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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

15 Responses

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  1. Beppie
    Beppie at |

    Excellent post, just one nit to pick:

    Today’s postmodern world celebrates, over and over, the “elevation” of Man above our animal instincts.

    This isn’t postmodernism it’s patriarchal humanism. :) Postmodernism is sceptical towards metanarratives like “man rose above animals and went onto glory/freedom/self-actualisation”.

  2. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Good point, Beppie. I’ve dropped the “post” portion of “postmodern” accordingly.

  3. Fimail
    Fimail at |

    I’d highly reccomend “Motherhood” by Anne Manne if you get some summer reading time.

  4. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    Not having read whatever’s comments I can only guess that he is annoyed at having to travel and/or move to be closer to his kids and at having to take time out to be with them. Well, dude, sometimes men get caught by the patriarchy as well. Quit your bitching, we know it sucks.

    Mindy’s last blog post..Flaming Swords of…

  5. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel at | *

    Dontcha love the way he writes “attended a PhD program” as though it’s a trivial fun little hobby his wife gets to enjoy, while the poor hard-done-by man has to actually work?

    I have some nits to pick about using the word “normal” to apply to a six-month weaning age, and the assumption that all women can easily pump plenty of milk (and have the resources to do so) and therefore it’s ok for all mother-baby pairs to undergo regular prolonged separation from six months, but you knew that. (Note that I said “all” – if some choose this, big deal, it’s a blanket-policy I object to.) If you’d switched it to twelve months (while again acknowledging milk expression and the need to be together mornings and evenings for direct breastfeeding), sure.

    Unfortunately “She can just pump!” has been used as a tool to forcibly separate breastfeeding dyads in custody cases for prolonged periods, days at a time, which is not fair to mothers or to babies. I think it’s important to acknowledge that if a mother and baby wish to directly breastfeed, that is their choice, and it’s not appropriate for a father or court to force them to separate against their will, nor to assume pumping as equivalent to the optimum situation of direct breastfeeding.

  6. Rebekka
    Rebekka at |

    I have two tiny nitpicks about the otherwise excellent post.

    (1) modern is also a problematic term in that in can be referring to modernism, or that specific period (modern furniture or modern design means something quite different to contemporary furniture or contemporary design, for example). I’d suggest using the term “contemporary world” rather than modern world, or perhaps the world today. Very very nitpicky indeed. Sorry. I don’t seem to be able to help myself.

    (2) “although in peasant societies the mother still breast-feeds for on average another year” – which would make 18 months the average age of weaning? This seems young. The ABA website section on extended breastfeeding says “by about two years of age a third or more of the children in sub-Saharan Africa were still breastfeeding. In five out of seven Asian countries studied, 50% or more were still being breastfed at two years; in Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala 40% of children; and in Indonesia 63% of children are still breastfed at this age (Haggerty & Rutstein 1999).”

    Seems like it could be a little older than 18 months, perhaps a little over two years on average if more than 50% are still being breastfed at two years? And of course biologically optimum age of weaning may be older – there’s certainly evidence in that direction.

    But great post despite my nitpickiness.

    Rebekka’s last blog post..And the Mitfords

  7. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    You guys are right to nitpick me. I was trying to be conservative with the estimate on the age of weaning, and Lauredhel’s points about forced separation of breastfeeding dyads, and pressure to break up breastfeeding dyads, is well made.

    I’ll make a couple of quick edits after I’ve had some lunch. Busy busy day today.

  8. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel at | *

    Somehow I feel like there should be some way of playing with non-adversarial off-topic-ish nitpicks without it being in the main comments thread – like a sidethread or something. (C’mon, wordpressers!) For example, I reckon a bit of linguistic brass-tacking on why “contemporary” doesn’t quite work in the place of “modern” could be quite interesting (there’s some denial of coevalness stuff going on there), but it just feels a bit out of place here.

    Y’all know I mostly only nitpick when I reckon the rest of the post was pretty fab, right?

    Lauredhel’s last blog post..Battlestar Galactica: Feminist Or Not?

  9. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Yeah, I know :)

    Thanks, all.

  10. Jennifer
    Jennifer at |

    Great great post. As a mother who genuinely isn’t the main caregiver for my young (6 and 4) children, and whose marriage is at the moment fine, I can totally agree that if we did ever split up it would be better for the children if they stayed with my husband.

    If it actually happened, though, I would be devastated, and I can imagine fighting to get better access, so I do have some sympathy for fathers like whatever.

    (just by the by on the breastfeeding points, I went back to work and expressed at 6 and 3 months respectively, and it definitely reduced the total length of my breastfeeding in both cases rather than what would have happened with natural weaning and no expressing. I’m happy with my choices, but there were consequences)

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Book Review: Strategy and the Fat Smoker

  11. orlando
    orlando at |

    This is such a sound analysis, I think I will do a clip-out-and-keep so I have it to hand. You touch on one of my favourite points, which is this MYTH that the nuclear family is history’s default model. You really have to not have thought about it at all to keep believing that one.

  12. Helen
    Helen at |

    Nice try, Fimail. Anne Manne’s Motherhood is an anti-childcare book. Childcare is not the only element in the contemporary child’s care mix, but it is still an important need for some. This privileged, upper-middle class white woman, married to a prominent public figure, probably would not have lacked for food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education for older children, and social mixing opportunities while “at home” with children. Not every member of society is so fortunate, or would make the same choices even if they were.

    “Motherhood” is a guilt trip, and its usefulness to a feminist mother is questionable, but go ahead and read it if you want I suppose. Just take it with a very large pinch of salt that your kids will be forever ruined if you use childcare.

    Helen’s last blog post..Calling the Hivemind

  13. Fimail
    Fimail at |

    Hi there Helen,
    apologies – three week old infant and feeding while at keyboard can take reasonable blame for the fact that whilst it makes perfect sense to me, my pointer to Anne Manne’s work does require some explanation as others can’t read my mind.

    You are right that Motherhood is largely about childcare, and the reason I point to it is that she discusses amongst other things, the lack of policy support in Australia for parenting choices. Research that shows that where women have the option, most women have neither a work centred nor a home centred preference but would in ideal circmstances choose a mix of both over time. As you point out, most people are not in their ideal situation, and make choices based on the options available.

    Manne discusses sweeden where there is a system of paid parenting – payments can be used to fund institutional childcare or as pay for the ‘work’ of a stay at home parent (either father or mother which is where i think the discussion ties in neatly with tigtogs discussion of possible parenting senarios that involve equal time). – the choice being with the parent as to where the money goes. Parenting policies in the workplace are also streets ahead. I think that this is an excellent model and opens up options for shared parenting models. That’s why I suggested it.

    I am a bit taken aback by your assumptions about my motives (“nice try”) which imply that I am trying to somehow pull a swifty and reccomend something that is unsavory for feminists to read. It was reccomended to me by my uni supervisor who publishes extensively on feminism and capitalism. The book is neither conservative, anti-feminist nor attempting to discuss childcare in the context of individal choices and make people feel ‘guilty’. It is largely about policy and looks at the question in terms of larger political and structural contexts such as consumption driven capitalism.

    Manne writes that everyone thought that she was nuts for tackling childcare that it is a taboo topic and I didn’t understand it at first, but I am starting to get a sense. I think it is an excellent read and even if you disagree with the research she discusses about the effects of long day care on child development it doesn’t mean that they are not relevant questions in the context of policy formation.

  14. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel at | *

    Ah, I was about to butt in to say that Fimail is a regular good-faith commenter at my personal blog, but I see she has acquitted herself admirably here without my intervention.

    Carry on.

    Lauredhel’s last blog post..Love in the Time of Cholera: A Cantankerous Boxing Day Review

  15. Helen
    Helen at |

    Apologies, Fimail, you copped the sidespray from my ire at Anne Manne’s continual guilttripping of other women.

    Manne needs to understand, it doesn’t matter whether you support childcare as part of your own work and family mix, other women and men will still need it. Until we get (Manne’s version of) utopia, which presumably is where everyone, including working class women, refugee women, everyone, will be able to stay at home being financially independent until they choose to go back to work. Until then, opposition to quality, community based childcare just makes it worse for others. Even then, some selfish berloody women like me might just think it’s quite a good idea ;-)

    Helen’s last blog post..Holidays

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