Money or Parenting? How the Government Makes People Choose.

I found this video to be quite alarming and informative. I could not believe the limited amount of time off mothers receive in our country and the reasons behind legislation to help families is not being passed. We are one of two countries in the world who do not give mothers the day off for mothers day. If mothers would like to take the day off it is close to impossible, it has to be unpaid, and pass loads of restrictions. Mothers are not only losing mothers day but time off after giving birth. In a world that pressures women to have it all, balancing being a mother and working, mothers are not getting enough unpaid or paid leave off. This puts their job and financial security at risk or the time needed to tend for a newborn.

I also found it interesting and relevant that they spoke of the mostly nonexistent time fathers get off after having a child born. Showing that we still live in a society that only views women staying home to tend for the child. Paternal leave is important because they are both parents, and many families have nontraditional parenting or a household where both parents work. Almost all leave taken by parents after their child is born is unpaid time off, putting a financial compromise on themselves. What was really shocking was the reasoning behind lobbyists and legislators keeping these restrictions and lack of benefits on new parents.

What do you all think? Do you find this opinion just? Or do you agree with how things are now? Has this affected your parents or someone you know? Why is our culture unhelpful to new parents compared to other cultures?


“The Chance That We’ll Regret It Doesn’t Seem Like A Compelling Enough Reason To Do It”

I recently saw this article that was composed of twelve actresses/icons that were talking about why they do not have kids and why they aren’t in any rush to do so. I found this very interesting because throughout my life I have always been told that women need to get married and start having kids right away and now that I think about it, having kids is something that is so far from my mind and when thought about, its usually something that terrifies me. I guess in a way I go against gender norms because although I am open to the idea of marriage, I’m not sure if I ever want to have kids. Honestly, there are a lot of other things I would rather do than have kids. I also go against the norms when I say that I know for a fact that I am a workaholic and I most likely always will be. I will see my career as one of the most important things to me and although I may be looked down upon because of that, I now know I am not the only one that feels this way. The things these women said in this article really struck home with me.

“I want to have kids when there’s nothing else I want more, and I can make them my world.”

Being sensitive and caring is something that comes with growing up feminine. This means that most women feel like they HAVE to be nice, helpful, nurturing and the mothering type. Also, girls learn that being outspoken about the fact that they are not nurturing and they do not want to have kids is looked down upon.

So why is? Why are women scrutinized for not having kids when able to? Is it something that we HAVE to do or we are shamed?


Giving a new definition of “Baby Fat”

How many times have you seen in popular magazines, television, and media, countless celebrities claiming to have “gotten their body back” after having a baby? This idea of being the “perfect mother” sets unattainable expectations for everyday mothers- shifting priorities of being pleasing towards society and your significant other rather than soft and nurturing to your newborn child.

After problems with recovering from her own pregnancy, photographer Ashlee Wells Jackson created the “Fourth Trimester Project”– a series of photographs that show the true beauty of mothers after their pregnancies. The plump, skinny, wrinkled and smooth mothers of all nationalities and origins embrace their body’s changes which are suited best for their families, not for society.

“We live in a society obsessed with perfection. The goal of this project is to shift that focus to the beauty of who we really are.” – Ashlee Wells Jackson


Earning your MRS and Selling Your Milk

Recently, I chuckled as I read an article about a dating service in China advertising to women by telling them they would disappoint their Grandmothers (who could die soon!) if they didn’t stop being so picky and just settle down to get married already!  Thank goodness I live in the US, I thought with smug satisfaction, where we believe there is more to a woman’s life than being a spouse.

I shouldn’t have been so smug…  The Wall Street Journal has just published an op-ed from Princeton alumna Susan A. Patton telling college women to “smarten up and start husband hunting.”  Oh, but how can I be a smart husband hunter, you may ask?  Never fear (heterosexual) ladies!  In case Patton’s advice is confusing to you, I’ve expanded on key points from her article here, so you will know exactly how to score the “cornerstone of your future happiness:”

  • “Casual sex is irresistible to men, but the smart move is not to give it away. If you offer intimacy without commitment, the incentive to commit is eliminated. The grandmotherly message of yesterday is still true today: Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.”  Got it?  So, the message here is sell sex, so your future husband will buy a cow.  Or, something like that.  Since you’re in college and all, I’m sure you will figure this one out.
  • “And if you start to earn more than he does? Forget about it. Very few men have egos that can endure what they will see as a form of emasculation.”  When you negotiate your first salary, don’t go for the obvious tactic of trying to earn the highest amount possible.  Negotiate that salary down ladies — your future husband’s masculinity depends on you!  (Don’t worry about not having a husband and being underpaid, just remember the milk thing from above and you will have yourself a winner husband, for sure!)
  • “…avoid falling for the P.C. feminist line that has misled so many young women for years. There is nothing incongruous about educated, ambitious women wanting to be wives and mothers.”  That’s right, don’t fall for those ugly feminists who hate men and motherhood!  They are just trying to trick you by feeding you lines about how women should be supported in a variety of choices about how to live their lives.  Why would you want options (including, but not limited to: motherhood with or without a partner, not having children,having a high-powered career, having a low-powered career, staying at home with children, loving being single, being committed to a partner, or any combination of these)?

Thank goodness we have this good advice from Patton, who is busy warning college women about avoiding the bleak future of leaving college without an engagement ring. Between Patton’s words of wisdom and the advice from Chinese dating websites, you can be assured of not disappointing any dying relatives in your lack of a husband, or being bothered with focusing on your pesky intellectual development over the true goal of higher education for women, earning your MRS!

Thank You, Sheryl Sandberg

Interesting blog from a stay-at-home Mom in response to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.  She speaks powerfully of the joys of mothering, its importance in her life, and her conflicted feelings about leaving her career behind for a while.  While I can’t say that I agree that, as she states, “socializaton and forced gender roles have nothing” (emphasis mine) to do with the joy she experiencing in her children, this doesn’t take away from the depth or the authenticity of the feelings.  Just because we’re socialized in a particular way doesn’t make our joys and sorrows associated with that socialization less authentic.

I think this also points to the need to value choices to parent, work, or a combination of these equally, regardless of the sex of the parent.  All three roles are vitally important personally and at a societal level.