Sylvia Knows Best
Funny how things happen. This morning, I was reading an article
on Time magazine's website about women processing (well, they call it
"eating", but clearly that's just to get people to tune in, since we
don't say that we "eat" our vitamins, and we're talking about capsules
here) their babies' placentas for consumption (for the health benefits they apparently confer--duh,
don't click if you don't want to read about it). Now before you run to
the bathroom to throw up, let me just say that that's not what this
post is about*. Breathe easy, my friend. The hard part is over.
And the rant is just beginning.
First, the backstory.
A few weeks back, around Father's Day, I happened upon an article
on msnbc about how fathers who are stepping up to share or take primary
responsibility for parenting feel invisible, about how they are
ignored, especially when their wives are present, or made to feel like
"babysitters" and not taken seriously. Fair enough. More power to 'em.
I began to read. I read the blog (great
blog, btw) that the article referenced. I read the comments and the
discussion on the topic on msnbc. And I left a comment, highlighting
the one variable that seemed to be missing in the list of "why this
happens"--namely, the numbers of fathers who perpetuate the division of
responsibility, who find child care demeaning, who use the words
"babysittting" in regard to their own participation, and even the
significant, if minority, population that is blatantly advocating a
return to so-called "traditional" values in which the father is the
breadwinner and the mother is, well, the mother. What I was trying to
say was that, as often happens, these men are barking up the wrong
tree. If they want things to change in society and in how people regard
them, their wives and the sympathetic supportive community of other
stay-at-home dads are not where that sort of change is to be found. If
they are looking to change the expectations of a patriarchal system,
they need to go straight to the source: the men (the majority of men)
who perpetuate this view, and they need to call the mainstream media on
their gaffes whenever, wherever, every ever.
I know. Who am I to tell them what they "need" to do?
I'm me. This is my blog.
Backstory firmly in hand, we now return to the fount of knowledge and insight that is known as Time magazine.
like any website worth its salt, there were links on the placenta
article page to other things that might just be of interest to new moms
or new dads, because after all, who else would read this article other
than crunchy holistic kind of folks who can potentially really
appreciate the inclusion of an article of this type in the mainstream
media. Like me.
In this case...being that it's 2009 and
all...two of the more prominent links were to iPhone apps for new moms
and for dads. Ooh! I have (and love) an iPhone! I have (and love) a
child! I have (and love) a career that involves gathering resources for
parents as they navigate their way through the early days of
parenthood! Ooh! I'm checking this out!
This is where it gets nasty. Grab the Tums. I'll wait.
First, let's talk the iPhone apps for Moms.
The 10 of them. Or 7. Or 13. Or something. Girls aren't good at math
anyway, right? Oh, I suppose I should explain, because I notice these
things, and that's why I get paid the big bucks--to share them with
you. Here we go. The link says: "See the top 10 iPhone applications for new moms".
Yes. In red. When you get there, the title of the article is "Seven
Iphone Apps for New Moms" (I mean, who's gonna notice the sudden
disappearance of three apps when you can't even find your car keys?).
And then, you read them. And each one of the seven pages highlighting
apps (well, except for one of them, just to mix things up a little)
discusses TWO apps. So actually, the article highlights 13 apps for new
moms. I guess.
Now, you can look for yourself, but I don't want
to take any chances, so here are the 13 apps that they highlight as
best for new moms:
Babycam – makes cutesy noises so that your baby will smile for pictures (since s/he sure isn't going to smile for YOU.
Quad Camera – takes 4 pictures of your kid at once (make the most of every moment with your child, and you know how we moms love a bargain)
Scribble – drawing progam to “keep toddlers busy on long car rides” (I think giving your toddler your iphone is a dandy idea...it's important to keep technology well greased)
Bug Squash – where you tap the touch screen to smash bugs to get points (and get them started on violence against small helpless creatures as early as possible)
Nursing Tracker – anal retentive recordkeeping of nursing (because, as we all know, the more tense you are, the better it is for your milk supply)
Diaper Tracker – stats on when your baby’s diaper was changed (because if there's anything more fun than changing diapers, it's recording the qualities of every poop)
Lose it – to lose weight after birth –keeps track of food and exercise (obviously the first order of business)
I Fitness – exercise instructions (more of the same, blah, blah)
Big Oven – recipes (because, while you may not be pregnant anymore, you are still, with any luck, barefoot and in the kitchen)
4 Ingredients – recipes (in
case the thousands of recipes in the aforementioned app aren't
sufficient, and to give you another thing to browse through, now that
you are a new parent and have scads of free time on your hands)
Asleep kids – lullabies for naptime (because
research has shown that babies always prefer electronic music rather
than a parent's voice, and besides, when your baby is napping, you
don't need your iphone anyway, so just leave it in their crib! But
don't forget to put it on airplane mode, because if a call comes in,
there goes the lullaby!)
Whitenoise – whitenoise macine for naptime (because, again, you don't need your phone)
Toddler Cards – flash cards (because it's never too early to start poor parenting practices--and with this one, hey, you don't even need to hold the cards!)
That's thirteen. No. I don't have judgments at all. At All. Got that?
Ding! Ding! Ding-a-ling! (that's your cue to start salivating). This is where it gets good.
to be outdone, and recognizing that hey, this is the new millenium, and
being a dad is a whole new thing, Time was kind enough to also review
the "Ten Best iPhone Apps For Dad".
No, no need to rush over there and read the article. I've taken the
time to summarize them here for you. You're welcome. Here they are. The
10 best iPhone apps for dads. Yes, there are ten of them. On the link,
on the article, and in actuality. 10. Because boys are good at math,
Oobgolf – tracks golf scores and analyzes trends in scores
iHandyCarpenter – level, protractor, 3 other tools (set against a manly wood grain background)
Gas Cubby – to track gas mileage and vehicle upkeep
Grill Guide – digital ruler to measure the thickness of a steak (!) and check cooking times
Family Guy – clips from Family Guy show, which the description refers to as “TV’s most dysfunctional animated dad around”
Trapster – to avoid police speed traps
Hundred Pushups – exercise program
5800+ drink and cocktail recipes – speaks for itself
FanFinder – to find the closest sports bar
Things – a to do list organizer
No, there's no snide commentary next to these. They don't need it.
Many years back, there was a Sylvia cartoon
(it was also the title of one of her books) that I really loved (I love
most of them, but this one was choice). In the cartoon, Sylvia is, as
ever, sitting and watching TV. The commentator on TV is saying "Over
the past ten years, men have increased their participation in household
tasks...by six minutes". And Sylvia, sage that she is, is saying
"Mercy, it's the Revolution and I'm in my bathrobe.". I couldn't
possibly say it any better.
Come to think of it, maybe the photo
apps for new moms are a good idea. That way, when dad arrives at the
sports bar from the golf course, right after he high-fives his buddies
for so cleverly speeding and yet avoiding a ticket and just before he
coaches the bartender on how to mix this cool new drink he found on his
iPhone, he can view four pictures of his kids all at once. Given how
busy he is grilling, doing carpentry, changing his oil, and exercising,
it may be the only time he sees them (and before you lambast or correct
me for implying that this is how dads spend their time, best you direct
your comments direct to the source: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Yeah. Things have changed.
the exception of sharing one choice quote. In the article, the
"placenta lady" tells the new dad that these pills might even be good
to save to help ease menopause (discomforts about which I can speak
with some authority). His quote: "[she] did not understand that when
Cassandra's looks fade in her 50s, there's no way I'm putting up with
this crap". I'm cutting him a break and not raising holy hell as I know
he's a humorous writer, and most of what he writes is said in jest (or
in sarcasm or a similar handy tool). But somehow, this one line just
didn't seem quite as funny as the rest (except to men, I would guess).
Yeah, I know. Angry feminist. Deal with it.