May 3, 2007

Why do "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing?

Dammit, I'm Proud of My CostcO Face: My sister and I have a running joke where she mocks my purchases at Costco and I still can't resist telling her every time I get a good deal. I can't even begin to describe how often I've gotten Reverse Sticker Shock at that place - this time it was a pair of glasses. Seriously! These glasses were SO cheap, just buying a membership for getting those alone would be worth it. I spent all of $152 for the whole shebang- frames, lens - including the special thin frames and polished edges. Wow. $152. I am SO excited to get these things. This pregnancy has done a number on my eyes and it's becoming increasingly difficult to wear my contacts. My current glasses have a few teeth scratches just over my line of vision - thanks to my kitty, Vanessa.

That Cerebral Venus is One Smart Hottie: I declare the whole online book club thing to be a success - or - at least I had fun. And really, that's what counts around here, right? Anyway - I wish I could have participated more, this week has been out of control since I'm still catching up from last week. SO..... for the next selection, if everyone could throw out some more suggestions in the comments over the next few days - we'll vote on the next selection next Monday which we'll read and discuss June 18th. Sound good?

See Fud is Gud Fud: Last night, I finally, FINALLY made sea scallops that were tasty and not rubbery. I highly recommend this recipe for a scallop curry over at Epicurious. It's definitely a White People Curry, although I did use an Indian grade curry powder. Next time, I'll use less half n' half (a great sub for cream, BTW) and will probably throw in some more chili powder to make it more spunky. I can report that Arun loved it as well. This dish is a great "just got home from work" meal because it took all of 20 minutes to make it.

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! Off to Work I Go.
Depends on the Audience.

When I first started reading reviews of the Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennets, I almost fell victim to the temptation to write a screed, but I resisted. Seriously - that sort of bullshit makes my stomach turn because who the hell is the likes of Bennets to question the choices my husband and I made for our family? I also read the op-ed piece by Linda Hirshman. Sigh. Then, I read a Washington Post article, The Mommy Wars Machine which declares the whole "mommy wars" concept is overinflated by the media machine. Run over and read that piece NOW. Seriously. I'll still be here. Back now?

Okay, I thought that was one of the most reasonable pieces I have read in a long time. Most of the Mommy Wars that I refer to are actually conducted in books, magazines, in the news, on blogs and in the Internet. I rarely see it happening in REAL LIFE - perhaps, because so many women tend to be passive-aggressive or is this mommy war thing really a tool of the media? Oh sure, I get irritating comments about staying home full-time (my favorites? "I could NEVER stay home full-time, I'd miss the intellectual stimulation" or my VERY favorite, "So, what do you do all day? Go shopping?"), but I am not entirely convinced the folks making those sorts of comments are trying to be rude or not. I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt. It seems for the most part, my friends and I just don't care if the other "works" or not. And oh sure, I've encountered a few mothers who Compare n' Compete, but they are New Friends and I suspect they were doing that before they even had kids. Anyway, the Post article was nice "fud" for thought. Who knew a SAHM could still be intellectually stimulated? hee!


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I thought the Hirshman piece was deliberately inflammatory and I think the reason the book isn't selling as well right now is that it's in hardback. She might get a boost when she goes to trade paperback...but then again, aren't there a million books on this subject?

Ultimately I think it's unrealistic to say don't be judgey-we all live our lives in the way we believe to be best and there is an element of judgment in that because intrinsically you're making a decision on what is wrong and right (for major life decisions, they generally flow from your philosophical outlook on what is and isn't important).

I try to follow a rule of "think before talking" so I don't unnecessarily hurt someone's feelings as ultimately-I don't really care all that much about what other people do and how they live their lives-although I will say there are behaviours (not regarding mothering) and choices I think are moral and not moral. But I can't control OTHER people-I can only control myself and if someone likes the choices I make they can bloody well ask me about them.

I agree with the Washington Post piece but I think at the heart of it all is that freaking CANADA gives 1 year off in maternity leave, not to mention liberal European maternity policies and said countries are doing fine and dandy with their economies. The only thing wrong is that they're not having enough babies. In the US we've all been led to believe that even the *slightest* hits to profit will push the economy into the doldrums. What we have is women who want to work going back while still exhausted, still essentially recovering from a major physical change and while their infants are small. Please tell me it wouldn't just be better to let women recover for a year and come back to their jobs rather than punishing them the way we do. I guarantee that absenteeism would drop substantially as well.

Maybe if we took a realistic and compassionate approach to mothers and working-focusing on getting better maternity leave, switching to part-time and WAH options we wouldn't have so much belligerence on this issue. Maybe if we could have a spectrum of options legally available to us the stress over this issue would dwindle a bit.

PS: CNN reported yesterday that a SAHP's unpaid salary is 140K and working moms, on top of their salaries, would earn on average 86K on top of their wages for what they put in at home.

Amazing isn't it?

Cagey said...

I think there is way too much hate on the government regarding maternity leave and such. We don't have a tax structure that supports it and frankly, I don't think the American people would pay for it. My sister lives in a small community with a lot of older folks. The young families have to fight tooth and nail for everything. They were outgrowing their schools, the older folks didn't want to pay for it. By the time they finally got the bonds passed and the school built/finished earlier this year, the community had ALREADY outgrown the school! The town currently has a community pool in such a state of disrepair that it was closed this year. Again, the older folks don't want to pay for something that doesn't help them. I can't blame them, but I think that is a small example of what families face in this country.

I agree the Hirschman piece was deliberately inflammatory - one of the articles I read brought up the specific fact that books are purposely going with those sorts of titles to generate traffic.

I am not saying the Mommy Wars don't exist at all, but for sure, they are blown out of proportion. Definitely, I've had friends/co-workers/acquaintances question my parenting decisions, but it's usually the very same folks who seemed to always have a "helpful" comment about every other aspect of my life - even when I was single!

Leah said...

European countries aren't all doing so fine. A lot of them are losing businesses and jobs to countries like Estonia that have more U.S.-ish taxes. Those riots in France a couple of years ago were partially racially-motivated, but also very tied to France's high unemployment rate. Which in turn is tied to the government having overburdened businesses with too many regulations (35 hour work week, mandated vacations, etc. etc.)

Some businesses DO have great family-friendly policies in the US. I could have had 12 weeks of paid leave and another 12 of unpaid if I had stayed with my company instead of staying home. 24 weeks isn't bad at all. They also have pumping rooms, flexible hours, working from home options, etc. Not everyone gets to work at such great companies, but those companies will attract the parents who need flexible time, and will benefit by getting to choose the cream of the crop for their workforce. It's a lot more win-win than adding another bunch of governmentally mandated profit-losses. Many companies don't just run out the door with their profits, either. Most put those back into research or other things that help the company grow or stay competitive.

I totally agree that telling a woman to go back to work at 6 weeks is horrible, but I don't think the government can fix that one without causing a whole lot of bad unintended consequences.

Oh, and I put my little blurb about the Mommy Wars in yesterday's comments and am too lazy (because I am a lazy SAHM who eats bon-bons and shops all day) to retype it.

Lisa said...

I've gotten those comments too! Grrr. There seem to be these "mommy myrtrs" -- where they are the ones either staying home or slaving away and make you feel like shit about whatever choice you've made.

I've gotten the "I could NEVER do that" and other assorted comments too though. So I know what you mean.

Christy said...

I really wanted to read the book for the book club, but alas I am lazy. I am definitely going to read the next selection. I am such a lame ass.

Anna said...

Yay for Canadian maternity leave! Living in Canada (and about to partake of the year-long leave for the second time), I don't have a basis for comparison. I do remember, however, when the government made the change from six months leave to one year, and there was a lot of "the sky is falling" from the business sector. From the point of view of paying for the benefit itself, our Employment Insurance benefit, which covers mat leave and unemployment benefits, has generated surpluses for the last few years and we have actually had reductions in our paycheck premium deductions for this coverage.

However, Canadians come from a fundamentally different viewpoint when it comes to taxes and deductions. We're used to huge taxes and, while we complain, I think for the most part we're resigned that that's the price you pay for universal health care and a more socialised system.

I think there's a "chicken and egg" aspect to the reason for longer maternity leaves in some countries. Monkey mentioned these countries aren't having enough babies. As far as Canada goes, that's true, and I believe that's a significant reason the long maternity leave was introduced here. Our government needs us to generate more population to support our tax base, and we're not doing it. They're introducing more family tax credits and now lump sum monthly payments to parents for each child. This motivation has also been the driving force behind the in progress re-organization of our immigration strategies and processes.

In the end, it's a matter of power. Children are needed by the government in Canada, so they make it easier to have them. Women workers are needed in Canada, especially in some industries, so government legislates family-friendly policies and many companies go above and beyond these policies to attract the workers they need.

Cagey - thanks for the recipe recommendation. Can't wait to try it!

Blondie said...

Hello, dear. I'm not a mommy, but I've seen some ugly mommy warring in my time. Why can't we all just love each other? Wait. That would be too easy...

Sunegrl said...

Hope you don't mind an OT comment...I've only commented once before, over a year ago when I found your blog from a Clover Fields search while TTC, but I read regulary to see what I can expect with my first baby. We are
now also expecting a baby girl, in July. I have a few baby product questions I'd like to ask and was wondering if I could e-mail them to you. If so, my e-mail is By the way, we just did our nursery in Clover Fields. :) Thank you!

Bethany said...

My nomination for the next book club discussion is "Reading Lolita in Tehran".

Maybe next time I will be able to actually participate in the discussion.