for myself and for my dp. I'm a woman and that encompasses wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, circulation manager, avid reader, avid cook, etc., etc.

I tend to feel like the AP arguments for sahm all have to do with the fact I have a uterus and breasts. I know that's not entirely the case, at least I hope not. But that leaves my dp on the outside looking in. It makes me feel trapped in one role.
Yep. That's how I feel in a nutshell. I never signed on to abandon the rest of my identity and interests because I gave birth. And I don't buy that anyone other than the biological mother is useless the first four years of a child's life.


Quote:
Maybe I should start a magazine called AP Family.
I hope you're serious. Hey, there's a woman with a degree in magazines looking for work on MDC...you two should exchange notes, if you're serious about this idea.
thismama's Avatar thismama 11:50 PM 09-19-2007
I'm not telling anyone to base their whole freaking life around anything. I was asked a question, I responded with my opinion.
BelgianSheepDog's Avatar BelgianSheepDog 11:52 PM 09-19-2007
BTW if you're a student how does that reconcile with being a SAHM and anything other than being a SAHM being horrible for attachment?
thismama's Avatar thismama 12:00 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
BTW if you're a student how does that reconcile with being a SAHM and anything other than being a SAHM being horrible for attachment?
I did not say anything other than being a SAHM is horrible for attachment. I think full time work is not ideal when there is a child less than 2. My child is almost 4. I plan to return to school when my next (Goddess willing) is still an infant, but I'm looking at 9 hours/week of separation, not 40+.

I'm not saying nobody should work full time, by a long shot. But I do see it as potentially problematic. I know for *me* it was not something I could have done without serious psychological trauma to my kiddo, and without serious risk to my breastfeeding relationship, as I was unable to pump more than a few ounces.

I don't think my child or my experience is atypical, although I acknowledge that different children cope differently and have differing needs re: time with their primary caregiver. I do think full time daycare in infancy is less than ideal, generally.
BelgianSheepDog's Avatar BelgianSheepDog 12:06 AM 09-20-2007
I think "potentially problematic" is a lot more reasonable than the pat statement of your earlier post. Why not phrase it that way to start with? Why come out with guns blaring, "well WOHMs sorry to say but I think it's true that working isn't AP!"
thismama's Avatar thismama 12:07 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
I think "potentially problematic" is a lot more reasonable than the pat statement of your earlier post. Why not phrase it that way to start with? Why come out with guns blaring, "well WOHMs sorry to say but I think it's true that working isn't AP!"
That is not what I said.
BelgianSheepDog's Avatar BelgianSheepDog 12:22 AM 09-20-2007
Nevermind. I am just spitting mad and sick of the moralistic crap about "AP." I am SICK and TIRED of insinuations that if I leave the house for more than a couple hours at a time I am scarring my kid for life. Despite copious evidence, research, and experience to the contrary. I am sick of FEMINISTS shaming women for wanting to do something besides sit at home and nurse on MDC all day long. SICK and TIRED.
Genesis's Avatar Genesis 12:23 AM 09-20-2007

thismama's Avatar thismama 12:24 AM 09-20-2007
Sorry you're so sick and tired. But I think you're misinterpreting what I said, and what others have said. I haven't read the whole thread so I don't know if I'm missing some offensive commentary, but I don't think anyone is saying you can't leave the house for any length of time.
BelgianSheepDog's Avatar BelgianSheepDog 12:28 AM 09-20-2007
Oh I can leave the house, to run errands, go to the zoo, etc. As long as I have my nursling in the sling! I can even work if I can sling her! But if I want to freaking have a life and goals and accomplishments without toddler tantrums for 25 hours a week, that's not AP! And might scar her! For life!
thismama's Avatar thismama 12:32 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
Oh I can leave the house, to run errands, go to the zoo, etc. As long as I have my nursling in the sling! I can even work if I can sling her! But if I want to freaking have a life and goals and accomplishments without toddler tantrums for 25 hours a week, that's not AP! And might scar her! For life!
Well... I don't know. If she seems happy, she probably is happy. That is my policy, anyway.

I think, it's only a few years, yk? I get that not everyone can do it, and not everyone wants to do it, but man, an infant and a full time job must be an unimaginably heavy load. And, everyone I know IRL, when they put their young young ones in daycare full time it was a rough transition, with lots of crying etc.

I just think children at that age are not generally ready for such long seperations, especially in a daycare setting. It's too bad our society is set up the way it is, where we have these loooong structured jobs where we need to not let family obligations intrude. I personally have gone a LOT out of my way to avoid doing that. If I'd thought it was an equally good choice for my kid, and doable choice for me, I would have done it.
BelgianSheepDog's Avatar BelgianSheepDog 12:44 AM 09-20-2007
Having a baby was a rough transition, with lots of crying on both sides. But it was worth it. I don't think something being difficult means it's wrong.

And while perhaps being a single parent who works full time is a lot harder than SAHMing (I have no idea) coparenting and splitting the load between childcare and outside home duties seems a lot easier than SAHMing to me. This is the kind of thing that working moms on an AP board work out, and the kind they want support for and ideas for and resources for. I don't think anyone here wants the standard corporate 50 hour week and daycare model, at least not for small kids. As others have said above it's too limiting in the other direction. What we're looking for is balance. And I think it's possible. It's incredibly frustrating though when one of the main sources for support on making those solutions happen, something like Mothering, sticks its nose in the air and says "HMPH I don't want you uppity working moms, it's not IDEAL."

I also happen to think that SAHMing in general and especially insofar as it reinforces the nuclear family model, is not ideal, and has the potential to be quite problematic, both for individuals and systemically.
siobhang's Avatar siobhang 12:46 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
I also happen to think that SAHMing in general and especially insofar as it reinforces the nuclear family model, is not ideal, and has the potential to be quite problematic, both for individuals and systemically.
GASP! You actually dared to say that SAHM is not THE ideal to which every mom should aspire? and in fact, can be FAR from ideal?

I think I love you.
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BelgianSheepDog's Avatar BelgianSheepDog 12:50 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
GASP! You actually dared to say that SAHM is not THE ideal to which every mom should aspire? and in fact, can be FAR from ideal?

I think I love you.
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What can I say, I am reckless and daring.

Seriously though, I think SAHMing is frequently isolating and disempowering and financially crippling. I don't think that's good for anyone involved.

ETA: while no one size fits all, I think if socially we were going to aspire to a parenting ideal situation it would be a team-based system where coparents work a little and stay home a little while backed by socialized healthcare and so forth.
thismama's Avatar thismama 12:52 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
Having a baby was a rough transition, with lots of crying on both sides. But it was worth it. I don't think something being difficult means it's wrong.
Well... But we say infant crying for the parent is evidence that CIO is not cool. No? This seems closer to that than birth, to me. I know for me I've never felt comfortable leaving my daughter in situations where she was crying for me. I did it once and regretted it. As a daily thing I can't understand saying "Oh well everything is hard." It seems pretty obvious that is less than ideal for attachment.

Quote:
I don't think anyone here wants the standard corporate 50 hour week and daycare model, at least not for small kids.
Oh, okay. Well then we're not that far apart. Coz yeah, I thought people were saying basically "Oh sure that is hunky dorey." I think that is too much, personally. I'm not saying it wouldn't work for anyone, but generally, I don't get how it can be great for most people and most babies.

Quote:
As others have said above it's too limiting in the other direction. What we're looking for is balance. And I think it's possible.
I can get into that, for sure. I'm not a holier-than-thou SAHM type. But I'm also not a capitalist-type feminist who thinks the work world is supreme, and that traditional women's roles like mothering are lesser. I fully acknowledge the need for earning power for many of us, and as a feminist goal. But I also like looking at things in alternative ways, and in my own life I've taken an alternative path to be home with my kid more than not.

Quote:
"HMPH I don't want you uppity working moms, it's not IDEAL."
Is that being said? Do you mean by lack of inclusion of articles in the mag, etc?

I think there should be information and discussion about AP and working. Not everyone is going to do it in a cookie cutter way. I would also love to see articles about AP and formula feeding, because despite lactivist assertions to the contrary, there are very good reasons why BF doesn't work out for lots of loving mamas and their babes.

Quote:
I also happen to think that SAHMing in general and especially insofar as it reinforces the nuclear family model, is not ideal, and has the potential to be quite problematic, both for individuals and systemically.
Yep, I agree. I don't think immediately in those terms because it has not been my own experience of being home with my daughter. I did not do married SAHMing, and I never would.
siobhang's Avatar siobhang 12:55 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
ETA: while no one size fits all, I think if socially we were going to aspire to a parenting ideal situation it would be a team-based system where coparents work a little and stay home a little while backed by socialized healthcare and so forth.
Yup, this would be fantastic. I would love to live closer to my family so they too could help out with child rearing. It takes a village and all that.

I am not knocking anyone who loves being a SAHM - or even folks who don't love it but do it because they feel firmly this is what they need to do for themselves and their families. But I am wary of any ideology which says that all children need X, when X is very prescriptive and unevenly burdensome on one particular gender or group.

I also get the screaming heebie jeebies at any hint of motherhood = martyrdom, which is how sometimes hard core AP folks come across to me.

Your mileage may vary.
siobhang's Avatar siobhang 01:11 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post

Oh, okay. Well then we're not that far apart. Coz yeah, I thought people were saying basically "Oh sure that is hunky dorey." I think that is too much, personally. I'm not saying it wouldn't work for anyone, but generally, I don't get how it can be great for most people and most babies.
This is one way that the mommy wars get fanned - the stereotype that moms who work outside the home want to work 60+ hours a week and drop off their kid at daycare with no more than a backwards glance.

In fact, very few kids in the US are in daycare for that length of time - around 30 hours a week or so (and it is lowest for infants).
http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
http://www.hspc.org/publications/pdf...ments_2007.pdf

So when we are taking about working moms of infants, the average is actually part time care.

And most moms who work full time in the US WANT to work fewer hours.

OH, and if you read the stats above, you will see that unemployed mothers in the US also use non-mother care for only slightly fewer hours than employed mothers.
thismama's Avatar thismama 01:18 AM 09-20-2007
I totally believe that, and was thinking about posting something along the lines of, "How many mamas you know who really want to work full time when they have infants?"

So, then, what are we arguing about, even?

My impression is that sometimes people get caught up in it and argue pro-working (full time) when ppl have infants, when they themselves didn't make that choice, kwim? Women have the right, we shouldn't be tied to infants, we need to maintain our financial independence!

All valid points, but did the person arguing for those things work full time when caring for an infant? IME, usually no. Or if they did, they found it exhausting.

Same with the SAHD angle. How many of us who argue that SAHD's is equally viable, actually have a SAHD in our family set up? Some, but not many, it's pretty rare.

Mama doing part time work (or school) I totally get, and think that is doable for many of us. And I fully support seeking alternative solutions in between full time WOH in infancy vs. long term SAH.
devster4fun's Avatar devster4fun 01:18 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
It's incredibly frustrating though when one of the main sources for support on making those solutions happen, something like Mothering, sticks its nose in the air and says "HMPH I don't want you uppity working moms, it's not IDEAL."

I also happen to think that SAHMing in general and especially insofar as it reinforces the nuclear family model, is not ideal, and has the potential to be quite problematic, both for individuals and systemically.

Awesome thread...really. It's something I think about and am confronted with quite a bit. I find it easy to see both sides, as I live in both worlds.

(Working 19 hours a week for a BIG company with family watching DD)

Some days I SAH full-time. Some days I work. And, I'm surrounded by both ends of the spectrum.

BSD, I enjoy your perspective. Eye opening, to say the least. I've always wondered about places (ie churches) near my home that advertise "Mother's Day Out." Would it kill them to use "parents?"

I'm concerned about the issues with the magazine/internet. I have financially supported both. I will watch this thread closely. Let's not get it locked.
BelgianSheepDog's Avatar BelgianSheepDog 01:20 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post

I am not knocking anyone who loves being a SAHM - or even folks who don't love it but do it because they feel firmly this is what they need to do for themselves and their families. But I am wary of any ideology which says that all children need X, when X is very prescriptive and unevenly burdensome on one particular gender or group.

I also get the screaming heebie jeebies at any hint of motherhood = martyrdom, which is how sometimes hard core AP folks come across to me.
.
Oh yeah, me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
This is one way that the mommy wars get fanned - the stereotype that moms who work outside the home want to work 60+ hours a week and drop off their kid at daycare with no more than a backwards glance.
Yeah typically right around that time is when "warehousing" gets said and it's all over. Like not being with the kids ALL the time automatically equals wanting to just stow them somewhere except on holidays.
siobhang's Avatar siobhang 01:32 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I totally believe that, and was thinking about posting something along the lines of, "How many mamas you know who really want to work full time when they have infants?"

So, then, what are we arguing about, even?
I think it is easy to read polarizing views in more innocuous statements, especially since we are all feeling judged most of the time...

What I find astonishing about the self-defining SAHM board is the sheer number of women who earn income or who engage in other -not childcare related - tasks for a substantial period of their time. And then there are the sheer number of women on the WM boards who work from home (even part time), took extended (often unpaid) leaves, work compressed hours or part time, etc etc etc while the babies are little.

The number of people at either extreme -nothing but childcare or working all the hours God gives - is actually extremely low.

So what exactly are we arguing about? Well, any suggestion that working - at all - outside the home is somehow less than ideal completely misses the bigger picture. Many women DO work, many outside the home, they do try to keep the hours low and manageable, and they are committed to their families.
siobhang's Avatar siobhang 01:34 AM 09-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
Oh yeah, me too.



Yeah typically right around that time is when "warehousing" gets said and it's all over. Like not being with the kids ALL the time automatically equals wanting to just stow them somewhere except on holidays.
Though this is true of me earlier today with my nearly 4 year old...However, I think if I were a SAHM, I would ship him off to grandma's for months at a time. And she lives in England.

; )
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