House Republicans Just Unanimously Joined Democrats In Woman-Shaming

The House of Representatives, Tuesday, passed H.R. 1174, furtively titled “Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act of 2017” on a voice vote.

The bill mandates that “certain public buildings” must provide a lactation room suitable for a mother to breastfeed a baby, out of sight of the public. It was introduced by hyper-liberal D.C. at-large Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton.

A voice vote is essentially a unanimous passage, where nobody can claim a “Nay” on the roll call–it’s fair to say that every conservative GOP Member of Congress voted to pass a bill that shames women for doing what women do naturally: raise their children as their bodies are uniquely equipped to do.

Why is it that our society puts up with so-called liberated women wearing vagina hats, publicly “shouting their abortion,” portrayal of women in vile pornography (sometimes calling it art), and prostitution (referred to as “sex workers”) but cannot bear watching a mother feed her baby?

In 2008, Erick Erickson was a member of the Macon City Council. As a lawyer, political pundit, and public servant, he fought (and won) against the “massage parlors” dotting the landscape with billboards along I-75 in Central Georgia. He tied the issue to slavery in a piece called “Sex, Slaves, and Spas

The salient points: Sex trafficking was an $8 billion business in 2008. “Progressive” countries that legalized prostitution found that it causes sex trafficking instances to skyrocket (this should be both logical and predictable to anyone who understands human nature).

Liberals always (and by “always” I mean every single time) side with women being freed and liberated from gender roles and societal constructs created by a paternalistic culture. First of all, that’s total rubbish. And second of all, anything that smacks of natural function that comports with biology and physiology is grouped into that “gender role” trash bin.

One man and one woman in a lifelong, committed marriage to raise a family? It’s anathema to them. A woman committing herself to taking care of her children? A prison! A woman publicly displaying maternal instincts and behavior like breastfeeding a child? Away with her!

It’s literally Aldous Huxley’s dystopian “A Brave New World” come to life, where “mother” is a pornographic term, while group sex is an act of worship.

Now Congress has joined this progressive chorus of woman-shaming (I should say “mother-shaming”). They’ve committed American taxpayer dollars for the maintenance and setting aside of public property to hide women away while they perform their shameful, vulgar, maternal duty.

Paul wrote in Romans 1, “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

Our society worships the centerfold, the prostitute, and the porn star. Our leaders call objectifying women, “locker-room talk.” When Congress agrees to allocate money to hide women doing the most wholesome thing in the world (literally), our society has just taken a step toward Huxley’s dystopia. Next we will see laws making public breastfeeding a crime, and forcing businesses to provide lactation rooms.

Listen, I’m not saying that women should display their breasts and make a show. Although in many (most?) foreign countries it’s not-a-big-deal to the point that women do exactly that all the time–there are places where a modicum of modesty is appropriate. For example, in a church service (my church provides “cry rooms” and nursing mother rooms), or a movie theater.

But providing a specific “lactation room” in public buildings sends the message that women must use that room to breastfeed. It’s not by their choice, it’s shaming. Katherine McKinney wrote in Huffington Post “if you don’t support breastfeeding in public, you don’t support breastfeeding.” What’s telling here is she prefaced her statement with “it’s not going to make me popular.” Liberals want everything to be a “right,” except motherhood.

In 2011, Simone Dos Santos was told by two security guards that she couldn’t breastfeed her baby in the hallway of a D.C. government building. It’s not illegal to breastfeed in the hallways of D.C. public buildings. But now, courtesy of Congress, if this bill becomes law, Dos Santos and anyone else in D.C. will be shamed into a small room that will “be shielded from public view, be free from intrusion, and contain a chair, a working surface, and (if the building is supplied with electricity) an electrical outlet.”

Sounds like a shame room to me. No thanks to conservatives for their abandonment of a principled stand with families and motherhood.

A Valentine for the Perfectly Imperfect Mother

*Click here to listen to the audio version of this post.

It’s Valentine’s Day and where I live this day is full of love and sweetness…and tests. Mommy tests to see if you are a worthy competitor in the child-rearing wars. Tests to see if you really care about your child and their social status in the classroom.

I have never been good at tests.

First, we have to make a card for every single child in my girl’s overcrowded classroom. Fair enough.

Then last night my daughter informs me “We’re supposed to buy candy to put with every Valentine.”

Well, poop. It’s 5 minutes before I leave for the evening to take my husband out for his birthday.

John Wick Chapter 2. Awesome. See it.

Oh, and it’s also lunch exchange. You fill out papers with your ideal lunch, then everyone is assigned a lunch exchange partner and you have to pack that kid the perfect lunch for Valentine’s Day.

I can’t fail this test, even if it means a couple of stops in the evening on the way home from date night.

Except suddenly it’s 10pm and I’m coming out of the movie with my husband and we’re excited about John Wick and the next movie (oh, there’ll be another one) and that scene where the bad guy gets stabbed in the crotch and my husband says he’d rather just die after that.

We’re laughing and enjoying each other and I forget about the grocery store and the perfect lunch. I forget about the cards and the candy and by the time we get home we’re exhausted because when you get to be our age 10pm on a school night might as well be 2am.

And now here we are, busily getting ready for school and all of a sudden I realize – the cards aren’t finished!

I set my daughter to work quickly assembling these pieces of paper that will be destroyed or thrown away within hours of their gifting. As she does so I start to pack the perfect lunch for someone named Megan. Of course, I’ve lost the sheet that tells me what Megan’s perfect lunch is so I have to go from memory. Ham and cheese sandwich? I think so.

I pull out the bread and start assembling.

“Mom, no!” I hear my daughter shout. “My teacher says we can’t use white bread because it’s not good for you. We have to use the brown stuff.”

I roll my eyes and assure her that no one will die from a white-bread sandwich on this one day in the entire history of their lives. I’m not confident I’m right. I say it anyway.

Did Megan say she liked pudding cups or Nutella snack sticks? I have both. I’ll do both. If she likes neither she can trade…oh, except you’re not allowed to trade lunch items in school anymore. So I guess she’ll suffer from malnutrition and rejection.

My daughter yells at me.

“Mom! You forgot the raspberries! Megan said she wants raspberries!”

I sigh. There is no such luxury in this house.

Seeing all the junk in this “perfect” lunch, I realize there’s no way I can send it without some fruit. That’s enough to get a visit from CPS around these parts. I look around until my eyes finally lay on a single, sad, browning, spotted banana. Not quite fresh, but not quite inedible. My daughter wrinkles her adorable nose in disgust but I have no time for her judgment. Megan needs a fruit and that clock is ticking.

Now we’re supposed to put the lunch in a cute, special little paper bag or shoebox that is carefully decorated for V-day. Would you care to wager how many of either I have on hand?

Having no containers of an appropriate size for Megan’s perfect lunch, I have no other option but to use the giant paper grocery bag I got at Sprouts the last time I wanted to seem like I cared about the environment.

The bag is eleventy-billion times too big for the perfect lunch but my daughter packs it up anyway. Her cards are not filled out but they’re assembled and with 3 minutes until go-time that seems good enough to me.

“Mom! I don’t have enough cards!”

Oh, for the love of…

There are 32 kids in the class. I bought two boxes of cards with 16 cards each in them. The perfect amount.

But when you’re a parent there’s no such thing as perfect and my children apparently decided to goof around and waste 3 cards writing dumb notes to each other.

“Your friends stink.”

“Not Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Booooo!!!”

Great. Now 3 children will have their self-esteem irreversibly crushed because they will be the only ones who didn’t get a crappy, candyless V-day paper from the tall girl. I see my husband’s eyes. They are half bemused, half-annoyed. “When are you ever going to pull it together?” they say without letting the words spill from his lips.

We stuff my daughter’s backpack with the unmarked cards and the least-perfect perfect lunch with white bread and brown bananas and then I push her out the door. For a brief second I feel relieved. This must be what God felt like on the 7th day.

The chaos of the morning looks back at me, accusing me, judging me. I imagine the room mom and teacher exchanging sad, knowing looks when they see my daughter’s non-perfect perfect lunch and subpar cards.

I have failed to be the perfect mom. Again.

I grab my cup of coffee and remind myself that I might not be the most domestic stay-at-home mother on earth, but I am home. I have given up so much of what I hoped and dreamed for in my career and my personal life in order to be at home. I have fought the boredom and melancholy that comes with it, fought the urge to scream at other mothers who say they could “never be at home all day with my kids. It would drive me crazy.”  Yes, if frigging drives me nuts! This is why we call it “sacrifice.” I’m not doing something I was made to do. I’m making an investment in my kids now that hopefully will pan out for them later. That’s it!

I think about last night’s date with my husband, a man I’ve been married to for 18 years who has been a faithful husband, father and provider without complaint. I think about the work we’ve put into our marriage to ensure a solid, stable ground for our children to build their futures upon. I think about praying over them when they’re sick or nervous for a test or just sad.

For just a few brief moments I think about all the ways I haven’t failed my children and I give myself the tiniest pat on the back. It could be worse. I am not a perfect mother and I don’t pack perfect lunches (or any, for that matter), but I am the perfect mother for my children and I know they would never want anyone else to call “mommy”.  In the end, my children won’t remember this disastrous V-day, but they will remember that I was home for them when they walked in the door from a long day at school with the children of other, perfect parents.

They’ll remember the warmth of these crazy, chaotic days and that is more valuable than anything and I know it’s important to give myself credit for that.

As I set about tidying up I suddenly come across the sheet of instructions from the teacher for V-day and peruse it as I bask in this brief but crisp moment of contentment.

Crap.

The kids were supposed to wear red today.

 

 

 

The #UnintendedJoy of Reluctant Motherhood

This week is the week of “choices.” It is School Choice Week (a passion of mine) and it is also the week of March for Life, where we are once again made aware of the issue of “choice” in pregnancy and abortion.

As we head into the annual March for Life on Washington this Friday, #UnintendedJoy is currently popping up across Twitter – women and men sharing their stories of how an unintended pregnancy led to unimaginable joy and thanksgiving. Pundit Mary Katherine Ham penned a particularly moving article about her amazing baby girl, born just two months after the loss of her husband, Jake in a tragic accident.

I don’t have any stories of such magnitude. I’m blessed to be parenting two amazing children with my husband of 18 years. I’ve never had an unplanned pregnancy and since I was very young I always knew I wouldn’t want to be a single parent and planned my life (and sex life) accordingly.

My story feels inadequate compared to others, but I wanted to share it anyway, in case a young woman is out there who might be moved in some way by my very simple but life-changing tale.

I never wanted to be a mother. I always viewed children as a burden.  I knew of almost no one in my own family who actively planned their families. Rarely did I see a pregnancy met with joy, only concern and disappointment. Of course, that always changed once baby arrived, but the sentiments stuck with me and I unknowingly internalized them. I didn’t want to create the same kind of burden for myself that I had visited upon my single mother.

Then something crazy happened. I fell in love with a family man. A wonderful man, the son of a dedicated pastor and stay-at-home-mother, raised in a stable home with three other siblings. A “traditional” man. We did what few black couples do these days (statistically speaking)…we got married. Once we’d decided on marriage it happened quickly…within months. Tongues started wagging at church. The pastor’s son marrying so fast? She must be pregnant!

I was not. But just like that famous line in one of our favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally.

When you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Despite our commitment, I was sure I could do no child any good as a mother. I just wasn’t the “mothering” type.

My husband was patient and understanding. As I matured into my marriage my love for him deepened and there seemed no more natural way to express that love than to create a life together. After a few years I agreed to start a family and within a year we were the parents of a healthy, handsome baby boy.

I couldn’t have known how utterly and joyously helpless I would become the moment I held him. I was suddenly a slave to love and there would be no turning back. Years later we added another bundle of joy. What my kids gave me was a deeper sense of purpose than I’d ever known. Suddenly I wasn’t just living for myself.  I was right that children were a heavy burden to bear…I was wrong about how terrible that burden would be.

It is the sweetest load I’ve ever borne.

Becoming a mother has also gave me a whole new understanding of God’s love for me, for each of us. I suddenly saw myself from His perspective…the perspective of a parent.

I once overheard my toddler son singing some praise and worship songs from church as he played. I stood behind his door for 30 minutes and just listened to him singing and playing.  It was as if I’d never heard singing before. In that moment I couldn’t have imagined a more moving, amazing, talented singer in all the world. My love for him seemed too big to fit in my heart.

That is how God sees us – with warts and flaws, yes but also as the most beautiful of creations. Our voices are His music. Even when we are disobedient or selfish He still sees us as stunning and perfect, the way were created to be. Just like I see my children as incredible, delightful and wonderful human beings even in their flaws, so does He see us.

Ironically, as opposed to stopping my forward momentum I strongly believe being a parent has at times been my only reason for continuing to move forward when all I wanted to do was stop everything and give up.

Parenting has made my husband and I closer in ways I didn’t know possible. We’re an exclusive team and this is the family we’ve made together. No one knows what we know about this family, this life, this experience called the Davis family. It’s a sweet secret that will always bond us.

I am so glad God changed my heart toward parenthood. It frightens me to think of all the #UnintendedJoy I would have missed out on had I let my fear dictate our path. In pro-life circles we (rightly) focus our efforts on women and men who are struggling with the fear of unintended pregnancy. They need our encouragement to know that while right now it might feel like the end of the world, in reality it is only the beginning of something great.

I only wanted to add to that encouragement. You don’t have to be single and alone to be terrified of parenthood. Even the comfort of having a partner didn’t spare me from the insecurities about my future if I allowed myself to be a mother.

I’m fourteen years into this parenting thing and I can say with full and complete honesty that there has never been one day, one hour, one second, one iota of a moment that I have regretted my children and their presence in my life.

That is the true legacy of #UnintendedJoy.