Are You The Other Mother?

Welcome to the "On Balance" guest blog. Every Tuesday, "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Gwendolen Gross

Eight years ago, I had my first child. I faced an identity transition from editor/opera singer to mother/writer/teacher, and a move from grad school renter to homeowner in a leafy suburb where women dressed up to go to Rite-Aid. As part of early motherhood, I had to answer the common question: "So, are you going back to work?"

It sounded harmless enough. But underlying that question were the battle lines of post-feminist womanhood. If you choose to be a mother, what kind will you be? Will you breastfeed? For how long? Will you work or stay at home? Will you use a nanny or a day care?

Before I had kids, I thought these were personal, individual choices. I quickly learned our society is compulsively interested in what other women do. We watch and judge each other as we worry about our own emotionally-fraught choices like a loose loop on a hand-knit sweater.

Before I had my first child, I'd published two novels about my single-girl adventures. When my brother-in-law came to visit the new baby, he asked, "So, what are you writing next?"

"Fiction about the mommy wars," I said. "I want a character taking each side."

"The mommy what?" he asked.

Oh, how times have changed.

That book, "The Other Mother", has two firs- person narrators -- a working mom and a stay-at-home mom who each tells her side of the story. Only you can answer which one is "the other mother." While the mommy war rages on, our personal expectations, desires, the extraordinary love no one can predict, changes all ideas of how we will live our lives as mothers and women. These are the things that make us pick sides, even if we defect -- daily.

My 5-year-old daughter recently interrupted her litany of what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up ("a writer, a doctor, a vet, a singer, an artist,") with this question: "But Mommy, will I have time to have all my jobs before my babies come?"

I can't wait to see how she answers it.


Gwendolen Gross's new book is The Other Mother. She offers a free workshop for mothers and others. She is also the author of Field Guide and Getting Out. She lives in Northern New Jersey with her son, daughter, and husband.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  August 7, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
Previous: Breast Milk on Planes | Next: Higher Wages, Healthier Children, and Time Off


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Comments

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First!

Posted by: nonamehere | August 7, 2007 2:17 AM

Nice free advertising.

Posted by: geblank | August 7, 2007 7:34 AM

Dead horse, meet bat.

Posted by: nonyabiz | August 7, 2007 7:42 AM

LESLIE, if you get a hundred posts out of this drivel, i will be shocked.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 7:47 AM

"I quickly learned our society is compulsively interested in what other women do."

"I'd published two novels about my single-girl adventures."

It seems a bit odd to complain that society pays too much attention to women's personal choices, when one is making a living off that very societal attention.

Posted by: tomtildrum | August 7, 2007 7:51 AM

'"I quickly learned our society is compulsively interested in what other women do."

"I'd published two novels about my single-girl adventures."

It seems a bit odd to complain that society pays too much attention to women's personal choices, when one is making a living off that very societal attention.'

Isn't that pretty much what all writers do anyway? Draw attention to what (other/"other") people are doing? Maybe she was surprised at how many more copies of one type of book were sold versus another?

Posted by: maryland_mother | August 7, 2007 7:56 AM

"move from grad school renter to homeowner in a leafy suburb where women dressed up to go to Rite-Aid."

HUH!!!! You did this ON PURPOSE? You STAYED in this intellectual wasteland?

And talk about strange bedfellows, here is Leslie's unbiased review of the book from Amazon.com:

Review
"A wonderful, compelling read for every mom torn by real (or imagined) tension with other mothers who've made different choices about working or staying home with kids. The Other Mother brings alive the reality of each mother's internal war."
--Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of Mommy Wars

Posted by: anonforthis | August 7, 2007 8:11 AM

"a leafy suburb where women dressed up to go to Rite-Aid"

Um, are you serious?

"But Mommy, will I have time to have all my jobs before my babies come?"

So even at the tender age of 5, she's toiling with societal pressures. What does THAT say?

If she were my kid, I'd say "You can do whatever you want. And if babies aren't in the picture for you, you'll still be a functioning member of society. You don't need to use your uterus to have some worth."

Posted by: aNoN | August 7, 2007 8:36 AM

"The Other Mother"? Nice. I'll pass, thanks.

I know moms who have made both choices and both groups have had to compromise somewhere along the line.

"Before I had kids, I thought these were personal, individual choices."

Guess what. They still are. It's just books like yours that feed society's compulsive interest.

Posted by: cab91 | August 7, 2007 8:52 AM

this is a dopey post. please up your standards

Posted by: OrlandoNan | August 7, 2007 8:57 AM

Whoa, I thought the Achenblog was a snoozer!

This blog is better than Ambien...

Posted by: pyewacket | August 7, 2007 9:02 AM

From "editor/opera singer" and "grad school" to "writer" living in "a leafy suburb." In other words, from one corner of the world of the élite to another corner of the same world.

What relevance does this have to ordinary people, outside the spotlight, without degrees from élite universities? What relevance does it have to the working class, pulling them boats from the dawn till sunset, getting no rest till the Judgment Day? Don't look up, and don't look down: you don't dast make the pointy-headed boss frown. Bend your knees and bow your head and pull them ropes until you're dead. The Harvard-Sarah Lawrence-Oberlin New York Times Sunday Styles élite fight their "mommy wars" high overhead, like Hogwarts students playing Quidditch. Down below, in the mud and the blood, you and me, we sweat and strain, body all weary and wracked with pain, with no General De La Ray to rescue us. I get weary of the "mommy wars," but the élite just keep those wars rolling along. After all, it sells books.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 7, 2007 9:09 AM

Anon -- although i'm not sure the "uterus" distinction is critical for a five year old, i totally agree with your message. it will be a grain of sand on the beach of messages that the most important thing women do in their life is produce children...as much as i love kids, i am SO GLAD that my mother and others encouraged me to do many different things in my life.

and no apologies on blurbing gwendolen's book. i love spreading the word about great new books out there.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 7, 2007 9:16 AM

"We watch and judge each other as we worry about our own emotionally-fraught choices like a loose loop on a hand-knit sweater."


No everyone does not do this. I don't care what you or the other mothers in my suburb do as long as they don't block my drive way. As long as "other mothers" leave me alone, I leave them alone.

I have to say I thought this was going to be about women raising kids who were not theirs. Like a step mom or an aunt or something.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 9:22 AM

"I have to say I thought this was going to be about women raising kids who were not theirs. Like a step mom or an aunt or something." -- Irishgirl.

I thought the same exact thing. This topic is so lame and, frankly, I feel a little sorry for all of these women who worry about how the rest of the world looks at their life choices.

Live your life to the best of your ability, be nice to others and have confidence in your choices.

Posted by: nonyabiz | August 7, 2007 9:33 AM

It is asinine how much bile there is on this blog. As a writer and a new mom, and someone that is asked those questions and faces those choices daily, I find this to be a very interesting post and I was looking forward to seeing what type of discussion it proffered. Apparently, the only people with time enough to comment, however, are the angry trolls. Too bad.

Posted by: mdsails | August 7, 2007 9:41 AM

"When a disaster forces Amanda and her family to take refuge in Thea's home, the underlying tensions simmering between them are forced to the surface-and even more so when Thea fills in as Amanda's temporary nanny. But once dead animals start appearing on Thea's front porch-surely a macabre gift from Amanda?-the battle with "the other mother" begins in earnest."

Yep nonyabiz and I don't think it makes us angry to not agree. As for the qoute above, I thought the "other mothers" parking in my drive way was bad. Yikes, dead animals and a disaster that makes her move in with a neighbor?

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 9:44 AM

As a former newspaper editor, I learned long ago that most "letters to the editor" were negative. People feel compelled to write when they disagree or react angrily to a story, not when they agree with its contents or even have a neutral reaction. Blogs have upped the ante and those who read the comments must now endure the kvetching of others more than ever. Feels like democracy to me.

Posted by: sheryllarson | August 7, 2007 10:01 AM

Pyewacket?

Sounds like Mehitibal? CatLady? New id for when you're posting snark, anyone?

Posted by: normandy | August 7, 2007 10:02 AM

sheryllarson

"Blogs have upped the ante and those who read the comments must now endure the kvetching of others more than ever. Feels like democracy to me."

Meow! What she said.

Posted by: pyewacket | August 7, 2007 10:07 AM

I agree with most of the other commenters that there wasn't much to this post at all.

One thing that bugged me is the implication that curiosity about what other moms are doing or planning in regard to career is somehow judgmental of other women or self-judging of oneself.

That's reading way too much into it. I'm curious about how other moms are handling this issue for a lot of reasons: genuine or polite interest in the person's life; interesting conversation starter on a subject that's probably of common interest; maybe I have some tips for her; maybe she has some tips for me. For example, I'm interested in trying to convert to part-time so I'm very interested in what the moms I'm friendly with have worked out in that regard in order to find out what schedule works well with school age kids and to get an idea of what's okay with employers around here. It has nothing to do with judging these moms because they're working part-time or questioning my mothering commitment because I'm not.

The writer has succeeded in making me kind of nervous about asking that question now, which is kind of ridiculous. I guess we're less judgmental and not as hard on ourselves in Philly as opposed to moms in the North Jersey suburbs. Maybe moving somewhere where they go to Rite Aid in a t-shirt and shorts -- which is most places -- would help her.

Posted by: janeistvan | August 7, 2007 10:08 AM

Apparently, the only people with time enough to comment, however, are the angry trolls. Too bad.

Or people who have been here long enough to recognize a snoozer of a topic. This is probably the guest blogger posting in disguise.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 10:08 AM

I thought this blog was about stepmothers or babysitters or nannies who spend time with somone else's children, but since it isn't, I'll deal with the issue at hand. Everyday everybody deals with their own lives and how situations affect them. I do. You do. Even though I wonder how this particular poster would deal with the issues I've had to deal with in my life -- cancer, abandoned by my ex-husband when our second child was a preemie only to find out he had started another family elsewhere, etc. -- I will not judge this author. What is miniscule to me are real issues for her. The writer says: "Before I had kids, I thought these were personal, individual choices. I quickly learned our society is compulsively interested in what other women do." Most of us "everyday josephines" don't have time to care what society thinks. We're too busy working and not at home spending precious moments worrying about what society thinks about us. I can't speak for everyone, but what most of us care about is putting food on the table for our children. We don't have the luxury of sitting at home, staring out the window and worrying how society will judge us. We're too busy trying to keep our heads above water.

Posted by: winjonnic | August 7, 2007 10:09 AM

Tomorrow's topic- Are you a brother from another mother?

Posted by: anon123 | August 7, 2007 10:15 AM

"'We watch and judge each other as we worry about our own emotionally-fraught choices like a loose loop on a hand-knit sweater.'"
By Gwendolyn Gross

"No everyone does not do this. I don't care what you or the other mothers in my suburb do as long as they don't block my drive way. As long 'other mothers' leave me alone, I leave them alone."

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 09:22 AM

OK. According to David Reisman '31, we've got three types of people. There are the "inner-directed," who look inside themselves for guidance, who "worry about our own emotionally-fraught choices." Then there are the "other-directed," who exhibit "an exceptional sensitivity to the actions and wishes of others," whether in their own leafy suburbs or elsewhere. Finally, there are the "tradition-directed," with wisdom and ideals passed down by their mothers and grandmothers, who in turn got it from their ancestors. It was tradition-directed explorers, colonists, pioneers and settlers who built this country, who crossed the trackless ocean, dared the might of kings, and made a wilderness the home of Freedom. It is the structure built and maintained by these tradition-directed types that protects and nourishes the inner-directed as they contemplate their navels and the other-directed as they keep up with the Joneses. Chances are that the wool from that hand-knit sweater came from a farm operated by tradition-directed sheep-raisers.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 7, 2007 10:16 AM

"We don't have the luxury of sitting at home, staring out the window and worrying how society will judge us. We're too busy trying to keep our heads above water."

Hear hear - and it isn't just married people or married with children who struggle with balance and life and family. My mother is currently in a rehab facility in another state after having surgery for lung cancer. I can not be there long term for her as I support myself. It is difficult and frustrating but, unfortunately, a fact of life.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | August 7, 2007 10:18 AM

MattInAberdeen

"It is the structure built and maintained by these tradition-directed types that protects and nourishes the inner-directed as they contemplate their navels and the other-directed as they keep up with the Joneses."

Meow! What time is your next speech? How do you classify the Founding Fathers?

Posted by: pyewacket | August 7, 2007 10:24 AM

All of this can be summed up in one word-LIFE

Posted by: anon123 | August 7, 2007 10:24 AM

Meow! What time is your next speech? How do you classify the Founding Fathers

You have to realize that if MATT answers ANYTHING with less than 500 words, his head will explode like in that movie "SCANNERS"

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 10:27 AM

It seems a lot of us would be interested in a topic about those who "mother" other women's children, whether as stepmoms, nannies, grandparents, or any other labels. Just one comment for the suggestion box.

Posted by: Lori | August 7, 2007 10:29 AM

Tonight is the 24th annual "National Night Out" to reclaim our streets and make our neighborhoods safer. I urge everyone who can to turn on a porch or other outdoor light for a few hours this evening -- you can compensate on energy by using at least one indoor light fewer -- to sit outdoors, socialize with neighbors and generally foster a sense of community.

P.S. to Normandy: No, I have not posted under the name Pyewacket. What other names have you used?

Posted by: mehitabel | August 7, 2007 10:36 AM

I find it interesting that everyone is cranky about the topic. It seems, on other days when someone takes one side of a parenting issue, be it breastfeeding (like yesterday) or any of the other choices of parenting it erupts into a two sided argument with people being pretty judgemental about the other side. Sure, maybe this is just bickering in the blogging world, but wouldn't it be good to have a discussion about peer pressure in parenting?

Posted by: mlsm01 | August 7, 2007 10:36 AM

"Are you a brother from another mother?"

Sometimes I'm glad I had boys. My sons have occasionally made reference to things they'll do (more often not do) with their own children, but I've never heard anything about "their" children impacting their careers.

I think the best answer to the daughters' question about whether she'll have time to do all this before children is - "dear, you can do whatever you really want to."

Posted by: RedBird27 | August 7, 2007 10:40 AM

mehitabel

Meow! Are you free for dinner this weekend? We can save energy by making our own music.

Posted by: pyewacket | August 7, 2007 10:40 AM

I think the best answer to the daughters' question about whether she'll have time to do all this before children is - "dear, you can do whatever you really want to."

yep, like I tell my daughter, girls can do anything boys can do. Which she loves to hurl at her older brother. Who of course refutes it until she drops the "Daddy says I can". Which usually ends the conversation. Never underestimate the power of Daddy.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 10:45 AM

Sorry, Pyewacket. I'm having flan with pATRICK.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 7, 2007 10:50 AM

Sorry, Pyewacket. I'm having flan with pATRICK.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 7, 2007 10:50 AM

While that is an interesting offer made to you by PYEWACKET, he/she obviously has never had Emily's flan. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 10:53 AM

What I don't understand is how people who've been complaining about this blog since early this morning are still renting their headspace to this issue. If you don't like it, go find some other blog to aimlessly prowl. Stop vomiting negativity on this one.

Posted by: ScoutOut | August 7, 2007 10:54 AM

mehitabel

"Sorry, Pyewacket. I'm having flan with pATRICK."

Meow! Let's make it a three-way. pATRICK sounds like he's up for it.

Posted by: pyewacket | August 7, 2007 10:57 AM

It is pretty funny that people seem to be totally non-commital today but were at each other's throats yesterday. The fact is that there are strong opinions on both sides--most of you feel very strongly about your choices. The problem comes when we try to dictate what other people do (as some people tried to do yesterday).

Generally speaking, there are normal people and there are busybodies. The normal people make their choices and keep their judgements to themselves. The busybodies are the ones who think that everyone should do it their way and openly criticise other people.

Also, if you cringe when people ask you about your choices, maybe you should lighten up--they are probably just curious (I could work on this myself).

BTW, Matt, I like your posts. Even if I disagree with the point, it is always made thoughtfully and carefully, unlike some others that are posted.

Posted by: Meesh | August 7, 2007 10:58 AM

Lil Husky must be all riled up with all these kitties around!

And here's my off topic comment:

BlogStats, if you're around, who are the cat people, and who are the dog people?

Posted by: Meesh | August 7, 2007 11:02 AM

Stop vomiting negativity on this one.

I just about bust a gut laughing at these type of posts. Having been in many OB knifefights, some won, some lost, I find these virginal posters wonderfully funny and unfortunately, boring.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 11:04 AM

"If money is such a problem
Well, they got mansions,
Think we should rob them."
"Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" -- Good Charlotte

Yeah, the "Mommy Wars" are the product of luxury -- when you have the luxury to even have these battles. The rest of us -- you know, the working people of the world who make up 95% of the world -- don't have the time, energy, or inclination to ponder such issues. We simply work and do the best we can with what we've got. And we really don't have time to read silly books like "The Other Mother".

Posted by: rlalumiere | August 7, 2007 11:09 AM

Tomorrow's topic- Are you a brother from another mother?

Posted by: anon123 | August 7, 2007 10:15 AM

How about a sister from another mister?

Time for lunch...

Posted by: mamipicante | August 7, 2007 11:12 AM

Leslie's professionalism has gone noticeably downhill. I first noticed it when she informed a poster that they must be living under a troll cave (rather interesting to see Washington Post employees/consultants insult their readers). I originally thought that was another poster with the same name; alas, I was wrong. Now she can't even be bothered to use correct capitalization in her comments. Not something I'd care about from the layperson, or another commenter, but this is a woman who receives quite a bit of money to write this blog (my opinions on that being another story) and it is quite obvious the Post is not getting their money's worth now that she has decided that WRITING is a waste of time and she would rather type in a fashion more suited to teenagers on instant messenger.

Posted by: atorres | August 7, 2007 11:13 AM

P.S. to Normandy: No, I have not posted under the name Pyewacket. What other names have you used?
Posted by: mehitabel | August 7, 2007 10:36 AM

None. Long-time lurker, first time poster. Hi, Mom!

Sorry, mehitabel. It's now perfectly clear that Pyewacket is actually Father of 4, aka Lil Husky.

Posted by: normandy | August 7, 2007 11:14 AM

Matt,

I like your post too, but I should clarify that I do like and get along with my neighbors. I just don't care whether the mothers work or not. It's not an issue for me and I've never been someone to cave to peer pressure, so I am not going to now. I feel that the best gift you can give your kids is the gift of being their own person. I had friends who slept around in high school, did hard drugs, etc. When it came to me being involved, I always said no. I did what I wanted to and what I felt was right. I don't think it is a crime to ask someone what they do or what they like, but I am not going to be bothered by the people who think my choice is wrong.

About the only time I would get involved in a neighbor's issue is if they were beating a person or hurting an animal.

KLB_SS_MD,

I am thinking of you. It is so hard to be away from a loved one who is not feeling well. I hope she has a speedy recovery.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 11:14 AM

I've been in my fair share of melees, too.

I just think it's pathetic that people find the need to continue to act on negative feelings after they've already VERY CLEARLY made their feelings known. Who cares to read more blather about why this blog sucks, or to read about who's a cat person or a dog person. Go find a chat room.

Posted by: ScoutOut | August 7, 2007 11:16 AM

Irishgirl74,
Thank you for you thoughts. We are having a rough road with her. She is only intermittently compliant with her therapy and eating (down to 80 lbs). I can't imagine not wanting to eat. She has been told in no uncertain terms that unless she does the therapy and eats then she will not go home as it isn't safe. Who is the mother now?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | August 7, 2007 11:18 AM

"Who is the mother now? "

You know, it would be interesting to see more discussions about topics like these. "The Sandwich Generation" is one instance that comes to mind, but I am sure that more discussions and branching off of this topic could prove beneficial. How do those of us in these situations find balance?

In the same vein, what about topic discussions about planning for when we're older. Since we shouldn't rely on our children being able to care for us. What plans are being made and considered now for the long term? Moreover, when and how will you discuss these plans with your children so that they're aware?

Maybe it's just the way the material is presented, but when comments such as the one quoted above are made in regards to REAL life and REAL worrisome issues, it really makes topics like the one we have here today seem puerile and baseless.

Posted by: aNoN | August 7, 2007 11:34 AM

Hi IRISHGIRL, hope all is well.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 11:35 AM

KLB_SS_MD

KLB_SS_MD

That is so sad. I hope she starts eating and does her therapy. Have they addressed the issue of depression? I know that when I was in the hospital with pancreaticis, I was so depressed that even if I was allowed to eat, I wouldn't have. I feel so bad for you and your mom.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 11:37 AM

"Generally speaking, there are normal people and there are busybodies. The normal people make their choices and keep their judgments to themselves. The busybodies are the ones who think that everyone should do it their way and openly criticise other people."

Meesh, ain't THAT the truth. Recently I was joking about the fact that my town made it onto Money Mag's 100 best places to live list -- and out of the blue, my SIL made this snarky comment about how they shouldn't even consider places if the schools are so bad people can't even send their kids to the neighborhood elementary. ???? It took me several minutes even to realize she was directing that comment to us, since our girl goes to a montessori school. To start with, she's wrong -- we have a great local school, we just haven't used it yet because of some specific issues with our daughter (ALL of which she knew about). But I guess because she lives in the All Great And Mighty Howard County School District, the concept that there might be a good school elsewhere was completely alien. But even beyond that, who makes a comment like that -- especially to a graduate of the very school system she's criticizing??? Why does she even think she has the right to criticize where we chose to live or what school we send our kids to?

This is a very minor issue, but the attitude her comment evinces makes me very self-conscious in dealing with her. I'm very live and let live -- if it works for you, be well and happy. So to realize that someone as close as my SIL, with whom I talk over a lot of issues, is actually silently judging me for the decisions I make, feels weird and awkward (not to mention sure cures me of any desire to "share" with her!). But at least SIL seems to be in the minority -- it would drive me nuts to live in an area like today's author describes, where the folks have nothing better to do than pick over each other's decisions, like it's any of their business.

Posted by: laura33 | August 7, 2007 11:40 AM

I've read about Mommy lit. I guess it's what your graduate to from chick lit. Bridget Jones married with a baby, though I've heard it's nowhere near as good.

I always ask pregant women questions. How are you feeling? Where are you delivering? When are you due? Are you finding out the gender? If they want to talk about epidurals or natural childbirth or inductions or C-sections or daycare or breastfeeding, they can bring it up. And I welcome them asking me anything. I have no filter, so I depend on them to set the bar. Episiotomies, chapped nipples, hemorrhoids? I'm your girl.

Posted by: atb2 | August 7, 2007 11:41 AM

my SIL made this snarky comment about how they shouldn't even consider places if the schools are so bad people can't even send their kids to the neighborhood elementary

In general, I agree with your sil, although not in your particular case. If the schools suck, that means it is NOT agreat place to live for alot of people. Who wants to move somewhere and inherit a huge bill to move your kids to private school?

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 11:43 AM

chapped nipples


Fred will be along any moment now....

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 11:45 AM

Hi IRISHGIRL, hope all is well.

pATRICK, I am doing well. Next week is week 30 and he should be okay after that. I am not sleeping because he is big and he kicks me in the ribs a lot. I hope things are going good with you.

ATB I am a lot like you. I have no problem discussing things like that, but only if someone brings it up.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 11:47 AM

What the hell is this shot at people who get dressed up to Rite Aid? I did not realize that going out dressed like a slob--or more or less not dressed--was normal!

Posted by: biteMeWaPo | August 7, 2007 11:49 AM

meow meow meow

Posted by: Catwhowalked | August 7, 2007 11:50 AM

Posted by: biteMeWaPo | August 7, 2007 11:49 AM

Now THAT is a clever login. HAHA

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 11:50 AM

pATRICK, I have no problems with her theory, which is absolutely correct. What I had problems with was her applying that theory here, despite knowing all of the facts to the contrary (because she had quizzed me about every aspect of our decisions in the past). In fact, it's a great school, and one of the main reasons we bought in this area. But apparently, none of my own reasoning or facts or analysis matters -- because we didn't make the same choice she did, it must be wrong.

Posted by: laura33 | August 7, 2007 12:02 PM

So many responders quick to criticize Gwendolen yet unable to provide specific reasons for their dissatisfaction...

A child of 5 years will grow up into a human society vastly different than I have known for nearly 50 years. Women are now serving on the front lines in war. Women now play a serious role in politics at all levels and one may soon become US president. Women are accepted into major law firms. Slowly, women are being accepted in board rooms. This slow but continuous acceptance of women in places where the old boy club once ruled is dramatically impacting our society. Mothers and fathers must continue to instill this sense of possibility in their children of both sexes.

All citizens must move beyond pointless stereotypes that hinder the development of more humane culture. The male-dominated culture of violence has proven to be utterly worthless as a source of real advances in the quality of human life everywhere.

Posted by: thw2001 | August 7, 2007 12:04 PM

"The male-dominated culture of violence has proven to be utterly worthless as a source of real advances in the quality of human life everywhere."

Not sure women are less violent than men. What's the solution for world peace?

Posted by: BjornAgain | August 7, 2007 12:17 PM

Gee, thanks for all the endless bragging about how talented you and your amazing kid are... I mean, the advice on how to be a mother. This posting of yours only makes me wonder how your parents messed you up so badly.

Posted by: sp12 | August 7, 2007 12:21 PM

«I have to say I thought this was going to be about women raising kids who were not theirs. Like a step mom or an aunt or something.»

«Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 09:22 AM »

Or, a co-wife. Father, he has more than one wife, little Zainab, she has four mommies. Birth mother and co-wives agree on Wheaties, all of them feed little Zainab Wheaties all the time, cereal monotony. Stepmother, if there is one it means something bad happened, mother died, parents got divorce. Birth mother feeds children Cheerios, stepmother feeds them Special K, one wife at a time, one cereal at a time, father has one wife after another, cereal monogamy. Any readers of «on balance» blog from places where co-wives raise children? Arabia? Afghanistan? Yemen? Kenya? Italy? Idaho? Senator Hillary said, «it takes a village» to raise children, anyone here want to say, «it takes a harem» to raise children?

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 7, 2007 12:33 PM

chapped nipples


Fred will be along any moment now....

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 11:45 AM

For nipples that are cracked:

1. Wash the area with water only--no soap.

2. Pat dry

3. Apply Lansinoh or other 100% pure lanolin.

4. For baby to nurse, the lanolin does not need to be removed.

Posted by: Fred | August 7, 2007 12:34 PM

BTW,

Matt, I was in Aberdeen the week before last. Did not see you!

Posted by: Fred | August 7, 2007 12:37 PM

"The male-dominated culture of violence has proven to be utterly worthless as a source of real advances in the quality of human life everywhere."

You read that on a tshirt at feminist rally? That reminds me of John Candy in "VOLUNTEERS" spouting his marxist lines

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 12:48 PM

". . . it is quite obvious the Post is not getting their money's worth now that she has decided that WRITING is a waste of time and she would rather type in a fashion more suited to teenagers on instant messenger."

Posted by: atorres | August 7, 2007 11:13 AM

You left out the part about Dick Cheney and William Kristol '73, Ph.D. '79.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 7, 2007 12:48 PM

Another episode of "Leave It to pATRICK"...

Posted by: BjornAgain | August 7, 2007 12:52 PM

I don't think that Leslie makes a lot of money off this blog. Second, how does a post about the mommy wars get turned into it's the violence of men issue? I am just wondering.

Fred I am so glad that I do not have the cracked nipple problem!

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 12:53 PM

I am here as a reader because wanted to hear about others dealing with balance issues. Please STOP posting articles from people who obviously are only trying to use this to sell something. It is insulting to us. Actually, maybe you should just go ahead and keep it up. I'm removing this site from my bloglines list right now.

Posted by: anna | August 7, 2007 12:53 PM

Irishgirl,

Frieda reports that cracked (and bleeding) nipples are quite painful! It is one of the most common problems that she sees and can be helped with a different position for nursing.

Posted by: Fred | August 7, 2007 12:59 PM

Fred

"Frieda reports that cracked (and bleeding) nipples are quite painful! It is one of the most common problems that she sees and can be helped with a different position for nursing."

Can't Frieda post for herself?

Posted by: BjornAgain | August 7, 2007 1:03 PM

". . . it is quite obvious the Post is not getting their money's worth now that she has decided that WRITING is a waste of time and she would rather type in a fashion more suited to teenagers on instant messenger."

Posted by: atorres | August 7, 2007 11:13 AM

You left out the part about Dick Cheney and William Kristol '73, Ph.D. '79.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 7, 2007 12:48 PM

??

I missed that. Do explain!

Posted by: atorres | August 7, 2007 1:04 PM

I love fred's posts. THey are helpful and sincere. Fred I was lucky with my daughter, when I did BF, I didn't get them. My sister had them and it caused her to stop BFing.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 7, 2007 1:05 PM

Another episode of "Leave It to pATRICK"...

Let's see, are you BJORNFREE, BORNFREE, BRAINFREE OR ANONFORTHIS today? You must have a lot of time on your hands to log in as so many different people.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 1:13 PM

For KLB_SS_MD:

"People who feel they are near the end of their life sometimes consciously refuse food or water. The term in the medical literature is patient refusal of nutrition and hydration. Contrary to popular impressions, 6 published studies indicate that "within the context of adequate palliative care, the refusal of food and fluids does not contribute to suffering among the terminally ill", and might actually contribute to a comfortable passage from life: "At least for some persons, starvation does correlate with reported euphoria."

Posted by: thw2006 | August 7, 2007 1:16 PM

Speaking of the wealthy elite, has anyone read The Nanny Diaries?

Posted by: zr500 | August 7, 2007 1:19 PM

"Sharpton for divestment to clean up rap lyrics
Legislation proposed in New York calls for $3B in investments to be redirected away from music companies distributing rap music with offending lyrics."

I blasted Sharpton for being a hypocrite about IMUS and black rappers. I stand corrected and commend him for not being a hypocrite and doing the right thing.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 1:24 PM

Can't Frieda post for herself?


Posted by: BjornAgain | August 7, 2007 01:03 PM

Nope!

Posted by: Fred | August 7, 2007 1:24 PM

"Speaking of the wealthy elite, has anyone read The Nanny Diaries?"

Yes. So??

Posted by: fake99 | August 7, 2007 1:26 PM

"'You left out the part about Dick Cheney and William Kristol '73, Ph.D. '79.'"

"I missed that. Do explain!"

Posted by: atorres | August 7, 2007 01:04 PM

The only other poster who has suggested that the Washington Post ought to be dissatisfied with the performance of Leslie Morgan Steiner '87 is Baba Booey '02 MPP, who seems obsessed with disrespecting Vice President Cheney and Dr. Kristol. Maybe A. Torres shares Baba Booey's opinion, not only of Leslie, but of Mr. Cheney and Dr. Kristol, too.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 7, 2007 1:26 PM

To thw2006,
Thank you for the information. I don't think it applies to my mother though.
She is using her lack of eating as a tool to manipulate us to allow her to go home ("food would taste so much better at home", "it is too salty", "it is too bland" etc). She is up and walking and occasionally attends her physical therapy. She is a perennial victim whose spots have not changed even in sickness. I don't mean to sound cold but this is the woman who left her husband and children when the oldest (me) was 15. All of us are caring for her now from a distance as we have built our own lives. We support her financially as well as emotionally and are trying to make the best of a bad situation and help her figure out the best way to live the rest of her life in safety and relative comfort.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | August 7, 2007 1:27 PM

We support her financially as well as emotionally and are trying to make the best of a bad situation and help her figure out the best way to live the rest of her life in safety and relative comfort.

Which if you pardon me saying so, I doubt she appreciates at all right? My mom does everything for my dad and he is very unappreciative. Some people are like that.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 1:33 PM

The only other poster who has suggested that the Washington Post ought to be dissatisfied with the performance of Leslie Morgan Steiner '87 is Baba Booey '02 MPP, who seems obsessed with disrespecting Vice President Cheney and Dr. Kristol. Maybe A. Torres shares Baba Booey's opinion, not only of Leslie, but of Mr. Cheney and Dr. Kristol, too.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 7, 2007 01:26 PM

Umm...okay then. Not having read Baba Booey's opinion's I can't say if I agree or not. I do think Leslie's comments have become quite unprofessional over the past month.

Posted by: atorres | August 7, 2007 1:39 PM

pATRICK,
While she SAYS she appreciates what we are doing (and believe me we do a lot) I am not sure she has the capacity to honestly care about how anyone else feels or what they do. She has always been like this so it has nothing to do with her illness. Not that we are saints by any stretch of the imagination but I am sure there are many people who would abandon her as she did us. Our conscience will not allow us to do this (but when she calls at 6:15 on a Sunday morning and says she wants to go home because she is cold it sure is tempting let me tell you).

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | August 7, 2007 1:39 PM

To KLB_SS_MD:

Was concerned me most was the weight indicated at 80lbs. Unless she was a petite woman to begin with, that is quite low. In Haiti I often treated extremely underweight people that refused food for themselves. Keep in mind most adults in Haiti eat a full meal only every other day. They do this so that the children can eat daily.

Some older parents occasionally give up and would turn all food offered over to their children. We put color pictures of food up in places where they could see it from their bed or chair. We ate fruit and vegetables with them during every visit. When they saw their children were eating enough each day they started to eat. Small baskets of fresh fruit were placed in the room. In addition, there was daily counseling and concern shown from someone the person knew closely, i.e. husband, mother or father) or an authority figure, i.e. priest, schoolteacher or local leader. These steps worked remarkably in many cases.

Posted by: thw2006 | August 7, 2007 1:43 PM

I am not sure she has the capacity to honestly care about how anyone else feels or what they do

I completely understand what you are saying and that makes it much harder. Good luck

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 1:46 PM

thw2006,
She has always been small - usually hovering around 100 lbs. She did undergo a 5 hour operation for lung cancer and basically sailed through. It wasn't until she arrived at the first rehab facility that she decided she would not eat or get out of bed resulting in a 9 day hospitalization for pneumonia.
She is now at a different facility and seems to be doing better. Go figure.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | August 7, 2007 1:47 PM

Thank you pATRICK.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | August 7, 2007 2:02 PM

"food would taste so much better at home", "it is too salty", "it is too bland" etc.

Sometimes medications can affect the senses of taste and smell. This happened to me when I was ill last year, and it took a few months to abate entirely.

Posted by: mehitabel | August 7, 2007 2:23 PM

Well,I guess registering has done nothing to increase the level of dialogue here. It appears that people read this blog just so they can complain? And now I'm no better because I'm complaining about the complaining.

Posted by: elyrest | August 7, 2007 2:56 PM

Well, I guess everyone has new IDs now - I was out of town last week, everything's different (had to create a new email addy since my own email is waaaaay too personal (i.e., my first, unusual, name). So now I have a non email to log in with.

Anyway, Just wanted to say to KLB: So sorry about your mom. I know it's tough. You're doing the right thing, and in the end, that's all you have - you have to live with you. My dad's very similar (and mom had her own issues - in her own way).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 7, 2007 3:15 PM

I usually inhabit the On Faith blog but I'm on an unfamiliar computer so I landed up here...
I agree that the post was a little thin and whiny, but having raised my kids on both sides of the fence I do see a genuine divide. When I was home with my older one, the working moms seemed to assume that I would want to pick up their kids after school and watch their babies when the sitter didn't show. (I was a teacher so if I wanted to spend time with large groups of children I would have been working.) I got in the habit of inflating the importance of my little bit of freelance arts writing so they'd understand that I was just too busy.
That was also the point at which I switched from a female to a male doctor, because when I stopped working full-time my former GP treated me like I was some kind of mental defective. That may not have been about gender though, just her personality.
You other commenters are correct, though. Like the song says, most working people have "none of the crazy you get from too much choice." There are really only two kinds of people, defensive jerks and the open-minded. Each "Mommy" camp has its share of each.

Posted by: ViejitaDelOeste | August 7, 2007 4:08 PM

elyrest

"Well,I guess registering has done nothing to increase the level of dialogue here."

A few gems from last week:

"You are very full of yourself these days MN. Get off your high horse, the truth is not vile and if people disagree with your highness that doesn't make them wrong. People like DOLAN do look for those types of traits to help them do their deeds. SO if you don't like those facts, tough."

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 03:43 PM


"What I am identifying is your need to go from blog to blog on certain days insulting everyone in sight and seeing whom you can get to respond."

"That is your opinion and you are welcome to it. If disagreeing with wrongheaded comments is insulting, then so be it. Besides, who made you arbiter of all things?"

Posted by: pATRICK | July 31, 2007 06:48 PM


"pATRICK -- MN has defended you when you deserved defending. As have I.

You have been nothing more than a troll with a name today. "

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 07:22 PM


"Leslie/WaPo editors:

Thank you for removing pATRICK's offensive comment. I hope this means the board will be more monitored and offensive content removed promptly."

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | July 31, 2007 07:54 PM

Posted by: BjornAgain | August 7, 2007 4:11 PM

New to this blog...
While I do think it reeks of nepotism that Ms. Steiner is the editor of the book being promoted here...
Isn't it the job of an author to look at situations in society and think and write about them? (winjonnic - "We don't have the luxury of sitting at home, staring out the window and worrying how society will judge us. We're too busy trying to keep our heads above water."
The way a woman balances her career and her children covers the spectrum. Some women simply bear their children and leave the raising to someone else, others are stay at home moms, and everything in between - depending on what each individual woman wants, and can handle (both time management, and financially). And because we are women, we will always judge each others decisions.

Posted by: jer926 | August 7, 2007 4:27 PM

. And because we are women, we will always judge each others decisions.

Posted by: jer926 | August 7, 2007 04:27 PM

This is a VERY offensive comment. I don't judge people - I let them live their lives. It's disgusting to think that 'just because people are women' they will judge others. Ick.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 7, 2007 4:45 PM

"And because we are women, we will always judge each others decisions."

Posted by: jer926 | August 7, 2007 04:27 PM

That's true. But I really don't care how another woman judges me. I have too many other things on my mind that are way more important to be concerned about.

Posted by: winjonnic | August 7, 2007 5:06 PM

I see bjorn again, born again,bornfree,brainfree,anonforthis,obsession with me continues. YAWN.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 5:34 PM

LESLIE, if you get a hundred posts out of this drivel, i will be shocked.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 07:47 AM

pATRICK, I have to laugh -- your post above is post #100, though I concur with your sentiments about the today's topic.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | August 7, 2007 5:46 PM

Hi, atlmom1234 and others. I used to be catlady, but like you my regular email address was far too personal and identifying to use on a WaPo blog, so I understand. Everyone try to keep cool!

Posted by: mehitabel | August 7, 2007 6:04 PM

Didn't mean to be "VERY offensive" - but it's true. Granted - not ALL women are judgemental. But why do you think women (in general) have a reputation for being "catty"? Catty behavior is judgemental behavior.

Posted by: jer926 | August 7, 2007 6:58 PM

pATRICK, I have to laugh -- your post above is post #100, though I concur with your sentiments about the today's topic

I know it is funny,that is why i posted as #100. My strange sense of irony compelled me. :)

Posted by: pATRICK | August 7, 2007 7:04 PM

Hey former catlady! I'm apparently learning everyone's 'new' nicks...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 7, 2007 9:25 PM

"Didn't mean to be "VERY offensive" - but it's true. Granted - not ALL women are judgemental. But why do you think women (in general) have a reputation for being "catty"? Catty behavior is judgemental behavior.

Posted by: jer926 | August 7, 2007 06:58 PM

Probably because some of them are. I don't "do" catty and avoid it at all cost.

Posted by: winjonnic | August 7, 2007 10:25 PM

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