Monday, March 16, 2009

People I Am Done With Today

Today was an absolutely blissful spring day. Even though I started it with a morning at the dentist with two small children -- the visit went so swimmingly that I can't complain. And now I'm eating cookies (made by my husband) in bed with my newly repaired laptop. So how could I be cranky?
Too much Internet. Here are some of the people pissing me off online today:
  • This woman thinks Girl Scouts and their parents should get out of her face with their annoying cookies. She's a fellow member of the Silicon Valley Moms Group (Chicago Moms Blog is part of that), so I'm supposed to be all supportive and such. Well, I'm linking to her, so that's supportive. But I have to wonder, what else do you hate, crankypants? Butterflies? Kittens? Send those Girl Scouts my way, because the season ended yesterday and I forgot to order my favorite variety.
  • This pediatrician from whom I just unsubscribed on Twitter. She's a doctor who specializes in children's overweight issues, and at first I thought, oh, how helpful for her to Tweet me with reminders to wait a few minutes before fulfilling my kid's request for seconds or not letting them pound 20 oz. of soda per day. (What? They were obeying their thirst.) What annoys me is when she talks about stuff like how "shocked and horrified" she was that she accidentally ate a cupcake with a lot of calories in it. Or frets because her parents fed her kids a high-fat dinner and dessert. Dear Dr. Dolgoff: Unclench! You will all survive! If my kids ever become overweight, there's no way I would take them to a doctor with such emotional freakouts about food and calories.
  • The headline writers and author of this article, for first being all inflammatory and then having pretty much common sense conclusions about breastfeeding that I can't dismiss out of hand. She reviews a zillion medical studies and concludes that Dr. Sears and the popular media have overstated the health benefits of breastfeeding. Yeah, I'll buy that -- and the unfortunate side effect of the oversell is that it leads many well-meaning mothers to freak out and berate themselves if they can't breastfeed. (On the other hand, I would still feel confident that breastmilk is healthier than formula even if not one study had been published asserting that. It just makes sense that natural is better, because science has yet to trump nature. Vitamin pills don't work; broccoli does. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are screwing up our planet; letting chickens eat your bugs and poop in your fields isn't. I know science does not understand all the hormones that are exchanged and triggered when breastfeeding happens; that doesn't mean they don't benefit our babies and ourselves.)

But despite that welcome conclusion that breastfeeding vs. formula is not such a BFD, the author gets to join the elite club of people who pissed me off today for several reasons:

a) She talks about being judged by the well-heeled moms at the playground for talking about weaning her baby. You know what, lady? You're getting judged because the world is full of nosy, judgy people, and because you are hanging out in a snotty neighborhood with more than its share. Not because you choose one thing or the other. Think the very same person who sneers at you for taking out a bottle would hesitate to tell me that when a kid is old enough to ask to nurse, he's too old to do it, or some such crap? Mothering is not a contest, and if you are hanging out with people who act as if it is, just hang out somewhere else where people have real problems to worry about.

b) She treats breastfeeding as if it is 100% burden to the mother and 0% benefit. OK, it IS unfair that you're the one who has to wake up in the night to do the deed, but babies need to be fed in the middle of the night if they're bottlefed, too. I'd prefer breastfeeding to bottlefeeding even if I didn't believe it was healthier; it's more convenient, easier, I can do it while typing with both hands, it really, truly does release hormones that make me feel good, its the only way to actually remove fat from your body without exercising or surgery, and let's not forget about the instant soothing it can provide a cranky baby or toddler.

c) She blames breastfeeding for women's lack of career advancement, and for our propensity to take on the bulk of childrearing responsibilities. You know, we're talking about 6-12 months of our lives. Is breastfeeding really the reason I haven't yet won a Pulitzer Prize? I'd blame other things a lot more than breastfeeding -- like the working world's unwillingness to accommodate those lousy 6-12 months, the unavailability of equal paternity leaves that would level the playing field and give dads so much more confidence and ability in the kid department, and many women's genuine interest in taking the lead on the upbringing of their children. My reaction is the same as when other feminist women have wrung their hands over those of us who choose to focus on mothering: Who said I was a victim? Ever consider that I find staying home and nursing a baby, conversing with a toddler or cooking dinner with a preschooler more rewarding than sitting in meetings and cubicles?

Harrumph. Like I said, it was a gorgeous day out, and tomorrow's going to be even nicer. So I'm glad I got that rant out of the way tonight.


babyboyg said...

Well, I WAS having a great day, but now...

Just kidding, have a wonderful tomorrow, and rant on! I enjoy reading it.

Sara said...

yeah, i read the breastfeeding article too and i also found it annoying. you're is such a short amount of time in the scheme of things. and, i totally feel better this time around (with pumping every 3 hours) than i did with grace.

hope today yields happier surfing...

Unknown said...

That BFing article really made me angry, especially because it's getting so much press. The part that made me angriest was the assertion that women are 0% productive during the time of our lives when we are BFing.

I call shenanigans on that lady!!!

Jeevita said...

Interesting links! Good rant! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ha--too funny. Those people are now pissing me off too. Very astute point about the judgmental stuff--it's all about proximity. I'm a bit of a judgy person myself and live in an area where people aren't so particular, so I am constantly frustrated. Too bad for me!

The BFing crap really singes me. It's such a personal thing and varies with each baby. I stopped at 11 months because I dried up, and in some circles I was kind of chided for filling out my kid's first year with formula. Like, why should I explain my personal body fluid issue with you lactation nazis?! I will admit though that I am rather judgmental of women who never even give it a go. I guess it just confuses, short of a physical issue, why not?

And I was not at all fulfilled at my professional, "exciting" job--full of travel and meetings and deadlines and awesome power suits. I'm 100x happier wiping cracker dust of my old cords at the playground. I feel liberated, and isn't that what woman's lib was all about?

Jeevita said...

I just finished reading the entire article (the breastfeeding one) and wanted to add a couple of more thoughts..

How does a 40% reduction in gastrointestinal illness translate to one episode less of diarrhea or vomiting for 4 in 100 children. Something doesn't seem quite right..

About the sleep deprivation, I think she does have a point. I can't tell you how green I turn with envy when my friend's 4 month old formula fed baby sleeps 7 or 8 hours at night before needing to be fed again. Mine is 17 months old and goes for about 7 hours only about now after all these months..(I should be nightweaning him but I am finding it a struggle. Would appreciate any tips.)

Carrie said...

Jeevita -- I don't get that either. But the mention of GI infections reminds me of one of the reasons I prefer to reducing breastfeeding but keeping the supply going as opposed to total weaning -- I have had times with each of my kids when breastmilk was the only thing they could keep down. Water, no, breastmilk, yes.

You know, the author of the article is burned out. She's on her third kid. I'll probably be condemning breastfeeding as an evil plot myself about 6 months from now.

Anonymous said...

Was really an article to get your blood boiling but what gets me is it's all over the internet in a lot of blogs. Everybody seems to feel the same.