Book Club: Lies and More Lies!
Here we are at chapter 3, “Breast is Best.” Nothing to talk about here, right? Breastfeeding is cake. Our breasts squirt milk in lovely, frothy abundance to nourish our dear, sweet babies who latch with precision and ease. In fact, the amount of milk we produce is directly quantifiable to the amount of love we feel for our baby. And pumping? Like a nipple massage by wee milk handmaidens.
Oh, wait. Was your experience different? Perhaps racked by sleepless nights, weird baby stuff, nipple confusion and/or confused nipples? And that fucking pump. That fucking pump can go to hell.
Valenti feels our pain. Breastfeeding, she argues, is about the new totalizing motherhood ideal, and anything less than total sacrifice to our children, we are seen as terrible mothers.
Squirt it out, dear readers. What are your nursing horror stories?
The next lie, “Children Need Their Parents.” Valenti argues that, “Americans believe it’s best for kids to be with their parents as much as possible; the truth is, however, that our kids do better when they have a lot of people invested in their growth and development—not just their parents, and not just their mothers” (47).
Children who use pacifiers past toddlerhood do not grow up to build the tallest skyscrapers.
What do you all think? How did you grow up, daycare, nanny, etc, and how are you raising your children? And, financially, do you really have much choice in the matter?
The next lie is one that is close to my heart, chapter four’s “The Hardest Job in the World.” It drives me crazy when I read someone post something similar in a mom blog or on Facebook. Hard? Sure. Annoying? Clearly. Gross? Often. Hardest or, as I also often see, the most important job? I don’t think so.
Valenti’s point: “if parenting is the most important job in the world, why on earth aren’t more men lining up” to do it really exposes the “disconnect between the way motherhood is revered and the way it’s tangibly valued culturally and economically” (65). So why then this disconnect?
And finally, “Mother Know Best.” There’s a lot going on in this chapter, but I thought her best point is that mothers use their “maternal instinct” as a way to validate their role in society. Maternal instinct, for Valenti, means that moms are naturally experts of their children and therefore demand the respect that culture claims should be ours to have, but is actually denied on so many political and economic levels.
A science expert 'cause she's a mom.
Why is motherhood celebrated, yet not culturally or politically supported? Is it, as Valenti argues, just another way to keep women in the home? In what ways has your “maternal instinct” been used against you by your partner, etc, in order to keep the majority of the parenting responsibility on you?
Lots to talk about here! Comment away! (Next week, Truth).