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Behaviour, Children, Family, Infant Mental Health, Influence, Life, Mothering, Parenting

Not good enough

So I got some bees in my mama bonnet this week and they have really made me grumble. As you know I don’t usually speak about much in this area on my blog.

It’s not that I feel it’s not important, it is, but a lot of the time I feel my opinion has been covered by many others and I feel I’m just hashing over the same content.

Today isn’t any different in relation to content. It’s all been said before and eloquently at that but you see if I don’t write this out I may well just blow a fuse.

There are two issues. Unrelated, but pressing my buttons all the same.

I opened my email account yesterday and  a post by Michelle (@mamabook) from 4 kids, a dog and a blog entitled “the ultimate comfort food” I was nodding in agreement from the start. I then reviewed the tweet stream of the account she suggested and this is where I got my back up.

I thought we were progressing as a society in relation to all of this breastfeeding in public, cover or not etc.. It appears not, when late teens and early twenties are tweeting their disgust at seeing a mother breastfeed her baby in a food court. Are we serious?

Now this isn’t a post about breast is best. For most issues I am someone who is pro-choice. I wouldn’t want someone telling me what to do so why would I tell another the best decision to make on any issue.

The reason I am getting so angry is that this is taking the issue of public breastfeeding to ridiculous levels. If you wish to cover up or feed in private all well and good, that was actually me. I just preferred it that way. But others do not and should not have to hide themselves to perform a natural feeding and mothering act.

I expressed my support to Michelle on twitter and it followed a conversation where I asked what can be done about this societal belief? A serious change needs to occur in people’s responses to breastfeeding. As mandala journey and the leaky boob expressed (no pun intended) last year and again Edenland this year on Facebook that breastfeeding is not a sexual behaviour and should not be treated as offensive. Yes breasts can obviously be enjoyed during other activities but babies are entitled to use them for nourishment just as much, even more so.

Michelle suggested awareness needed to be community based and not only pregnant women but educating in schools and other areas also. I totally agree and maybe it’s time to take some action. Slowly and unfortunately we are moving away and it appears regressing back to historical attitudes of caring for pregnant mama and baby. Why?! It’s a natural part in life.

Again this isn’t telling people what’s right or wrong, do as you will but the pressure to cover up should not be present, it’s the point that if it’s natural, that if it’s something inoffensive like that of feeding and nourishing a hungry infant then why all the hoo-har about “indecent exposure” as I saw mentioned. Really?

Let me know if you have any ideas. I think it’s something that needs to be addressed on behalf of those who have the right to perform such an act.

As I said lets not confuse this issue with the breast/bottle discussion. In no way am I making comment as to this. This is about the right to feed naturally in any environment without having to feel like a mother is doing the wrong thing if she is choosing not to be covered up or in “a tent” as Michelle put it.

Mama bee in bonnet number 2 is about my eldest little person.

Mr 7 has just gone into grade 2. Gradually over the last few years he has said occasional statements such as “no I’m not having pink that’s a girls colour” or “that’s a girls toy, I can’t play with that”. Say what? Where has this come from I would ask myself. In our household I/we have always been parents to provide various toys that I refuse to place gender specific connotations to.

So I was then upset when Mr 7 stated “I can’t take those squinkies to school as people will laugh. They are a girls toy” followed by “people laughed today at the pink beanie kid” a discussion followed where I clumsily tried to balance getting Mr 7 to stand up for what he wanted, to ignore their behaviour as they were being judgmental and to reinforce that it was not he in the wrong as children can play with whatever toys they wish.

Man, when your own children are in question it makes scenarios so much more difficult. I don’t want him to be ridiculed and have inappropriate attention given to him but by hell am I going to stand by and not encourage him to stand up for himself or more the point feel intimidated.

And what makes me most angry? Who decides what are girl and boy toys? And seriously toy makers I know it’s to make more money but you irritate me when you bring out zhu zhu pets, squinkies, littlest pet shop, kitchens, tea sets all in PINK. Boys play with these too yet they have to wait for a “boy” version to be released. Argh. Mr 7 gets whatever version he wants I will clarify.

Again, I am not saying that children don’t tend to go to the usual toys their gender plays with or that they cant. But why can those children who want and like what they like be subject to such outdated modes of thinking and behaviour. Mr 7’s peers have learnt it from somewhere. Why do we let this ridiculous idea perpetuate still? Bueller, bueller?

End of my rants. Deep breath. Full stop.

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About Bringing Spirit Into The Everyday

Modern Suburban Hippie (minus hallucinogens :) ) Vegetarian. Passionate. Love Laughs. Yoga. Chai Lattes. Crystals. Oracle cards. Goddesses. Angels. Spiritual. Perfume Loving. Intuitive Parenting. Breastfeeding Mama. Sport Loving. Opinionated. Scorpio. Psychologist. I have 3 little people who rock my world.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Not good enough

  1. Cath, I love you..and I agree with all said in feeding as nature intended…aka NOT embarrassed or hiding…
    No 2..your beautiful son. This is where I am understand both you and your boy…and also what it means to be a peer. Why am I telling you this? You know more about behaviour than I will ever know…but let me put my teacher practical hat back on. It is incredibly difficult for boys your son’s age to NOT be peer influenced. In NSW, this grouping would occur most in Year 1. The second year at formal school in NSW. Parents would say, ‘he used to love playing with the dolls, now he wants to….you know where I am going”
    I hate that you are upset by this PINK & BLUE thing…but it would seem, from my non-psych view, that there is a process when boys become boys…and reach for the boy stuff. This is based on the 40 plus years of parenting, grandparenting and teaching from the mum who gave her now 33 y o son (the psych) a doll for his 1st Birthday.
    Denyse XX

    Posted by Denyse Whelan. Education Specialist | February 28, 2012, 10:50 pm
  2. Mrs Woog at http://www.woogsworld.com could be a good help in this situation. But yeah, peer pressure (for want of a more eloquent phrase) ‘a Bitch’.
    Love your writing & your thoughts,
    Brad

    Posted by Brad | February 29, 2012, 12:00 am
  3. I agree with the breast feeding in public debate. It’s as natural as we breathe, eat and drink as humans. I just.don’t.get.it! If ppl don’t like it why do they look? Grrr it really irritates me. BUT it’s ok for a teen to get around scantily clad… I’ll stop cos I could go on and on.

    In regards to gender specific toys, I agree. I have a kitchen for DS2 and a tea set etc but I didn’t want to buy a Disney princess one. I wanted a plain one. Why all the pink? It irritates me, waiting for the ‘boy version’ to come out. Pink stuff is completely stereotyped for girls. You only have to walk into the clothes section for kids at target and pink is completely dominated in the girls clothes. Pink pants, skirts, leggings, dresses, tops, tanks, swimmers etc. with the odd splash of white or yellow. It’s no wonder pink toys are seen as girl toys. The clothing thing is a bone of contention. I was in Myer today looking around whilst DS2 slept in his pram. There were 4 sections/areas for girls clothes aged 2-7 and ONE boys section. The girls’ section was so brightly colored. The boys’ section was dull and drab with blue, grey and black dominating. In Kmart later on I was looking for PJ’s for winter for the lil man. On my left, the girls flannelette. Pink, pink, pink, yellow, pink, pink, pink pale green with pictures of cupcakes, butterflies, owls and the like. The whole left side of the aisle was colorful and child-like. On my right was the boy jammies with black, blue, dark green and grey dominating once again. Lousy pictures of crappy bugs, robots, skulls… Kmart designers, I use thI agree with the breast feeding in public debate. It’s as natural as we breathe, eat and drink as humans. I just.don’t.get.it! If ppl don’t like it why do they look? Grrr it really irritates me. BUT it’s ok for a teen to get around scantily clad… I’ll stop cos I could go on and on.

    In regards to gender specific toys, I agree. I have a kitchen for DS2 and a tea set etc but I didn’t want to buy a Disney princess one. I wanted a plain one. Why all the pink? It irritates me, waiting for the ‘boy version’ to come out. Pink stuff is completely stereotyped for girls. You only have to walk into the clothes section for kids at target and pink is completely dominated in the girls clothes. Pink pants, skirts, leggings, dresses, tops, tanks, swimmers etc. with the odd splash of white or yellow. It’s no wonder pink toys are seen as girl toys. The clothing thing is a bone of contention. I was in Myer today looking around whilst DS2 slept in his pram. There were 4 sections/areas for girls clothes aged 2-7 and ONE boys section. The girls’ section was so brightly colored. The boys’ section was dull and drab with blue, grey and black dominating. In Kmart later on I was looking for PJ’s for winter for the lil man. On my left, the girls flannelette. Pink, pink, pink, yellow, pink, pink, pink pale green with pictures of cupcakes, butterflies, owls and the like. The whole left side of the aisle was colorful and child-like. On my right was the boy jammies with black, blue, dark green and grey dominating once again. at term loosely, obviously spent all their time and efforts into nice things for girls and just couldn’t be bothered with the boys’. Where us the colour for boys? Where’s the variety? My rant over 😉

    Posted by Mum2cj | February 29, 2012, 1:21 am
  4. I’ll go to the toy issues first. It is impossible for our kids not to learn it because our culture is saturated with these messages about gender – drives me nuts too! One of the biggest changes I have noted since we were kids is that toy stores now actually have specific ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ aisles. This is so obnoxious and a step way back in time. Toy marketing is incredibly sexist, kids movies are quite possibly even more full of sexist stereotypes than adult movies, and on and on. I think that it would be worth talking to your son’s teacher about the issue and asking what is done in the classroom to make it safe for kids to cross those rigid gender lines – I don’t accept at all that it is just a matter of girls will be girls and boys will be boys.
    Onto breastfeeding. Well just as you were nodding at my post I am nodding at yours. And you are so right that it is predominantly teens and twenties sending out those v ugly tweets which tells you that they have not grown up in a breastfeeding positive culture. I also note that a lot of the comments say “why don’t they just pump and bottle feed” which is such a misunderstanding of the breastfeeding relationship. And yes, a v confused attitude towards breasts in general is part of what seems to drive the hate.
    Great post and cathartic too 🙂
    Michelle

    Posted by Michelle | February 29, 2012, 2:37 am
  5. Good to let the bees out of the bonnet Cath!

    1) It is really disappointing that the breast feeding in public is even up for discusssion. I often wonder that part of the reason woman often find it so challenging (breast feeding itself) is due to not witnessing and learning as they have grown up as much as thousands of years ago. I have never (to date) had anyone say anything to me in a negative way. I’ve fed at so many different public places; footy, church, malls, weddings, parties and never had a problem. If someone is uncomfortable I figure that it’s up to them to move. I try to cover up but that’s for my own comfort, not so much about other people (especially when Little Girl 2 is being a busy body and going on and off!). One thing I will say is, when out for dinner with my family, I asked my teenage male cousins if they were ok with me feeding at the table (probably shouldn’t have had to ask but thought I’d pre-empt anything) and they were surprised I’d even asked and responded “you do what you gotta do, it’s totally fine!” I think they have learnt this from their Mum, seeing her feed their younger sister but also the attitude she has in general. I was very proud of them. They chatted to me as if I was just sitting cuddling her. It was not an issue. This is how it should be.

    2) Timing in reading this – I was in the post office and the lady thought Little GIrl 2 was a boy because she was dressed in a blue and white striped t-shirt and cargo pants. At closer look she would have seen the feminine touch to them but she made the assumption. Unfortunately gender stereo type still exists. I make an effort to have all different types of toys and coloured clothing available for my girls. This does not stop Little Girl 1 choosing pink or playing with dolls; but the important thing is that she has a choice. I was a kid who played footy and went to ballet in the same day. I want my girls to have this freedom too. It’s hard situation when you want Mr 7 to be able to be who he is and learn to stand up for himself and what he believes yet not be the subject of bullying. Hard balance. Maybe explaining to him the situation and letting him decide whether it is something he feels strongly about enough to stand up against it or ignore it or whether he wants to conform and supporting him either way. I remember hearing someone in primary school (about grade 4) saying she couldn’t have anything “dora” anymore because that was for babies/little kids. Hello, you are a little kid! The issue of children growing up too fast is another issue but can still include peer pressure. If you find some more strategies to deal with it, please share! Sounds like you did a good job though x

    Posted by Mama R | February 29, 2012, 4:53 pm

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