No Time for a Blog

I know what you're thinking. "Attiton, couldn't you just have a real blog?"
eyes
Nope. No time.
20 Mar 2009
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Shocking Suggestion

Does an obsessive, judgmental return to “natural childbirth” and “breast is best” always denote feminism in retrograde?

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I began to see in a strange new light the American return to early marriage and the large families that are causing the population explosion; the recent movement to natural childbirth and breastfeeding; suburban conformity, and the new neuroses, character pathologies and sexual problems being reported by the doctors.
— Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963
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Comments on the quotations below…

I think they stand for themselves a bit. As you can tell, I’m reading The Feminine Mystique. I was never asked to read it before, believe it or not, and I think now’s the time. Sure, some of the stuff is dated. Sure, in her introduction from 1973, she states that in ten year’s time, women had already changed their attitudes completely, seeing the “their place on a false pedestal, even their glorification as sexual objects, for the putdown it was.”

We haven’t done that in 2009, how could she have claimed that in 1973?

To coin a phrase, this has happened before and it will happen again. I will be entering in all of the Friedan quotes that shock me out of my chair and to this computer…oh wait, I have another.

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Sociologists noted the astounding organization of suburban children’s lives: the lessons, parties, entertainments, play and study groups organized for them. A suburban housewife in Portland, Oregon wondered, “…I think people are so bored, they organize the children, and then try to hook everyone else on it. And the poor kids have no time left just to lie on their beds and daydream.”
— Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963
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Not long ago, women dreamed and fought for equality, their own place in the world. What happened to their dreams; when did women decide to give up the world and go back home?
— Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963
09 Jan 2009
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Oh…and we ARE moving.

In April or May. Wish me luck.

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Hello, out There (II)…

I’ve actually been doing a lot of thinking these past few weeks on the subject of feminism, motherhood and the group of women born between 1968 and 1978.

I plan to post some of these thoughts here. I need to get them out of my head…but I don’t seem to be making time to do this thing. I guess I’m blocking it, somehow. There are just so many other things that I need to be doing. Ironic, really.

21 Nov 2008
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A tricky question…

I have a question for those of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai descent. Are there any sub-groups in these countries that have blue eyes? I have never met anyone descended from these cultures with blue eyes, but I have admittedly only as much experience as my American upbringing allowed me.

I’m asking because I am made VERY uncomfortable by the number of women (three, at last count, of Chinese and Korean heritage) who asked if they could “have” my daughter’s blue eyes. First of all, my daughter’s eyes are hazel, not blue. But whatever.

Others might say, “Oh, they were just trying to be nice.” No. I disagree with that. They were very clearly telling me that they felt that my daughter’s eyes were more beautiful than theirs, and that they would feel more beautiful if they had her blue eyes.

This was not only weird (“No, please don’t rip my kid’s eyes out. Thanks.”), but not true. The women in question all had lovely eyes. Not “striking” or “pretty, but Asian.” Just plain nice to look at. Symmetrical, bright, interested…functional.

I hate whatever has convinced them otherwise.

16 Nov 2008
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It’s the Holiday Season

I’m not sure I’m ready. Like most of the rest of us, I’m feeling broke-ish. Not sure what’s coming up. Me and about 10 million other people.

29 Oct 2008
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I now totally and utterly resent Mad Men.

I may write a second post about this series soon. How derivative is that?

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04 Oct 2008
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A follow-up to a comment rant…

As I just said over at The New Girl’s blog…screw doctors with their stupid height-weight charts. These charts never made ANYONE happy, nor did they prevent anything bad. Oooh, I’m angry about that. You know what else? You know what other purpose they serve? TO MAKE PARENTS FEEL LIKE CRAP. Yeah, that’s right. Is your child heavier or lighter than the average? Average of WHAT? Average of MY family? Average of all middle-class Southern California kids? What…WHAT? Assholes.

They’d probably say that they’re using the charts to look for danger signs, but you know what? THAT’S TOTAL AND UTTER BULLSHIT. If that were the case, they wouldn’t need to tell you the numbers. They’d just have “watch out for danger” and “not in danger” groups. Your kid could be in one or the other. That would still suck donkey’s balls as a heuristic, but it’d be better than rating your child on a scale of 1-100 where you’re aiming for…what? What the hell are you aiming for? 50? I want my kid to be average? Like other kids? WHAT?

Before I became a mom, I’d refuse to get weighed at the doctor’s thinking, “It may make sense to weigh babies, but it doesn’t make any sense to weigh full-grown women.” But, you know what? It doesn’t even really make sense to weigh babies if they aren’t in danger. I could see how during the newborn period more weighing could help the insecurities of the new parents. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t weigh our newborns.

But when does a person’s weight stop being an interesting number? I think that it’s real fast. I’m going to say 10 months or whenever the kids start insisting on feeding themselves for some of their meals. Whenever they start saying, “I want this…or I don’t want that…” Intuitive eating starts THEN. I need to make myself a mommy mantra (that’s me as a mommy…not ALL mommies, necessarily): Provide healthy foods in abundance and variety. STEP AWAY FROM THE SCALES, LADIES…STEP AWAY FROM THE SCALES.

19 Sep 2008
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And, it’s been a while since a picture. Here’s a nice childhood scene from someone else’s family.

And, it’s been a while since a picture. Here’s a nice childhood scene from someone else’s family.

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Thinkin’ of moving, people.

Yup, my family’s considering a move across this great country (the U.S. of A.).

It’s going to be a good thing, but goshdarnit, I hate upheaval.

08 Sep 2008
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On aging

I’m feeling so incredibly old today. No, that’s not quite fair. What I feel is afraid, not old; I fear that I’m growing irrelevant, but suspicious that this may be another plot of The Man (no, not my husband…THE MAN, if you know what I mean).

Here are the reasons that I am currently giving for “feeling old:”

1) They keep talking about this vaunted “18-34” demographic with regards to the elections. I’m no longer in this demographic. The way they keep going on about it, it’s as if my opinions and the opinions of my generation no longer matter.

But that’s not the big one.

2) I am reading Twilight and its sequels. Yeah, I’m a little embarrassed about that. The writing is as horrible as everyone had warned me, but, as I’m listening to them on audiobook—Hello, new mother! How else did you think I’d be having time to read—the reader gives some nuance where there is naturally none (sometimes well, sometimes not so well). Enough justifying. My point here is that the author does a good job of reminding me what it was like to feel the emotions of a teenager. Well, not just any teenager, ME as a teenager.

And, here’s the thing, I no longer feel these emotions on a regular basis, nor do I find them anywhere nearly as important as I once did. I have new, strong emotions, especially towards my daughter, but the particularly teenage feelings of an overweening attachment to a peer, for example, are gone from my daily life, replaced by less intense, less keening—older? more mature?—emotions.

That said, as the exploits of these ridiculous characters progress, I am reminded of what it was like to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of my wants, needs and the pressures of the present. Those emotions, or the memory of them, are still there in me.

And, as I allow myself to re-feel them in empathy with the characters, I cannot stop thinking about the differences in me between my teenage years and now.

I met my husband when we were both 18. I wasn’t a particularly wild teen/young adult, but there was angst and chaos and all the things that you too may have experienced. We settled down pretty quickly, though, marrying six years later. It was a good decision then, and it remains a good decision now.

When I tell my peers about this fact of my life—now that we’re all well into our thirties and forties—I often get responses that display a mix of condescension, admiration and wonder, especially from those who took a different path. This is the path that I fear “The Man” deems the “better” path. The Sex and the City path. The path that encourages people to wallow in the chaos that is teenage emotion for as long as possible. These emotions that seem to be all about forging a overwhelmingly intense connection to another, but yet thriving on the novelty that only comes at the beginning of a relationship. Above all, these emotions are about the NOW.

This is all fine and good, really. How can you really understand what it means for time to pass when you are 18 (as a rule)? Where is the appreciation for the complexity of history that comes with decades of proactive choices about one’s own life?

Because, as we age, I think many of us inevitably learn that the now is not everything. It cannot be everything. This is why I am considering the strong, overwhelming, painful emotions of the teenage years as “young.” Not because I don’t feel them now, but because they have given way to feelings that I am terming “older.”

So, this all sounds smug and good. But, being reminded of the NOWNOWNOW has been making me reflect on how focused I have become on the future. And, come to think of it, the past—both of these time frames seem somehow more important to me than the present. And, perhaps, I have swung too far in this direction.

And I can see why people start to do stupid things in mid-life. They want those feelings back, because they can feel them there, just unused. These emotions that remind you of a time when there was less to think about. They remind you of a time when you only had to worry about your libido and money. There is an emotional rush in the discarding of what you know in order to revel solely in the present moment. But, of course, in order to unleash these feelings, you have to do silly and reckless things. Like buying cars you can’t afford. Or engaging in relationships that will come to no good.

And so, the recognition dawns. I have indeed changed. I have gotten older. I cannot go back even as I relive what it was like for me. Such a realization could lead to apathy. If I am not careful, I can be swept aside—no, I can sweep MYSELF aside, and give in to this feeling of irrelevancy.

But. But. I will not do it.

In reality, I may have changed, but I have to believe that I am not doomed. Every day, I think, I actually make a decision to stay in my current life. I could give it all up. It is, in fact, possible. It would be completely irresponsible, but it would be possible.

Every day is a decision. Sometimes that decision is easier, sometimes it is harder. With a child, now, this is a weight that I feel very keenly. It is not necessarily pleasant—although it can be.

If I can possibly do so, I will not let this burden allow me to forget what I have gone through, that I have lived a little and learned a lot. It is not over for me, and the emotions of my youth are not a synonym for life. Nevertheless, I will also try to be ever more mindful of relying on an emotional autopilot for the time that remains, because that way, true irrelevancy might lie.