With moving on my mind, the excitement of the Mosaic Reviews team approaching and extra mom time, I’ve been slacking in the blogging department lately. Really each deserves a post of its own, but since I’ve been so stretched for time, you’re getting the gist of the current odd mom happenings, all rolled into one.Read More
I didn’t either, but on our last trip, this past Monday, to our local Lowes a mother and her son sure made it look that way. You see, we had just made our way to check out in the garden center when the mom pulls her cart up behind us with a little girl, maybe 18 months, standing in the big part of the cart. Not a minute later I suddenly here her shout, “-Kids Name- I’m going to count to 10 and you better get over here!”
Of course I turn my head to see where the kid is and to my surprise see a young boy, about 3 or 4, and the second level of a plant display (we’re talking about 4 feet off the ground) climbing all over the plants like it is a jungle gym, a good 80 feet across the garden center.
I had a million things going through my mind as she began to count to 10, increasing in loudness each time until I’m sure the customers inside the store could hear her. How on Earth did your child of this age get this far away from you in the store in the first place? Why in the HELL are you counting to 10, go get your kid down!
Moreover, just when I thought I couldn’t get any more appalled, she marches across the garden center after reaching 10 to retrieve the boy leaving the little girl standing in the cart. This is when my husband who was standing closest to her cart began to panic, putting his hand on her cart while I watched the five-minute long circus act that occurred as she attempted to get him down.
Of the five other people waiting in line with us, you could tell three others were just as disturbed as I was not only from the looks on their faces, but also the public comments they made on her discipline techniques obviously not working.
We ended up leaving Lowes that early afternoon contemplating what baffled us more, the fact that the boy was ever able to be in the position to turn the store into his local play area or the fact that the mother left that little toddler alone in the cart, 80 feet away. And I still find myself thinking about it (obviously) because with all of the discipline debates I participated in over the years, the discipline in this case is moot point for me. Instead, it was what seemed to be the mom’s utter disregard for her children’s safety.
The icing on the cake for the day, when we made our way into Publix an hour later who did we find blocking our way to the milk, none other than Lowes Mom. I really could have done without ever seeing her again, twice in one day was not necessary.
*I was going to include a picture of an awesome jungle gym in my post but evidently pictures of Disney are easier to come by. For whatever reason every jungle gym pic on Flickr seems to be fully copyright protected. Boo! : (
If the Doll Offends You, By all Means, Shelter Your Children from World Culture & Art as Well!
My six-year-old daughter, Goldilocks, has uttered those exact words to me many times. Each time it warms my heart to know they we are raising her in environment where she knows that “Just” being a mom is okay, because it is a truly amazing job.
I found myself steaming mad last night though, as once again the over sexualized and media crazed state of our society reared its ugly head, threatening the future my daughter has envisioned for herself.
It All Begins With a Doll
The Breastmilk Baby Doll to be exact. You see, after a video of it was shared on Facebook I scrolled down to read a comment calling the doll “disgusting.” Disgusting, really, what is so disgusting about it? It allows children to roll play with their baby dolls and I find it no less offensive than having to listen to the sucking sounds of a baby doll that has had a fake bottle shoved in its mouth.
But you see, when called out how natural and normal breastfeeding is, the commenters quickly counter acted by sharing that little girls should not be “pretending” to breastfeed or “acting” like little mommies. They are children, we should let them be innocent and this kind of play is wrong.
Irrational fears were brought up that little girls who play with these dolls are going to end up pregnant at the age of 13 and it teaching a young child to masturbate because we are teaching them the importance of breastfeeding was even shared, using the comparison of the both being natural.
Public Scrutiny and the Media are Winning
To me it all boils down to the fact that through commercialization and the media, breastfeeding just is not accepted for what it should be, a healthy natural normal process for feeding human babies. Instead, as much as we fight it, American citizens still gravitate to placing anything related to the breast in the “sex” category thus labeling an innocent baby doll as disgusting and causing a loss of innocence.
We live in a time where fantasy is often the more accepted norm and it truly is disheartening.
Let Them Play
For those that take issue with a child simulating breastfeeding with a doll because children shouldn’t pretend to be “mommies” I have this to say
Take away the cowboy hat, the firefighter’s jacket and play kitchen,
Take away the legos and blocks,
Take away the crayons and paper,
Take away the Barbies and the action figures,
Go ahead and take away all of your children’s toys, because everyone opens up the opportunity for your child to enter imaginative play and if even for a brief moment they are mommy, a police officer, an architect, an artist or a fashion designer.
If you are not going to this, by all means, let go of all of your media fueled misconceptions and just let them play!
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Warning: I loved Barbies when I was little girl, pranced around the house in my mother’s high heels and scarves and used to be a model, it is quite possible I am one of the “corrupted” and my views have been skewed!
I have read a lot of disturbing post lately attacking Disney and what is called the “Princess Phenomenon,” including this one that discusses the book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture” with author Peggy Orenstein.
The women leading these online rants have a mass following and are working hard to instill gender equality for their daughters giving gifts of workbenches for Christmas in lieu of dolls and pink glittery dress-up clothes and I find myself baffled.
The Parents Role
Maybe it is the fact that I spend so much time with my children, educating them at home, but it would seem common sense to me that it is not the nature of the toys, movies and other consumer products marketed to specific genders that shape the children and roles they choose to take in life, but the parents.
I’m certainly for banning certain toys from the home that you feel are detrimental to your child’s character development with conflict with your family’s personal values. In fact, Bratz dolls and those similar are not allowed in our home, simply because I find there are more child friendly dolls available.
Succumbing to the idea that a little girl who falls in love with the magic of fairy tales, happily adorning her blue Cinderella dress almost daily is going to grow up with skewed versions of her place in the world and a crappy self-esteem is ridiculous though.
I don’t care if your daughter never touches a toy car, plays in the mud or shows an interest in sports, her ability to be a strong woman when she reaches adulthood is entirely up to the lessons the parents instills in her. With the proper attention to detail, love and care in shaping your child’s character, no amount of mass consumer culture can dictate their lives.
Blurring the Lines
What worries me the most about these “Anti-Princess” campaigns and the like is that these women who proclaim they are fighting the good fight for Feminism are blurring the lines between necessary freedoms for women and the path that nature has intended.
I am more than proud of the feminist movements in the past that granted women the right to work (those left without a husband are no longer forced to remarry as in the olden days to care for their children), my ability to vote and so much more. The current campaigns seem to go against everything that is natural to me though.
First, you must understand that I am not religious; I am however, a very spiritual person deeply rooted with a love for nature and cycles of life around us. That being said, I feel that every living creature has its place in life, even the female.
It is in our nature to be kind, compassionate, passionate, fierce whenneeded and so much more giving us the maternal instincts needed to care for our children. Look at the female across all species, the norm among them is providing the nurture and care their children need while protecting and educating them.
In no way to feel every woman should stay home and care for her children and home, there are those that must work, and in doing so are exerting those same maternal instincts by caring for their children in the way they have to.
I do believe though that the consumer society we have come to live in, where both parents work to pay for two cars, a home with square footage far beyond their needs and the newest luxuries as they hit the market has caused the lines between what nature has intended for us and what people think must be done to be blurred.
I often think about my grandmother who passed away 11 years ago, she was a strong female in every sense of the word and a truly strong matriarch. She wore flowery dresses, woke each day hours before the rest to prepare breakfast and washed every dish in the home but she also held more authority and respect amongst family and peers than more than half the men I have met in my lifetime.
She fell into the roll that nature intended and she walked her path in life well. She was not silly enough to think that a man’s worth was more than hers because she made her place in the home, she wasn’t’ afraid to get her hands dirty and her self-confidence glowed despite the fact that many today would call her place in life “archaic.”
How You Really Raise Strong Women
Don’t shelter your girls from the world of princesses or encourage a choice of gender-neutral décor over the pretty flowered duvet she really wants, instead embrace your child’s personality for what it is.
Flow with the rhythm of life and let your child find their path, encourage them when they need a gentle nudge, introduce a world of opportunities and education to them but remember to always let them MAKE the choice of that path without an overwhelming amount of jaded opinion from you.
Disclaimer: If you find yourself overwhelming offended by my post, feel free to politely share with me why. Alternatively, you can sit on your thoughts for a few days (a week in my case) and write your own blog post about the topic yourself. I DO NOT feel that women must be obedient to their husbands or look to men to solve are of their woes. I am however very favorable of recognizing the Ying and Yang throughout all of life and try my hardest to respect and embrace it!
Do You Have Princess Phobia?
How influential are Disney Princesses and other popular gender specific characters and products when it comes to raising your children?
Do you have a firm belief that women should stay home, make their mark in world or have you found a happy balance on what is expected of you and your daughters in todays society?
I would love to hear your thoughts!