Ok… first draft here. I…

Ok… first draft here. I got all sorts of called out tonight for being a bitch. And frankly, I’m tired of the PC-ness of being a mom. Take a read, let me know what you think. I feel like it’s a little short and takes a little too long to get to my point… but this is just what spouted off my head tonight.

In Defense of “Mommy Shaming”

When I had a baby, I was prepared. I had researched everything from breastfeeding to Montessori school. I had bought everything from a crib to orthopedically-correct toddler shoes. My car seat was installed, and my husband had taken swaddling lessons. I was prepared.
I had been told all about the inevitable unsolicited advice that would be coming from the women that hadn’t birthed a child since the Eisenhower era. I was prepared to smile gracefully and forget any and all advice that involved using chicken bones as teethers (not making that one up, it’s real advice).
What I wasn’t prepared for was the onslaught of blogs, lists, status updates, and commenters that would pathologically spout the new company line: “her child, her choice.”
It seems that the current status-quo of political correctness has infiltrated every facet of our lives. Including my boobs.
Every choice a mom makes can severely impact the future of her children. There are studies on everything from public vs. private school, breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, and even what color of nightlight promotes the healthiest sleep. Most of these choices make a minimal impact at best. Putting your kid in Kindergarten at 6 instead of five gives them an educational advantage, but only until about the fourth grade. Breastfeeding has developmental and immunological benefits, but not as much previously touted. And by God, don’t buy a blue night light.
Everyone has their own opinion, and you know what, sometimes those opinions are wrong. But according to every mom with access to a keyboard, you are only allowed to speak those opinions with all the love and acceptance of a Daniel Tiger episode. No hint of judgement. And God forbid you actually question the decision of another mom. That will get you thrown right into mommy jail, where Cailliou is stuck on repeat, and you’re forced to eat cold leftovers covered in toddler drool for all of eternity.
But you know what, shame is a powerful motivator. Shame is what keeps the majority of the population from wearing Speedos while walking down Main Street. Shame is what keeps (most) people from singing loudly to Abba with the windows down in rush hour traffic. Shame makes our society more livable.
And if shame will keep a child from contracting an infectious disease, or from getting paralyzed in a car crash, then I say bring on the stocks!
I was browsing Facebook today, and a woman posted in a local mom’s group about why her pediatrician was telling her to keep her 1 year old rear facing in her car seat. Many women came back with statistics, reports, scientific studies, and crash test videos enforcing a simple fact of physics. Keeping children rear-facing is safer. By an approximate margin of 500%. This isn’t debatable. It’s fact. And when one woman came on and said that it was totally acceptable to turn your 11 month old around because it would make them happier, I jumped in with a little shame.
I talked about how making parenting decisions based on what made an infant / toddler happy probably wasn’t good parenting. I stated that distributing that particular brand of parenting while ignoring every ounce of, you know, science, in the world was irresponsible. And I got immediately called out for “mommy shaming.”
This is also a rampant theme in the vaccination debate. The vaccinators have every piece of science, logic, and reason on their sides. But no matter how many time you present studies, or facts, or mortality rates, the anti-vaccinators just ignore it and bring up a new and more ridiculous argument.
The problem comes in when you’re dealing with people so overwhelmed with hormones, and love, and squishy baby thighs that they can’t listen to reason. They can only listen to the pieces of advice that make their tiny little monsters squeal and giggle with delight. This is an entirely natural reaction, and I understand it completely. But when that decision affects the health and safety of your child, or god forbid, the health and safety of MY child, then it’s no longer “your child, your choice.” It’s now my time to step in and call you out for being an idiot.
Because endangering your child is cause for concern, and a little ridicule. And endangering my child is cause for a full on tongue lashing.

#musings

Why My Thirties are a Thousand Times Better

My birthday is today (yay!), so I’ve been unnaturally nostalgic and reflective recently. One of the things that I have been thinking about is how great it feels to be in my thirties. I’m halfway through this decade and I have to say that it is SO MUCH better than my twenties. No question about it. It’s not that I didn’t completely enjoy that time of my life, but I have to say that now I feel more confident of who I am. That’s probably one reason why I am able to write these words and stand by them.

So here is my top five list of why it’s great to be a childfree woman in her thirties, instead of a confused girl in my twenties:

  1. I Know Who My Real Friends Are

I was telling my friend the other day that I do not have as much of a tolerance these days for people who I don’t like very much. In the past year, I’ve gone through some transformations with my friendship circles and this also involved making some healthy boundaries with people who were not ideal friends in my life. I don’t feel that same sense of neediness that I felt in my twenties and as a result I have been attracting people into my life that are honest, straightforward and (not surprisingly) also childfree like me. I know what I appreciate in a friend and I am seeking out people who can easily fulfill that role.

  1. I Don’t Care About the Question, “So What Do You Do?”

What does a Comparative Literature major do out of college? You guessed it – not much! When I was in school, a lot of people asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I would almost break out into a sweat. I thought that I had to have all the answers. I wish that I had explored more back then and taken a plunge to do more internships, but alas, I was much too intimidated back then. When I graduated from college, I spent six weeks in England and then returned to a riveting three-week position as a cashier at Mervyn’s. Then came the minimum wage position as a teacher’s assistant for emotionally disturbed teenage girls where I was trained in take downs and called a bitch more than once.

Since then, I worked as a “permanent” temp at a newspaper as a typist and even got my massage license. Now that I am pursuing writing and looking for a fulfilling career path, I know that I don’t have to impress anyone else with who I am and what I did.

  1. I Care Less About What Other People Think

About 10 years ago, I would be extremely sensitive about what other people thought of me. I think that over time, I’ve learned to not be so attached to other people’s opinions of me. I’ve heard that you also have to develop a thick skin when you are a writer because you are putting yourself out there to the world and inevitably some of those trolls are going to rear their ugly heads. But I’m learning to take things less personally. Plus, it’s been helpful to be in a relationship with someone who also doesn’t care about what people think. His attitude has definitely been rubbing off on me.

  1. I Can Take Out the Garbage

Seriously, I have to let you guys know that I never did chores around the house when I was a kid growing up. We had be good Asian American students first and foremost, which meant that my mom got stuck with all the housework and we dutifully studied for our exams. All throughout my twenties, I carried this prima dona behavior and notion that someone else should do more of the chores than me. I’m glad that I have my own chores routine now (every Saturday morning) and while taking out the compost is not my favorite thing to do, at least I can make myself do it. I think it’s also a function of being a more responsible adult in general and really dealing with the smelly stuff of life.

  1. I Learned From My Failed Relationship

I got married at age twenty-four to the man whom I had my first kiss. Even though there were good things about our relationship, we ended up parting ways. Because I met him at nineteen, I hadn’t had much experience in the dating realm and I set out on OK Cupid the way that a voyager from the fifteenth century set out to sea in search of new lands. Now that I am with a partner with whom I share chemistry, I have learned to be more outspoken in my relationships, have more honesty and appreciate the little things. These all go a long way to having a fulfilling partnership.

So, do you like your thirties better, too?

#musings