Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Kind of Mom I'm Not or Please Pass the Milk, Please

I know that in my profile I mention that one of my three jobs is counseling breastfeeding moms. Between jobs, I have also been doing quite a bit of nonproductive blog surfing as a response to my post "Blogging about Blogging." I decided that if I ever want to gain a following as a blogger, I should probably be doing a bit more following of my own. Where to start? How about women whose interests are similar to mine? So, I searched profiles that mentioned breastfeeding. Inevitably, almost every mom who stated an interest in breastfeeding also incorporated buzzwords like "attachment parenting," "baby wearing," and "veganism." This is the part where I interrupt my current stream of thought for a disclaimer: please do not stone me for what I am about to say. I think these are great, altruistic mothers. They are clearly very involved and concerned parents. I do not relate to them.

I have heard the phrase "attachment parenting" before, but I have never really investigated what all "attachment parenting" entails. If it means having a two-year-old who has to touch you all night and drink a sippy cup while you're sleeping, count me in. If it means that you have to like it and admit that it stems from anything other than your parental apathy, count me out. My two-year-old still sleeps with me because I'm too darn lazy to get up in the night and deal with his tantrums. Period. End of story.

My kids don't eat organic foods and I have to admit there are some nights when they have had Pringles and fruit snacks for dinner. They eat a lot of candy on Halloween, too. They like McDonald's chicken nuggets. I guess I'm not in the "organic foods/ vegan" mom category, as so many breastfeeding moms seem to be.

I'm not sure about the term "baby-wearing" either. I am assuming it has something to do with slings. I used one once: when I took my 6 week old to Disneyland. (By the way, did you know, the "It's a Small World" ride is a great place to breastfeed? But I digress). I think I might be into baby wearing, but not in the sling sense. There is generally a baby attached to my arm, and often another trying to climb my leg. Once again, not my favorite situation.

I don't reuse plastic grocery bags, bake wholegrain bread, or knit. I probably won't storm a business rumored to have employed someone who gave a breastfeeding mom a dirty look. I am comfortable breastfeeding in public, but I wasn't at first. I do own a Shu Uemura eyelash curler (which I use daily); I love how I look in heels. I would carry a Coach bag. I am even guilty of reading BabyWise (don't gasp. Once again, I was much too apathetic for Ezzo-ism).

Sterotypes aside, I think sometimes women choose not to breastfeed because they feel they don't fit "the mold." In my line of work, I hear all too often, "I'm afraid to breastfeed; I'm just a teenage mom." Or, "I'm not sure I can breastfeed; no one in my family could." Breastfeeding extends beyond stereotypes and race. For me, it's not about politics. It is about uniting mother with child and mother with mother. I am a woman and a mom, so I breastfeed.


Tova Darling said...

Interesting post! I'm not a mom yet, but breastfeeding is something I definitely plan (hope) to do once hubby and I have kids. In addition to being good for babies, I have a motivation that I chalk up to being fully aware of my own faults - I'm really, really forgetful (in addition to being a klutz - I'm such a catch!) I figure if my body can produce food for a baby, that saves me from potentially forgetting to buy more furmula and having to do a midnight run to walmart. It's a win/win!

Carroll said...

Here, hear, Marie. Beautifully expressed! Oops! I mean stated!

Tova Darling said...

In response to your comment- Oo, secret admirers! Very nice. Yes, my reality show is WILDLY popular - I've got a huge fan base. :)

A said...

what I find fascinating about blog hopping is I am amazed at all the different types of women out there with whom I feel a connection. i breastfed all four kids because I loved it and I sometimes feed my kids fast food, but we are all doing our best to be good moms...maybe not vegan, but what's right for us. I love being glamorous and mommy-ish too. Does that make me a walking (with kids hanging on me) contradiction?

Marie said...

A, I don't think that makes you a contradiction at all. What could be more feminine than mothering and breastfeeding? I think the dichotomy results from the stereotype. What you are is you a well-rounded woman.

Aston said...

So, I am sitting here contemplating why did I breasfeed? I think at first it was because it seemed like the easiest and maybe I was a little selfish (aren't all first time moms still centered on their own comfort). BUT I quickly realized that breastfeeding exclusively is anything but easy. So why did I continue and I breastfed my second AND why am I going to breastfeed my third? I have finally come to a simple conclusion thanks to your posting and some self realization. I am simply doing the thing I know and believe is best for my child. It is something I can do to ensure my child's health and maybe a little bit of their future. Basically, I agree I am trying to be a good mom.

A said...

thanks Marie! Since I just had a whine-y moment on my family blog, I am happy to read that I might possibly be well- rounded. Well, I can hope!

Dawn said...

Marie.. First, I wanted to thank you for the comment you left on my blog today. I think you hit the nail right on the head!!

Second, my mom is a retired english teacher. I love english teacher too! :)

Third, I'm STILL breastfeeding Camryn. She will be 2 in Dec. She sleeps with us and nips from the boob all night long!
Our older daughter slept with us until the baby came home from the hospital. If we could find a gigantic bed we'd be happy to have the whole family together at night. But, that's as far as my attachment parenting goes... well, sort of! LOL I mean that entails really listening to your children and following their cues they give. I think I do that as well.

I'm really wanting to wean Camryn soon. But, it is going to be so difficult because she literally uses me as a pacifier. She's going to freak out. But, I turn 40 on Dec. 1 and want to really go out and celebrate so I want to be F I N I S H E D!! LOL Any suggestions?

Marie said...

Dawn, I wish I knew! I was ready to ween my son when he turned 14 mos. old so I still let him sleep with me and when he wanted to nurse, my husband would give him the cup. OK, so my son is not nursing anymore; now he just has to have his sippy all night long which means I get drenched when it leaks and occassionally hit in the head with it. That kid would definately still be nursing!

So what I understand about attachment parenting is that if you're a breastfeeding mom, you're pretty much doing it. I mean that makes sense, how much more attached could they be?

Dawn said...

Marie, I've made my way back to this post! Only to tell you I finally weaned my baby!! She was 22.5 months when I did it. She ended up with the throwing up stomach virus and couldn't hold down any milk. My husband was tired of cleaning milk vomit up from the carpet so he said STOP! LOL Bless her little heart...every day for the past three weeks or so she has asked for it at least once.