Personal boundaries

Posted by Saraline , Thursday, December 16, 2010 8:06 PM

I'm currently teaching my two year old son about personal boundaries. This mostly consists of me chasing him around at public events and shouting, "No, Eliot! We use kleenex, NOT PEOPLE!" It's never too early to teach them that no means no, right? So I don't let him pull the cat's tail, I don't let him pick my nose, and I don't let him wipe his snotty nose on random strangers.

There are some adults who don't get the concept of respecting personal boundaries and I hope that he won't be one of them. I could tell you what I think of the response that people have had to the Julian Assange rape allegations, but Kate Harding already did. Words mean things, including the words "no" and "stop."

Google search

Posted by Saraline 11:39 AM

I have a little gadget on my blog that tells me what people are googling when they find my blog. I usually get things like "$7 daycare montreal" and "what's the best hospital to give birth at in montreal." Today I checked it out and discovered that someone had found my blog when they googled "which bronte sister would you fuck."

I guess that somebody really couldn't decide and they needed to find some other opinions.

Just for the record, I would pick Anne. Who would you pick?

Daycare strike

Posted by Saraline , Thursday, November 11, 2010 9:36 AM

The $7 a day home daycares in the Montreal area went on strike yesterday, including my son's daycare. I was a little bit worried because I also had a French test at school yesterday. In the end, my neighbour watched my son while I wrote my test. His daycare closed a couple of weeks ago as well and I ended up taking him to class with me; I thought that he would be too much of a distraction during a test.

This is what the home daycare workers want:

The union wants the employees to receive better salaries, paid vacations and a pension plan. Home daycare providers and those who operate out of commercial spaces both receive $19 a day per child from the Quebec government and another $7 from parents. The union wants another $12 a day so salaries will be similar to employees who work in the larger Centres de la Petite Enfance (CPEs). The union also says home daycare workers work longer hours than their counterparts in CPEs.

It's not a terrible thing to ask for. They basically want the same benefits and salaries as people who are doing the same job that they are. I hope that this is resolved soon; there's a rumour going around that there may be a week long strike if the union's talks with the government don't move along.


Posted by Saraline , Saturday, August 21, 2010 7:44 PM

Well, I've moved to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. I was thinking of changing the name of this blog to "Feminist Mom in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue," but I'm still on the island of Montreal so I don't think that will be necessary. If anyone would like some helpful tips about moving with a toddler, the only sage advice I have to offer is "Don't do it."

I think that I would prefer to have my son grow up in this small town than in the city. The best part about the new place is that we now have a backyard! At our old place we just had a lot of pavement. We did live a couple of blocks away from Jarry Park, which was awesome, but I prefer having a backyard.

In other news, in my Internet travels I recently discovered a free subscription to PETA magazine for kids. No thanks, PETA!

How to get a spot in a $7 a day daycare

Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:16 PM

We have subsidized daycares in Quebec that charge $7 a day. That's fantastic. A $7 daycare is a wonderful lifeline for low-income families. But how do you get a spot in one?

If you're a parent in Montreal, you know how long the waiting lists are. They can be anywhere from two to four years long. Some people put their names on waiting lists as soon as they find out that they're pregnant. They call the daycares up and say, "Okay, I peed on a stick, can I put my name on the waiting list please?"

I recently found myself in a difficult position when I decided that I was going back to school. I had my son's name on waiting lists in my neighbourhood, but now I'm moving to a different town to be closer to my school. This was not something that I had anticipated when I was pregnant, so I was not on any of the waiting lists there. I put my son on the waiting lists for the $7 daycares in the area before I had even received my acceptance letter. It looked like there was absolutely no way that my son would get into one of these daycares before I started school in September.

Joining the chorus by not shutting the fuck up

Posted by Saraline , Thursday, May 13, 2010 9:17 PM

Canadian feminists have been pretty pissed off lately, and with good reason. Debra over at April Reign has a pretty good explanation about why we're angry:

Throughout history those who seek to reign despotically first seek to silence and disenfranchise the women, this current PM scrabbling after a majority like a junkie jonesing for a fix is no different. He started by all but completely destroying SWC and has continued to show disdain for women with quotes about “left-wing fringe groups” and Bush style gag laws on abortion for women in war-torn countries, and of course he continues to defund women’s groups and programs.

Cyberbullying not just for kids: moms get bullied too

Posted by Saraline , Wednesday, May 12, 2010 5:05 PM

Motherhood is supposed to be like apple pie and a warm hug. Wholesome. Dependable.

But online, it can be anything but. Right next to support groups on diaper rash and the terrible twos are mean girls, all grown up.

It's mom on mom cyberbullying and as the popularity of mommy blogging rises, so do the often stinging criticisms. [...]

Norie said Ally went through psychological bullying throughout school. It made Norie want to speak out to other mothers to prevent that humiliation from happening to their daughters. But going public triggered a wave of mommy bullying that shocked her even more.

"A lot of mothers called Ally a slut and a whore," she said. "It was a lack of parenting and we should have taught her morals and we should have taught her self-respect. Basically that I was a horrible parent and it devastated me because they know where to get you. Mothers go after your mothering."
-from the article Grown up mean girls: Mom on mom cyberbullies by Anna Wild

Happy Mother's Day

Posted by Saraline , Sunday, May 9, 2010 6:10 PM

I know that some people criticize Mother's Day as a commercial holiday, but we all like to feel appreciated once in awhile. This post is dedicated to my mom, a very strong and very brave woman.

My mom had me when she was only 17. She married my dad and took on a huge responsibility that many teenagers are not ready for. She never complained that she didn't get to have fun like other people her age. She got a job, she kept the house clean, and she took good care of me.

Brontë sisters power dolls

Posted by Saraline , Friday, May 7, 2010 6:15 PM

Thank you to my friend Sarah for sharing this wonderful video on facebook:

I don't really have anything to say about this aside from "Brontë sisters power up!"

Kathleen Hanna on leadership

Posted by Saraline , Monday, May 3, 2010 8:17 PM

A few days ago, somebody posted this interview with Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre in ontd_feminism:

In the interview, Hanna discusses how she feels about donating her zines and other papers to the New York University Library. More information about this is available in this article at Village Voice:

Eleven reasons to have a mommy business card

Posted by Saraline , Sunday, May 2, 2010 8:51 PM

As I've mentioned before, I'm fascinated by the idea of mommy business cards. I've been looking into this, and one website I found has a list of top 10 reasons to use your mommy cards:

1. New moms you meet and want play dates with
2. Contact info for Babysitter
3. Neighbors
4. Existing friends (the cards are just too cute not to share)
5. Put in holiday cards, birthday cards, thank you cards and more
6. When dropping off your child at someone’s house for a play date or birthday party
7. If your child is lost you can give out the card with their picture on it to help find them
8. Keep one in your suitcase or diaper bag in case it gets lost
9. Will make grandparents smile
10. Just for fun!

I have one more to add to this list:

11. It shows everyone that you're an important person; mothers are important people, too.

Children's tylenol recall and chocolate flavoured formula

Posted by Saraline , Saturday, May 1, 2010 5:21 PM

McNeil Consumer Healthcare has issued a recall for more than 40 over the counter medications for children. The recall includes children's versions of Tylenol, Tylenol Plus, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl. The medications in question have been sold in 12 countries, including Canada and the U.S.

The recall is a precautionary measure and no children have had reported illnesses due to taking these medicines, but it's still pretty scary. More information about the recall is available here.

In other news, an infant formula company is now selling chocolate flavoured formula:

Mead-Johnson, the company that prides itself on its "decades-long patterning of infant formulas after breast milk," now goes one better. It sells chocolate- and vanilla-flavored formulas for toddlers, fortified with nutrients, omega-3s, and antioxidants.

Allow me to just point something out here.

"Decades-long patterning of infant formulas after breast milk."

Chocolate flavoured formula.

"Decades-long patterning of infant formulas after breast milk."

Chocolate flavoured formula.

And with that, I'll leave you to think about what the similarities could possibly be between breast milk and chocolate flavoured baby formula.

Carnival of children's literature

Posted by Saraline 5:04 PM

I submitted a blog entry to another blog carnival, this one dedicated to children's literature. I'm looking forward to reading the articles, it looks there's a lot of interesting stuff.

Man empowers women by encouraging them to pose for nude photos

Posted by Saraline , Friday, April 30, 2010 4:13 AM

I think a preface is in order here. On my blog post "Men as feminist leaders?" there was discussion about whether or not the event Femquake was still empowering for women with the knowledge that it was created by a man. Some of the people who commented feel that a man can be a feminist leader and that people who think otherwise have "a toxic lack of imagination."

These comments made me wonder: would they feel the same way about a man being a feminist leader if a man had come up with Boobquake? While I was pondering this, I came across an article at The Onion called Man finally put in charge of struggling feminist movement. I suggest that you read it, it's hilarious. This was the inspiration for my own mock article. (Mockticle?)

Music teacher dismissed for being a lesbian parent

Posted by Saraline , Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:29 PM

This is an absolutely disgusting display of discrimination. Little Flower Academy, a Catholic school in Vancouver, knew that Lisa Reimer was a lesbian when they hired her to instruct their all girls choir. Reimer went on leave when her partner gave birth to a baby and was told not to come back after parents of the students expressed concerns that "the girls might follow Ms. Reimer's lead."

Of course parents want to be involved in their children's schools and have a say in what goes on in their classrooms, but it is the school's responsibility to ensure that they don't discriminate against their teachers and students because of their sexual orientation. It would have been nice if the school had organized a tolerance workshop for the students and parents, but it's a Catholic school, so why would they do that?

Men as feminist leaders?

Posted by Saraline , Wednesday, April 28, 2010 11:20 PM

As I mentioned in my post about Boobquake, feminists don't always agree about everything. One of the things that we don't all agree on is the role of men in the women's movement. When Mary Daly taught at Boston College, she refused to allow men to attend her classes on feminism. Then we have bell hooks who believes that feminism is for everybody:

As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.

Brainquake, Femquake, and Anne Brontë

Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, April 27, 2010 12:01 AM

In response to Boobquake, some people who disagreed with the idea came up with Brainquake:

"Everyday women and young girls are forced to 'show off cleavage' and more in order simply to be heard, to be seen, or to advance professionally. The web is already filled with images of naked women; the porn industry thrives online and many young girls are already vulnerable to predatory abuse. Violence against women and girls has a direct correlation to the sexualisation of women and girls. The extent of their sexualisation is evident in the hundreds of replies that pour into the 'Boobquake' Facebook page where women write, apologetically: 'I don’t have boobs, not fair' or 'Hey, I only have a C cup...' and 'What about those of us who no longer have cleavage? They sag too low.'"

"Brainquake's" creators say Sedighi's comment was no news to Iranian women, nor was it funny. They note that for the past 30 years, the Islamic Republic has violated women's rights with what they describe as repressive policies.

"Iranian women have fought back in various ways, one of which has been to dress 'subversively,' but as is evident in the Green Movement, it is not their 'beauty' or bodies that they have utilized in fighting against a brutal theocracy but their brains, their creativity, art, writings, etc."

Boobquake brings out different feminist opinions

Posted by Saraline , Sunday, April 25, 2010 9:07 PM

One thing I've learned about feminism is that we don't all agree about everything. We all have different views and ideas. You can see this when you look at all the different responses to Boobquake.

Boobquake is feminist Jen McCreight's response to Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi's statement that "Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."

Time for a Boobquake.

On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that's your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I'm sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn't rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it'll be one involving plate tectonics.
-Jen McCreight of Blag Hag

Boobquake has received a mixed response. As of right now, Sunday night, more than 170 000 people have RSVPed to the facebook event to say that they're participating. However, nearly 240 000 have clicked on "not attending." Beth Mann feels that Boobquake is turning into Girls Gone Wild:

Book review carnival

Posted by Saraline 2:14 PM

I love books. I've always been an avid reader. Since becoming a mother, I've had less time to read, unless I'm reading out loud and the book has pictures. I've only recently found the time to start updating this blog again, so I suppose that's a start to reclaiming my brain.

The Book Review Blog Carnival is making me miss books. It looks like they have a lot of interesting reads on that list and I'm quite flattered that my last entry about unconditional love in children's stories was included.

Stories of unconditional love for children

Posted by Saraline , Friday, April 23, 2010 10:48 AM

Throughout history, parents have told their children cautionary tales. Fairy tales are full of witches putting spells on people and locking them away in towers, evil stepmothers, and hungry wolves disguised as benevolent grandmothers. The message is that the world is a dangerous place and you should be careful.

Nowadays, we also have children's stories about unconditional love. When I was a kid, one of my favourite stories in this category was Love you Forever by Robert Munsch. It's about a mother who sings a song to her son, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." When the mother grows old, the son sings the song to her, replacing the word "baby" with "mommy." Afterwards, he goes home to sing the song to his newborn daughter. It's a very popular book and has been known to make people cry.

Last year, Love you Forever came up in an online parenting community that I'm in. Some people said that they found the book to be creepy because of the part where the mother drives across town with a ladder and climbs into her adult son's bedroom while he's sleeping to sing him the song. They have a point. Entering somebody else's house without their permission is a criminal offense. A mother climbing in through her adult son's window to sing to him while he sleeps is unhealthy and it's probably time to cut the umbilical cord.

To stay home or not to stay home?

Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:48 PM

I'm currently a stay at home mom. In September, I will be going to school when my son will be a month shy of two years old. I never finished getting a university degree; I now plan on getting getting a technical diploma at a CEGEP.

I don't know if this was exactly my choice. I was planning on staying home for the first year of his life and returning to work when my maternity leave was finished. My plan was disrupted a few months into my leave when I found out that everybody at my job was getting laid off, myself included.

"Mom Idol" puts mothers in the spotlight before putting them back in the kitchen

Posted by Saraline , Thursday, April 8, 2010 8:16 PM

A friend of mine mentioned "Mom Idol" on facebook today. I thought that sounded like a nice idea. What better way to put moms in the spotlight than to have a singing competition with just moms? It would be a competition completely unrelated to their parenting abilities and it would help them stay connected to their sense of self.

As it turns out, that's not what this competition is. It's just some online ballot that some appliance company made up so that some lucky mom can go to the American Idol finale and be on TV for 20 seconds.

My favourite bookstore in the world

Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, April 6, 2010 6:53 PM

It's that time of year again. The Montreal Mirror has opened voting for their Best of Montreal special. They have a category for "best local blog." What? I'm just sayin' is all.

Every year when it's time to vote for the Best of Montreal, I relish the opportunity to vote for my favourite bookstore ever. No, not Chapters. I'm talking about The Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore. It has a cozy environment, friendly and helpful staff, a great women's studies section, and a great gender and sexuality section.

Would you kill for your child?

Posted by Saraline , Monday, April 5, 2010 4:36 PM

I read Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi last summer. Bugliosi was the prosecutor in the famous Manson trial for the Tate-Labianca murders. After reading the book, I did some googling online and found Susan Atkins' website. The website includes Atkins' account of the murders and her part in them.

Feeding a baby is not child abuse

Posted by Saraline , Friday, April 2, 2010 2:56 AM

Some people seem to care an awful lot about what other people are feeding to their kids. Some say that breastfeeding is selfish, and some say that formula feeding is selfish. Some say that breastfeeding is child abuse and some say that formula feeding is child abuse.

Breastfeeders and formula feeders both get tired of other people getting upset over their methods of feeding their children. Breastfeeding mothers get dismayed by all of the misinformation about breastfeeding that's available; sometimes they even hear inaccurate facts from their doctors. Sometimes people tell them that breastfeeding is gross, that it's wrong to breastfeed in public, and sometimes they're asked to go go breastfeed in the bathroom. This can make things pretty stressful for a mom who just wants to feed her baby.

Spinning things

Posted by Saraline , Wednesday, March 31, 2010 6:35 PM

This post is going to be about my son but it will be interesting and relevant to feminist parenting, I swear.

That's him on his first birthday back in October. Isn't he cute? ANYWAY.

Quebec's new budget

Posted by Saraline 11:43 AM

"Quebecers can look forward to paying a new 'health contribution' and a 15-per-cent sales tax in 2012 under the budget Finance Minister Raymond Bachand brought down yesterday. [...]
Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois pointed out that in the 2008 election campaign, Premier Jean Charest gave no hint of higher taxes, fees and hydro rates to come.
'The government is going to pick the pocket of Quebecers,' she said."

The real life Lowood School

Posted by Saraline , Tuesday, March 30, 2010 6:53 PM

I recently reread Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Those of you who have read the book probably remember Jane's arrival at Lowood School when she was a child. You probably remember how she described the inedible food, the drafty building, the long walks to church in the winter while wearing inadequate uniforms and shoes, Miss Scatcherd's mistreatment of Jane's friend Helen Burns, and how Helen died.

I was fascinated to learn that Lowood School was actually based on The Clergy Daughter's School at Cowan Bridge, which Charlotte attended with three of her sisters. The character Helen Burns was modeled after her eldest sister Maria.

What's left of the real life Lowood School.

Information for new and expecting parents in Montreal

Posted by Saraline 12:29 AM

Before you read this blog entry, I suggest that you click on "Info for Montreal parents" at the top of this page; all the info from this page is there as well, and I update it when I find new information.

I've noticed that I get hits on this blog when people are trying to find information about giving birth in Montreal on google. I don't know how useful the information here is, since I've only given birth at one hospital and I've only shared my experience there. I've decided to do an information post about this and other things that might be helpful.

I'm back!

Posted by Saraline , Monday, March 29, 2010 8:14 PM

Well, hello there. I haven't updated this blog in over year. I think that it's pretty hilarious that the majority of the posts on my feminist parenting blog were made while I was still pregnant and not actually parenting yet. I had a lot more time when I wasn't actually taking care of a child, I guess.