Archive for the 'It Came From the Web' Category

This Matters.

Make no mistake, when we think of “mom and baby,” chunky, pink, giggly babies with model-beautiful, doting moms is what comes up on our Google brain search, too. Time to wake up.

It’s getting more and more impossible to not post stuff on Facebook about me. Who I really am. What I really think. Because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I know how bad it hurts when someone you love expresses beliefs that are a million miles away from yours. And it’s always the issues that matter most to you. I feel more comfortable sharing here. It’s funny how a blog that is available worldwide feels safer than a Facebook page of 95 friends and family.

What matters most to me? Women’s and children’s rights. There are so many things worth fighting for in this world, but I can’t sit by the sidelines and let people – largely wealthy white men in positions of power – decide how it’s gonna be when it comes to all I truly own: my body and my child. I just can’t. And if anyone else who had the luxury of passing laws about my body and my child’s welfare did so lightly – regardless of sex, color or class – I would take issue with that person, as well.

The importance of protecting, loving, educating and reaffirming children – particularly little girls because they are so low priority – drives me. I’m obsessed with building strong, happy, healthy and confident kids – girls and boys. I mourn for the kids who are overlooked. Ignored. Uncared for. And there are many. And it’s not fair.

Taking care of people who can’t take care of themselves – children, our poor, our disabled – is really a sign of a compassionate, educated, civilized society. And boy, are we sucking. I am not proud of us in 2012.

I came across this response post that sums it up for me regarding children’s and women’s rights and human welfare at a time when they’re all in jeopardy. Don’t think for a second that women and children’s issues are not also economic issues, which is all most Americans seem worried about right now. I’m hoping it touches you the way it totally took my breath away today. It’s painful. The truth hurts. But it matters so much. *removes rose-tinted glasses*


“Let me tell you some things.

I used to investigate child abuse and neglect. I can tell you how to stop the vast majority of abortion in the world.

First, make knowledge and access to contraception widely available. Start teaching kids before they hit puberty. Teach them about domestic violence and coercion, and teach them not to coerce and rape. Create a strong, loving community where women and girls feel safe and supported in times of need. Because guess what? They aren’t. You know what happens to babies born under such circumstances? They get hurt, unnecessarily. They get sick, unnecessarily. They get removed from parents who love them but who are unprepared for the burden of a child. Resources? Honey, we try. There aren’t enough resources anywhere. There are waiting lists, and promises, and maybes. If the government itself can’t hook people up, what makes you think an impoverished single mom can handle it?

Abolish poverty. Do you have any idea how much childcare costs? Daycare can cost as much or more than monthly rent. They may be inadequately staffed. Getting a private nanny is a nice idea, but they don’t come cheap either. Relatives? Do they own a car? Does the bus run at the right times? Do they have jobs of their own they need to work just to keep the lights on? Are they going to stick around until you get off you convenience store shift at 4 AM? Do they have criminal histories that will make them unsuitable as caregivers when CPS pokes around? You gonna pay for that? Who’s going to pay for that?

End rape. I know your type errs on the side of blaming the woman, but I’ve seen little girls who’ve barely gotten their periods pregnant because somebody thought raping preteens was an awesome idea. You want to put a child through that? Or someone with a mental or physical inability for whom pregnancy would be frightening, painful or even life-threatening? I’ve seen nonverbal kids who had their feet sliced up by caregivers for no fucking reason at all, you think sexual abuse doesn’t happen either?

You say there’s lots of couples who want to adopt. Kiddo, what they want to adopt are healthy white babies, preferably untainted by the wombs and genetics of women with alcohol or drug dependencies. I’ve seen the kids they don’t want, who almost no one wants. You people focus only on the happy pink babies, the gigglers, the ones who grow and grow with no trouble. Those are not the kids who linger in foster care. Those are certainly not the older kids and teenagers who age out of foster care and then are thrown out in the streets, usually with an array of medical and mental health issues. Are they too old to count?

And yeah, I’ve seen the babies, little hand-sized things barely clinging to life. There’s no glory, no wonder there. There is no wonder in a pregnant woman with five dollars to her name, so deep in depression you wonder if she’ll be alive in a week. Therapy costs money. Medicine costs money. Food, clothes, electricity cost money. Government assistance is a pittance; poverty drives women and girls into situations where they are forced to rely on people who abuse them to survive. (I’ve been up in more hospitals than I can count.)

In each and every dark pit of desperation, I have never seen a pro-lifer. I ain’t never seen them babysitting, scrubbing floors, bringing over goods, handing mom $50 bucks a month or driving her to the pediatrician. I ain’t never seen them sitting up for hours with an autistic child who screams and rages so his mother can get some sleep while she rests up from working 14-hour days. I don’t see them fixing leaks in rundown houses or playing with a kid while the police prepare to interview her about her sexual abuse. They’re not paying for the funerals of babies and children who died after birth, when they truly do become independent organisms. And the crazy thing is they think they’ve already done their job, because the child was born!

Aphids give birth, girl. It’s no miracle. You want to speak for the weak? Get off your high horse and get your hands dirty helping the poor, the isolated, the ill and mentally ill women and mothers and their children who already breathe the dirty air. You are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, for children. You don’t have a flea’s comprehension of injustice. You are not doing shit for life until you get in there and fight that darkness. Until you understand that abortion is salvation in a world like ours. Does that sound too hard? Do you really think suffering post-birth is more permissible, less worthy of outrage?

‘Pro-life’ is simply a philosophy in which the only life worth saving is the one that can be saved by punishing a woman.”


Big Ole Blogroll

Clockwise: Samantha Irby, Samantha Moeller, Tavi Gevinson, Jessica Hopper, Nikki McClure, BUST magazine.

A friend asked me how I find good writers and blogs – the short answer is via recommendations from friends and strangers I follow on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr, etc. So below is a list of things that make my time on the webz a little nicer. (Find a blogroll of more great parenting blogs, blogs of my real-life friends, etc., in the lower right margin!)

I’ll keep this updated as I find more lovable things on the trois dubs:

Chris Weingarten:
Jessica Hopper:
Maura Johnston:
Sound Opinions:

Tavi Gevinson:
Tula Jeng:
Alexandria Crahan:

Samantha Irby:
Anna Goldfarb: and
Emily McCombs:
Kelly Oxford:
Lesley M. M. Blume:
Miranda July:
Diablo Cody:
Amy Sedaris:

Rookie Mag:
Al Burian:
It’s That Bitch Brittany:

Samantha Moeller:
Mommit (advice):

F Yeah Ghost World:
Blown New Yorker Covers:
Sam McKenzie:
Nikki McClure:
Julie Doucet:
Daniel Clowes:

What blogs/writers do you follow?

Where I’m From

I am from the rumble of freight trains, the Land of Lincoln, lunch buckets, big shoulders and Statesville.

I am from the brown brick-and-cedar ranch – the one with a seasonal wreath on the front door and a garage perpetually clacking with car projects.

I am from the dooryard violet, tall corn and lush soybean, a glittery metropolis by a great lake.

I am from Gallaghers and Stahoviaks, Geri and Jerry and Mary Lou and Bernie – generous and care-taking, hard-working and driven.

I am from proud Irish farmers and determined Scot-German laborers.

From “walk in like you own the place” and “what can I do to help?”

I am from Catholics, entirely – from parishes like St. Raymond’s, St. Mary’s St. Patrick’s.

From the Guild Ship Lucy to Manhattan, Ill., corned beef and cabbage, and draught beer.

I am from the wood-paneled living room walls dotted with family portraits, vintage Coca-Cola ads and owl art. I am from the trippy apple wallpaper in the kitchen on Galena Drive; gold shag carpet, olive green appliances, the forbidden fronch room. I am from fire and famine and depression and war. I am from kitsch and love food and Duct Tape and fast cars. I am from the very best.

Well, that was a lot of fun. Thanks Kate, for the inspirational blog, and Fred First for the template. Your turn.

Indie Rock Saves the Day (Again!)

The video for a song that I’ve had on heavy rotation lately has me giggling today. Cool dads? Check. Ranch dressing reference? Check. Playground crushes? Check. Who says indie rockers don’t have a sense of humor? Also, I think Ollie needs to rock mini Dan Auerbach’s hairstyle:

Sometimes You Have to Make a Scene


My BFF just posted this on FB and I say “damn straight” –

“I had words with a stranger in the Walgreen’s parking lot.
 I pulled up right next to her and saw her put a child no older than 3 in the front seat. She got in the driver’s side and started the car. The car window was open and the child was not wearing a seat belt.

‘Where’s her car seat?’ I asked.

‘Mind your own business,’ she said.

‘It’s my business if she ends up smashing into the windshield.’

I probably looked like a total jerk. I had my hands on my hips and was wearing a yellow hoodie, a black Goonies t-shit and my school ID on a Hello Kitty lanyard covered with ‘flair.’ I really was waiting to get punched in the face.

The adult huffed, got out of the car, grabbed the child and put her in the back seat.

The child didn’t say much or have much of a reaction. I waved at her and they left. I only wish I would’ve asked for the adult to secure the child with a seat belt. But I knew I had already asked too much.”

If you ever see a small child riding in a car without a car seat or booster, you have every right to say something. The car seat laws vary from state to state. In Illinois, kids have to have a car seat/booster until they are 8 years old. For parents who can’t afford a car seat, there is a great organization called Safe Kids USA that can help.

More Musings on Maternal Rights (Repost)

Repost from Chicago writer/new mom’s Oct. 1 blog b/c I can’t say how I feel about this any more eloquently:

“Until I was a mom, maternal rights weren’t exactly on my radar. Nor was the fact that the US is the only industrialized nation (of roughly 4 countries in the world) that has short, unpaid maternity leave while the rest of the world actually puts the concerns of moms and infants ahead of those of business and offers paid maternity leaves that are substantially longer.

One of the second wave feminists big concerns, rightly, was about women working–manifesting big destinies and freedoms, being able to be self-supporting. This is America, and we’re generally operating on the freemarketcapitalism version of freedoms–those gains for second wavers were crucial and huge and unfortunately, predicated largely on financial freedom. Women wanted parity as earners, but there was no real attention given to maternal rights–because women wanted equality–asking for “exceptional treatment”–i.e. paid maternity leave, or a maternity leave longer than 90 days never really came to pass. Maybe second wavers really wanted to show they could do it without help. Or maybe were so desperate to move beyond being (only) stay at home moms–eyes were on the other prize.

Which is how, in 2010, we have situations like this, with fewer and fewer babies being breastfed because moms have to go back to work. And how we wind up with federal laws where crucial things like a private space to breastfeed in/certain aspects of maternity leave are predicated on women working at companies of 50 employees or more. I know like, maybe, maybe, a dozen people who work at companies that large. The moms I know who had to return to work, they are pumping breastmilk in bathroom stalls. Which is gnarly. I wouldn’t pump breastmilk in my own bathroom. Women I know who are pregnant and have not even had their babies yet are afraid they are not going to be able to breastfeed past the time of their maternity leave because they have to return to work and the legal provision for their breastfeeding needs hinges on it not being “an undue hardship” for their employer. MEANWHILE: Some women wind up having to leave their jobs because of totally routine newborn issues because they are forced to go back to work while their baby is still waking up 4 or 5 times a night. It boggles my mind that the gov’t is focusing their breastfeeding campaign on education and support initiatives–granted, an important part of the solution, surely–BUT if the main reason women aren’t able to breastfeed for the doctor-recommended one year minimum is because they have to go back to work so soon, and are like, pumping breastmilk in their car in the fucking parking lot of their job and it’s a big sad hassle–a zillion fucking pamplets and pediatric doctors reminding moms how good breastfeeding is for infant (duh) and maternal health doesn’t make a shit of difference in the practical lives of women. Especially when only 24 states have laws relating to nursing moms in the workplace; only Puerto Rico is the only place that demands all public buildings need to have places for breastfeeding and diapering that are not bathrooms. Illinois law asks only that employers make a “reasonable effort” to provide a non-toilet stall space for nursing moms to pump. Meanwhile, in the EU, maternity leave is being extended to six months at full pay for all women. I imagine the gov’t would have more success upping breastfeeding rates if there was any sort of legal providence that made it easier to be a new mom–you know, moving beyond just making it legal to breastfeed in public. In comparison to the rest of the world, America really looks like a nation of Milton Friedman worshipping baby-haters. BECAUSE IT IS. The flag, on the white striped parts, should just read “HEY MOM GET BACK TO WORK” and then the next one should read ‘FUCK YOU, BABY, FIND YOUR OWN FOOD!’.”

Boobs. So What?

It was a little overboard for Sesame Street to axe the very cute, very innocent Katy Perry/Elmo duet about playing dress up to the tune of “Hot N Cold.”

The argument parent-censors are posing is that her cleavage is too racy for the preschool set.

I don’t get it.

I think people who see sex in every little thing are kind of pervy. Not to mention, parents who are afraid they might have to talk about boobs or other body parts with their kids are just plain in denial.

And, I’m also biased. I’m amused by Perry’s goofy, colorful personality and find her way more kitschy and campy than sexy and lusty. Plus, I’m kind of addicted to the original version of this song.

Like everything in the universe, parents should be the ultimate decision-makers of what is OK and not OK to view at home. To expect TV to make those decisions is impractical and frankly, lazy parenting.

I have to add, though, it was mildly entertaining to debate this issue with a crazy lady on Chicago Parent’s Facebook fan page. I recoiled after she cited Eve and the devil in the Garden of Eden “for our need to view a body as sexual.”

And now, a look at famous boobs (some more figurative than literal) you and your kids have already seen …

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