Attacking Other Parents -- And Hurting Ourselves

We've all noticed it. Many posters have commented on it. So let's talk about it: While some discussions on this blog stay on course as civil debate from which we all learn, many others turn negative and mean-spirited. Why do discussions about balancing work and parenting sometimes spiral into negativity? What should we do about it?

Differences of opinion are part of what makes this blog interesting to read. Anonymity gives us the freedom to be more opinionated than face-to-face conversations. The resulting honesty can be utterly refreshing. But attacking the poster -- not just their views -- is unfair and unproductive. Smart, thoughtful contributors have left this blog permanently because of the attacks. That's a loss for all of us.

So my suggestion: Let's agree to keep the discussion positive. Let's not attack a poster personally, but focus instead on disputing his or her opinions. And if someone gets really negative or offensive, why don't we ignore their comments (or report them to washingtonpost.com via the "Email Us" links so the offensive remarks can be removed).

What are your insights and suggestions?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  October 27, 2006; 8:30 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
Previous: Defining the "Daddy Wars" | Next: Sex & Success: What We Think (But Can't Say)


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Comments

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Great topic! I believe we parents are so vested in the decisions that we have made that we tend to get defensive when someone else has made different choices or has different opinions from us. One way that we can avoid posting nasty submissions in response to others is to write the response but don't hit submit, instead hit refresh or close the browser until you've had some time to calm down. It's similar to when you want to respond to someone who has send something offensive to you and instead you leave the room or take a deep breath before responding. Overall, I believe most posters are well intentioned, we just have a lot of skin in this parenting gig.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | October 27, 2006 8:00 AM

Wow, looks like we've now entered the world of the meta-blog -- we're now blogging about blogging!

Anyway, on the "keeping things positive" side, I've been thinking about something all week and finally had a minute's peace and wanted to take the chance to post it. I wanted to give huge props to all the single parents out there. I've kind of had the "perfect storm" of bad weeks this week -- husband traveling on a critical business trip; my own impossible deadlines at work; kids sick and not sleeping; and oh yeah, no kitchen and contractors who need decisions NOW (bright side: not having to decide what to cook!). So the days have been basically 18-20 hrs, nonstop (you finally think you're going to get some rest, then the boy wakes up screaming from an earache -- that kind of thing).

This week has really brought home how incredibly lucky I am to have such a fantastic support system. I could not do this without them. Even this week, it's only the fact that my mom lives a block away that has pulled me out of the fire -- she has two jobs herself, but has made time to help me in the evenings (even jumed in this morning after gas line break closed a major downtown street so I could get in to work at 7:30, before the traffic got too hellacious).

So I am truly awed by the strength and perseverence of single parents who deal with this kind of thing day in, day out, without the same kind of help and support that I get on a daily basis. It's funny, I grew up with a single mom, but one of her real strengths was that she never let me see how hard things were sometimes so I wouldn't feel insecure. So I really didn't "get" how hard it must have been -- she was always either working or with me, with no time to do her own thing (funny, when I was a kid, I thought the "with me" WAS a break for her -- it just never would have occurred to me that she might need a break from ME!).

Posted by: Laura | October 27, 2006 8:11 AM

I agree that attacking a person instead of their views is the best way to go.

However, the times that I have felt bothered by the attacks are not when my person is attacked - like the comment the other day about how the posters brain was turning to mush reading about my day - because I am at complete peace with my decisions regarding my career and my family and what I do with my children each day. I have tried to embrace a life more filled with simplicity and living in the moment than what I had when I was trying to juggle career, children, a marriage, a home, friends, hobbies, and extended family.

What does sometimes bother me is when I (and other posters) state an opinion that is an absolute and we're attacked for that. For example, someone who feels that women should attempt breastfeeding unless there are medical reasons for not doing so - backs their claim up with factual information about the merits of breastfeeding, etc. - and then is attacked. Having an absolute opinion about something is not a mortal sin. If you are comfortable with your decision about something - not breastfeeding, in this situation - then who cares what someone else thinks? Either back up your position with factual information of your own, or simply state "this is my choice and I'm comfortable with it" - or don't say anything. Stating the opposite opinion about something is not slamming the opposing viewpoint, unless it's done in a derogatory, personal way.

Posted by: momof4 | October 27, 2006 8:12 AM

Guilt is probably the answer to why these conversations, whether online or in person, spiral into the negative realm. People only try to bring down other people if they are unhappy or guilty over the choices they made. Online, I understand it's easy to rip someone to shreads but I am suprised how many people make negative comments on other peoples parenting skills straight to someone's face. If I'm the victim, I try to ignore it but we all sometimes let it get to us. And then what do we do...we make ourselves feel better by judging someone else and we keep continuing the cycle.

Why don't we realize no parent is perfect and just give ourselves and everyone else a break? As soon as you think your doing the right thing and got the whole parenting thing down, your kid will do something to prove you wrong. Your child is the only judge of your parenting, not your mother-in-law, sister or that annoying busy-body lady who lives down the street. Hmmm and all of my exaples were women....other women are the one's most likely to point out your weaknesses.

Posted by: D's ma | October 27, 2006 8:15 AM

"I agree that attacking a person instead of their views is the best way to go."

Are you a political ad advisor?

Kidding...I'm sure you meant the opposite...right?

Posted by: I approve this message | October 27, 2006 8:18 AM

Civil discourse matters and most of the banter here is good natured. The problems are usually from anonymous posters who vent and flame for sport. The socond group of vitriol is usually a result of miscommunication, can be tough to craft a post to convey tone of voice - and everybody has their "hot buttons." The trick is know when to hold 'em - know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away - know when to run. Don't you count yer money when yer settin' at the table, they'll be time enough for countin' - when the dealin's done.

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by: Fo3 | October 27, 2006 8:23 AM

People attack each other personally because it is fun to do. It is like pro wrestling in writing. Plus, it's anonymous. Sure it's mean. Sure we should not do it. But something about the anonymity of the internet allows people to get away with this kind of behavior with the normal social consequences that would apply in real life interactions.

Posted by: just sayin | October 27, 2006 8:26 AM

is there a connection between how people attack on this blog, and how negative and rude the virginia campaign ads are this season, and how northern virginia parents sometimes behave very badly at their children's sporting events? Are people getting more rude? Have we become the 'too many mice in the box so they attack each other' experiment I studied in college 25 years ago?

Posted by: experienced mom | October 27, 2006 8:26 AM

I like parenting humor, off topic and personalized conversation. for example:

Hey, Megan, how is that Halloween skunk coming along for your little stinker?

Posted by: Father of 4 | October 27, 2006 8:27 AM

why should she have to suggest keeping it positive and only attacking views? isn't that what we teach our kids? we all KNOW this, we just don't do this. i'm pretty sure talking about doing this won't make us do it either.

Posted by: how will this help? | October 27, 2006 8:31 AM

""I agree that attacking a person instead of their views is the best way to go."

Are you a political ad advisor?

Kidding...I'm sure you meant the opposite...right?"

Ummm....yes, I meant the opposite. Oops!

"......NOT the best way to go."

Posted by: momof4 | October 27, 2006 8:32 AM

I would really like to see the Post hold up to their statement that "entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed." It seems to me that the anonymous folks do a lot more of the sniping.

It would be nice, I think, if the blogs had the same requirement that the articles comments have-- your comment is automatically posted with your userid.

Posted by: Neighbor | October 27, 2006 8:35 AM

I like that to father of 4. Anyway, this is a good issue that Leslie brought up. However, I don't think that brining it up is going to stop it. I have been attacked lots of times and in return have said nasty things back..

However this issue does make you think about how you act and react to other people on the blog. Maybe we should follow Leslie's advice and ignore people when they are nasty and mean spirited and in return not reply to them in a mean way. So hard to do, but I think it would be worth it.

Posted by: scarry | October 27, 2006 8:35 AM

Experienced mom - I think people are just ruder these days. I mean, just think about people and their cell phones.

Posted by: daedalus | October 27, 2006 8:36 AM

Fascinating discussion.

Posted by: Leslie | October 27, 2006 8:37 AM

"Let's not attack a poster personally, but focus instead on disputing his or her opinions."

Ah, but there is the rub! Whenever you dispute someone's opinions, they will take it as a personal attack. Hard not to do otherwise.

For example, someone says, "I would never send my child to a public school. They are such a mess! I think my child deserves better." OK, that is just someone's opinion and they are entitled to have it. But isn't the statement also a dig at parents who do send their kids to public schools? Isn't the subtext of the comment, "I think those of you who send your kids to public school don't believe your kid deserves the best."

So then the responder says "I think the public school is fine. Sending my child to a private school would make as much sense as paying for a brand name when the generic works just as well." Well, then the other person will think that is a personal attack on their intelligence.

Anytime you voice your opinion about something, you will be judged for it and others will feel judged by your opinion. That is just the nature of the beast and the best we can do is just keep thinking to ourselves "That is their viewpoint and they are entitled to it, but I see things differently." Hearing from others broadens our perspective while also helping us define our own opinions.

Posted by: capitol hill mom | October 27, 2006 8:45 AM

Thought #1: It would help if you posted a bit more often on the Blog and "moderated" the discussion a bit. Other Washington Post bloggers post throughout the day on their blogs.

Thought #2: "On Balance" is one of the featured blogs on the Washington Post homepage every single day. It also seems to get one of the highest post rates of any blog--and I think the reason is because the discussion gets awry. I think that's why people come back every day--it's like a reality show. If controversy didn't happen...the board would slow down considerably. That's not a condoning of the all out nastiness--but it probably is "good for business" if you want to keep up the blogging rate.

Thought #3: It seems like Rebeldad rarely, if ever, gets personally attacked for his posts. Or attacked at all in any way, shape, or form. I think his posts have led to some of the nicest discussions on the board. Maybe there's something about the way he presents his post that seems to put things off on the right foot--just a thought.

Thought #4: Some posts--whether yours or a guest blogger--are provacative. So they do cause people to ratchet up the tone of their posts--and is that all bad?


Posted by: TO: Leslie | October 27, 2006 8:46 AM

Leslie you are right but when a without children goes on this blog and acts superior about his/her childless status... what do we make of that? This blog is for parents: working, at home, half working, half at home. I feel that the only thing childless bloggers can contribute is to say that is our choice to have children (I KNOW) and that we shouldn't feel entitled (DEBATABLE in my view). They lose the point that if our society was more family-friendly ALL will benefit. I feel that sometimes they go on this blog to prove to themselves the rightness of their choice. As for other views on parenting, breastfeeding, working vs. staying at home, I would not attack any views even if I disagreed.

Posted by: a parent | October 27, 2006 8:47 AM

Um, welcome to the internet?

A lot of people don't know how to hold a civil discourse, that's true - but a LOT of the time, the nastiness comes from trolling (getting people's backs up just for fun) and sockpuppetry (one user posting as multiple users, for whatever reason - for an example of this gone crazy, google "Ms. Scribe" and click the first link, though that may not be safe for work, and you'll need a few hours at least to get through the whole story).

The best way to combat nastiness is to tie posts to usernames. It removes one level of anonymity, and allows the Post to track repeat offenders a little bit easier (though it won't stop sockpuppets, unless the Post starts allowing only one username per IP address - and even that can be worked around).

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 8:48 AM

Leslie you are right but when a without children goes on this blog and acts superior about his/her childless status... what do we make of that? This blog is for parents: working, at home, half working, half at home. I feel that the only thing childless bloggers can contribute is to say that is our choice to have children (I KNOW) and that we shouldn't feel entitled (DEBATABLE in my view). They lose the point that if our society was more family-friendly ALL will benefit. I feel that sometimes they go on this blog to prove to themselves the rightness of their choice. As for other views on parenting, breastfeeding, working vs. staying at home, I would not attack any views even if I disagreed.

Posted by: a parent | October 27, 2006 8:48 AM

Hmmm...to be honest, I'm not sure how to write this post without sounding insulting. Because its the absolute opinions that bother me most. Most of us here are probably pretty good with statistics, so being able to be "factual" about something doesn't make it "absolute." Cultural, social and economic issues are just as important to most individual people when making day to day decisions as "facts" are, and to ignore that seems, to me at least, the height of arrogance no matter what the position is.

(And for the record, I'm a stay at home mother who breastfed her child -- so I'm not arguing against Momof4's issue, only the structure in which she's stated it in her example.)

So if that's rude and hurtful, well, I'll be the first to apologize, but I'll also suggest that maybe you shouldn't care about what other people think?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 8:50 AM

Having been personally attacked and posted some inappropriate attacks in the past (due to the heat of the conversation - no excuses for all the finger pointers) I don't think you can stop it. I have tried to temper my comments in the past couple weeks but when people attack your views - they are in effect attacking you - particularly if they cleverly word their posts. I think we all know certain posters that attack a persons "views" with vicious comments then retort with "it was sarcasm" or "don't be so defensive." That is BS.

Then there are posters that like to "bring everyone together" with the "can't we all just get along" posts and they are equally as annoying. Of course there is comic relief posters and "let's stir it up" posters - which keeps it interesting.

Everyone has a role on this blog - that is no different then every other blog I have participated in. Because it is a parenting blog does not surprise me at - listen to what people say about other people's children or their house or clothes - you name it - people are mean.

Posted by: CMAC | October 27, 2006 8:52 AM

Provacative posts are the ones that get attention--which is what posters want. Nice posts don't get a response--not always very satisfying.

Posted by: One more thought... | October 27, 2006 8:53 AM

Requesting civility on an anonymous blog will never succeed.

Leslie and the Washington Post, as the sponsor of this board, MUST implement safeguards.
1) No more anonymity. Have a userid and tie it to a valid email address. Email only visible to the Post.
2) You must ENFORCE your guidelines!
You must read every post and remove offensive once at once, or filter them before allowing them on the blog.

Leslie, do not shirk your responsiblity anymore. You have set up this blog. You must ensure that all posts conform to the guidelines before letting them be read by everyone.

Posted by: Me | October 27, 2006 8:53 AM

FWIW, persuasive writing is its own skill. Some people confuse writing persuasively (assert, substantiate, caveat, re-assert) with WRITING LOUDLY SINCE THAT MEANS YOU MUST BE CORRECT.

There are mean personal attackers, and then there are people who are unintentionally offensive. For example, I think that a certain lady from yesterday (one who has no children) does not mean to be offensive, it's simply the character of her writing.

Early on in the blog's existence (before I picked a constant name) I felt attacked a couple of times [Rockville Mom, where are you? :-)] but as you see the same person write more and more you grow to recognize that they simply write using a more direct style than others would.

I do disagree with folks who say you should not write anything that you would not say in person. The candor inherent in this format is part of what makes it special. Much like casting votes anonymously, I'd rather people be honest than identifiable.

Posted by: Proud Papa | October 27, 2006 8:54 AM

Instead of just posting about posting all day--I'm offering an >>>>>>>>>> to talk about. And that topic comes in two questions:

#1: How DO you make it work? In other words--how do you balance??????

#2: If you could CHANGE aspects of your life to balance better--what would you change?????

Posted by: ALTERNATE TOPIC... | October 27, 2006 8:58 AM

Leslie herself has started off the day with incendiary topics, for example "sexist clueless men that run America". How would you expect civility to ensue from that?

Ditch the anonymity and publish each person's userid.

Have a moderator that will prescreen every post, before it gets on the board.

I don't believe any of this will be implemented because the Post and Leslie wants enormous hits on this blog for advertising purposes (and other purposes which we cannot say). But you know... you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by: anon | October 27, 2006 8:58 AM

The most informative and useful discussions have been when bloggers discussed and swapped ideas (allowances, home alone) etc. I walked away from those discussions with new ideas and inspiration as a parent. That being said, Leslie, I think you do need to participate more and remove anonymous, personal attacks. Running a blog isnt just posting something and walking away until the next day. There are some days I give up reading when it gets sidetracked by nastiness. Sure there are trolls - remove them. The rules for posting are laughable because they are never enforced - much like if I made rules for my kids but never backed them up.

Posted by: jessker6 | October 27, 2006 8:58 AM

Not completely -- while a fair number of the identified childless/-free people do stir up some trouble here, I can only speak for myself and say that I'm someone without kids who reads it to either try to get some sort of perspective on what parents in my office are dealing with, or in some cases the tricks and tips for balancing life in general outside the office with life in the office can be helpful.

I may or may not decide to have kids, but I want to go into it with some idea of the issues that I will face if I decide that's the path I wish to take. And if I decide that I don't want to face these particular issues, I simply won't have kids. And that will be my choice, and I would hope people would respect that as much as I respect other people's choice to have kids if that's what they want to do. They probably won't (as seen from the post and subsequent discussion the other day), but that would be my hope.

Than again, I also haven't directly, intentionally attacked anyone on here. Okay, I've said my piece, back to lurking.

Posted by: to "a parent", from someone who usually lurks | October 27, 2006 8:58 AM

"But isn't the statement also a dig at parents who do send their kids to public schools? Isn't the subtext of the comment, "I think those of you who send your kids to public school don't believe your kid deserves the best.""

No, it's not a dig, and there is no such subtext. That's a game people play in their own heads. We need to listen carefully to what's actually said, and not project our own insecurities into other people's comments.

I believe that in large part, it's this kind of emotional projection that's behind the so-called "Mommy Wars." Too many women think that the choices made by other women - and the rationales they offer for them - are personal attacks. Why is "I just can't see putting my child in day care, because these first few years are so precious and pass so quickly" any more of a personal attack than "I just can't see buying anything other than an SUV, given the winter weather we get around here"? Why do we get warfare over the daycare? We wouldn't get any sort of deep personal animosity over "well, I personally just can't see buying an SUV given the price of gas these days."

Posted by: Older Dad | October 27, 2006 8:59 AM

I agree Proud papa - you should be able to say things that you won't say in person, that is the inherent attractiveness of a blog. However, I believe some restraint every now and then won't hurt especially when we realize we are derailing the conversation. Using emails and userids though effective will result in this being less bloglike so I don't think that's a good solution.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | October 27, 2006 8:59 AM

Forgot to mention one thing. Sometimes the snarkiness and tone of the daily topic lends to the tone of the discussion. Just a couple weeks ago Leslie had 2 "comments" in her topic about men that were nasty - and I recall her defending her "views" - so why should it surprise her that people are nasty in response?

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 8:59 AM

WOMAN'S PERFECT BREAKFAST

She's sitting at the table with her gourmet coffee.
Her son is on the cover of the Wheaties box.
Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.
Her boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.
And her husband is on the back of the milk carton.

Posted by: Joke1 | October 27, 2006 9:02 AM

UNDERSTANDING WOMEN (A MAN'S PERSPECTIVE)

I know I'm not going to understand women.

I'll never understand how you can take boiling hot wax,

pour it onto your upper thigh, rip the hair out by the root,

and still be afraid of a spider.

Posted by: Joke2 | October 27, 2006 9:03 AM

#1: How do I balance? I work at home one day a week--which helps. I don't have the commute I usually do, I can throw in some laundry while I'm working--and it takes the edge off. I also have a job where I work with other moms, and we all have made our families a priority, which helps.

#2: Ideally--I'd like to cut back to part-time. But that's just not possible given our finances. The good part is that I love my job!

Who's next?

Posted by: I'll Bite on the "ALTERNATE TOPIC" | October 27, 2006 9:04 AM

I have been the willing victim of people's vitrol on this blog. Why don't we make people sign their submissions? The concept of saying things out here that we wouldn't normally say in public is irritating. Why wouldn't we say them in public? For fear of reprisal? Out of embarrasment? How about this: If you won't say it to me to my face in the parking lot after work keep it to yourself.

Posted by: Cheeseman | October 27, 2006 9:04 AM

While attending a Marriage Seminar dealing with communication,

Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor, "It is essential that husbands and wives know each other's likes and dislikes."

He addressed the man, "Can you name your wife's favorite flower?"

Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "It's

Pillsbury, isn't it?

Posted by: Joke3 | October 27, 2006 9:05 AM

8:50

I don't think what you said was rude or hurtful. I'm certainly more thick-skinned than that. :o)

However, I do think it's possible to have absolute opinions about something without being judgmental. Religion is certainly a good example of this. If a Christian says "if you don't believe that Christ is your savior, you will not go to heaven", I don't get offended. That's their opinion. I respect their right to have it. I can't be judged unless I let myself be judged.

I feel the same way about Linda Hirshman's opinion about women who opt out of the work force. I disagree with her, but I don't attack those who agree with her and say "Now that's what's wrong with America - people like you who attack those who don't live their lives *exactly* like you think they should and expect your own values and beliefs to be universal!!!"

And you're right, I really shouldn't care what other people think, and that was actually my overall point. I really don't care if people attack my opinion. I just think that people should be entitled to their opinions.

Posted by: momof4 | October 27, 2006 9:05 AM

jessker6 - I feel like I keep agreeing with everyone but you hit the nail on the head. The best days on this blog is when we share ideas and tips on how we balance our lives. That really should be the focus of the blog - how do you do it??? Some of the topics tend to pit us against each other. Particularly the guest blogs which many times have nothing to do with balance.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | October 27, 2006 9:06 AM

I haven't posted for a while, mainly because every time the discourse becomes nasty, I stop reading. But then I know I am missing some of the truly important nuggets that may be useful to me in my life.

I'm struggling with a few of these types of issues right now. When do you "shout the other person down" if they are becoming abusive? When do you hold your tongue and ignore the other person? If it is about my son, I have almost come to blows with other parents, trying to keep their kids from running roughshod over my son. He is an unagressive child and doesn't like even a little bit of conflict. We are trying to teach him that conflict is good in some cases and how to handle himself when it arises. But I don't know how well we are doing that.

My philosophy has been to let slide the rude or abusive comments and not respond to them or try to diffuse them somehow. But I'm not always successful when I am face to face and in the situation. Then I kick myself later for things I should have said or done that would have supportted my philosophy.

Posted by: Working Dad | October 27, 2006 9:06 AM

While attending a Marriage Seminar dealing with communication,

Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor, "It is essential that husbands and wives know each other's likes and dislikes."

He addressed the man, "Can you name your wife's favorite flower?"

Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "It's

Pillsbury, isn't it?

Posted by: Joke3 | October 27, 2006 9:06 AM

"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed."

If Leslie would just enforce these rules then this blog would be much better. But am sure she has more "important" things to do with her time...

Posted by: john arbuckle | October 27, 2006 9:06 AM

8:50

I don't think what you said was rude or hurtful. I'm certainly more thick-skinned than that. :o)

However, I do think it's possible to have absolute opinions about something without being judgmental. Religion is certainly a good example of this. If a Christian says "if you don't believe that Christ is your savior, you will not go to heaven", I don't get offended. That's their opinion. I respect their right to have it. I can't be judged unless I let myself be judged.

I feel the same way about Linda Hirshman's opinion about women who opt out of the work force. I disagree with her, but I don't attack those who agree with her and say "Now that's what's wrong with America - people like you who attack those who don't live their lives *exactly* like you think they should and expect your own values and beliefs to be universal!!!"

And you're right, I really shouldn't care what other people think, and that was actually my overall point. I really don't care if people attack my opinion. I just think that people should be entitled to their opinions.

Posted by: momof4 | October 27, 2006 9:06 AM

I have been the willing victim of people's vitrol on this blog. Why don't we make people sign their submissions? The concept of saying things out here that we wouldn't normally say in public is irritating. Why wouldn't we say them in public? For fear of reprisal? Out of embarrasment? How about this: If you won't say it to me to my face in the parking lot after work keep it to yourself.

Posted by: Cheeseman | October 27, 2006 9:07 AM

I have been thinking about this very topic since Tuesdays guest blog. Marissa found balance and happiness in her life...only good things. And somehow a few posters were able to find something nasty and critical to say.

Why can't people say anything nice anymore? My mom always said : "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." So true!

Don't get me wrong, its okay to have and share different view points, but there is no need to to be mean/rude when someone finds something good on their life.

There is a lot of meaness in this world, we should all try to be a little nicer.

Posted by: notamom | October 27, 2006 9:07 AM

Well for Pete's sake! What do you expect when you refer to a simple difference of opinion as a "war?" Quit being so thin-skinned.

Posted by: wihntr | October 27, 2006 9:07 AM

Me said "You must read every post and remove offensive once at once, or filter them before allowing them on the blog."

I find your post offensive. I would like it removed at once.

Posted by: You | October 27, 2006 9:07 AM

As Mom of 14, Liam, Blanche, and innumerable other signatures I have used, I will defend sockpuppetry till the end! It's just more fun that way. And if I can't have fun, then I'm taking my ball and going home.

Posted by: J. Henson | October 27, 2006 9:08 AM

While I think this is an interesting topic, Leslie, I think you pretty much summed up the origin of the problem yourself:

"Anonymity gives us the freedom to be more opinionated than face-to-face conversations."

For many, message boards, e-mails, and blogs have nearly eliminated the inherent "tact" filter present in all of us. (Or, for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans on the board, there's the classic quote "Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.")

When you don't have to worry about looking a person in the eye while saying something reflexive/mean/incredibly personal about the way you feel about them - well, you may actually say it. This doesn't mean you're a bad person - it just means that it's easier to let those words you didn't actually INTEND to say slip out. How many times have any of us hit "Post" instead of "Preview" or "Cancel"? Or even better - raise your virtual hand if you ever wrote a long, detailed post and then cancelled it...simply feeling better for having written it and decided you didn't need to send it.

Usually, you will gripe about these things to a "safe" outlet in your own life. Husband, trusted friend, parent, pshrink :) Because sometimes expressing the ideas helps you keep your sanity, and/or helps you work through a particular problem of your own. Many people now use the anonymous outlet of the Internet as a "safe" outlet these days. The way someone expresses themselves here may be a diametric opposite of the way they express themselves in the non-virtual world.

There's also the matter of the Internet being a one-dimensional medium - without body language and vocal inflection, it's hard to pick up the tone of a conversation. (Not just me - people have done studies: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70179-0.html?tw=rss.index)

So you have lowered inhibitions combined with easy-to-misread communications. Hence, Flame Wars (or my personal word for one step below Flaming: "Frothing").

Sociology. Gotta love it :D

Posted by: IronicallyAnonymous | October 27, 2006 9:09 AM

While there are some detestable childless posters, it's unfair to characterize the whole group as judgmental trolls. There are mean posters who are parents and there are mean posters who are not. You can't blame the level of discourse on this blog (which is mainly populated by parents) on childless posters.

As for banning childless people outright, I also think that's a bit hasty. As it's been noted, society as a whole benefits from healthy, well-cared for children--so childless people are stakeholders in parenting topics as well. While I agree that there are some topics that childless people know nothing about (how to get a baby on a regular sleep schedule, for example), think about it this way: people who have never served in the military still have a right to read about and comment on military issues, because the actions of the military and military policy may ultimately affect them. Childless people have a right to read about and comment on some topics on this blog because they may (and most likely WILL) ultimately affect them.

As for what to do when a childless (or any other) person comes on this blog and acts supiror, ignore them. If they aren't going to take part in a reasoned and polite debate, their comments don't deserve a response.

Posted by: Jamie Page Deaton | October 27, 2006 9:10 AM

wihntr:"Well for Pete's sake! What do you expect when you refer to a simple difference of opinion as a "war?" Quit being so thin-skinned."

That's SO true!!

And that's why the Post continues to allow anonymity - lots of hits = lots of $$$

Posted by: Me | October 27, 2006 9:10 AM

How about this for a topic?

How do you all get your sleep? I am a mom-to-be and REALLY like/need my sleep. What advice can you give for catching up and not being a walking zombie every day?

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 9:10 AM

Hey "You", that's me (well not "Me" but me). I wish there was a way to know who wrote what. Maybe making them sign them. But who is "You" and who is "Me"? Could I be "Me" too? "You" don't know.

Posted by: You 2 | October 27, 2006 9:10 AM

Now this may not be true, but I have gotten the impression that many of the posters who truly seem upset at others' posts may not have been exposed so much to the level of nastiness that is part of the web experience, and thus are taking things very personally. I was quite shocked when I first started posting and reading on web boards, at the sorts of garbage that can get flung your way... but that was over ten years ago. Since then I guess I developed a thicker skin and a more careful way of writing, both to protect myself and try to avoid upsetting other people. Like it or not (and I don't), the online world is full of people who throw bombs at each other in words. It seems to bring out the worst in some people, and the feeding frenzy that results brings other people down too.

But outside of the "trolls", I think it really is true that women (in particular) are very sensitive about their choices in raising children. It helps to step back and realize that when a person says "I believe in doing A", that is not necessarily an attack on you for doing "B" instead. And even if it is, who cares. It is not necessary to justify one's choices to strangers, really, it should be enough to believe in them yourself.

And going beyong that... if anyone has read Deborah Tannen's books about the way men and women tend to communicate, they might recognize something in these discussions. Tannen pointed out how, in discussions between women, it is sort of the cultural "standard" to seek sameness or consensus, and that for a woman to state a differing view or experience is counter to this and perceived as somewhat rude or upsetting. (whereas men tend to "joust" in their conversations, women usually don't). So I think that could be part of what often goes on here. Just my opinion...

Posted by: Catherine | October 27, 2006 9:10 AM

Mom of 14 and Liam are the same person? Hilarious!!

Posted by: Emily | October 27, 2006 9:13 AM

Mom of 14 and Liam are the same person? Hilarious!!

Posted by: Emily | October 27, 2006 9:13 AM

Mom of 14 and Liam are the same person? Hilarious!!

Posted by: Emily | October 27, 2006 9:13 AM

No chance this blog will be flame-free, nice, polite, etc.

The way it is set up now: anonymity, no enforcement of guidelines, free-for-all, Leslie lobbing incendiary topics, .... it is actually surprising that there is some feeble attempt at thoughtful discussion.

Posted by: No chance | October 27, 2006 9:14 AM

Catherine -

That is very interesting (about D. Tannen). I must be a woman IRL and play a man on the Internet. I dislike confrontation and will rarely state my opposing viewpoint when talking face to face with people - but I have no problem jousting online.

Posted by: momof4 | October 27, 2006 9:15 AM

Ha! Ha!

What do you expect when you call it Mommy WARS?

This is what happens in a war.

Posted by: Dick | October 27, 2006 9:15 AM

"(whereas men tend to "joust" in their conversations, women usually don't)."

And as a guy, I'd like to suggest that verbal "jousting" isn't all bad. As long as everyone understands what we're doing, it lets us air different opinions without anyone getting hurt. Of course, like most good things, it can get out of hand. But it lets us say things like "I just can't imagine being tied down to a 9 to 5 desk job" or "you know, the money was good, but I just got sick of the constant travel, so I left sales" without anyone feeling challenged.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 9:17 AM

Lou - No dice. You are not going to get all your sleep unless you hire someone whose job it is to get up with the little one.

I am a very sound sleeper and used to wake up to check on the newborn purely out of worry -- he wasn't even crying.

For people like you and me who love their sleep, its just something we sacrifice. I wish I could tell you there was a solution.

Posted by: Proud Papa | October 27, 2006 9:17 AM

Lou - like you prechildren I LOVED my sleep. I'm sorry to tell you - you'll get over that in a hurry in the first 6 months after the birth of your child! Or you may be one of the lucky ones whose child sleeps through the night within a couple of months - there are actually books out there that help you to get your child on a regular sleep schedule. I didn't use them - anyone else know a good book?
Okay - some practical advice - when the baby is a newborn - try to sleep when the baby is sleeping and make sure your spouse (if you have one) helps out with feeding duty as much as possible. Even if you're breastfeeding exclusively, make sure you pump so you don't have to be the only one feeding the child. And take all the help you can get!

Posted by: fabworkingmom | October 27, 2006 9:18 AM

Dick:"Ha! Ha!What do you expect when you call it Mommy WARS?This is what happens in a war."

I agree 100%. That's why I lurk on this board from time to time. As close to female mud wrestling as I can get. Love to see the women tear each other's hair out, get their panties all in a tiffy over a little comment. Get my Bud and enjoy the show!

Posted by: Tom | October 27, 2006 9:19 AM

The problem is, one person's negativity is another's constructive criticism. Certainly personal attacks are unwarranted, but some people on this blog (and in general) are very sensitive such that if you attack his or her views, you are attacked. I've written things that contradicted other's views and I was attacked and told I was being negative. People are attacked when they talk about their own experience. I think it is the nature of the confidential blog. I would be very pissed if I was reported and my contribution deleted when my intent was to criticize someone's stance. Who is the judge? What is the criteria?

Posted by: working mother | October 27, 2006 9:20 AM

One must be very careful with e-mail and blogs to not offend. There are certain things I don't say in either of these formats that I would say if I were face-to-face, because body language and facial expressions communicate sarcasm and jokes. Those nuances don't come across in a written format like this.

Also, there is more than one way to say what you want to say. For example, if my DH is sitting on the couch watching television and I'm trying to clean the kitchen while pulling DD off the cat, and the trash is full, and ..... (most of you are parents, insert additional chaos here), I can say: "You're so lazy! Why don't you ever help around here!" or I can say, "Could you give me a hand please?" One of them is much more effective than the other.

Momof4, I have a really hard time with the thought of an opinion being absolute. Those two concepts seem mutually exclusive to me.

Posted by: Jen | October 27, 2006 9:23 AM

Those who do not understand usenet [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usenet] are doomed to implement it poorly over HTML.

This blog is no exception. On usenet, the only viable solution was the ability for individual users to block messages from other users via filters and "killfiles." Third-party moderation ultimately failed, since the volume of "uncivil" debate always exceeded the capacity of any moderator to tamp it down.

What worked in the end (and now prevails) is individual users using their software to ignore habitual trolls and spammers.

Posted by: ouij | October 27, 2006 9:24 AM

I've heard Healthy Sleeping Habits, Healthy Child by Weissbluth (sp?) was great. Anyone else think so?

I also want to bf during the night for a while so I don't know that pumping will be useful to me.

I am only pregnant now and can hardly get enough sleep, it seems. Going to bed btw 9-10 getting up about 6:30.

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 9:27 AM

To ouij re: killfiles.
That's true, but this is not usenet.
This is Leslie and the Post drumming up advertising money by showing lots of hits and comments on the blog.

That's why they put out highly-charged topics. that's why Leslie makes controversial comments. It's all about inciting the masses to post and post and post.

Numbers = money. That's the objective.

Posted by: Me | October 27, 2006 9:29 AM

"Momof4, I have a really hard time with the thought of an opinion being absolute. Those two concepts seem mutually exclusive to me."

They're only mutually exclusive because there is always an opposing opinion. For an individual personally, opinions can often be absolute. Like I said earlier, religion is a perfect example of this. There are millions and millions and millions of people on earth who believe that their faith is the *only* path to salvation (or whatever the ultimate goal in life is). Not just for them, but for all mankind. That is definitely an absolute opinion.

Posted by: momof4 | October 27, 2006 9:29 AM

I read/skim this blog relatively frequently, but rarely post.
A major reason why things turn negative is the fact that Leslie's book is entitled "Mommy Wars." When you use a term like this, you are only going to invite conflict. I found the title offensive from the beginning and would never read the book. The focus of the blog, books and articles regarding parenthood should be on the various ways we can support each other by focusing on positive things. The title "Mommy Wars" simply encourages and promotes conflict. A great degree of this "conflict" was promoted by the media and applies mainly to the upper middle class.

Posted by: drmom | October 27, 2006 9:31 AM

I suppose we could be debating the merits of something trivial like, pepsi vs. coke and there would still be flame wars and incivility. Some people just like to mix things up. There is so much at stake for this whole parenting/childhood issue. We bring our own prejudices of our childhoods and parents (good and bad), mix those with our own ego-clouded self assessments of our skills, then pepper that with everything from hormones, stress, demanding work situations, demanding home lives, and a nation that has forgotten what civil discourse sounds like and you have this and thousands of other blogs.
We could, as a small group of human beings, make a collective resolution to think twice before we be so judgemental. We might even appreciate and respect the differences of opinions, lifestyle choices, and personalities instead of expecting that anyone who isn't like us has clearly made poor and ill-informed choices and clearly should never have had children.
Or we can perpetuate the cycle of the complete lack of civil discourse in this country.

Posted by: MadisonWIMom | October 27, 2006 9:35 AM

"What does sometimes bother me is when I (and other posters) state an opinion that is an absolute and we're attacked for that. For example, someone who feels that women should attempt breastfeeding unless there are medical reasons for not doing so - backs their claim up with factual information about the merits of breastfeeding, etc. - and then is attacked. Having an absolute opinion about something is not a mortal sin."

Mom of 4 --

The problem with "absolute opinions" is that, as soon as you start backing them up with factual information, you're presenting them as fact.

An opinion is an opinion. An opinion backed by facts says, "I'm right, and you're wrong."

Do you see how this becomes a judgmental thing? You're no longer saying, "This is what I think/feel"; you're saying, "This is what is right."

Posted by: pittypat | October 27, 2006 9:35 AM

Lou -

What worked best for me was sleeping with the baby. The baby doesn't wake as often and neither do I.

Personal experience only - Your Milage May Vary - May have been produced on equipment that processed peanuts and/or treenuts

Posted by: another working mom of 3 | October 27, 2006 9:38 AM

Get an intern,... or a pageboy to moderate these posts. There are lots of them running around in DC. :) :) :)

Posted by: Tex | October 27, 2006 9:39 AM

"This blog is for parents: working, at home, half working, half at home."

This is news to me. I thought this blog was about achieving balance between work life and home life -- whether one is a parent, part of a couple, or single.

Leslie, could you clear this up?

Posted by: pittypat | October 27, 2006 9:41 AM

Re: the above...I didn't think this blog was just for parents. I thought this blog was for anyone trying to balance work-life-family...be that family a family of two, three, four, six, ten, etc. I think that parents have a lot to learn from non-parents, and vice versa. I think that when people become parents, we forget some of the courtesies we should be offering to the non-child world, and I think that the non-child world should be a little more sensitive to the family world. There's a lot of learning and give and take that could be taking place, and I think this blog can help provide it. I was under the impression that this blog was for anyone looking to achieve balance, not just parents. Right? Or am I way off here?

Posted by: MSL | October 27, 2006 9:41 AM

To "a parent"

"but when a without children goes on this blog and acts superior about his/her childless status... what do we make of that?"

I'm childless, and I don't think I've ever acted superior about my childless status, though I agree: I have seen some childless posters act in a superior way.

Please don't dismiss all of us as free-wheeling hedonists who don't understand the joys and sorrows and work involved in raising kids.

Some of us are active aunts/uncles, godparents, or oldest siblings who basically helped raise younger siblings. Some of us work or volunteer in professions that put us in contact with kids on a daily basis. Or, some of us just aren't lucky enough to be able to have children of our own.

When I post on my childless state, I do try to say that I see things from the parent side. That's because this blog is called "On Balance". I agree that the workplace in the US is not geared towards families...but that includes people who don't have children, too. My in-laws take care of my Father-in-Law's mother and her sister, and they are always trying to balance their work schedules and the necessary doctor visits. I see rights for working parents as rights for everyone in the workplace. Which is why I occasionally post in this blog, childless as I am. Family is family, no matter the stage of life.

I don't consider myself morally superior for not having kids (yet - still trying to figure out whether I'll have one), and many of my determinedly-childless friends feel the same way. It is a state that was either forced upon us or consciously chosen. This doesn't mean we aren't striving to reach some sort of balance in our lives as well.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | October 27, 2006 9:41 AM

I do agree that public discourse and, yes, disagreement are healthy things. Yes, comments can get a little snarky, and yes, it does appear that moms are the ones doing the snarking (probably, as another poster pointed out, due to guilt or insecurity over her decisions). However, you'd be surprised how quickly people back down when you calmly call them out: "Excuse me, but I don't think that comment was warranted." Remain polite and calm and people will see they can't get under your skin and they give up quite easily and pester someone else...or, alternatively, they will engage in a more constructive discussion with you.

On banning those of us who are childfree--I'm not sure that would be a good idea. Balance requires interacting with other people who are not in your same situation, and the perspective of a person from the other side of the fence can help. Parents are consistently going to encounter nonparents, and parents and nonparents consistently have an impact on each others' lives. Beyond that, I enjoy reading the blog, and use it to prepare myself mentally for the day I do start to have children. I also often post questions to parents, and have received some very helpful answers. Besides, how would you enforce banning childfree people? A vaginal exam?

Lou: that is one of the things I'm terrified of when I become a parent. When do they sleep?!

Posted by: Mona | October 27, 2006 9:42 AM

OK pittypat....I'll rephrase.

I don't think there's anything wrong with saying "I think this is what is right." Having opinions about right and wrong isn't a bad thing.

Most of us can agree that murder is wrong. Rape is wrong. Assault is wrong. But there are people in the world who don't think that those things are wrong. Are they judging us by disagreeing with us?

If someone believes that something else is also "right" - a topic less agreed-upon than not committing murder or rape - why is that automatically judging? And even if it is - who cares? Is it still not their right to have an absolute sense of right and wrong?

Posted by: momof4 | October 27, 2006 9:44 AM

"Then there are posters that like to "bring everyone together" with the "can't we all just get along" posts and they are equally as annoying."

Thank you, CMAC, for this. I couldn't agree more. These are the folks you really want to cyber-punch!

Posted by: pittypat | October 27, 2006 9:47 AM

pittypat,

It does say the blog is for working, non-working and somewhere in between parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 9:47 AM

I must confess, there are times after reading this blog that I have honestly felt like crying - yes, this is great fodder for those who think I need to "be more thick-skinned" (not sure why that is so important to people though) - because I find it so discouraging to think the thoughtful posters here are outnumbered by the mean-spirited ones, and if the breakdown represents society as a whole, I can see why I have such a hard time making friends ... I have had to try very hard to keep in mind what some people have mentioned today, that some posters are here not for advice, tips, or community, but because they think it is "fun" to get others riled up - that is absolutely their right, but I think it is sad (and undoubtedly some think it is funny) and agree with the poster who said there's something wrong with the notion that we don't value civil public discourse. I do know and try to practice ignore, ignore, ignore ...

Posted by: TakomaMom | October 27, 2006 9:49 AM

Just a few comments on today's topic...

Leslie is doing what she's been trained to do well in advertising...generating hits by introducing controversial topics. I don't think any other blog at the Post gets the traffic that this one does.

I've never seen a message board or well-trafficked blog that doesn't have its share of sockpuppets, trolls, snarks, or whiners. This is no different. Is a moderator (paid babysitter) really needed? Or the abyss of an ignore button? Is the best use of Leslie's time spent in moderating each comment or in throwing out an interesting topic for others to discuss? If the Post is overwhelmed by tattletale e-mails, will they find it easier to drop the blog? Is that what anyone wants?

Posted by: footloose and childfree | October 27, 2006 9:51 AM

"An opinion is an opinion. An opinion backed by facts says, "I'm right, and you're wrong.""

Not so. An opinion backed up by fact simply says, "This is what I think - and here's why."

To use a simple example, look at this fact: SUVs are generally large vehicles. I could say, "I don't like SUVs, because they are generally big." So now my opinion - "I don't like SUVs" - is backed up by a fact - "they are generally big."

However, someone who has a lot of kids and/or needs to cart around a lot of cargo might like SUVs for the same reason I don't like them. So that person might say, "I love SUVs, because they are generally big."

The use of facts don't turn either of these opinions into fact. They simply show the person's reasons for holding that opinion. This doesn't mean people can't/don't present opinions as facts, but using facts to support opinions does not, in itself, mean that the individual is trying to present that opinion as fact.

Posted by: true-ish | October 27, 2006 9:52 AM

Chasmosaur, thank you for the thoughtful post. I agree, a family is a group of two or more people, not necessarily with children as part of the group.

Posted by: experienced mom | October 27, 2006 9:53 AM

And I wanted to add (before I sound like I take things TOO seriously) that I often enjoy the off-topic banter and jokes, usually between the regular posters - it is just the outright meanness that drives me crazy. And the attempts to justify it - if children spoke that way to others, it would be bullying - why is it "funny" in an online forum??

Posted by: TakomaMom | October 27, 2006 9:54 AM

So pittypat and CMAC don't like posts //that "bring everyone together" , "can't we all just get along" posts //??

Isn't that what today's topic is about?
Isn't that what most people are trying to bring about today?

Posted by: Me | October 27, 2006 9:55 AM

There are a lot of upper-class twits on this blog. They don't even want to know that there are poor people in the area.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 9:57 AM

Thanks, Momof4, for clarifying what you mean by "absolute opinion. To me, "absolute" has more universal implications, which is why I didn't understand before. Pittypat summed up very well how I reacted to the example in your initial post, but now that I understand what you meant the sense of judgement is gone.

Lou, there are several good books about teaching a child to sleep on their own. Do a search on Amazon for Ferber and the others will come up too. (Pantley, I think, was one of the other authors.)

I co-slept with DD for a long time, but you should consider that decision very carefully. The benefits are that you and your baby will probably both sleep better, and breastfeeding at night will be more convenient. There is, however, a risk of rolling over on your baby and injuring or even killing him/her.

I would suggest that if you drink any alcohol or take medications which make you drowsy that co-sleeping can be a bad idea; you are more difficult to rouse and the risk is increased. If you're breastfeeding that's probably not an issue, though.

Posted by: Jen | October 27, 2006 9:59 AM

"It does say the blog is for working, non-working and somewhere in between parents."

Yes, and it also says "moms,' not parents. No mention of dads.

Seems to me that the mission of this blog has evolved over time to include all the elements that can make up a family, no?

Posted by: pittypat | October 27, 2006 10:06 AM

I think that Leslie has opined quite a number of times that non-parents and Dads add to the discussion.

Even if you disagree with that, discussing things on a blog is akin to discussing things in a public square. Do folks propose to build a soundproof bubble over this particular public square? No? Then people wandering by will listen and offer their opinions too....

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 10:08 AM

Effective civil discourse is a difficult skill to master. The discussion about "absolute opinions" touches on some of the problems. I firmly believe that absolute truth exists (e.g., the earth is round rather than flat). I also believe that our ability to understand the nature of reality is limited.

It's perfectly appropriate to say "I'm convinced that . . . " and offer up data and reasoning to support that position - even if it contradicts what other people believe to be true. (So, in the physical sciences, "The earth is round" implies that it isn't flat; in religion, "I believe that if you don't accept Christ as your savior, you will not go to heaven" contradicts a number of other, competing religious worldviews.) Doing so is not a personal attack (unless a personal attack is stirred in, along the lines of "and if you can't or won't understand that, you're a close-minded fundamentalist bigot").

On some level, all of this is "opinion" because our understanding is limited (that's one of the reasons physics textbooks keep getting re-written). The possibility that - although we are fully and completely convinced of something - we could be mistaken demands that we show a certain degree of respect & courtesy to people who disagree and to their ideas. That's the whole point of discourse, after all - to help us, if we're mistaken, and to help other people of good will if they are mistaken.

If the goal of discussion is to increase understanding, there are a couple of implications. First, we should not shy away from strong ("absolute") opinions, even though they would, if proven correct, imply that other opinions are incorrect. Second, we should do so in a way that allows people who disagree with us to express their understanding, including all the facts and reasoning supporting it, clearly and fairly - without trying to distort it for rhetorical purposes. (I would note that reductio ad absurdum is legit - sometimes it's useful to spin out the implications of an idea to see if it holds up.)

We need to debate vigorously, but not nastily. It's a fine line to walk, and requires that everyone understand that ideas matter and should be challenged, but that people matter just as much, and should be treated with respect. A truly civil discourse also requires that participants understand that when someone disagrees with me, they are not attacking my personal worth or integrity.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 10:10 AM

Having been the victim of a lot -- A LOT --of personal attacks because my views differ from other posters, I had to add my 2 cents' worth. I strongly re-suggest that the monitor delete anonymous posters just like the rules say. These cowards seem to be spitting out most of the venom and personal attacks and I think it's all the same person sitting somewhere in an asylum. BTW, I never, ever suggested lopping of heads of infants. Where in the world did that accusation come from? I love children -- I have one for breakfast each morning. Posters: Leslie only works 3 days a week and then only submits 3 paragraphs and obviously doesn't monitor this 3-ringer. Nine paragraphs a week! I wish my job was that easy. Further, the blog is Work-Life Balance; it doesn't specify you have to be a parent, does it? The connection is that Leslie wrote "Mommy Wars" so it leans in that direction.

I work to support myself and I have a life, therefore I'm just as entitled as you to contribute. If my car doesn't start one morning and I'm late for work, how is that different from your kid having a doctor appointment and you're late for work? My cat had a serious health problem last summer and I had to make several weekday trips to the vet. I used my personal vacation time for that but parents expect special treatment, like Government-passed legislation, because they have kids. My elderly mother (the abusive one) fell and broke her hip so I had to use my vacation time to tend to her. We all have work/life issues, not just you parents. BTW, you all can't be mothers -- we have a woman at work who is absolutely the only woman in the entire history of the universe to give birth. She invented motherhood and she'll tell you all about ad nauseum. Sheesh.

If you think my posts have a superior tone, what about the mothers who bloviate about their little geniuses. "We put our 4-year-old through medical school and now she's on the brain surgery team at Hopkins. The 6-year-old is working with General Motors to perfect a more fuel efficient SUV." Yeah, right. You are all raising little Einsteins. Get over yourselves. My life is different from yours so you live your life and I'll live mine. Ever read the Fashion Nazi at the Post, Robin Givhan? Her articles are so full of acid I've stopped reading her column. The *itch needs a rabies shot.

Finally, to Father of 4 -- apologies. I assumed you were one of these 'mothers superior' using another ID who have nothing better to do with their days than shout down people who don't agree with them. If we all agreed on every single thing, life would be pretty dull. If you play piano, bravo for you. I'm enjoying my lessons (my teacher is all of 18 years old); I only wish I had more time to practice.

OK, you anonymous snarks, have at me. It's Friday and I really don't give a damn anymore.

Posted by: Childless by Choice | October 27, 2006 10:10 AM

When I first started reading and posting on this blog, I found out very quickly that what I write can be misinterpreted. It took about five posts to figure out how to talk to people. I'm sure I've occasionally messed up, but in general it's not hard to avoid conflict if you think about what you write.

The people who do not sign and add nothing to the conversation should be ignored. The fights that occur between named posters are usually borne out of misunderstanding or frustration, to which I'm sure we can all relate.

When I get offended, I try to point out the problem. If no one is listening, I let it go. If I'm too annoyed, I usually stop reading for the day (like yestersday).

Posted by: Meesh | October 27, 2006 10:13 AM

Robin Givhan is great, I love to read what she writes!

Posted by: experienced mom | October 27, 2006 10:15 AM

Also have the problem of people using shorthand, because it's a blog, and people going off on tangents, because it's a blog. A long time ago someone posted something to the effect of "working mothers exploit other women because they don't pay them much to take care of their kids while they go out and make more money." I pointed out that my son's sitter is running her own business, doing something she enjoys and is good at, and is pulling down about $25K a year, so in my view she's not being exploited, and in fact she's doing pretty well for an "illiterate Vietnamese peasant." Then there were a jillion posts about my choice of terms (apparently I should have said she was doing well for a "recent immigrant from Vietnam who could not go to school past the second grade because of the war and instead was put to work as a farm laborer at the age of 9 so she never had a chance to develop any other marketable skills or learn to read and write"). But no one would discuss the point I was trying to make, which was that hiring other women to do child care work is not necessarily (or, IMO, not most of the time) exploitive, and just kept picking at my use of language (which was blunt but accurate).

Posted by: have to be anonymous | October 27, 2006 10:15 AM

I have no problem with vigourous debate, but I am taken aback at the vicious comments allowed to be posted and remain on this blog. If you wouldn't say something to a colleague in person, why would you say it here? And as others have pointed out, all posts should require a signature or verification to username.

By all means debate as heatedly as you please, but do it rationally and stick to the topic. On the newgroup I own (+2000 members, world wide, averages 150 posts a day) I (or some volunteer minions) moderate all messages and block anyone who can't follow the very few simple rules, three of which are : civility at all times, stay on topic, no "me too" posts.

And I laugh, because when I reprimand or warn a list member who does not follow the rules, I often get "this is censorship! You can't do that! This is a free country!" No it's not, honey, I own the group and it's a benevolent dictatorship.

I have children at home, work full time, have three dogs and a cat, a husband, a house, elder care responsibilities. You can tell from my CV that moderating does not take a lot of resources, just a lot of commitment to the integrity of the site.

Leslie and WaPo, you can do much better at monitoring the blog, enforcing the rules and policies, and removing vile comments.

Posted by: Very Old Mother | October 27, 2006 10:15 AM

"So pittypat and CMAC don't like posts //that "bring everyone together" , "can't we all just get along" posts //??

Isn't that what today's topic is about?
Isn't that what most people are trying to bring about today?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

No, it's not the posts, it's the POSTERS who say "Can't we all just get along" that irritate the crap out of me. Faux peacemakers have self-righteous attitudes that allow them to pat themselves on the back for being so "reasonable."

Whose needs are being met here? Not the blog's.

Posted by: pittypat | October 27, 2006 10:15 AM

CbC,
A) Who told you about our daughter Kait's GM project?
B) How is using the pseudonym "Childless by Choice" different than anonymity?

Posted by: Liam | October 27, 2006 10:18 AM

Well, since you don't give a damn anymore...

You are rarely attacked for your opinions. You are generally attacked because of your despicable, bitter tone.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 10:22 AM

In terms of the pittypat and momof4 discussion about absolute opinion, it's hard to make a comparison to anything else. In parenting, there are very few facts, except the fact that every family is different. There are studies and statistics that show trends and liklihood, but few facts. You can extrapolate opinions from trends and data, which leads to different views from the same data (like the fact that the prisons have an overwhelming number of African American males can lead to the opinion that cops racially profile or the opinion that African American men are more likely to turn to crime).

There are no guarantees in parenting, which I think makes it ripe for debate. It's all opinion backed up with studies--there are studies to back up almost all opinions.

When it comes down to it, the daughters of a SAHM mom and a WOHM might both be pregnant at 14, and the sons of a single mom and a "nuclear family" might both try heroin. Almost nothing is preventable, so parents cling to statistics to defend their choices.

Posted by: Meesh | October 27, 2006 10:23 AM

Leslie goes back and forth on this. When Linda Hirschman tells women in very blunt terms that they need to get back to work, then Leslie wants her to modify her message to make it less harsh and more palatable to women. When Leslie is annoyed with something, then it's perfectly fine for her to rant about "clueless men" and, when people call her on it, snarl that women are *always* expected to act demure and nice to be more acceptable to men. Now she apparently wants everyone to get along.

I don't give a damn if she wants to rant and rave like a crazed hyena or if she wants everyone to sublimate all their rage and channel it into knitting tea cozies, as long as she is consistent about it.

Posted by: Lizzie | October 27, 2006 10:24 AM

"It is not necessary to justify one's choices to strangers, really, it should be enough to believe in them yourself. "

My new mantra. Thanks!

And if it bothers people that I am saying something that "brings everyone together" well . . . screw you!

There! Feel better now?

Posted by: capitol hill mom | October 27, 2006 10:26 AM


Another good day so far. 104 comments already. Keep em coming!!


Posted by: Counting | October 27, 2006 10:26 AM

All together now. Let's all stamp our feet in unison at the children who break the rules and don't play nicely with every one.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 10:27 AM

Good suggestions from "Very Old Mother".

I'm sure a couple of college kids would love to be moderators for this blog. Pay 'em $9/hr ($10 if they are women).
:) :)

Posted by: Me | October 27, 2006 10:30 AM

Regarding all of the suggestions that "anonymous posters be deleted" - putting some clever "handle" in the name line doesn't make a poster any less anonymous than someone who leaves it blank.

Posted by: Just a Thought | October 27, 2006 10:31 AM

"You are rarely attacked for your opinions. You are generally attacked because of your despicable, bitter tone."

I agree with this. I don't want kids, but I find CbC's posts to be needlessly scathing most of the time.

Posted by: another childfree | October 27, 2006 10:33 AM

JaT wrote: clever "handle" in the name line doesn't make a poster any less anonymous

No it doesn't, and allows sockpuppeting and other outrages. That's why having a handle tied to username (or better having no option, because username would be automatically displayed) is repeated recommended.

Though you will note that most of the most constructive posters pick and handle (or handles) and stick with it/them.

Posted by: Very Old Mother | October 27, 2006 10:34 AM

sockpuppetry is one of the most amusing aspects of this blog.

Posted by: experienced mom | October 27, 2006 10:36 AM

"Why do discussions about balancing work and parenting sometimes spiral into negativity? What should we do about it?

Differences of opinion are part of what makes this blog interesting to read. Anonymity gives us the freedom to be more opinionated than face-to-face conversations. The resulting honesty can be utterly refreshing. But attacking the poster -- not just their views -- is unfair and unproductive. Smart, thoughtful contributors have left this blog permanently because of the attacks. That's a loss for all of us. "

I think that you're not being entirely honest about what is going on here. One of the reasons that you have this blog is to discuss the negativism that working mothers have to deal with. It isn't just a "discussion". Life isn't just a series of positive discussions, and to call a poster "smart and thoughtful" is an opinion about their personality.

It seems that you want to read only good things, to hear only good things said. That's just not realistic. Does it even make sense?

As far as the rest of this idea, "if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's probably entirely fair to call it a duck, at least as long as this sort of behavior continues". Of course, the labels may be inaccurate. But that judgement can only be based on what we see here...and the desires of some people to label others.

You're not going to solve problems by ignoring the truth, or glossing over it, either. Of course, trying to state what the truth is in spite of the facts, that's a seperate problem.

But it all comes out in the wash. As long as you are not afraid of getting your hands wet. And if someone feels the need to leave this blog "permanently" because they have to deal with other people who are airing and washing their dirty laundry, well, that just says they have better things to do with their time than to post here. At least, I hope so. What else would that say.

Posted by: cc | October 27, 2006 10:36 AM

I agree there is entirely too much negativity in this blog. I have also notice that posters sometimes make grammatical and spelling errors. Didn't these people go to school?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 10:40 AM

Clue incoming: WaPo likes links that get a lot of hits.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 10:42 AM

Momof4: Not trying to be snarky but what is an "absolute opinion?" I agree with Pitty that opinions are just that, opinions. Facts are not opinions. Absolute is word not normally used with opinions so I just wanted clarification.

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 10:42 AM

Sockpuppetry is poor etiquette.

Posted by: Judith Martin | October 27, 2006 10:44 AM

There is no correct way to parent or to love a child.

I have stayed home for 2 1/2 years and have been in the workforce for the same ammount time. She benefited from a lot of "Mommy time" when she young. Now
she gets a village of love her Dad, day care lady, new friends and new experiences.

I have many friends who have chosen many different paths and love is the difference on the happiness of the child not the mom's ability to stay home.

Anyhow she is five completely healthy (which has not always been the case) and a happy child.

Posted by: shdd | October 27, 2006 10:45 AM

There is no correct way to parent or to love a child.

I have stayed home for 2 1/2 years and have been in the workforce for the same ammount time. She benefited from a lot of "Mommy time" when she young. Now
she gets a village of love her Dad, day care lady, new friends and new experiences.

I have many friends who have chosen many different paths and love is the difference on the happiness of the child not the mom's ability to stay home.

Anyhow she is five completely healthy (which has not always been the case) and a happy child.

Posted by: shdd | October 27, 2006 10:45 AM

10:40, I have notice that too.

Posted by: Warriner | October 27, 2006 10:46 AM

"I think that you're not being entirely honest about what is going on here. One of the reasons that you have this blog is to discuss the negativism that working mothers have to deal with."

Is discussing the perceived negativism that stay at home moms have to deal with also one of the reasons for the blog? (If not, what does that say about the "war"?)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 10:51 AM

"Get an intern,... or a pageboy to moderate these posts. There are lots of them running around in DC. :) :) :)"

Tex, get a new joke. Repeating the same one everyday just makes you appear like an idiot.

Posted by: gonnagetcha | October 27, 2006 10:52 AM

It could be a lot worse: you could be the Achenblog!

Everybody over there (that's a total of 12) always agree with one another, and as soon as you post a dissenting opinion, they jump on you like you just insulted their God (which, as it turns out, is called Curmudgeon...)

An example: you disagree with one of their points. So someone jumps in and makes clear that they think you're wrong. Then you post something supporting your original opinion. You will now be accused of being inflexible for not having changed your opinion after you were already scolded about it once!

I think they think of themselves as being civil. They're not (they can insult you as much as the next guy,) and they try hard to intimidate.

So keep up the vigorous debate. If you keep the personal out, as Leslie suggests, it's just much more interesting. You certainly learn more from dissenters than from group-thinkers.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 27, 2006 10:52 AM

Pretty sad state of affairs.

Me thinks the only ones happy are Dow (the advertiser for today) and the Post.

Leslie, you're responsible for this blog. Will you step up or shirk responsibility like Patricia Dunn?

Posted by: Lurker | October 27, 2006 11:00 AM

Childless by choice: I don't care if you have children or not - or if you even like what you read on this blog about children and parenting. However, I think it was yesterday you were posting about sleeping with a married man (I don't care about that either), but your comments continued with "if Christi Brinkley's husband can cheat on her, what is your husband doing?" - or something to that effect. That is just senseless and mean, like you wish it would happen to others.

There are plenty of unpleasant comments and people on this and other blogs, but when I read such a rotten comment I tend to disregard anything that person writes, so it negates your positive input.

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 11:00 AM

I generally assume that people use the same handles every day and would never expect or mandate that we use our real names.

Whether or not we should have to register with the WaPo so that our usernames are permanently our own is another question worth exploring.

Posted by: MadisonWIMom | October 27, 2006 11:02 AM

Nobody (Leslie included) is suggesting everybody should agree, or that they should change their mind based on what other posters say. I think the call here is for simple respect and politeness from those of us who care, and for ideas on ways to minimize the opposite from those who don't

Posted by: TakomaMom | October 27, 2006 11:04 AM

You whooooo--where are you? Once again, you post and run. Why do I get the feeling that you're off volunteering in your children's classrooms...running the PTA...and signing your next big book deal, or appearance on a morning TV news program, or Oprah. We we bimbos with too much time on our hands sit here and post and post and post so you can have high hit rates...and get a big check from The Washington Post. Plus, more visibility for your book...and any books you may be working on.

Posted by: LESLIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! | October 27, 2006 11:08 AM

"Thought #3: Rebeldad .... his posts have led to some of the nicest discussions on the board. Maybe there's something about the way he presents his post that seems to put things off on the right foot--just a thought."

Not true yesterday. He was proposing another war, Daddy Wars. He wants to see men do to each other what the women do to each other on this board, at the workplace, at the playground. Hardly a pacifist, don't you think?

He wants a bestselling book like Mommy Wars. He and Leslie have already discussed it.

Posted by: Tex | October 27, 2006 11:10 AM


We are all fools for falling for the ruse that Leslie has set up on this blog.

Posted by: Me | October 27, 2006 11:12 AM

Not sure where I stand on this-- aside from obvious trolls, who should of course be ignored, part of me thinks that the strongly worded comments help stimulate debate on this blog (it WOULD be boring if everyone agreed. On the other hand I have to disagree with Buffy-- tact is *not* avoiding the truth. Tact is the art of combining truth with good manners-- if you have a choice between saying something in an inflammatory way (as CbC often does) versus a friendly way (the way Rebeldad often does) picking friendly over inflammatory does not mean you're not speaking the truth.

I think that what I find far more annoying than the snark-factor itself is when the discussion get's completely derailed because people fixate on some completely irrelevant point (sometimes snarky, sometimes not). Like the discussion about European family policy the other day becoming all about some people's animosity toward French culture and how we saved their butts in WWII, or other cases where people largely miss the point and start arguing about someone's exact choice of words rather than the substance of their post. Those are the days things usually devolve into some vitriolic yet oddly boring back and forth. I think it's most interesting when we stay on topic and debate the issues vigorously (with the occasional recipe exchange thrown in now and again, of coruse :-)

Posted by: JKR | October 27, 2006 11:13 AM

We are all fools for falling for the ruse that Leslie has set up on this blog. I AGREE! Maybe we should stop posting...seriously.

Posted by: TO ME | October 27, 2006 11:14 AM

Troll Under Bridge: great summary. spot on, mate!

JKR: please, no recipes. who has time to cook?

pageboy

Posted by: Tex | October 27, 2006 11:16 AM

Many of the topics are of interest to me, but sifting through all the nastiness and personal attacks sure is a lot of work. Very negative.

Posted by: Suzy | October 27, 2006 11:18 AM

Proofreading-- ugh, I hate finding typos after the fact:

(it WOULD be boring if everyone agreed.)

"get's" should be 'gets'

"of coruse" should be 'of course'

Posted by: JKR | October 27, 2006 11:18 AM

Lou,

In my birthing class, the teacher recommended feeding the baby like crazy during the day and then letting him sleep as long as he wanted at night. I am a schedule person, so I nursed every three hours during the day, even if it meant waking them up from a nap. I would aim to have a midnight feeding and then let them sleep. Once they were sleeping until 7:00am, I started moving back the midnight feeding. When I got them to an 8:00ish bedtime, I started doing a 10:30 "dream feed" where I wouldn't turn on the lights or change a diaper -- just nurse and put them back to bed. My first started sleeping from midnight to 7 around 6 weeks and my twins started around 8 weeks. Good luck!

Posted by: 1+2mom | October 27, 2006 11:19 AM

I don't read the blog all the time, but from what I've read, most of the offensive stuff comes from (don't be shocked!) religious people saying that it isn't right to a) have a nanny, b) have both spouses work, c) get a divorce/separation, d) have a child out of wedlock, and of course, e) want a child if you are gay.

The solution frankly, is that people who don't understand that not everyone is like them, be booted off this, (and all) blogs entirely. This is about an exchange of ideas - AN EXCHANGE - not a push of one's belief onto another person.

Posted by: read infrequently | October 27, 2006 11:19 AM

I have worked in the message board/user response field for over six years, all tied to journalism. Other than the fact that there's really no controlling the pace and style of participation when its wide open like this, there's one simple prescription for tamping down the negativity either by others or from one's self, and that is to utilize more questions.

In lieu of attacking or defending based on an assumption, ask a question in order to clarify the view expressed or challenge mounted. Build dialogue based on seeking more information rather than based on reactions multiplied by more reactions. Easier said than done perhaps, but a worthy exercize.

And when a contribution has some merit, but also a degree of nastiness, respond to the merit and gently point out the nastiness, asking them if, "we can keep this more neutral, on-topic but less personal."

Posted by: Dignity for Single Parents | October 27, 2006 11:19 AM

Lou - The Weisbluth book is great. After three round the clock days with my five month old son (and caring for his 3 year old sister) I was pretty much losing it. This book was recommended and it saved my sanity. His basic premise is that (after the initial feed on demand newborn stage) kids need quality daytime sleep in order to sleep well at night. He recommends a very structured nap schedule and an early bedtime (6:30 - 7p).

Within a few days my son was sleeping 12 hours a night (7p - 7a). It completely changed his personality. No more whining and constant needing to be held. He became much more interactive, smiling etc. He was just so overtired that he couldn't sleep and then was miserable all the time.
The one downside was that my schedule was dictated by his daytime sleep schedule and very early bedtime. It was a worthwhile sacrifice for the first couple of years because it reduced the stress and exhaustion in our family.
I often give this book as a baby gift.

Good Luck!

Posted by: HappyMom | October 27, 2006 11:20 AM

Yep, I read this blog for about the first week of its life, before I realized the comments were just going to upset me. Now I drop in every few weeks to read an original post or two, but never the comment threads. A lot of people here are *mean*.

Posted by: h3 | October 27, 2006 11:21 AM

*off topic alert*

To Lou: I'm pregnant too and sleeping all I can. A body pillow helps you get comfy as you get bigger. I also bought a birthing book that happened to include a relaxation CD, which I've been listening to every night while falling asleep-- I'm sleeping so soundly! Keep this in mind if/when pregnancy insomnia strikes.

Also, if you're interested in baby books about getting a kid to sleep through the night, try "Happiest Baby on the Block". Someone on here recommended it a while back and I bought it-- the approach makes a lot of sense to me. Since reading it I've run into mothers who say it really worked for them.

Posted by: JKR | October 27, 2006 11:21 AM

Father of 4, thanks for asking! It's going well, I think I might even get it finished in time, but I'm worried he'll refuse to put it on ;) What are your kids going as?

On the topic of the day - I think the only reliable way to cut down on snark is to require posts to go under a person's user ID. However, while anonymity allows for snark, it also allows for honesty, and making that change will I think cut back on some anonymous posts that have been very thoughtful and revealing. Not sure if it's worth it.

Otherwise, I think most of this is par for the course. People are bound to misinterpret, misunderstand and read things into other posts (like assuming that when someone states that they are happy with their choice, they are implicitly criticizing everyone else's choices). That happens everywhere. Sure it would be nice if everyone would be willing to give others the benefit of the doubt, but with sensitive topics that is harder to do.

As for the peace-makers posts, I don't think people are trying to make themselves look better than the people who are arguing, I think some people genuinely get disturbed or frustrated and are trying to reorient discussion. Which is also inevitable and happens in other types of conversation too.

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 11:22 AM

I don't expect the Leslie or The Post to verify the authenticity of each submission, but I do think they should delete the false guidelines which claim: "entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed." That's patently not the case, nor does it seem possible they could check the authenticity of a signature. People seem to come to this blog for vastly different reasons: for discussion, for spectacle, for affirmation, for cathartic release, for sympathy, for abuse, for ideas, for the chance to lecture, etc. I'm all for strong debate (what's the point of discussing something with people who think just like you do?), but the personal attacks and negativity often seem to sidetrack the discussion. Given the sensitivity of the topics (how you live your life, raise your children, etc.), I'm actually surprised there's not more negativity than there is. I think a strong moderator would limit the discussion, although I do think the way the topics are set up (by Leslie & guest bloggers) sometimes goes a long way toward framing a fruitful discussion vs. igniting a blog brushfire.

Posted by: marc | October 27, 2006 11:22 AM

This blog is for parents: working, at home, half working, half at home. No other submissions are permitted. If you intend to submit anything that does not comport with these requirements, you will be called a "poo poo head."
.
Govern yourselves accordingly. That is all.

Posted by: BlogPolice | October 27, 2006 11:24 AM

I have to admit-sometimes the dirt is what I am here for!

I have been frantically searching yesterday's posts and can't find where it says that CbC is sleeping with a married man? Where is it? Do tell.

This is like watching a soap opera while at work!

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 11:24 AM

Since I think I honestly might be alone in this opinion, I should point out that I enjoy reading the tangents as well.

If someone poses an interesting, thought-provoking question in addition to their opinion on the initial topic, why should that be squashed? I am not suggesting that each day be an exercise in taking discussions of children and evolving them into long diatribes about satellite TV and hairspray. But if someone asks about how much sleep they can expect to have (above) and then someone else chimes in with discussions good books on the topic of sleep (tangent) -- why is that a bad thing?

Posted by: Proud Papa | October 27, 2006 11:28 AM

To Lou again,

I forgot to add that those first few weeks are pretty exhausting, even in the best of circumstances. Getting an hour here and there of sleep just isn't very fun. I remember looking in the mirror at about week 3 after my twins were born and thinking that I would never sleep for more than 2 hours ever again. I also remember nursing my son at 5:00am when he was three weeks old and just enjoying being with him in a completely quiet house while I listened to the birds sing and watched the sun rise. It is one of my favorite memories. It can be rough, but there are moments of extreme joy.

Posted by: 1+2mom | October 27, 2006 11:28 AM

Lou, on your question about sleep, we also co-slept and it made a huge difference for us. If it's something you're comfortable with, I highly recommend it. If you're concerned about the risks, I recommend doing your own research on this - there's a lot of misinformation on both sides, so you really need to sort through it all. I ended up feeling it was safe as long as we took certain precautions. Good luck!

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 11:29 AM

Sorry if this a repeat, I got some weird error message.

Lou, on the sleep question, we co-slept and it was wonderful for us. If it's something you're comfortable with, I definitely recommend it. If you're concerned about the talk of roll-overs and smothering, I recommend doing your own research on this. There's a lot of inaccurate information out there (on both sides) so it's worthwhile to sort it out for yourself. I ended up feeling it was safe as long as we took certain precautions, and it worked great for us.

Proud Papa - I often enjoy tangeants as well - not the "france sucks" types, but often the posts take the topic in much more interesting directions.

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 11:32 AM

I don't believe there could be a more devastating, life destroying event in a fit mothers life than to have the government take her children away from her without due process,or equal protection under the law. I don't believe women can even imagine or comprehend such an act, but that is the national policy in the family court systems for fit fathers, he is totally marganilized in his children's lives, if he has access at all. being civil about the role that NOW has played in this travesty of justice is impossible.

Posted by: mcewen | October 27, 2006 11:33 AM

CbC you are not Childless by Choice you are not human by choice

Posted by: Cheeseman | October 27, 2006 11:35 AM

Proud Papa - you're not alone. Sometimes, I find the tangents to be the best part, like on days like today where the original post is so ridiculous.

All that needs to be done on this blog is to have someone moderate and enforce the rules. It could seriously just be an intern or someone. Barring that, tie posts to login names. It wouldn't stop sockpuppets (see name pls), but it'll put an end to anonymous posters who just want to stir things up (as opposed to anonymous posters who do have something interesting to say).

Unfortunately, the old adage of ignoring jerks until they go away doesn't work on the internet. There will always be new trolls, and there will always be new posters who don't know that they shouldn't take the bait/can't recognize bait.

Posted by: Miss Piggy | October 27, 2006 11:35 AM

Childless by Choice -

this blog is about work/life balance, yes. But in the context of having children.

I have 2 cats. After my daughter was born, I almost forgot I have them. You cannot compare a cat (no matter how loved) to a child. I know its a cliche, but you just cannot understand what a child means to a parent unless you are one. I heard this before my daughter was born and thought it was crap; its not.

Why be insulting to people on this blog? Are you bored with your 'full life'? Isn't there a blog for childless people who have a tough time balancing work and home? Its very different when you have a kid. To be clear: I said different, not better, not worse. Additionally, everyone handles stress and difficult situations differently, childless or not.

Congrats on being childless by choice. I'm glad that you are not in the aweful position to want a child that you cannot have.

Posted by: Have a Child by Choice | October 27, 2006 11:38 AM

to "childless by choice" -- I hope my minor disagreement with your post will be taken just for what it is -- a disagreement. When your car is broken it's an inconvenience and an expense. When my child is sick --he is hurting and miserable and this takes an emotional toll on my family. The end result is that both of us will be late for work but I also will be torn emotionally between staying home with him and meeting a deadline and not appearing to be "slacking off".

Posted by: a parent | October 27, 2006 11:45 AM

" . . .from what I've read, most of the offensive stuff comes from (don't be shocked!) religious people saying that it isn't right to a) have a nanny, b) have both spouses work, c) get a divorce/separation, d) have a child out of wedlock, and of course, e) want a child if you are gay.

The solution frankly, is that people who don't understand that not everyone is like them, be booted off this, (and all) blogs entirely. This is about an exchange of ideas - AN EXCHANGE - not a push of one's belief onto another person."

I find this pretty offensive, on several levels. First, it appears to stereotype all religious people as close-minded bigots. Second, it appears to try and push any discussion of religious convictions out of bounds, by simply assuming that anyone who takes religion seriously is trying to "push" their beliefs "onto" people, rather than exchanging their ideas.

I would suggest that all sorts of people (vegetarians, free-trade advocates, opponents of global trade) try to aggressively push (rather than "exchange") all sorts (vegetarianism, free-trade, protectionism) in all sorts of forums. Others do in fact try to discuss and persuade, while honestly listening to what everyone else has to say.

Third, it characterizes religious individuals as hateful and vitriolic, while absolving everyone else. This is simply ludicrous - there's enough blame to go around on this blog (like many others).

read infrequently notes attributes several moral stances to the people she objects to. Presumably, (s)he believes some are not moral questions at all, but rather practical ones (I'm inclined to agree). Fine - say so, and explain why. Others, I suspect, read infrequently would acknowledge are moral questions, but (s)he simply comes down hard on the other side. Again, that's cool - say so and explain why.

We have some serious, growing divides in this country - and the attitudes that appear to be expressed by read infrequently are not helpful. The WP and it's readers can certainly kick religious believers out of their clubhouse. That doesn't mean they'll disappear (or stop voting). It's GOOD that I, who am a believer, read the same paper and participate in the same blogs as read infrequently. Who knows - I might learn something (it's happened before). And there just might be something useful that read infrequently could learn from me.

I do know that if we segregate ourselves, we will become more divided and less understanding of each other. "read" will become more likely to believe that anyone who takes religion seriously as a guide to life and morals is an ignorant bigot - and we will become more likely to assume that "read" and the people and organizations she affiliates are actively hostile to us and to our beliefs.

"read" - what message do you want a religious person to get from your suggestion that we "be booted off this, (and all) blogs entirely"? Are you hostile to religious faith? Why?

Posted by: Religious Person | October 27, 2006 11:49 AM

I think childless by choice could bring another view into the blog, if she didn't do so in such a negative way. I dont' care that you don't have kids, but you don't always have to asuume that people with kids are out to get ya!

Lou,

CBC admited herself a long time ago that she is sleeping with a married man. I think that is also where some of the venom comes from because she seems to have no remorse at all about his wife.

Posted by: scarry | October 27, 2006 11:50 AM

I think it's funnier that all the venom regarding her relationship is directed at CbC and not the man who is cheating. He is never the "horrible person". Only her. Hmmm...

Posted by: Mistress | October 27, 2006 11:54 AM

There is a difference between tangential discussions (e.g. sleeping after baby) and derailing discussions (e.g. US good, France bad). Sometimes the discussion gets so derailed by people lobbing insults at each other - that's what I personally find aggravating.

Posted by: fabwm | October 27, 2006 11:57 AM

The fact that CbC is sleeping with a married man says a lot about her (and a lot about the man). She has no respect-for herself, the institute of marriage, his wife, and (hopefully not) his children.

Sounds sad all around.

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 11:57 AM

Ps- Thanks for all of the tips on sleeping after the baby comes.

We actually have friends and relatives that have coslept. Some love it and still have a family bed.

Others found that they and the baby were getting less sleep because they were always afraid that every movement and noise [not the ones you are thinking ;)]would wake the baby!

I guess a lot of it is "learn as you go" and we will see.

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 11:59 AM

We don't comment on the man Cbc is having an affair with because he hasn't posted here. I bet you if a male poster admitted he was having an affair we'd be all over him as well. Enough with the "nobody's blaming him" tagline.

And reads infrequently - your post really is an unfair attack at those with religious views. If you read the blog more frequently you would know that strong views are expressed by everyone depending on what the topic is. Plus, I've been on this board a lot and I don't typically see people posting about whether they are religous or not.

Posted by: fabwm | October 27, 2006 12:02 PM

Why do the first few posters to this blog always feel the need to write a thesis on the topic of the day? There is no reality here; how can anyone be hurt or offended? But this never-ending, rambling essays ruin the whole message board. Limit all posts to 500 characters.

Posted by: bkp | October 27, 2006 12:04 PM

I feel really strongly that anonymity is part of what makes our discussions so interesting. But it is a double-edged sword because the invisibility cloak allows people to be nasty. I often wonder: are they REALLY that mean, or does the anonymity allow them to vent in an exaggerated fashion?

Often I wish I could be anonymous, too. I imagine that being able to post anonymously is part of the blog's intrinsic appeal.

Anyone who thinks I (or anyone else) could actually "moderate" this discussion completely underestimates the strength and volume of the posters! And I don't WANT to moderate the discussion. At the least, I'd get in the way of the honesty and flow of the dialogue. At worst, if I started deleting every commment I thought was unfair, my biases and my frustrations with some people's views would warp the whole discussion.

But I don't write something and then walk away. I read all the comments with great interest, laughing and reflecting and sometimes getting really angry (although this past month I've been travelling a lot on business so sometimes I read the comments at night instead of real time). My computer is at my desk in the corner of the kitchen so my kids and husband are always coming up to me to ask what is so funny or so ridiculous.

All I'm trying to say today is that there is an invisible line. When posters start using phrases like "shame on you" or "you shouldn't have had children in the first place" I think they've gone too far. For the most part they have to be tolerated to keep the spirit of the blog intact. But I wish we could self-police a bit more. It is hard to defend yourself without sounding defensive -- and adding fuel to the fire. What seems most effective is to ignore the offender or wait for someone else to tell them he/she is out of line.

Along these lines, I've often said a silent thank you to posters who've defended me. It is particularly hard for me to defend myself or to acknowledge them, given that I can't be anonymous. Usually I have a pretty thick skin (requirement of the job) but I always appreciate the words of support and encouragement.

Posted by: Leslie | October 27, 2006 12:06 PM

"the institute of marriage"

Can anyone tell me where this is located?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:07 PM

Mistress - CBC's adulterous partner is a slimebag, but he is not on this blog defending his affair - CBC is. I am pretty sure her "secret lover" isn't advertising his affair like she is - but who knows, maybe he wants to get caught and live happily ever after with CBC? Yikes.

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 12:07 PM

Loved this from Hax today:

Atlanta, Ga.: Why is everyone so focused on having children? I see a world that is already over-populated and unsustainable and would not want to bring a child into this mess. Am I the only one that feels this way? Is popular culture driving it (graduate, get married, buy house, have children, divorce...)? So is it nature, nuture, a combination or just shortsightedness? What am I missing?
Carolyn Hax: Not "everyone" is so focused on having children. Take the chip off your shoulder and just let us respect your choice not to have kids. People combine their circumstances and values and ideals and beliefs and either choose to have kids or they don't. Thinking people can come to different conclusions, and neither conclusion has sole claim to the moral high ground.

Unless you voluntarily decline to collect Social Security, or health care, legal work, or grocery-bagging performed people younger than you are. Then it's allll yours.

Posted by: The original just a thought | October 27, 2006 12:10 PM

So sue me! I should have said "institution". Can you say petty!?

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 12:12 PM

"I bet you if a male poster admitted he was having an affair we'd be all over him as well. Enough with the "nobody's blaming him" tagline."

I think this misses the point. It's not the gender that matters; it's the marital status. Why should the adultering spouse get a free ride but the fornicating "other man/woman" get hammered as though the fault was his/hers alone?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:12 PM

I agree that it doesn't have anything to do with gender. It has to do with the fact that CbC volunteered the information, that, in my "absolute opinion", is despicable.

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 12:15 PM

the best thing about this blog are the spelling and grammer police!

Posted by: Father of 4 | October 27, 2006 12:16 PM

Okay, let me rephrase - I bet you if a married poster admitted he/she was having an affair we'd be all over him/her as well.
Who on earth agrees that the "fornicating spouse" gets a free ride??? CBC is getting flamed not because she is the non-married party to the affair but because she could care less that she is destroying a marriage. Same would be said of her partner if he posted here.

Posted by: fabwm | October 27, 2006 12:17 PM

It's a thin line between spirited discourse and nastiness. Or between being provacative and being downright stank.

When I sense things are going downhill, I limit my posts or don't even the that blog just based on the day's title.

Humor, wit, sarcasm and quirkiness make things fun. But some of what I read here does not rise to that level. I feel that the nastiness that goes on here is a reflection of society at large, where people are either so stressed or so self-important (or both) that consideration and tolerance for others is practically non-existent.

I think the clearly "ist" comments (racist, sexist, classist, and similar) could stand to be removed, but even that can at times be a judgment call. Ignoring may be the best thing.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | October 27, 2006 12:17 PM

Fo4- If they are that bored they should go play Sudoku or something! Bug off to them!

http://www.uclick.com/client/wpc/wpdoc/

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 12:17 PM

We didn't start the fire...

When we play with fire we get burned.

Some here just can't resist "adding fuel to the fire."

I'm gonna get fired!

Fire up the rude comments and personal attacks.

Fire away.

Flame away.

I'm going down in flames.

My old flame, I can't even remember (her) name.

Posted by: Mr. EstrogenCentral | October 27, 2006 12:18 PM

"So sue me! I should have said "institution". Can you say petty!?"

It wouldn't have been so funny if you hadn't been so snooty.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:19 PM

I don't mind negativity until it gets personal. Most of the flaming on this blog is self-righteous, some has been racist, and some has been simple intolerance. Some negativity will always come out on this blog because it's anonymous. Reasoned arguments are the best, but that can't be enforced. Neither can civility or asking people to be "supportive of each other". I'm sure we'd all appreciate it if there were fewer personal attacks. Other than that, this blog does entertain...

Posted by: Common Sense | October 27, 2006 12:19 PM

"Anyone who thinks I (or anyone else) could actually "moderate" this discussion completely underestimates the strength and volume of the posters!"

Cop-out. Leslie, there are any number of well-moderated forums on the internet - forums that have rules and have people to enforce those rules, and have a greater volume of posting than this blog (you think 200-500 posts a day is a lot? HA!). While I'm sure you, personally, cannot moderate this blog due to time issues, I'm just as sure that WP can keep a couple interns around to make sure that the basic posted rules are followed and enforced.

You can still post mostly-anonymously with a handle. I don't know who Meesh is. I don't know Scarry. I don't know who any of the regulars are - I could meet them on the street and have no idea that they post to this blog. But by forcing people to use one handle per email address (and nobody needs to know what that email address is except for WP), it'll be easier for some poor intern to track who's posting what, and deal with unsavory posters accordingly.

Posted by: A. Nonny Mouse | October 27, 2006 12:21 PM

I don't have much experience with message boards, but my wife has been on a few as a regular poster for nearly 10 years now. One is moderated, one not. The moderated one is far more civil, has few flames, little sockpuppetry, and is as boring as the "seatcushion as a flotation device" lecture on the third leg of your flight. The unmoderated one is filled with vitriol and sockpuppetry and flame wars, but the moms there have grown so close over the years that they actually gather once or twice a year to meet, despite being spread across the country (and in some cases on other continents).
In the end, I think the only solution that works is to ignore the posts that irk you and respond to the people who move you. Kinda like life outside the computer -- you can lose an awful lot of time and energy flailing about why someone should shut up, but you can't shut them up, so just move on.
I am a little frustrated that there are posted rules and no one to enforce them. But my preference would be to just remove the posted rules, not to start pretending they can be enforced.

Posted by: sct | October 27, 2006 12:22 PM

"It has to do with the fact that CbC volunteered the information, that, in my "absolute opinion", is despicable."

What is "despicable"? The fact that CbC volunteered the info or the info itself?

Please make your accusations clear and comprehensible.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:23 PM

megan, since my family is barely scraping by financially, baby boy will wear his Superman pajamas and my annoying son will wear his Tae Kwon Do uniform when they go out trick or treating. I, like always, will be the blind begger.

Posted by: Father of 4 | October 27, 2006 12:23 PM

"the best thing about this blog are the spelling and grammer police!"

That would be "grammar" police, Fo4.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:27 PM

The information of course. See, I guess it is hard to be totally clear on a blog.

Why was I being snooty?

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 12:29 PM

"Who on earth agrees that the "fornicating spouse" gets a free ride???"

I didn't say this. Check back to the post. I said that the "adultering spouse" gets the free ride. That is, the married guy with children who is sleeping with CbC.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:30 PM

CMAC,

Momof4 sort of explained "absolute opinion" earlier. My understanding of it, based on her clarification, is that it is what I would call a "belief"; an opinion that you hold so strongly that you think those that disagree with you are wrong, even though you may understand and accept that there will always be people who disagree with you.

That sounds bad, doesn't it? It doesn't mean that the person who holds an "absolute opinion" is being judgmental; if you accept that there will always be people who disagree with you, that shows a level of open-mindedness which (I think) is not compatible with being judgmental.

Posted by: Jen | October 27, 2006 12:30 PM

Correction-

HOW was I being snooty???

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 12:32 PM

Alright - I feel like I'm guilty of derailing the discussion so this is the last time I'll post on this. I meant to say "adulterous spouse".

Posted by: fabwm | October 27, 2006 12:34 PM

"Why was I being snooty?"

I don't know. Having a bad day?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:34 PM

This is the second day in a row where I've found myself with nothing to add to the discussion. I did have many thoughts as I caught up with the blog (kids have a day off school today so the day is wacky). I don't want to be a me-too-ist.

I suppose I prefer the blog topics generating opinions about the topic itself, rather than grammar police or CbC.

Posted by: dotted | October 27, 2006 12:36 PM

Ok, I am actually having a great day.

Again, how was I being snooty? As you said, "Please make your accusations clear and comprehensible."

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 12:37 PM

I'm enjoying the off topic postings about sleep.

I have a 7 month old who is a terrible sleeper. She often won't fall asleep when I put her down for naps, and rarely sleeps for more than a 4 hour stretch at night. I often say that its a good thing I don't work with any equipment more dangerous than a computer - I'd be a hazard due to sleep deprivation!

The Weissbluth book was very helpful for my first child, now 3. She is a champion sleeper. She was sleeping from 6pm-4am with no food at night by 5 months. After that we switched to formula and she added 2 hours.

I'm still nursing #2, however, and suspect that this may contribute to the night wakings. She is also still in a crib in our room due to space constraints. The Weissbluth strategies have yet to work with her. I am contemplating moving out to the couch and going cold turkey at night until she starts sleeping better.

So back to the original poster (Lou?) I also used to really enjoy sleep. But I have found that I can function surprisingly well without it.

Posted by: more about sleeping | October 27, 2006 12:38 PM

anyone else notice the timestamp clock is already moved back to standard time...or do my noticer need to fixed too?

Posted by: dotted | October 27, 2006 12:38 PM

Lou,

I'm sorry. Actually, I'M having the bad day and am twitting you just to be a jerk.

"Snooty" was probably the wrong word. It's just that you sounded a little, well, "puffy" when you were talking about respect.

Again, though, it's my bad manners at work here.

Please forgive.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:42 PM

The "can't we all get along" posters are annoying because they interpret any comment other than some form of, "you go, girl" as mean. For example, with respect to Marisa's guest blog, several posters who made thoughtful points about resources, and the unintended consequences of Marissa's choices, they were roundly slammed as "negative", no matter how neutrally the points were made, by the happy-face crowd. What's the point of a blog if all of the comments are akin, to "I am inspired, as well."

To challenge a choice or statement is not the same as being negative or nasty.

and, while I'm not saying that moral choices don't say alot about character, the only difference between Childless by Choice and many of us is that she's told the board about her choices that are morally reprehensible and, at minimum, not socially accepted. Many of us have skeletons in the closet that are just as ugly, but that we don't share with the board.

Posted by: NC lawyer | October 27, 2006 12:42 PM

Thanks Leslie for chiming in and letting us know where you stand on this blog.

Please start by removing the joke that user comments that include personal attacks will be removed. Then remove the nonsense about anonymous posts being deleted. Actually, take down all that garbage about your high and mighty "rules" about this board.

It is hypocritical to be trumpeting these high standards when you don't enforce them at all.

Let the truth be told: this is the wild wild west. Anything and everything goes.

Red Alert! Shields Up! Arm photon torpedoes. Scotty, I need more shields!!

Posted by: Me | October 27, 2006 12:43 PM

Boy, am I ever late to the party (200 comments before 2 p.m.? Wow).

For starters, I appreciate the honest tone of the discussions here, though -- let's face it -- some of you could stand to be a bit more civil. But that's up to you ... I don't want to tell anyone what they should say.

Second, it's well worth reading Lifehacker's guide to commenting: http://www.lifehacker.com/software/top/geek-to-live--lifehackers-guide-to-weblog-comments-126654.php, which notes that anonymous posting is "cowardly" and has this advice on trolls: "No matter how many articles like this get written, there will always be people who surf around the Internet and inject pointless vindictiveness into any available textarea. Don't let the terrorists win. Do NOT acknowledge these people with refutations, disagreements or even a mention of their screen name."

Third, to "To: Leslie": Thanks.

Fourth, to "Tex": There's no book deal in the works for me. I assure you I have no sinister motives for posting. This is an honest labor of love.

As for "Daddy Wars:" if you thought I was pitting father against father in an attempt to gin up controversy for controversy's sake, I obviously didn't make my point clearly enough. So let me try once more: dads will increasingly come into conflict with their employers, and that outcome of that conflict will be increasingly important in the kind of balance options available to all.

Yes, using the term "war" is hyperbolic. And I promise to start stop using hyperbole as soon as you all do :)

Posted by: Brian Reid | October 27, 2006 12:43 PM

Thanks to the person who helped clarify my point about getting off topic-- occasional friendly off-topic asides are one thing; the whole blog discussion being pulled asunder by a 'France is stupid' red-herring is another.

I agree with sct that moderated blogs are sometimes get boring. E.g., there is actually a moderated version of this blog-- it's called "Domestic Disturbances" and it's written by Judith Warner at the New York Times. I like Warner, but sometimes her blog posts are pretty inflammatory. The thing is everyone has to respond with their real name-- and you know what? Only about 25-50 posts appear each day and the debates are rarely as fun and interesting as the ones here. I personally never post there, not because I don't want other posters to see who I am but because I don't want my boss to see me posting to blogs at 3:00 in the afternoon (don't scold me--never thought I would be a disgruntled employee, but I am and I'm also working on moving on from this job asap. Frankly, I'm not sure I approve of myself posting to this blog all day instead of working, but I'm so bored and demoralized at work my work ethic has suffered... but my navel gazing is a whole other off-topic discussion...).

And just to go completely off-off-topic: CMAC, I saw you posted on the Lost board... I'm addicted, too, but agree 100% they need to throw us a bone!

Posted by: JKR | October 27, 2006 12:46 PM

You're forgiven. And I have to admit, I was quite surprised by the apology.

"Snooty" or "puffy" were not what I intended. I actually thought (and still think) that I was calling a spade a spade. I think it's hard to defend cheating.

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 12:48 PM

NC lawyer,

Yes, you're so right. The "happy-face crowd" (as you so colorfully call them) often seem bent on extinguishing any debate whatsoever.

Sometimes it just seems as though they've spent too many afternoons in the park, saying, "Play nicely, girls and boys."

Ugh.

Posted by: pittypat | October 27, 2006 12:48 PM

Don't use the word "terrorist" to describe an anonymous poster. It's not even close. A terrorist flew a plane into the WTC, the pentagon. They drove a truck bomb into the marine barracks in Lebanon. They planted a bomb on Pan Am and murdered over 200 people. Do not overuse this word and thus cheapen the horrifying effect it has and should always have.

Posted by: Nitpicky | October 27, 2006 12:50 PM

Father of 4.

You are happy the board has g-r-a-m-m-e-r police? I'll try to avoid them as I know not what they are...

Also, for those of you on here demanding the Post do away with anonymity I have one thing to say...

I'd never put myself through the ringer like Father of 4 did. You guys were the rudest female dogs ever when he was the guest blogger.

You don't want the truth you just want your own facade. And I'm okay with that, because I'm right 99% of the time. ;-)

Posted by: Mr. EstrogenCentral | October 27, 2006 12:51 PM

Thanks, Lou.

And you're right about cheating. I can't personally condone it, although I can't quite bring myself to judge people who do it, either.

Anyway, sorry for being a jerk. I think I'll take myself off the board for now, as I probably just shouldn't be posting at all today.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:54 PM

The only racist posts on this board are directed at white people. Most of the sexist stuff is directed at men.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 12:54 PM

If we do not refer to everything as a War, the terrorists win. (snark)

Good to hear from you Brian. I was beginning to think we had ticked you off yesterday.

And, there's a Lost board? Where? (This was actually a pretty easy way to distract me from posting on this board.)

Posted by: Proud Papa | October 27, 2006 12:55 PM

Fo4, sounds like you will be quite a troup. The idea of wearing pajamas as a costume reminded me of one of my friends who told me that when she was little, she loved her Wonder-Woman UnderRoos (the only pair she had!)so much that the first day of first grade she jumped up on the table, stripped down to her UnderRoos, and started spinning around shouting "Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman!" She was sent home early and thought that was terribly unfair.

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 12:56 PM

Actually I loved seeing the women tear into the blind man father of 4. Leslie did a wonderful job offering up this poor chap as a sacrificial lamb for the beastesses (grammar police please fix).

That ranks as the absolute best blog of all time!

Posted by: ToEstrogenCentral | October 27, 2006 12:57 PM

"Do not overuse this word [terrorist] and thus cheapen the horrifying effect it has and should always have."

Could we also agree to do the same with "Nazi"?

Posted by: pittypat | October 27, 2006 1:00 PM

Are there technical difficulties, because I have been reading a lot of repeat posts? Anyway, "You" hit on the point that I was going to make. "Nastiness" is too subjective to police...period. Leslie was even accused of being nasty, and I'm sure she did not think so when wrote whatever she wrote that is causing her to be called a hypocrite. Too many have suggested we start policing emails. According to what? Which Care Bear is going to be hired for this task? Someone even suggested that we edit according to word count. Get serious! This is going to become one dry blog. Anonymity or no anonymity, this is the world we live in. People are direct. People say what's on their mind. I've had some years on this planet, and it doesn't matter where you are- the playground, family feuds, church meetings, spats with significant other, job conflicts- be prepared to take what the other person is going to say.
P.S. userids won't work. Mine is something ridiculous I chose after I had too much difficulty signing in under my real name.

Posted by: dcp | October 27, 2006 1:00 PM

father of 4,

I have an extra pumpkin outfit I can mail you for baby boy if you want it. I bought it for my daughter who refused to wear it. I was really upset because I thought it was cute.

Posted by: scarry | October 27, 2006 1:00 PM

As for the off the topic topic.

My wife and I found with our first (now 7) when she was about 2 we started letting her stay up later, in the hopes that she'd sleep in longer. What we found was we:

a.) started missing out on couple time due to the 9-9:30 bed time.

b.) she was getting up earlier and earlier.

So we figured, we'll just reclaim our couple time from 8:00-9:30 and deal with the early riser.

Funny thing is she went from sleeping 8-9 hours a night to sleeping a full 12. First time parents can be so clueless.

Well now that she's 7 she still goes to bed at 8, but now is usually out of bed by 6:30 and that's fine, we make sure she knows where the matches are for making a fire, and that the liquor cabinet doesn't have the good stuff on the high shelves. We wouldn't want her drinking the cheap stuff.

Our 5 and 2 year olds would sleep until 9 a.m. if we let them. So that 8 o'clock routine even though we had to fight for a week to get it has been a lifesaver/marriage saver.

Posted by: Mr. EstrogenCentral | October 27, 2006 1:02 PM

So - I'll use today's topic to seek forgiveness.

A while back I posted late one evening that Megan and Scarry's discussion could "get old". That was wrong and I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?

It was wrong period because it was rude. However, I think my understanding of Scarry and Megan was wrong also. I quite the blog cold-turkey after making that post but have slowly been lured back recently (mostly as a lurker). Scarry and Megan, I find your posts to be among the most refreshing and constructive of the bunch.

I apologize for being rude and I apologize for misunderstanding.

Posted by: becky | October 27, 2006 1:09 PM

dcp, I think people just want the Post or Leslie to enforce the rules. The most obvious one is to delete all anonymous posts. Next is to delete all profanity, personla attacks or other inappropriate comments. Just enfore the rules.

"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed"

Posted by: To dcp | October 27, 2006 1:10 PM

Jen - M04 should just call it a strong belief then. Absolute Opinion is silly. If I started walking around telling people the difference between my "opinion" and "Absolute opinion" they would look at me like I had lobsters coming out of my ears.

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 1:13 PM

"quit" not "quite"

Please don't let that detract from my message!

Posted by: becky | October 27, 2006 1:13 PM

*off topic alert*

Proud Papa: Every Thursday morning on WaPo's Celebritology they post a deconstruction of the previous night's episode and the commentariate has at it. That's where I saw cmac's post. It was through that blog that I discovered this site: http://darkufo.blogspot.com/ an 'All about Lost' site that includes a catalogue of mysteries and answers (at least those we've gotten so far). Have fun!

Posted by: JKR | October 27, 2006 1:14 PM

"...they would look at me like I had lobsters coming out of my ears."

Love that image, cmac. LOL!

Posted by: pittypat | October 27, 2006 1:17 PM

Becky,

I feel bad that you quite the blog because of me and Megan, but I remember that blog. It was a bad one, but many more followed after that so don't feel bad. I have left the blog and came back two or three times. The truth is that I like most of the people on this blog. Even the people that I don't always agree with, I still like. I know that I am abrasive sometimes and that it probably seems worse over the internet, but I truly don't mean to annoy or insult. Well, sometimes I do, but I really shouldn't!

In the spirit of the blog today, I apologize for any and all of the mean stuff I have said to people or even the stuff that has been taken out of context by other readers of the blog. Welcome back Becky!

I

Posted by: scarry | October 27, 2006 1:21 PM

Sorry NC Lawyer - you had me on the first part of your post - the "Happy face crowd" comments were right on. However, the second point on skeletons in the closet are downright wrong. We all have skeletons, but I admit my mistakes and try to learn from them while CBC relishes in them. She is proud that she is sleeping with a married man and wants us all to know that we could be next! She mocks and ridicules everyone in a general sense then gets irritated when people complains she is mean - because it is not personal. Geez!

I have never had and extra marital affair and wouldn't wish it on anyone. I have made plenty of mistakes but I don't air my dirty laundry and cry that people are judging me. Sounds like "don't hate me because I am beautiful."

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 1:27 PM

I lurk and find this blog to be a fascinating one. It does seem that people come here for the controversy.The great guest blog by Melissa Rauch got very little hits because it was positive and upbuilding, in my opinion. But you put "war" or "attack" or anything inflammatory in a headline, it will get hundreds of hits.
I think the main problem with this blog is poor moderation. I think Leslie might be confused about the role of a good moderator and frankly, I don't believe she reads every post or pays real attention. I am not trying to be hurtful or snide, just expressing my opinion. A good moderator doesn't have to be a referee, breaking up every fight, but they should fulfill the role outline in their job description:
Delete anonymous emails
Delete personal attacks
Encourage conversation

Maybe the crowds wouldn't get so rowdy if someone was watching the field.

Posted by: NFONWM | October 27, 2006 1:28 PM

Pitty: The "lobster coming out of my ears" quote is from "A Christmas Story" - if you have not seen it you must. All about a kid - Ralphie - growing up in Indiana in the 1940's and all he wants for Christmas is a Red Rider BB Gun. It will make you laugh like crazy.

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 1:31 PM

OK, another off-topic question...

I don't think I've ever talked about any gender bias in front of my kids-- they're little, and it's complicated. So I was surprised to hear my 4.5-year-old daughter complain that many, many more songs and stories at her Montessori preschool are about boys than girls. She promptly named a bunch of them-- baa, baa, black sheep, Puff the Magic Dragon, etc. I'm sure she's right-- in general, there are a whole lot more songs and stories about boys than girls. How do I handle this? Should I talk to the teachers? Tell my daughter to get used to it? What kind of explanation do I give to my daughter?

Posted by: Neighbor | October 27, 2006 1:33 PM

JKR - The Lost board was good yesterday - I am glad I found it. I can't believe there are only 2-3 episodes left for the fall. That ticks me off.

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 1:36 PM

I would think that having a user name attached that one chooses and is not an email address would retain the anonymity that people want. I suggest putting the posters' IDs or name at the *top* of the post rather than the bottom - that way it's easier to skip the posts from those you prefer not to read. Or at least you know to take it with a big grain of salt ... Does anyone else sometimes scroll to the bottom if the post is really long or really obnoxious to see who wrote it?

Posted by: SS | October 27, 2006 1:39 PM

CMAC, you have a good point. it's all about our attitude about our choices, isn't it?

Posted by: nc lawyer | October 27, 2006 1:39 PM

A CHRISTMAS STORY is one of the best movies of all time!!!!!

......you'll shoot your eye out, kid!

Posted by: The original just a thought | October 27, 2006 1:41 PM

Scarry - to be fair, it wasn't because of you two. It was because I was tired of feeling angry all day long! I rarely posted and comments were never directed at me personally. Nevertheless, some comments penetrated deeply and I wasn't able to brush them off. I was questioning myself and my choices in a unhealthy way. It shouldn't have bothered me so much and doesn't anymore. I was in a time of transition and resenting certain things - it was hard to read comments scoffing my choices.

Thanks for welcoming me back :-)

Posted by: becky | October 27, 2006 1:41 PM

This is good advice, not just for blogging, but for daily life. My kids are grown, but while they were growing up and going through struggles, I was shocked at how many moms thought it was okay to play holier than thow over my parenting. Even though I'm well educated and have a minor in psychology, with three incredibly different kids I always felt as if I was flying by the seat of my pants and would never have presumed to judge another parent...especially when they were experiencing difficulties. I thank God every day that they seem to be doing well in life. I had one of these parents approach me recently to apologize, but, you know, her child turned out fine even though she took the exact opposite approach! We both mothered with love. So my advice is be encouraging, not critical because every child is different.

Posted by: Ellen | October 27, 2006 1:42 PM

It never occured to me that children's songs reference boys more than girls - food for thought. Rather than make it an issue with her school I would just tell her to interject girl for boy in the songs. My son's name is not a typical name so you're never going to find his name in a song so I just replace the name with his - works so far!

Posted by: fabwm | October 27, 2006 1:43 PM

To Neighbor -

Please let me know if you figure out the gender-bias question. I have 2 boys followed by a girl and it's been hard to see how much bias there still is - songs, books, etc... One of my hardest habits to overcome (still working on it) is to refer to an unknown as a "she" as often as a "he." Or, if there's an animal, not to always fall into using "he" to describe the unknown. I admit to avoiding this topic with my 4 year old - I tend to redirect or offer to find a story about a girl character. Sometimes we just switch all the pronouns so the main character is a she. I guess I'm not sure how to explain cultural views that hold girls and women in lower regard to a child that I hope never *gets* that message.

Posted by: SS | October 27, 2006 1:45 PM

Or tell her to make up her own song about a girl. That way there will be one more girly song, AND she will be proud of herself for making it up.

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 1:47 PM

Play nice. Be positive, helpful. Don't respond to abusive posts. Most people are struggling sincerely with their issues and don't deserve to be beaten up, especially by people who don't even know them.

Posted by: Daddy Mike | October 27, 2006 1:47 PM

LOL- so the cure for all posting negativity is just saying "Hey guys, let's discuss the issue and be positive"? Why didn't anyone think of that in the past 2 decades?????

I guess meta posts are always nice to know someone cares- but it won't change anything. Blogging/posting culture is what it is and there will always be people who don't "get" posting humor, who have a bad day, who insist that "disagree" = "dislike" and take things personally...it's just how posters are.

And I really don't want to post if people are going to be pressured to be "positive." Discussions are all sorts of things- limiting them in tone won't really result in an open and interacting forum.

Posted by: Liz | October 27, 2006 1:48 PM

Don't change anything please. I post anonymously so I get it off my chest, you know? It helps take out my frustrations because of childcare, work stress, colicky baby, insensitive hubby.

Sometimes I get pleasure from criticizing someone else. It makes me feel better but also guilty. I am sorry.

I read that the advertisers count the number of comments. Is that true? Then there is benefit to accepting everyone's post, no?

Posted by: dont change | October 27, 2006 1:50 PM

Although, there is that one, about boys are made or snakes and mice, etc., and girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.

I forget exactly the words, but I remind my husband of it often. :)

Posted by: Lou | October 27, 2006 1:51 PM

Good points, SS. I will work on referring to animals as "she." My daughter has already been asking me to change the gender of many animals in stories.

I remember feeling annoyed as a 4-year-old playing "The Farmer in the Dell" that the daughter was the lowest-ranked human in the family, just above the dog. My daughter has never played "The Farmer in the Dell" so that one hasn't come up...

Posted by: Neighbor | October 27, 2006 1:51 PM

Becky,

Wow, it's really kind of you to come back and apologize after all this time, thank you! But it is unnecessary, I know that Scarry and I have gotten carried away in the past and I can definitely come across more aggressively than I mean to. But I really do appreciate your kind words today, and I hope you'll come and stay. I too feel badly that you felt you had to leave after that - I've definitely tried to leave but like Scarry, in spite of all the goofiness on this board I enjoy it and really like the people here.

So, in the spirit of paying it forward (I'm sure this is very irritating to someone ;)), I was thinking after reading these of a day when I got very caught up and carried away in a debate with mj and Dadwannabe on breastfeeding at work, and I remember being very aggressive, so I apologize to both of you. And to anyone else I've been nasty to but don't remember!

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 1:52 PM

I believe advertisers track the number of viewings a webpage has, whether you post or not. So deleting a post shouldn't affect advertising revenue. Tech people please confirm.

Posted by: fabwm | October 27, 2006 1:52 PM

An advertiser who cared to check would see that the ads only appear at the top of the page, and everytime I refresh, I only see the last post, no ads.

The Ads by Google folks get far more exposure at the bottom of the page than the poor Dow/Sprint folks...

Posted by: Click Fraud | October 27, 2006 1:56 PM

Expression of an opinion anonymously is cowardly.

Posted by: R M Kraus | October 27, 2006 1:57 PM

To the pregnant one who wants to know when she could sleep, I can tell you simply this:
When you become a parent, you NEVER get to sleep the whole night.

Doesn't even matter if your kids are 26, 24, 21 and 15 like mine.

Posted by: Long time Father | October 27, 2006 1:58 PM

Everytime you hit "refresh" to reload the page to get the latest postings, you are counted.

Leslie will still not reveal the real reason she will not moderate this board. She won't enforce the simple rules that will make this a nicer place for all.

We've read many good suggestions from concerned bloggers. Let's see if advertising revenue truimphs instead.

Posted by: To fabwm | October 27, 2006 1:59 PM

Neighbor, wow, that's really interesting and amazing that your daughter picked up on it. I think if she's discovered that, talking to her about it straightforwardly might be productive. Like asking her how she noticed it, and why she thinks it is, and how it makes her feel, etc. I don't mean to start putting feminist dogma in her mouth, I mean more that she's obviously thinking critically about what she's hearing and drawing her out more on might encourage that level of engagement. I also really like the idea of helping her come up with songs or stories herself.

SS good call on making animals she. I've discovered that I consistently make certain ones he and certain ones she, and bugs are basically all he except for ladybugs. It's so odd.

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 2:00 PM

I notice that in my picture books cows is always be girls. Why is that? Raceism!

Posted by: Mom of 14 | October 27, 2006 2:04 PM

nc lawyer - yes, CBC is proud she is wrong.

To The original just a thought: The 24 hours of A Christmas Story on TCM (I think that is the station) is usually Xmas Eve and I watch it all day. Between that and "It's a wonderful life" it is a miracle I get anything done over the holidays. I am already in the Xmas mood!

Posted by: cmac | October 27, 2006 2:04 PM

To Neighbor: Kudos for your daughter! She is so very perceptive to be picking up on these injustices from such an early age. At least there is one that won't be brainwashed by this male-dominated society.

Posted by: Named | October 27, 2006 2:06 PM

Lou,
I've read Weissbluth, Ferber, and (at the other end of the spectrum) The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. Crying it out didn't work for my kids, so I disregarded that aspect of the Weissbluth book, but the message that "sleep begets sleep" was pretty valuable. The No Cry Sleep Solution was a little more involved than I was ready to do, in a sleep-deprived state.

Unfortunately you can't make a baby sleep, but you can set up good routines and habits. The two things all the books recommend are to have a good bedtime routine, and to try to avoid letting the child get over-tired.

Good luck to you! At least you'll just have one child, so you can nap when the baby naps.

Posted by: YetAnotherSAHM | October 27, 2006 2:07 PM

To Neighbor: Kudos for your daughter! She is so very perceptive to be picking up on these injustices from such an early age. At least there is one that won't be brainwashed by this male-dominated society.

Posted by: smom | October 27, 2006 2:07 PM

OK, last one I promise.

Fabworkingmom, I've read that blogs get rated with a dollar value based on some interaction between the number of posts and the number of links to them or something like that. So I just googled it, and came across a site that will calculate the value of any blog. On Balance came up at just over $78,000. Who knew? The article behind the calculations is here, but I have to confess I only skimmed it and didn't really understand what I read...

http://tnl.net/blog/2005/10/06/doing-the-numbers-on-the-aol-weblogsinc-deal/

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 2:08 PM

I love "A Christmas Story." The Santa Claus at the mall is one of my favorite scenes.

As for gender bias, my son heard the term, "ladies first," and asks why boys can't be first. Once, he came to my old office, met several employees, then finally said, "Don't any MEN work here?" I don't know, sounds chauvanistic...:>

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | October 27, 2006 2:13 PM

Megan,

I thought the rule for bugs was "ladybugs" and "praying mantises" are both female. Since like this blog the females eat the males. :snark:

Also, for Farmer in the Dell, what am I supposed to do? I have three daughters, can't I just leave the sons out of it?

Also, my 7 year old reads Hop on Pop with...

"Father, Mother, sister, sister, this one is my other sister." She thinks it's clever and so do I.

Oh, well off to school then home to Estrogen Central.

Posted by: Mr. EstrogenCentral | October 27, 2006 2:14 PM

R. M., please feel free to post your address, phone number and a recent picture so that you are not anonymous.

Until then, you are no less a coward than any other poster.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 2:14 PM

I dont think we should enforce positivity, but anonymous and personal attacks should be removed. Ignore trolls (I have never understood the desire to go on a message board and attack people and create fights but I'm glad I dont "get" it). I think when there is a real topic to discuss, people have been passionate but polite, and they ignore the flaming. If Leslie is responsible for setting the topic (its her name on the blog) she should look at the topics that have had the most real response (not total number of posts) and see why they worked (i.e. posts on kids/chores/money, home alone). Sometimes it seems like the topics are just put up there to fill the space or generate controversy, not create real discussion. I am not slamming Leslie, but if you are responsible for the blog, you need to own it and bring it.

Posted by: jessker7 | October 27, 2006 2:16 PM

cmac:

Excuse me for not wording my posts to your liking. I didn't mean to make up a new term that makes no sense.

My original point was that I don't think people should get all worked up when someone has an opinion about a subject that is black and white. By "absolute", I meant without 4 million exceptions.

For example (these are not necessarily my personal opinions):

"My opinion is that it is gross to breastfeed and no woman should do it. If you do, you're disgusting."

"If you don't recycle, you're harming the earth."

"It is best for a young child to have a parent care for them full time."

"Shopping at Wal-Mart supports the exploitation of people in 3rd World Countries and the company should be boycotted."

Notice I did not say "unless your personal situation or viewpoint warrants breastfeeding (throwing away everying, putting your child in daycare, shopping at Wal-Mart)."

Posted by: momof4 | October 27, 2006 2:19 PM

Interesting Megan. It seems like part of the value of a blog may be the number of other sites that link to it as well.

Posted by: fabwm | October 27, 2006 2:21 PM

Okay, I'm "SS" but I have a theory that we'll be nicer to each other if we address one another by first names. Still pretty darn anonymous.

Megan, are you snowed in? I hope things have cleared up and the little "skunk" can trick or treat without a parka over his costume.

I know we have addressed the whole princess thing before, and shared ideas for children's books with strong and capable princess characters, but what other books do other parents like that do not have gender bias or helpless female stuff? My daughter is very influenced by preschool friends and prefers princesses, pink, ballerinas and the like. I'd like to encourage stronger role models. We avoid the "girl toys" and Toys R Us like the plague but it's still hard to find good books and good toys that she'll like but that are gender neutral. Last year I looked for costumes for gifts for her (she loves to dress up in stuff) but the costumes like doctor and astronaut has little boys on the cover and the ones "for girls" were teacher and beautician. There was not much in between.

Posted by: Stacey | October 27, 2006 2:24 PM

I like Sandra Boynton's books. THey are about animals and they don't have a gender bias, plus they rhyme.

Posted by: scarry | October 27, 2006 2:28 PM

"I notice that in my picture books cows is always be girls. Why is that? Raceism!"

And the bulls are always boys! Intolerable!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 2:33 PM

Goodness, I looked at a nursery rhyme book just now (the old Oxford Companion to Children's Literature has a good number cited) since they are the source of most songs for very young children. I did not see any gender bias by number; there seem to be an equal number about boys and girls. The bias comes in how they are portrayed; if the girls are not absolutely sickeningly sweet and passive, they are beastly and dangerous. The boys are either faintly heroic or just kinda stupid. Again, even-handedly out of touch with reality.

Do you really lose sleep over the number of songs featuring each gender your child is exposed to? I'd worry more about whether the child was being taught to read, write (correctly), do mathematics, learning some science and geography and history to an acceptable level. And also to think critically, with which the little girl in question seems to be doing well!

Posted by: Very Old Mother | October 27, 2006 2:42 PM

"Once, he came to my old office, met several employees, then finally said, "Don't any MEN work here?" I don't know, sounds chauvanistic...:>"

Is that any different than girls and women going to workplaces that happen to have all men, and asking "Don't any WOMEN work here?" If girls need to see women in the workplace, what's wrong with a boy wanting to see men in a workplace? (And please, oh please, don't make him feel guilty for showing some sort of gender bias - he's just a kid who didn't see any guys like him, for goodness sake.)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 2:45 PM

"Do you really lose sleep over the number of songs featuring each gender your child is exposed to? "

You can't let even the small things slip by. It starts with the men referring to God as "Father". The idea that a supreme being is male has permeated our society and unfairly elevated men to a level of supremacy. I think Leslie put it very nicely when she said "the sexist clueless men that run America".

Posted by: To Very Old Mother | October 27, 2006 2:49 PM

Don't hate me, but I actually get more sleep since I've had my baby. The child started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks even though I was breastfeeding. He now goes down around 7PM and gets up around 8AM. I used to get up for work around 6:30AM. I now get up around 7:30AM. I'm sure payback will come with future kids, but for now, I'm enjoying my sleep. My husband and I used and liked Weissbluth.

Posted by: Cassandra | October 27, 2006 2:50 PM

"Do you really lose sleep over the number of songs featuring each gender your child is exposed to? I'd worry more about whether the child was being taught to read, write (correctly), do mathematics, learning some science and geography and history to an acceptable level. And also to think critically, with which the little girl in question seems to be doing well!"

May I heartily second this? Love her, support her, and let her develop according to her own abilities and interests. It'll work out - and you'll be proud of her.

Posted by: Older Dad | October 27, 2006 2:51 PM

"And the bulls are always boys! Intolerable!"

Ok, that's it. Mom of 14, Liam, Blanche, Mr. Jeffs, Warriner, Judith Martin (and all the others) - they are all retiring as of now. You try to be subtle, and someone like this always makes it obvious. You just ruined my fun.

Some of you will applaud this retirement. Some of you never liked Mom of 14. I understand that. I like to think I made some of you laugh...ok, one of you? Emily?

Maybe I'll return someday, with someone new.

Till then...good God, y'all, what is it good for?

Posted by: I feel outed | October 27, 2006 2:54 PM

"I'd worry more about whether the child was being taught to read, write (correctly),"...

It's funny that you mention that, when many posters in here lambast those of us they perceive to be "grammer" police! Writing, spelling and punctuating correctly, even in an internet discussion forum, are always good practice. An occasional slip of the finger or typo is excusible, but just because you are in a casual forum does not mean you shouldn't have to know the difference between "you're" and "your." Besides that, in general people will take you more seriously if your post is not rife with misspellings and incorrectly used words. Obviously I'm not including your post, Very Old Mother, since yours was written well. But it would behoove many of us to stop and re-read our post before we hit the "submit" button.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 2:54 PM

"You can't let even the small things slip by."

My whole parenting career (my two biological daughters, and multiple foster children) has been a process of learning to let little things slip by!

Broad hint: this is intended to be slightly smile-worthy.

Posted by: Very Old Mother | October 27, 2006 2:54 PM

"You can't let even the small things slip by. It starts with the men referring to God as "Father". The idea that a supreme being is male has permeated our society and unfairly elevated men to a level of supremacy. I think Leslie put it very nicely when she said "the sexist clueless men that run America"."

More women than men are now graduating from college. Our next president may very well be a woman. A recent best-seller was entitled "Are Men Necessary?"

I find it bizarre that we still have to deal with the "sexist clueless" women who still think we're living in the 1800's.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 2:57 PM

To "I feel outed"
don't worry, i am sure you will be back.
maybe under another identity.

this blog is like rich dark chocolate brownies: a pleasurable sin.

Posted by: you'll be back | October 27, 2006 2:58 PM

What about the term "mother earth"

Posted by: to to very old mother | October 27, 2006 2:58 PM

Stacey, we got about 8 inches yesterday but today the sun is out and it's in the 50s, so it's melting pretty fast! So hopefully the stinker will be able to show off his tail if I can get it made right. It's funny to adjust to Stacey, just like when Rockville switched to Emily. You're right, it does have a different feel to it.

Mr. EC, LOL I had no idea ladybugs had that habit too! I thought it was only spiders and preying mantis. I suppose if I were in a clever mood I could come with something about men and anglerfish but I just don't have it in me today ;)

Cassandra, I am green with envy; my son (almost 2) has *just* started to "sleep through the night," meaning for five hour stretches. Oddly, I feel even more tired when he does that, it's like my body has become so accustomed to being up more often that when I get the extra sleep it's like an appetizer that leaves me wanting more.

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 2:58 PM

"Ok, that's it. Mom of 14, Liam, Blanche, Mr. Jeffs, Warriner, Judith Martin (and all the others) - they are all retiring as of now. You try to be subtle, and someone like this always makes it obvious. You just ruined my fun."

Don't go away - we just like to have fun too! (And honestly, with this bunch, it can be very hard to tell the difference between subtlety from a reasonable person, and boneheaded obtuseness from someone else.)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:01 PM

24 hours of a Christmas Story is my favorite part of the holidays! But anyway, now I'm stuck at work at 4 pm on a Friday with "The Farmer in the Dell" stuck in my head. Anyway we could get a subject change?

Posted by: The original just a thought | October 27, 2006 3:01 PM

Aw, sockpuppetry (wo)man, I'll miss you!

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 3:02 PM

It's not so much whether I'm losing sleep about it, but whether *she* is. If it's bothering her I'm not just going to ignore it.

If you look at a lot of kids' songs, they are much more about boys than girls.

I remember reading a study saying that girls were willing to read stories about boys or girls but boys only wanted to read stories about boys.

If you look at Sesame Street you'll see that about 90% of the characters are male.

Posted by: Neighbor | October 27, 2006 3:04 PM

What about the term "mother earth"

Posted by: to to very old mother | October 27, 2006 3:04 PM

To 2.57: men were necessary in the past but thanks to the efforts of many many strong women leaders, we don't need men for as many things now. we no longer rely on them for our livelihood and can very well make out own decisions, thank you.
i don't need a man to have my child. i don't need a man to keep me safe. and i certainly don't need a man to tell me what to do.

To 2.58: mother earth was a termed coined by men who subjugated natural resources for their own benefit. you think they'd subjugate "father earth"?

Posted by: smom | October 27, 2006 3:07 PM

Megan-

Like I said, I'm sure payback will come to me in some form or another:) I won't bother to tell you about my baby's epic naps.

Hang in there!

Posted by: Cassandra | October 27, 2006 3:09 PM

"i don't need a man to have my child. i don't need a man to keep me safe. and i certainly don't need a man to tell me what to do."

So don't get one (though I do think there's at least one technical flaw with your first statement, unless you've found a source of artificial sperm).

May I ask - do you need anyone else, to help you raise your child, stay safe, and decide what to do? If so, would you insist that only other women can help you in these ways? Why? (Or why not?)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:14 PM

To 2.57: men were necessary in the past but thanks to the efforts of many many strong women leaders, we don't need men for as many things now. we no longer rely on them for our livelihood and can very well make out own decisions, thank you.
i don't need a man to have my child. i don't need a man to keep me safe. and i certainly don't need a man to tell me what to do.

To 2.58: mother earth was a termed coined by men who subjugated natural resources for their own benefit. you think they'd subjugate "father earth"?


Posted by: wow is all I can say | October 27, 2006 3:15 PM

Oh...I definitely need my man and he definitely needs me. We're co-dependent, but I think that's how it's supposed to be;)

Posted by: Cassandra | October 27, 2006 3:18 PM

so smom has fugured out how to synthesize sperm

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:19 PM

so smom has fugured out how to synthesize sperm

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:19 PM

'we also co-slept and it made a huge difference for us. If it's something you're comfortable with, I highly recommend it.'

'I am green with envy; my son (almost 2) has *just* started to "sleep through the night," meaning for five hour stretches.'

My baby slept in her own room, not even in a bassinet in our room, from the day she came home from hospital. she was sleeping 6-7 hours through the night from age 8 weeks and even longer by 12 weeks. I wonder if co-sleeping is more for the parents than the baby :0).

Posted by: to Megan | October 27, 2006 3:20 PM

I agree that you don't ignore something that is bothering your child. But why would you go rushing off to school to make it better for her? I'd encourage the child to speak to her teacher about her observations; that let's your child know you have confidence in her ability to express herself and make changes happen; it will also (probably) gain her ever greater respect from the teacher. Will that change the choice of song at school? I don't know, but I'll bet it will.

Posted by: Very Old Mother | October 27, 2006 3:20 PM

so smom has fugured out how to synthesize sperm

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:20 PM

sperm banks liberate us. there are screened, quality donors there. and i get to raise my child without male gender bias.

on another topic, please visit this site to sign a petition of support:
http://www.now.org/issues/election/equality-day-petition.html

Posted by: smom | October 27, 2006 3:24 PM


Proper spelling and grammar are very importnant.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:24 PM

'we also co-slept and it made a huge difference for us. If it's something you're comfortable with, I highly recommend it.'

'I am green with envy; my son (almost 2) has *just* started to "sleep through the night," meaning for five hour stretches.'

My baby slept in her own room, not even in a bassinet in our room, from the day she came home from hospital. she was sleeping 6-7 hours through the night from age 8 weeks and even longer by 12 weeks. I wonder if co-sleeping is more for the parents than the baby :0).

Posted by: to Megan | October 27, 2006 3:25 PM

To Megan: No doubt that co-sleeping is snuggly for parents, but actually my son moved to his own bed in his own room at about 1 year, and it didn't help! It just means that I have to get out of bed and go to his room to settle him, rather than staying in mine...sigh. But we switched him because when he got to be about a year, he was too much of a bed hog and that kept me up even more! Ah well...

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2006 3:26 PM

Sigh. "lets"

Posted by: Very Old Mother | October 27, 2006 3:27 PM

"mother earth was a termed coined by men who subjugated natural resources for their own benefit."

How far back do you take this? Perhaps the single change in human life that had the most significant ecological consequences was the agricultural revolution (not the green revolution of the 20th century, but the prehistoric one - when we first started planting crops and domesticating livestock). Was that a bad idea? Sure, we've made poor choices. But people can't live without some kind of natural resources - and even hunter/gatherers had an impact (sometimes quite adverse) on their environment. So yes - we should respect nature and make wise ecological choices. But push come to shove, I am a human, and I'm going to root for the home team. Species that don't, tend to go extinct.

"you think they'd subjugate "father earth"?"

Heck yeah - in a heartbeat. As well as "old man river" and the "man in the moon." We're just not that into sentimentality over the traditional names given to things.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:27 PM

Things seem to be winding down as the privileged yuppies leave their offices early on a fall Friday. Perhaps they'll visit Mumsy this weekend or maybe motor up the coast and drop in on Pooky.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:27 PM

Neighbor,

I think your Sesame Street gender estimate is way off. Especially in the last 10 years. The folks at CTW are pretty progressive.

If you really feel like it, you can go through character by character: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Sesame_Street_Characters

(brings back a lot of memories).

Posted by: Prairie Dawn | October 27, 2006 3:29 PM

to smom

And with your attitude, no man would ever want you!

Posted by: sdad | October 27, 2006 3:30 PM

Why does it matter one way of the other if the posts are anonymous? We live in a society where people are intimidated into NOT having opinions in public. Be "nice" all the time and be a doormat -- or else... This might be especially important for those who tend to avoid conflice at all costs in their daily life -- professionally and/or personnally. I know a lot of those kinds of folks -- and even tend to be one myself in certain situations.

Maybe the blogsphere is really the first medium where people can write what they want, get it out of their system, and continue to be reasonable, rational, kind people in the rest of their lives. Kinda like a virtual road rage.

It only works, though, if EVERYONE who plays in the game has a very thick skin, or quickly develops one.

Posted by: Anoninfinity | October 27, 2006 3:30 PM

naughty naughty sdad. play nice now.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:31 PM

"sperm banks liberate us. there are screened, quality donors there. and i get to raise my child without male gender bias."

Do you reckon there might be a few men out there who don't have any particular desire to subjegate you (or any other woman, for that matter)? We just want to get on with our lives, look for love and family like anyone else, and muddle through the best we can. Honestly, you seem to be fighting so hard against something that it's tiring just listening to you. As you raise your child (a girl, I presume?), occassionally ask yourself if you have some personal, unexamined biases that you're passing on.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:36 PM

Mom of 14, Liam, Blanche, Mr. Jeffs, Warriner, Judith Martin

don't leave me, I need you! You make me laugh out loud.

Posted by: experienced mom | October 27, 2006 3:41 PM

smom sees sexism everywhere except her mirror

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:43 PM

showing some insecurities about the employed? or didn't have anything substantive to contribute to the issue of balance, civility, co-sleeping, sperm banks, nursery rhymes or any of the other interesting topics being discussed by the grown-ups? feel free to join us when you get done spitting venom at strangers . . .

Posted by: to 3:27 | October 27, 2006 3:44 PM

300 comments today!

Thank you all for playing along.

Posted by: Counting | October 27, 2006 3:46 PM

"smom sees sexism everywhere except her mirror"

But sexism is GOOD when men are the targets! No, wait . . . should it be "it's not sexism when Men are the targets?" That's not quite right . . . I remember now, "now it's our turn, and the dirty chauvenist pigs have it coming to them!"

All animals are equal

Some animals are more equal than others

;-)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 3:52 PM

I have to say that sometimes I find the blog informative and interesting, sometimes I find it outrageous, sometimes I feel attacked and insulted (does anyone remember granite counters?), but I am always entertained by it. So I keep on coming back when I have time. If I don't like something, I mostly skip it, although I do get sucked in sometimes. I don't take it that seriously, though. It's a blog. I can still sleep if someone flames me. I can still sleep if I flame back. It's never been that big a deal to me. Just a fun way to pass the time when I am having a slow day at work.

Posted by: Emily | October 27, 2006 3:58 PM

Agreed. Good blog with over 300 hits.
Lots of warring in keeping with the spirit of this blog.
Love the anonymous posters.

Keep it up next week!

Posted by: Me | October 27, 2006 3:59 PM

Got balance?

smom doesnt need men. ruh roh I feel neglected.

Kids raised w/o gender bias? They'll be home schooled and never go to church I guess?

I am sure that smom has got balance "All fingered out."

You go girl. Dont worry once your kids get out into the world a find what you did to them, they'll still love ya.

CO2 ran out. Where's my shed?

QED

Merry Christmas

Posted by: Fo3 | October 27, 2006 4:02 PM

We'll see experienced mom, we'll see. For now though, Prarie Dawn and I are off to see Pooky...

Posted by: I feel outed | October 27, 2006 4:02 PM

Fo3:"I am sure that smom has got balance "All fingered out.""

It's comments like these that are against the rules of this blog. Not suprising that it comes from a man.

Posted by: smom | October 27, 2006 4:05 PM

Megan--thanks for the apology, but I have to say that I don't even remember the snarkiness now.

A note to those who seem to feel that this blog remains leaning towards families with children--I don't think that is healthy. As has been posted, this blog has grown over its short life from a discussion about working mothers balancing family and work to one that involves everyone for their contributions towards balancing life/home/work/family. Trying to limit it to the perspective of just parents is exactly that...limiting and I think it diminishes the useful information that gets conveyed.

I find it interesting to note that there was a comment about childfree posters coming in here with their superior attitude. Just because we are the minority doesn't mean that we are necessarily the only ones with the superior attitude. Every class of person including parents have some members with a condescending chip on their shoulder. The old rag of "You'll never understand until you have a child" is worn and inappropriate. You may have not understood until you had a child. That doesn't mean that all childfree adults didn't or don't understand. Yes, we understand that you can develop a devotion and love towards that child. But, remember, that childfree adults may have that love towards others. They may be very involved with children whether by fostering, adopting, or guardianship that they understand that type of devotion. Some are primary caretakers for others (siblings, parents, etc) that cannot take care of themselves and understand the same issues. And some realize the huge commitment and love that having a child involves and may not be willing to make those life changes to accomodate. For those who think that just because they didn't understand the difference before they had children, don't talk down to those that are childfree. This attitude and that old saying are some of what makes childfree adults snipe at parents.

I have had many children in my life for various reasons. I am interested in becoming a father (my nickname is subtle) and I do understand. I have a been a care provider for a child with everything from the poopy diapers and the howling and screaming to the adorably cute and warm moments that would thaw hell. I get it and didn't need to actually have a child to understand it.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 27, 2006 4:09 PM

smom

Why do you hate men? Why do you hate about one half the population of the earth?

Posted by: Fred | October 27, 2006 4:14 PM

Sorry the ending should be:

"...that would thaw the ninth circle of H*ll"

Was thinking faster than I was typing.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 27, 2006 4:16 PM

"It's comments like these that are against the rules of this blog. Not suprising that it comes from a man."

uh, yeah . . . right. Let's hope you never see a real, focused personal attack. Besides, ya gotta feel his pain - you've just carefully explained why he's unecessary and shares collective guilt for raping the planet and subjugating an entire gender. If I were him, my feelings would be hurt. It might even make me surly and unreasonable.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 4:18 PM

I agree with Emily, and found myself looking at this blog, and occasionally contributing a comment, over the summer when I wasn't working too many hours and was home with my kids after swim practice, or an outing, etc. Now that I'm back to my consulting firm more hours, I have perhaps clicked on the blog no more than a few times per month.
But generally these blogs begin to degenerate when no moderator is put in charge. Some totally unbalanced people tend to express far-left or far-right opinions, and then are indignant when their posts are questioned (or expunged when a moderator gets involved).
My brother, who is a pioneer in community-based software, originally had no moderator for his photo.net website (people comment on one another's amateur photography efforts). But a moderator is almost de rigueur, and I can scarcely believe Leslie Steiner will not engage one soon.

As the mother of four kids, I feel the internet, "on balance", has failed to make my life more efficient. I guess the level of detail we now get about soccer games/practices/PTA meetings is more than we really need. I would like to see email-free weekends on school listservs.

Posted by: suzanne goode | October 27, 2006 4:24 PM

"I find this pretty offensive, on several levels. First, it appears to stereotype all religious people as close-minded bigots. Second, it appears to try and push any discussion of religious convictions out of bounds, by simply assuming that anyone who takes religion seriously is trying to "push" their beliefs "onto" people, rather than exchanging their ideas."

~~ Ask any religious person, of any faith, if people of other faiths "have it right". The answer will always be no, otherwise their faith will be broken. Yes, I believe that religious people are a bit close-minded. Yes, any talk of religious convictions do not apply to anyone except for the poster doing the convictions. Why? Because faith is just that: faith. Not fact, not reason, not thinking, faith, frankly, from being brainwashed as a child (not all, but many). Of course you're offended: you're a person of faith. Naturally you cannot see beyond your faith to other peoples faiths, beliefs, etc.., because they will (most of the time) conflict with yours.

"I would suggest that all sorts of people (vegetarians, free-trade advocates, opponents of global trade) try to aggressively push (rather than "exchange") all sorts (vegetarianism, free-trade, protectionism) in all sorts of forums. Others do in fact try to discuss and persuade, while honestly listening to what everyone else has to say."

~~ True, I agree.

"Third, it characterizes religious individuals as hateful and vitriolic, while absolving everyone else. This is simply ludicrous - there's enough blame to go around on this blog (like many others)."

~ Yes, plenty of blame to go around. Religion is the root of all evil. Check out history. Check out the current state of the world. Would anyone have 'trouble' with gays if there was no religion? How about abortion? Stem cell research? Teaching science in schools? The list is endless. Without religion though, most would still abhor murder, rape, etc.. We do not need religion for the true moral issues; the other issues I listed are brought up because of religion.


"read infrequently notes attributes several moral stances to the people she objects to. Presumably, (s)he believes some are not moral questions at all, but rather practical ones (I'm inclined to agree). Fine - say so, and explain why. Others, I suspect, read infrequently would acknowledge are moral questions, but (s)he simply comes down hard on the other side. Again, that's cool - say so and explain why."

~ Moral issues are a personal decision, and should be left to the person. If their morals break secular laws, then punish them. Secular laws are made from reason, facts, and 'clear understanding'. None of which you can find in any religion.

"We have some serious, growing divides in this country - and the attitudes that appear to be expressed by read infrequently are not helpful. The WP and it's readers can certainly kick religious believers out of their clubhouse. That doesn't mean they'll disappear (or stop voting). It's GOOD that I, who am a believer, read the same paper and participate in the same blogs as read infrequently. Who knows - I might learn something (it's happened before). And there just might be something useful that read infrequently could learn from me."

~ Honestly, what has divided this nation? The religious right via the republicans. Religion divides - look at the world. Look how each religion says that theirs is the right way; all others be damned. I don't profess to remove the religious from the discussion, just the religious 'stuff' said in the entries. How is anything 'gods way' - if we all have a different idea of what god is or is not? I welcome information from people who are religious, I just do not want to hear it related to their idea of a god. It doesn't resonate with anyone except the writer, and those that believe the same.

"I do know that if we segregate ourselves, we will become more divided and less understanding of each other. "read" will become more likely to believe that anyone who takes religion seriously as a guide to life and morals is an ignorant bigot - and we will become more likely to assume that "read" and the people and organizations she affiliates are actively hostile to us and to our beliefs."

~ Ignorant bigot would not be the term I would use. Perhaps 'not thinking', 'not using reason', etc.. Yes, I think that using religion as a guide to morals is a false way to go about the world. Religions were invented many, many years ago, much before the time of our current understanding of the world around us, much earlier than medicine for example. It is, in fact, superstition, plain and simple. Anyone can choose to be superstitious, but try to explain any other superstition, such as "step on a crack, break your mother's back", and you'll understand where I'm coming from.

""read" - what message do you want a religious person to get from your suggestion that we "be booted off this, (and all) blogs entirely"? Are you hostile to religious faith? Why?"

~~ I said, "..is that people who don't understand that not everyone is like them, be booted off this, (and all) blogs entirely." How is that removing religious people? If the religious can keep their faith out of a discussion, then I (for one) would be likely to take what they 'say' as something useful to me to learn from. Once someone else's faith gets put into the mix, what does that say about my faith and understanding of the world? They're right, I'm wrong? I require proof for my understand of the world - not what someone else decided years ago via the bible, koran, torah, etc.. Some people just do not 'get' religion; not like some people don't 'get' physics; religion is not terribly hard to understand, it only requires a suspension of disbelief, like a good sc-fi movie.


While science constantly looks inward to try to explain the unexplainable, to confirm current understandings, when was the last time any religion looked inward to find out the accuracy of its testaments? I would gather: never.

I'll end with a recent quote from the WP:

"We have to start seeing religion for what it is,a failed science, a failed description of the world, a holdover of discourse by our ancestors, who had no basis to demand good evidence and good argument." Sam Harris

Posted by: read infrequently | October 27, 2006 4:30 PM

there must be a board better suited to your particular one-topic, off-topic rant than this board. If you have any comments on balancing work and life, by all means, offer your comment. otherwise, get a life or find a politics and religion board on which to post your nonsense.

Posted by: to read infrequently | October 27, 2006 4:36 PM

Funny, but I dont feel any more or less hated by the retort directed my way. But good comes out of everything: I feel so much better about my choice in wife! See? Thanks for that, every now and then I forget how truly miserable some people can be. Somebody smarter than me once said, "HELL is other people." DW and my family OTOH are my little piece of heaven. Good luck finding your peace. Whoever abused you deserves the vitriol, but if it makes you feel better to direct your venom at me, then I make the world a better place, and turn the other cheek.

Posted by: Fo3 | October 27, 2006 5:04 PM

(Note use of real, full name!)

Re: co-sleeping

When my now 6 yo went thru a really trying separation anxiety stage, he slept with me. It worked really well for a couple of reasons - 1) I'm a light, still sleeper and 2) my husband, a HEAVY snoring sleeper, works nights - so it was just me and my precious nobel laurulate (sorry abt the mispelling)-heisman trophy winner-astronaut-president-neurosurgeon son.

I stressed abt it but was advised by wise, more experienced parents that a good night's sleep makes everything better for everyone. They also told me that the world wasn't going to end if it didn't work for me.

So Mr. Universe slept with me for 3 or 4 months and then went back to his crib, leaving my bed very lonely indeed!

Posted by: Eileen Swanson | October 27, 2006 6:57 PM

Prairie Dawn, I think I remember you!

OK, so if you count ALL of the Sesame Street characters, like ones I've never heard of-- Alice Snuffalupagus, etc.-- maybe there are some girls. But among the main cast, there are very few. And most of the female characters HAVE been introduced in the past decade.

Going to play Sesame Street games? You can pick to play with any of 9 major characters, of which one is female.
http://www.sesameworkshop.org/sesamestreet/

Posted by: Neighbor | October 27, 2006 7:15 PM

not to split hairs or anything, but calling someone else miserable and implying that they are what hell would be isn't exactly turning the other cheek. Though it is more restrained than some responses, I'll give you that.

Posted by: to Fo3 | October 27, 2006 7:37 PM

Mr. EstrogenCentral,

That's "wringer." And how would you feel if someone referred to your wife and daughters as rude female dogs?

It's also interesting that so many assume all the snark comes from women. I think today conclusively proves otherwise!

Posted by: Whatever | October 27, 2006 8:46 PM

Talking about sleep. I took off work yesterday, for the first time since my workaholic supervisor moved on after his promotion. all I did was get the kids off to school, a load of dishes, 3 comments to the blog, a back rub for the wife, practice guitar, and cook up some vegitables for dinner. I think I logged 12 hours of naps and good solid sleep. Wow! I can't remember the last time I did that. And now I feel really good. The rain helped. Soccer and football practice were canceled. It's a little ironic though, that I sign my kids up for these outdoor activities, then I'm happy they get canceled.

Leslie, my work at home computer, believe it or not, doesn't have a monitor, but they all know when I'm blogging because they keep on catching me laughing and want to know... In my opinion, you are running one of the funniest blogs on the web. As for your computer desk being located in the corner of the kitchen, I'm going to leave that one alone; however, in the spirit of today's topic, shame on you for admitting it!

Scarry, thanks for the offer for the pumpkin suit, but I think baby boy just can't wait to go out in his pajamas. Virtual as you may be, you truely are a real friend.

Have a good weekend everybody.

Posted by: Father of 4 | October 28, 2006 5:37 AM

Alice Snuffalupagus was a major character in the early 90s, and a really sweetie too.

Posted by: experienced mom | October 28, 2006 12:09 PM

Scarry, thanks for the offer for the pumpkin suit, but I think baby boy just can't wait to go out in his pajamas. Virtual as you may be, you truely are a real friend.

THanks that's one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. I really did mean it to, I was going to next day mail it to you! He will look grand in his jammies and you know what it really doesn't matter what you go as because you still get candy! I went as a coal miner at least three times growing up. Yes, I'm up late reading the rest of the blog while doing my homework!

Posted by: scarry | October 28, 2006 10:09 PM

""We have to start seeing religion for what it is,a failed science, a failed description of the world, a holdover of discourse by our ancestors, who had no basis to demand good evidence and good argument." Sam Harris"

Interesting choice of a quote to summarize your comments. I don't know you could characterize your posts as anything but hostile to religion and the religious. I would suggest that you ask yourself whether there are any sources of valid knowledge other than the hard sciences; my impression, based on what you said, is that your answer might be "no." I'd suggest that there are valid questions of truth that lie outside the scope of the physical sciences - in other words, I believe that philosophy, for example, is a legitimate field of study. I also believe that the issues addressed by serious philosophers are matters of truth and falsehood, and not just personal preference. (Curiously enough, some philosophers would disagree with the concept of absolute truth - in any realm; I am not one of them.)

How does this bear on the question of religion? Most serious religions deal with the same issues as classical philosophy - indeed, some of what we describe as eastern religions are more akin to western philosphy than to the Abrahamic religions. Don't be so certain that human knowledge and experience can be encompassed by the physical sciences (though their power is truly impressive), or that it can be neatly divided into "modern science" and "personal preference."

Posted by: To Read Infrequently | October 30, 2006 10:23 AM

Sadly, its so much easier for folks to attack each other (stay at home moms vs. working moms) so that we feel better about our own choices. We need to come together and attack (okay maybe attack is the wrong word) our government (fed., state & local) our employers and corporate america to provide better benefits and better options to all of us. All families AND all single people deserve more flexibility, more options and more choices in our lives.

Posted by: The Dane | October 31, 2006 2:23 PM

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