Tag Archives: Parenting

Breast-Feeding During Lecture?

I admire all mommies, plain and simple. Having to push a child out into the world, waking up in the middle of the night to feed said child, and raising them to be a somewhat normal human being has to take a whole lot of work. One of the many sacrifices of a mom is the boobies. Breast feeding is recommended as it’s a healthy choice for babies. There’s been a lot of controversy stirring around when you should stop breast feeding your child and where it’s appropriate to do it. Now try this one on for size.

American University professor Adrienne Pine breast-fed her new daughter during the first lecture of her “Sex, Gender and Culture” class. Talk about real world experience, eh? The school newspaper thought it was a hot story, but Professor Pine didn’t think it was worth the hoopla.

“…the baby got hungry, so I had to feed it during the lecture. End of story.”

I can understand that the professor is a bit annoyed, especially since breastfeeding is a part of life, and most people get it. However, she’s on a college campus. Most college students probably haven’t seen it done in their presence, unless they’re parents themselves.

At my job, our women’s bathroom has a nice area for moms to use to breastfeed their children. I’m not exactly sure how that works (none of the ladies who work here use it for that because no one brings their baby into work. However, my supervisor is preggers, yay!). But I believe it’s a law to have a private place for feeding moms and their babies to share that special time together. Doing it during class, um, okay, I suppose. I wonder how she went about doing that though.

I’m not a mom so I can’t exactly understand Pine’s struggle. The baby was sick, she couldn’t get childcare, so it was bring your baby to work time. However, I do think there were some alternatives that she could have chosen than trying to teach a class about Sex, Gender and Culture while there was a baby feeding right there in front of the class. Maybe she could’ve pumped before hand? Have the TA (she had a teacher’s assistant in the class) take over for a bit?

What are your thoughts on breast-feeding? Do you think the teacher was spot on or dead wrong?

Baby Mama (and Daddy) Drama

I grew up in a very mixed/blended family. I have 5 step brothers and 2 half sisters, and none of us share the same parents (maybe 1 but not both). It was early in my life, so it was always the norm. I didn’t necessarily think everyone’s family was like this. I knew at an early age that every family was different. Some classmates had siblings all from the same parents, and some didn’t. Just depended on the household. Regardless, I loved how I grew up. For the most part, all parents got along fairly well (spare a couple of altercations early on). But I never considered any of the parents involved “baby mamas” or “baby daddies”. They were “my sister’s mom” or “my brother’s dad”.

Now what’s the difference? In my mind, the definition of a baby mama or baby daddy is a person who you had a child with and are no longer in a relationship, and have a strained coparenting relationship. Those who have children and are still in a relationship with the other parent, just not married, I think they deserve the title of the child’s mother/father. Again, this is my personal opinion.

For some reason, whenever I log on to Facebook, I see another one of my peers has a child. Mind you, again, I’m 21 so my peers range in age from around 20-24, people I’ve gone to school with or met while in school one way or another. While I’d run out of fingers trying to count how many of them have a kid, I can only count on 1 hand how many of them are married. I can still count on 1 hand (maybe 2, but certainly not using all fingers) how many are still together with the other parent of their child. And from the bashing I see on a lot of statuses, I seem to know a lot of baby mamas and baby daddies.

For example, a boy I dated in high school (I think we established that these people can’t really be exes because the “relationships” were never that serious) had a daughter 4 years ago. I keep in touch with his mom, well she keeps in touch with me, and I always wondered why she continued to always ask how’s life with me. Well, she posted a picture saying he welcomed a new addition to the family. Of course, I said congratulations. My nosiness (and Facebook’s openness) got the best of me, and I went to the mother of his first child’s Facebook page. She congratulated him on the baby, which I thought was nice. Another girl commented and had some smart things to say, saying he wasn’t a good dad and that the new baby was born on the same day as her daughter. That’s when I learned that girl was the mother ofanother daughterof his. He is 22 years old and has 3 daughters by 3 different women.

Now this is what I call baby mama/daddy drama. Good grief, you should’ve seen the statuses. Putting everyone’s business out there about how he pays child support for the first two girls and the newborn will be no different, how he’s not in the second child’s life, and how he’s a deadbeat. It was messy. It was like watching reality television, only the 6 degrees of separation was only about 2 degrees in. I was in shock. And part of me was really disgusted.

I see this a lot on Facebook. Baby mamas and baby daddies bashing the other parent for what they’re doing or not doing. Moms keeping dads away from kids. Dads simply not being interested in being in a kid’s life. Bitter custody disputes and money issues splattered all on Facebook for the whole world to see (do they not know how to operate privacy settings?) I wish I could say this was the first time I’ve seen something like this but it’s not.

I tell this story really for two reasons. I’m really disheartened to see so many of my peers having children with no clear plan. I don’t want to be a baby mama. I don’t find that to be a desirable title at all. And to see these people complain about the other parent, all I keep thinking is: you slept with them. It truly takes 2 to make a baby, and in a moment of passion, you decided that birth control was not important enough, and now a child is in the world that didn’t ask to be here has to suffer because the parents can’t get along. People need to watch what they say about the child’s other parent andespecially when you put it on the Internet. Or did we forget that just because you hit “delete” doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.

The second reason is because I really want to see more kids get to grow up with their parents. Again, I don’t regret my family structure at all. I loved having 4 parents growing up, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I also don’t believe in staying with someone strictly for the child’s sake. I know a few people who are doing this or tried doing this, but it ends up hurting the child in the end, because they can feel/sense/see the tension and animosity, and it ruins their chance to get to experience a positive family dynamic. And they shouldn’t be robbed of that.

Okay I’m off my soapbox now. Let me know what you think. What’s the difference between baby mamas/daddies, coparents, and anything in between? Do you have any experiences in this area?

The Importance of Family Meetings

It’s a no brainer that when you get married, you’re starting a new nuclear family. The husband is the head of the household and the wife is second in command. Part of your family will include your children, maybe your parents or your spouse’s parents, and even your pets. Every person in the family should have responsibilities and expectations. While your family should be a source of love and support, you should also think of your family as a small business.

Family meetings used to sound a bit cliche but after watching How to Have a Family Meeting the Stoddard Way, I was inspired. This family certainly gave me some great ideas for when hubby and I build our family. First, I wasn’t quite sure what goes on during a family meeting. I believe the first place to start is by assigning roles to everyone.

Family Roles

In our (future) household, hubby will automatically assume the role of President of the household. We believe that the man is the head of the house and it will also be the same for our “business”. As the wife (mom in the future), I will assume the role of Vice President, or second in command. Other families may want the husband and wife to be Co-Presidents or Co-Captains. That’s fine, whatever works for your family. I have no problem being the second in charge. Although hubby always confirms with me and runs things by me, ultimately things will be his decision. (I have the power but I like to let him think he does haha).

When we have children, I think it’ll be great to have them each assume a role. Maybe someone will take on the role of Secretary and take notes during the meetings. Maybe we’ll have a Treasurer who, when they’re old enough, will handle the budget. In the beginning, one of us (or both of us) will be handling the household finances, but it’d be great to teach our children that early. Someone can assume the position of Historian and document family outings and memories. Everyone having a role will ensure everyone will feel important and that they matter.

Family Agenda

No meeting should occur without a clear agenda of what’s to be discussed. There should be regular things that always occur for each meeting. In our family, I’d love to start off with a prayer, family updates, a topic of discussion, and end with feedback. The family updates can be anything from how the week went, what you’re working on, how you’re feeling, etc. Along with the family updates will be a report of the budget. I think a budget is very important for every family to have, and each family member should know what’s going on in the budget. What bills are getting paid? What’s the savings account looking like? How about the vacation fund? Who earned their allowance? That should be public information for the entire household. A topic of discussion could be something going on in current events, in the household, or something that everyone in the family needs to be aware of. Feedback can be something that one family member needs to say to another, and it should be a supportive environment where everyone feels comfortable saying things in a non-judgmental way.

Regular Occurrence

Some people will choose to have their family meetings on a nightly basis, maybe during dinner. Others may choose weekly, monthly, or even an annual meeting. I would love to sit down with my family every night but I personally don’t want to make every night a meeting night. I think once a week for brief updates. Once a month for a recap of the month’s progress. Once a year to assess and decide on goals for the following year. The important thing is to be consistent. I’ve seen a lot of families say they’ve had meetings but inconsistently. I want our family to succeed in every avenue, so holding regular meetings is going to be crucial.

I’m a nerd though, so I know this doesn’t excite most people, but the idea of a family meeting makes me happy. I love agendas and appointments and updates. Those things tickle me and irk others. Whatever the case may be, try it out. You don’t need kids to start your family meeting. If it’s just you and your spouse, have it a little less formal, but take it seriously nonetheless. Open lines of communication, transparency, and honesty is what makes a family unit thrive.

Have you held family meetings? What are your tips and suggestions?