FML-Absurd

I had a horrible dream the other night that I was pregnant again.

NOOOOOOOOO!

Why so horrible? After all I had a pretty easy pregnancy (all things considered) and hope there’s time in my biological clock to have another. The problem is the FMLA, aka the Family Medical Leave Act, that enables women to take time off (unpaid) to have their baby for up to 12 weeks and have their job guaranteed. FMLA really should stand for:  Federal Men Lack Awareness, Frustrated Mothers Lose Atrociously, or Fetus Might Live Alone… you get the point.

Here’s the problem. The FMLA only allows you to take advantage of leave every 12 months on a rolling basis. So my recent maternity leave ended July 1, 2013, I would not be allowed to start another leave until July 2, 2013. If my dream were to be accurate (and it’s not), I would be due in April 2014, 3 months before I would be permitted to take another leave of absence. So it would be up to my employer to decide whether or not I was valuable enough to keep on board for another maternity absence and I would have no federal protection for my employment.

This stuff makes me a little crazy. Where is the Religious Right when I need them? For all they go on about “Family Values” we don’t have many safeguards in place to protect mothers, or aspiring-mothers, in the work place. Even the crappy pay you get on maternity leave (if anything at all) is called ‘short term disability’. Hello? I was not disabled, I had a BABY.

Our elected leaders on both sides of the aisle need to wake up and realize that many mothers do actually have to work outside of the home and we need to protect these mothers so they can find the balance they need to raise their children, be a valuable employee and pay their bills. We all can’t be [insert wealthy white politician’s wife name here]. Plenty of families in this country depend on the paycheck mommies bring home, and more and more frequently that paycheck is more than daddy’s. You don’t want us to have abortions but you don’t want mothers to be able to actually provide for our families either. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways, Misters.

Can’t we do better? Looks like I am about to send another donation to Emily’s List. In the meantime, my dream better not come true.

Posted in WTF

The Evolution of Commercials

Since being home on maternity leave I have had my first real taste of daytime television in a long time.  The last time I spent any significant time of my week at home was probably the summer after my freshman year of college when I was nursing both a broken heart and a bad case of mono. Me and the TV had a really good time together in the summer of 1993.

I have been really surprised these last few weeks about what I am seeing on TV– between the bad reality and daytime talk shows. Commercials are definitely evolving… in a good way!

In my most recent post I mention the Luvs commercial where the mom breast feeds in public. Shocking! Here that is once again:


I am also seeing an influx of commercials traditionally marketed to the traditional housewife being marketed instead towards househusbands and other commercials featuring dads doing stuff normally delegated to the mommy. Such as…

Tide: Dad’s do laundry!


Huggies: Dad’s test diapers!


Samsung: Dads use mobile devices to figure out complicated stuff like baby swaddling!


Those role-reversals are great and its high time we see Dads portrayed as family caretakers and not juts financial providers. But the king of all surprises was this Cheerios commercial. Watch it first, then let’s discuss:


Notice anything different other than it being completely adorable? Did you? Be honest! Definitely not your typical ready for prime-time family being featured here and I LOVE IT. But of course, since some people just can’t handle that life is sometimes different than a Brady Bunch episode so General Mills had to shut down the comments section of this video on youtube due to some racist jerks.

Meredith Tutterow, a marketing director for Cheerios at maker General Mills, told the New York Times the company stands by the commercial and that the spot will “absolutely not” be pulled.

“There are many kinds of families,” Tutterow said, “and Cheerios just wants to celebrate them all.” She said the comments will be enabled again at some point, though didn’t know when.

Cheers to Cheerios!! I think I might just head on over to the Cheerios Facebook page and give them some support.

The big question I have, who will be the first major brand to feature a same-sex couple in a commercial? If there has been one, I haven’t seen it yet. But I will vow to buy whatever product that is!*

*You know, as long as it isn’t like Porsche, Cartier or some other fancy product that I can’t afford.

Now I Am a Fire Hazard.

“Ma’am, you can’t do that here, you’re a fire hazard, ” is what the lady said to me when I tried to breastfeed in her local Long Island restaurant.   We were seated at a booth, but there wasn’t enough room between the table and where I was sitting in the booth to hold the baby at chest level. I tried to do that first, but the only way to fit the baby would have been to lay the baby on the table, but surely my dining companions would not have appreciated that.  See what I mean in my crude illustration:

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So I did the next best thing, I grabbed a chair from one of the dozen empty tables around us and propped it at the head of the booth where there was plenty of room. I covered myself with a nursing apron so I was more than decent… though, as I mentioned, the restaurant was basically empty except for one other table who also had a small child with them so the cover was more for my comfort than anyone else’s.

As I got cozy and started to feed my hungry baby the not-so-nice lady came over and told me that by putting a chair at the head of the table/booth I was creating a fire hazard, despite the restaurant being all but empty. I asked her where would be a more appropriate place to feed my child and she only responded all snippy and awkward, “I don’t know. You are a fire hazard,” again and she walked away.

Helpful, right?

I am quickly learning that breastfeeding in public is a hotly contested subject. Have you seen the very recent Luvs commercial featuring a breastfeeding mom?  In the first scene a new mom is struggles to breastfeed under a cover, clearly frazzled, in a public space. Then in the second scene, on her second child, she has abandoned the cover and bravely feeds her child at the table. She is so over being covered up, now being an expert mom and not giving a shit about dumb stuff like covers.

Even this fairly innocuous commercial created controversy. This quote in the article, Luvs commercial about public breastfeeding creates controversy  sums up the opposition pretty well, “Luvs should stick to selling diapers and stay out of the politics!” wrote “Tasteless” from Temecula, Calif., on the Luvs website. “I found the ad tasteless and crude.”

As recently as last month Facebook got into hot water about removing images posted of women breastfeeding in a breastfeeding group because it was first assumed they were indecent.

This is all confusing to me given the mixed messages society is sending. Ever since I hit the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy I have been bombarded with literature, doctors and nurses telling me that, “Breast is Best!!” and pushing the breast feeding regimen. New moms are practically bullied into it and those who choose to go the formula route are made to feel that they have to feed their baby in secret to avoid judgement for choosing not to breastfeed as though they are deliberately poisoning their child. So why isn’t breastfeeding met with applause and cheers of approval in public? I should be cheered and celebrated! It doesn’t make any sense at all. Is it so indecent? More indecent than the window display in your local Victoria’s Secret? Or even worse, American Apparel? I don’t think so.

American Apparel ad

Exhibit A: American Apparel ad on their website. Seriously? And you’re upset about breastfeeding mammas?

No one tells you how hard breastfeeding is before you have a baby.

It’s really hard. Painful at times, time consuming, sweaty, exhausting. But I am glad I am choosing this route, though I hold no judgement towards mammas who choose other routes (‘do what you gotta do’ is my motto when it comes to motherhood). If I can’t breastfeed in public that means I am perpetually tied to my house since the little guy eats every 1.5 to 2 hours during the day. If it’s so important that I choose to breastfeed, everyone else in our community needs to get on board and support mothers like me, especially new moms who feel vulnerable and exhausted.

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This is me, rocking it out. SO indecent, right?

If I want any kind of life as a breastfeeding mother, I will need to get out there and brave idiots like that lady in the restaurant. Was I a fire hazard in that empty restaurant? Perhaps. Could she have handled the situation better? Definitely. So for now, I am just going to continue rocking it out and be the honeybadger of mothers.

For that extra messy baby?

One thing that I guess I shouldn’t be shocked about in this whole baby prep process is how much crap is out there for sale. And how aggressive retailers are to get you to buy their crap. I am bombarded daily with coupons, free samples, catalogs, emails and deals. Living in a small space I have really tried to control my impulses by asking myself this critical question before each purchase: “Is this nice or necessary?” 

Or perhaps if I am honest the question goes more like this, “Is this nice or necessary or so insanely cute that I can’t turn away from it because when I am awake at 3am dying from heartburn it’s hard NOT to impulse buy which of course is a lot worse when pregnancy hormones are coursing through my body like my own personal emotional road rally so I may as well buy it and surely I will love it not matter what.” Yes, I talk to myself in run-on sentences.

But here’s one thing I was able to turn away from:

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What is this, you ask?  This is a flower hooded bib for the low low price of $19.99.

Granted, I don’t know much about parenting. Or rather, anything about parenting, but I sure as hell hope that I don’t need to cover my child nearly head to toe in what really is a pretty plastic bag to get through the messiness mealtime. In fact, instead of spending 19.99 you could just cut a few holes in a hefty bag and call it a day and probably get the same results.

What do you think, fellow mammas out there, is this a nice or necessary product for kids?

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to fly this large Airforce 1 plane near the buildings by Ground Zero for a “photo op” has a lot of explaining to do.

Posted in WTF

I am So. Sorry.

Dudes. Here’s my problem.

I don’t know what to say lately! In recent weeks my life is being dominated by work. When not at work, I am doing research for the “BIG W”, set for May 2010 or a possible honeymoon. When not at work or doing research, I am thinking about the gym, at the gym, or trying not to eat constantly. When not at work, doing research or thinking about my waistline, I am trying to sleep. Usually not successfully since I am thinking about all that other stuff. That leaves me little time to entertain you with my witty observances.

If it helps ease the pain of my absence: I miss you. I really do. It’s not you, it’s me.

I just don’t want to bore you with rant after rave after rant about the ridicutrocities of wedding planning. It’s my own choice to put myself through this maddening process, so I have no right to complain, nor have I gotten to the part of planning that’s good yet (god, I hope there are good parts down the line) and worthy of our conversation. Right now I am in the stage which I call, “HOLY SHIT, THAT’S WHAT THAT COSTS? FOR REAL?” It’s not the most fun stage of event planning.

But, trust me when I tell you there is very good stuff on my horizon. Interesting stuff too. I promise. Here is a little tid bit in the meantime. I went to Boston recently to see my sister who is nearing the completion of her pregnancy with twins. How cute is she?


Oh, and I will also leave you this nugget. First, you know I love babies with wigs. Cute! But what’s possibly even cuter? Doggies with wigs. Check it out from my favorite pet store, Trixie + Peanut:

Who can’t love that?

To My Evil Tooth (Part: Are you shitting me?)

Dear Evil Tooth,

You think you’re funny, don’t you.

You think you are hilarious. Well, I am not laughing. Sure, I thought it was the end when I said enough was enough and had you pulled back in September. I said I would if you didn’t stop your shenanigans. And I keep my promises.

But now you must continue to haunt me and cause me further pain and discomfort? You sure have a lot of balls, for an evil tooth.

I don’t know what you did on your way out that caused this damage that had to be repaired. Not that I mind seeing Dr. Hottie McHot again, but still. Making him cut into my tender gums and saw down the jagged edges you left behind was just too much. Now I keep accidentally chewing on my stitches, which hurt like a mother.

Oh, how I hate you.

You may have gotten the best of me this time, but I still have some fight in me yet, toothie-my-dear. You have not heard the last from me.

Love,

Terra

Posted in WTF

Really?

When I first saw this image today I thought someone got creative with the Photoshop. NO WAY could this photo be real. What is McCain doing? It looks like he’s going in for a little grab-ass. Or like he just took some expired Nyquil (which would have possibly explained the strangely excessive blinking too).

But, it’s real. I pulled it from Reuters myself.

They explain the moment as such:

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage after shaking hands with Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, October 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

OK….still, he’s an odd little duck.