Category Archives: Breastfeeding
My little brother (#2 of 3) posted this video on the gender wage gap “myth” on my Facebook yesterday, and it inspired my impromptu blog/rant/soapbox lecture which I will share with you below. I realize that most of my blog is NOT feminist or political, but I obviously feel very strongly about this and I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts about the subject. So watch the video, read my commentary, and please add your own!
Personally, I think it’s a HUGE problem that girls are not encouraged towards the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I remember hearing “don’t worry if you don’t understand math; girls usually don’t.” Yes, I struggled with math and had a HUGE learning curve, but once I got it (in college), I got really good grades and actually enjoyed my classes. It’s not a field I wanted to CONTINUE studying (especially after taking Physics, where my professor basically dismissed all my requests for help), but I wonder if I would have caught on sooner if I hadn’t been told over and over that girls aren’t good at math. But if the fields that make the most money are not fields that girls are encouraged to study and be a part of, don’t you see THAT as being a big problem?
Secondly, our society is just not set up for women to easily continue working in their careers after having children. Child care is obscenely expensive, workplaces are often not flexible with parents taking time off to care for their newborns, sick children, etc. Even breastfeeding laws that protect a woman’s right to take more frequent breaks to pump or nurse are not well enforced (work places are supposed to provide a private place for this to happen and bathrooms do NOT count… but most women are only given a bathroom as the private place. Would YOU prepare food for your child in a bathroom?). Because of factors like this, WHAT CHOICE DO MOTHERS REALLY HAVE? We have to choose careers that allow the flexibility that mothering requires, and sadly, those careers don’t pay as much as other “choices.” I’ve personally worked exclusively part-time jobs since becoming a mother because I couldn’t find full-time employment that allowed me to also mother my young children.
Finally, I do appreciate his conclusion that to overcome some of these issues, we have to change the gender perceptions that woman JUST take care of children and men JUST earn money. There has to be a more even division of the household responsibilities and the wage-earning responsibilities. Growing up, we were SO BLESSED to have a dad who made enough money for mom to stay home with us (although she worked part-time when it was just 3 of us), and that was common among the families that we grew up with, but it is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE in this generation for a mother to not work. And what about women who don’t find their sole definition in mothering? It isn’t wrong for a woman to be both a mother and a career woman. The Proverbs 31 woman is shown doing WAY more working than mothering her children… and she’s the ideal that Christian moms are held up to!
OK, one more point. *IF* stay-at-home-mothering is such a value to the family/society etc., than why is it not something that mothers are compensated for? I just calculated my salary from this website http://swz.salary.com/momsalarywizard/htmls/mswl_momcenter.html and, as a work-from-home-mother, my uncompensated work is worth about $63k a year! What’s yours?
The transition from 1 child to 2 children is really hard. If/When you go from 2 to 3, you’ll realize it’s not that bad at all! I think that keeping the older child as involved in the prenatal baby care as possible will really help. Invite her to “read” to the baby while you rest in bed, or talk to him. Jonathan really loved coming to the midwife appointments and being the special helper. He could measure my belly and use the doppler to hear Hannah’s heart beat. It was so sweet when we got pregnant with Joshua and Jonathan showed Hannah how to do all the hands-on things that he had learned when she was in my belly!
Does your first born have a special doll or stuffed animal they like to care for? We got Jonathan a stuffed monkey and used it as Jonathan’s baby. Before Hannah was born, we would play like it was really a baby and put a diaper on it, give it a bottle, and I made a special sling out of cloth so Jonathan could carry it around. We did this for Hannah, too, when Josh was coming. Do this when you are still pregnant, so that once you need to focus on the baby, you can encourage the first born to get her “baby” and take care of it while you take care of your baby. We have hilarious pictures of Jonathan and Hannah “nursing” their “babies” while the real baby was getting fed, too! Encourage her to help you as much as possible, and she will feel important to Mamma.
I could say “don’t feel guilty”, but there are going to be times when you just will. The older child needs to learn that the baby’s needs will have to come first for a while. What works for me is that I’ll take care of the baby until he’s asleep, and then go have special snuggle time with the older ones, talking to them about how much I love them and how they are special to me. Also, communicate to your spouse and the people around you how important it is for them to focus on your older child when they come to see the new baby. I so appreciated some of our friends who came over with gifts for both the baby and the older kids, so that EVERYONE felt special. Your husband especially can help with giving the older child lots of Daddy time while you focus on the baby.
One of the crazy things I did that I think really helped was NOT weaning Jonathan when Hannah was born (he was only 25 months old). After I would nurse Hannah to sleep, I would nurse Jonathan and talk to him about how much I loved my big boy. I know that sounds totally crazy, but it helped a lot, since his love language is touch. It was initially hard to tell him that Hannah had to have milk first, but he would lay quietly until it was his turn, even waking me up sometimes to tell me Hannah was all done and it was his turn. =D (I’m getting teary thinking about this… he’s FIVE now!!!)
I think the greatest thing about having kids close together is how they pretty much grow up together. When Jonathan finally finished potty training, Hannah was old enough to start, and he encouraged her. When Joshua was born, they both were the proud older siblings, and could go play together while I took care of the baby. It’s so precious and sweet to see them growing and learning and loving together. I really would not have it any other way. When God called us to do something crazy like TRUST HIM with our fertility (and then me getting instantly pregnant), we were panicky. 3 kids in 4 years? That’s insane! But the blessings are so great, and we are so glad that we didn’t take matters into our own hands and prevent the conception of any of these little wonders!
I hope that you are encouraged! If you have any advice you’d like to share or questions to ask, please do it!