Thursday, April 12, 2012

The New Mommy Curse

This is going to be somewhat of a rant. People piss me off.

Today I realized something. Our society has NO respect for mothers, and no comprehension or concern for the needs of an infant.

I was called for a paid focus group (on toilet paper of all things), and the meeting was today. I took my almost 3 month old son with me, because he is an infant and is exclusively breastfed. I have been taking him with me wherever I go since he was born for that reason. I never had any reason to leave him at home; he is very well behaved and I'm the one with the boobs to feed him with.

This focus group was exclusively for mothers. Every woman in that room had children, but I was lead to believe I was the only one with a baby. I was actually told at first the study was only for women with older children, but they later told me they needed me to come in because they couldn't find enough women that qualified.

Anyways, they ended up overbooking and since I was one of the ones that didn't technically qualify, they paid a few of us and sent us home without having to even participate.

Let me reiterate that-
I didn't even participate in the study. Never even set foot in the room.

This evening I missed a call from Oklahoma. The woman on the other end of the line left a message, in which she said someone told her I brought a BABY?! (sounding as if she were surprised babies actually existed). "This building isn't for children; it's for adults only. We don't have childcare, and since there isn't anything for your baby to do it was really unfair to him that you brought him with you."

Okay. Now you're on my bad side. Excluding bars and strip clubs, I've never heard of an "adults only" building. Not to mention- we were in a hotel. A hotel that doesn't allow babies? Huh.

So I wrote her an email back.

"Hello "C". I just got your voicemail and wanted to apologize. But just to clarify, my son is only 2.5 months old. He doesn't need child care, nor was I expecting it. I brought him with me because he is so young and he is exclusively breastfed. I'm used to taking him with me wherever I go for that reason. I know that there is no way of knowing this from your position, but I wear him in a wrap and he sleeps unless he needs to be fed, which I don't think is very disruptive. I'm not sure how being with his mother is "unfair" (as you put it) to my son, he isn't a toddler looking for things to get into and toys to play with. If anything, he was in the best place he could've been. Surely a newborn wouldn't have sabotaged your survey, so I'm just confused as to what the real problem was.
I'll remember that, though."

Bitch, please. Don't insinuate that I am a bad mother for not leaving my infant with a babysitter, as if that were a better option. Don't insult my intelligence by assuming I was expecting your company to have someone there waiting for me to hand my child over to (because I am obviously incapable of taking care of him myself).

Look, I understand that there are some places you shouldn't bring children to because they can be disruptive. I agree with that; don't take your baby to a movie premiere and expect everyone to enjoy your company. If your toddler has been pitching fits all day, then don't take him out to a restaurant if you can't typically get him to calm down (or you aren't going to try). But seriously? A freaking toilet paper survey and I was in the wrong for bringing my sleeping INFANT?!

What did she expect? I just can't wrap my head around it. If her excuse was that she doesn't offer childcare, but we didn't need childcare, what the fuck was the big deal??

SO it got me thinking. Why is it so taboo for women to keep their babies with them, right where they should be? I just don't get it. Why is it that leaving babies at home with someone else seems like a better option for anyone involved? I know many people reading this will say, "duh! Because babies scream and disturb others." Well, A. get over it, it isn't the mother's fault that a baby cries, and B. I am not talking about those not-so-great parents who roll their shopping carts through the grocery store just letting their children scream and cry while doing nothing to console or distract them. I'm talking about women and babies in general.

For example: Ever since I became a mother I worry about going out to eat. I am still not so comfortable breastfeeding in public, but I do it because babies have to eat, and I love my son and will do what is best for him. But you know what doesn't help? When the people sitting at the next table gawk at me and the waiter whispers to his coworkers while staring me down. Mind you- I wear two shirts and a nursing cover if I have to feed my son in public. The thought of strangers looking at my boobs is bad enough, so I just avoid it. So it isn't like they are gawking at the sight of a tiny baby breastfeeding (which I still don't think should be a big deal), it is the mere thought of it that brings people pure disgust. WHY?? Why is it that doing something so natural and so necessary as to feed my own child is so appalling to some people? You don't get a say in the matter. Why are some people so quick to crucify new mothers for mothering their children?

Why is it so horrible for me to have my sleeping baby with me in a waiting room that some bitch in Oklahoma has to call me and tell me what a terrible thing I did?

It's discrimination, pure and simple. People expect all children to be horribly behaved, and they expect that the mothers will do nothing about it. Ironically, when a mother tries to be a mother and do everything in her power to give her child the best start- she is still met with unapproving glares.

People say they want the best for our children, but how are we supposed to give them our best if they are quarantined at home every time we leave the house?

Wake up America. And keep your nose out of everyone else's business.