Moms in the Media

I tend to become consumed by whatever is going on in my life at the time. And since I’m in the throes of second-time new motherhood right now, that’s my obsession du jour. As much as I want to care about what’s going on in the world or who’s going to win “Dancing With the Stars,” I can’t. I can only focus on what’s relevant to my life right now—and that’s sleep, poop, and breastfeeding.

If there was a 24-hour parenting channel, I’d watch it. Instead, I have to cobble together my own version: “A Baby Story,” “Bringing Home Baby,” and “Jon & Kate Plus 8” on TLC, Tori Spelling’s reality show on Oxygen, and the new sitcom “In the Motherhood” on ABC, based on the popular web series. The web version starred Jenny McCarthy and Chelsea Handler, but I’ll accept Megan Mullally and Cheryl Hines as substitutes.

Occasionally, Oprah does an episode that piques my interest, like yesterday’s show on the "Secret Lives of Moms.” It featured the authors of the book, I'd Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper which is their third book on essentially the same topic: true confessions of would-be supermoms.

The point is honesty and solidarity, say the authors. But the books also offer a good laugh, along with a healthy dose of “thank God I’m not THAT bad!” Like the mom who confessed to wearing Depends because she doesn’t have time to go to the bathroom. Or the dad who said, “I could come home for dinner, but I choose to work late. Who wants to come home to 2 screaming kids and a bowl of cereal?” Nice.

The show also featured the aforementioned Cheryl Hines, and uber-mommy blogger Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com. Did you know she started with an audience of 30 people and she now has millions of readers and makes $40k a month from her blog?? Damn, girl!! Dare to dream.

While pop culture’s my preference, sometimes my appetite for mom-related news leads me to more cerebral fare. (Or rather, my more well-read relatives clip it out and send it to me!) The New Yorker recently did a story on the history of breastfeeding, which may sound like a snooze fest except that it made some interesting points, like about how breastfeeding went from being considered a low-class task best farmed out to wet nurses, to a status symbol among the upper class.

More interesting to me, though, was The Atlantic’s article, “The Case Against Breastfeeding.” It’s an eye-opener all right, even if some of the writer’s statements did rub me the wrong way. Like, if a woman decides to breastfeed exclusively for 6 mos., “it is a serious time commitment that pretty much guarantees that you will not work in any meaningful way.” Ouch! It is pretty funny how Rosin compares breast-feeding advocates and formula makers to Crips and Bloods. Ha! It’s definitely a highly charged issue, that’s for sure.

I do find it refreshing that all kinds of outlets, from the Today Show to blogs to The Atlantic find these topics worthy of discussion and debate. It’s a nice break from the tabloid “bump watch” and stories about how celebs lost the baby weight. Though I’m not going to pretend I don’t read those. On 4 hrs. sleep a night, that’s often all I can handle!

Found any other interesting mom- or baby-related news out there? Share with the class!

TIP O’ THE WEEK: File this under “Why didn’t I think of this before?” Since getting to the post office is near impossible with a newborn and a toddler, I finally just ordered stamps online so I can send out my birth announcements already. Definitely worth the $1 shipping cost.


Dooneybug said...

What did you think of the show In the Motherhood? I really didn't connect with it - I didn't see any of the "mom's" on the show being like any real life mother I know. I'll keep watching and hope it gets better. Maybe it will grow on me? Kind of like Samantha Who. Didn't care for that at first but now I like it.

Loukia said...

Nothing to add, really, except that I really enjoy your blog!

Mom2Miles said...

thanks, Loukia!

Dooneybug, ITMH wasn't as funny as I wanted it to be. Like you said, I don't really see myself in any of the 3 moms they portray, but some of the scenarios they depict have the potential to be funny. I'll keep watching. Like the web version, this is based on real mom's stories. I agree about Samantha Who, too!

thewritermama said...

Great post, Abby!

I love hearing your take on all of this mommy media buzz.

Write on!

Jennifer Roland said...

It is interesting how attitudes toward breastfeeding have changed. It is like weight.

Back in the day, the wealthy people were fat and fair because they didn't have to work. The poor people were thin because they couldn't afford an excess of food and tan because they had to work outside. Now, it has completely reversed.

Mom2Miles said...

Good point, Jennifer.

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