Tag Archives: feminism

Parenting Crow I Have Eaten

Parenting, much like pregnancy, is a super humbling experience.  And I think the more judgmental we were pre-kids, the more likely you are to have charming and humbling experiences where you realize that the distance between how you thought things would be and how they actually are is just a gulf of experiences you hadn’t had yet.  These are mine.

  • Sleep.  I was soooo judgmental of parents who didn’t sleep train and then whined about not getting enough sleep.  I’m still pretty judgmental about some aspects of this, like your kid should have a consistent bedtime, and you should do cry it out if you have to, but sleep training did. not. work. on my kid.  I mean, it did eventually, but it was a 7-8 month process.  We tried really hard.  Hours and hours and hours of cry it out. Much googling. Many books.  It really sucked for awhile. Eventually things got better.  But I saw a friend recently and her 20 month old wakes up 3 nights a week at least.  My coworker’s 2.5 year old doesn’t sleep through the night. I no longer assume the parent is doing anything wrong.
  • Eating. I was a really picky eater growing up and I was like, “picky eaters are made, not born, so I will feed my kid all the things and she will eat them.” Ha. My child eats like, four things, and that’s it.  I cater to her a lot more than I planned to.  We still offer her everything that we are eating, but we also offer her one thing she likes so that she will actually eat something.  (Because it turns out that if she’s not hungry, she sleeps better, and I would rather have to cater to a picky eater than never sleep.)  I also find that catering to her tastes helps me to be much more relaxed about mealtime and less likely to turn it into a power struggle.  But I will definitely be that mom sneaking vegetables into her kid’s meals.
  • Licensed Characters. My child right now hates all shoes but her ridiculous gold Mary Janes with a pink flower on them, and it’s summer, and I want to go to the splash park. And Stride Rite girl’s shoes shrink when they get wet! So she owns a pair of crocs and a pair of navy blue sandals, which she will wear, but only with socks, so I think they rub her feet.  So I’m searching for possible other sandals that do not cost a million dollars and my child likes fish, and I saw Finding Dory shoes and was like, hmmmm I wonder if she would wear these since they have fish on them! And getting dressed is such a battle right now unless I offer her one of her two Octopus shirts and then she gets very excited and wears that.  So I can see why parents, worn and exhausted by the work of parenting a toddler, lean into their kid’s obsession and buy them batman shirts or whatever because it is so much easier than fighting with them every day.  A lot of licensed stuff is still poorly made and overpriced so right now I’m holding out, but I get it now.
  • Girly Clothes.  I planned to dress my kid exclusively in gender neutral stuff and try to avoid the gendered clothing and boxing her into everything being pink and ruffly.  Except I shop a lot from the girl’s section of the store. And I grumble about there being too much pink and I don’t buy her a lot of pink, but she wears much girlier clothes than I ever planned on.  And she still ends up with a lot of pink, because other people buy it for her or that is the only color that something comes in. (Her bike helmet is pink because literally all they had at the store was pink and we needed one ASAP.)  This season I bought her a ton of clothes from the thrift store that were mostly t-shirts that were very gender neutral, and the reality that I’m realizing this season (our first summer with a walking kid) is that “boy’s” clothing is more practical. I buy her mostly “boys” swim gear because it covers more than girl’s bathing suits, and boy’s shorts are longer and better for sliding.  I don’t want her to be unable to go down the slide because she’s wearing a skirt. But the rest of her clothes are flowers and ruffles and glitter.  For some reason it feels very unfeminist of me to dress her in a way that conforms to gender norms.  But I also don’t really want to use my kid to make a point to society about clothing and colors and assumptions.

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Blog For Choice Day

This is the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  I’m supposed to discuss, I suppose, why I’m pro choice.  I could, I suppose, share with you the many many stories of my clients who have terminated pregnancies that would otherwise tie them to a life of poverty or to 18 years with a man who is physically, emotionally, and financially abusive.  I could talk about reproductive coercion and rape.  I could tell you about incest, about what it’s like to ask a  fourteen year old girl if her father is in fact the father of her two year old.  I could tell you the sad tales of women who are unable to put their children up for adoption because the father, who intentionally “got them pregnant” so that she couldn’t leave him, won’t consent.  I could tell you about the absolutely abysmal child support enforcement system and general welfare systems and unemployment systems that fundamentally fail women.  I could wax poetic about the many many ways that the right and the left both come together and fail to support women, fail to support mothers.  The lack of family leave, even unpaid, for hourly wage employees working at small businesses.  

I choose not to.  I choose to simply sit here and say that none of this matters.  That of the myriad reasons why a woman might choose to terminate a pregnancy, that of all of the possible ways that this decision might come about, none of it matters.  I am pro choice.  Which means that fundamentally, every day of the week, month, and year, I believe that this choice lies with an individual and it does not matter to me at all why she might make it.  I’m sick of having to reach for the worst case scenarios to make people understand why this matters.  All you need to know, all you ever need to know, is that my body is my own.  My decisions are my own.  I do not now, nor will I ever, have the right to make a decision for anyone else.  And you, and the government, and even my husband, do not have the right to make these decisions for me.  

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Thankful.

Last week was the big fancy dinner that my job throws.  Unlike a lot of nonprofit functions, this one is usually not boring, and doesn’t involve a lot of big financial requests.  And it made me feel very inspired, but mostly it made me feel lucky and thankful.

You guys, I work for the best people in the world.  I truly and genuinely believe this.  I work for people that care about me as a person, about me as a lawyer, and about women in general.  I think this is awesome.  Our organization does good work, and I feel like I have all of the support in the world from my boss.

I point out a lot that I work regular hours.  And I brag about this not because it means I get home at 5pm, but because I truly believe that my office’s fierce protection of regular hours is more about them trying to improve work-life balance for Americans and trying to prevent staff burnout.  I don’t make a lot of money, but my office has my back.  Additionally, my company creates part-time positions designed to help stay-at-home parents re-enter the workforce, and positions like mine allow the idea of having children and a fulfilling career seem possible, and I think that is really important for organizations that are committed to improving the lives and status of women.

This year, it’s pretty easy to say what I’m thankful for, because it’s my job.  It’s my job that reminds me continually why I went to law school.  It’s my job that gave me a chance as a lawyer, that values me as a professional, and it’s my job that allows me to continue to serve person after person who is in desperate need.  It’s my job that makes me feel fulfilled, which has made me happier than I knew I could be.

Plus I get to walk to work.

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Slippery Slope

My friend Heather shared this article about women doctors and the mentality that some people have about how women shouldn’t go to medical school if they are planning to work part time or stay at home.  The funny thing is, until about a year and a half ago, I believe everything the author wrote in the original op-ed.  Only, unlike the author, I believed it about lawyers too.  She actually says, “I have great respect for stay-at-home parents, and I think it’s fine if journalists or chefs or lawyers choose to work part time or quit their jobs altogether. ”

I believe that women can do anything.  But I also believed that people who pursue a degree that they do not plan to ever use are taking that space away from somebody who would not only benefit from that degree, but would use that degree to benefit other people.  However, as an adult, I now understand that even though somebody wanted something when they started graduate school, or thought that they wanted something, they realize later that they want something entirely different.  And that (unlike what my parents would have you believe) is okay.

Is it frustrating that there is millions of dollars spent on unused degrees out there?  Yes.  Is it equally frustrating that private daycare costs as much $25,000 per kid? Yes.  Is it equally frustrating that employers tend to make it difficult for parents of small children to take time off to deal with an unexpected illness, childcare crisis, or other issue?  Yes.  Is it equally frustrating that a lot of women don’t make the “choice” to stay at home with their children so much as they make the “choice” that makes the most financial sense for their families, and then are maligned by people like past-me who judged them for it?

I talk a lot about the possibility of working part-time these days – something I never thought I would discuss or be willing to.  I hated the idea of women cutting back to part time “just because” they had children.  At some point along the way, possibly when my friends started having children, I became a little more open to the idea that I might like my children.  I don’t have a problem with daycares and the idea of somebody else raising my kid – honestly, it doesn’t bug me.  I don’t think women are natural child-rearers and I don’t think kids always do better with stay-at-home parents.  But the idea of raising a tiny human being is starting to have some limited appeal to me.

What is very very apparent to me from the op-ed is that the system is broken.  That there must be a better, lower-investment way to train doctors, or at least medical professionals.  There must be a better way to provide childcare for women doctors.  There must be a way to look at the question of “why aren’t women contributing as much as men” through the lens of, “How are men able to contribute so much more than female co-workers? Is it because they aren’t doing as much at home?”

What other changes do people like this woman/me need to change about our way of thinking about women in graduate school?  Do you agree with her?  Or is it always going to be a bad thing when we judge other people’s reproductive choices?

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Women, Sports, and Religion.

I came across two articles shared by friends on Facebook this morning – one about the Iranian soccer team, and one about an Israeli basketball player.

The t-shirt one is just a stupid rule, since our college basketball team definitely had a guy who wore a t-shirt under his basketball jersey for non-religious reasons, and as long as the t-shirt is close fitting, it can’t possibly pose a safety issue.

But the poor Iranian soccer team!  Women’s soccer is fascinating to me, not as a sport, but as a marker of success in a society.  That the US Men’s Soccer team is somewhat considered a joke, and everybody is surprised if they win anything; but the US Women’s team is one of the best teams in the world and continually dominates other countries?  That’s not a demonstration of our soccer prowess, it’s a demonstration of the status of women, and more importantly, women’s sports in the US.  Without Title IX, our success in women’s sports wouldn’t be possible, and that’s not a realization other countries have come to.  (I desperately want to do more research into this issue, since I find it fascinating.)

The other thing that bothers me is the “safety” concerns.  Women all over the world play sports wearing headscarves, and although many have been banned for safety concerns, I could not find a single incident report in which a headscarf actually caused an injury.  The commenter on this Daily Mail piece says that the headscarves could get twisted around the women’s necks, but if you look at the pictures, the head covering doesn’t go around their necks.  The worst that could happen is the covering falls off on the soccer field.  It also would fall off immediately if it was grabbed by another player – but female soccer players do not, to the best of my knowledge, engage in hair-pulling, so there is no reason to believe that they would engage in scarf-pulling either.

The thing about this that is kind of funny to me is that I play a sport in which wearing head coverings is totally encouraged.  We wear helmets, and under our helmets we wear bandannas, beanies, headbands, or other coverings.  (I myself am a huge fan of Bondi Bands.) However, it’s probably not that possible for the women of Iran to take up ice hockey because it allows them to cover their heads.

The ban is also on “religious dress”, which just seems bigoted to me.  It seems to me like the officals are trying to punish the government and the women for being Muslim to force some kind of change.  Ironically, if you encourage women’s sports and women’s empowerment, you do create change in the social structure and eventually the government.  But FIFA doesn’t seem to care about that.

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