Monthly Archives: December 2011

Why It’s Never Appropriate to Interrupt a Breastfeeding Mother

There’s not much not to love about Target. It’s my go-to one-stop shop for everything from diapers to anti-mom jeans for $14. But this morning as I was trolling through my news feeds I found one thing not to like: It’s seemingly inconsistent policies on how to handle breastfeeding mommies.

So, today’s news story has a familiar plot line: Breastfeeding mommy starts nursing in the store. Store employees ask mommy to do something–cover up, move to a different location, or stop breastfeeding all together–out of a so-called respect for their other customers. But rather than just rant to her friends about it, the most-recently offended momma is mobilizing other mommas from around the country for a flash-mob nurse-in at Target stores next Wednesday, Dec. 28.

But what I want to know is what employee actually wants to be the person who says something to a breastfeeding mom about what’s appropriate and what’s not when it comes to breastfeeding? Let’s just ignore the fact that breastfeeding in public is a protected right. There have got to other disciplinary or corrective measures for employees to take that would ultimately be more beneficial to the store than harrassing a breastfeeding mother. What about teen shoplifters? They probably need to be followed around. Or what about the weirdos who trash the family restroom? That certainly could be better monitored. I just don’t get why it would even cross someone’s mind to even interrupt a breastfeeding mother. Obviously she’s cool and comfortable with whatever she’s doing, wherever she’s doing it, so just leave her alone.

Seriously, how disruptive could a nursing mother actually be in a Target store? The only people who really linger around, hitting every department and cruising up and down every aisle are moms. I’d venture a guess that the rest of the shopping population goes into Target knowing pretty much what s/he wants, picking up a few impulse buys along the way. Those people are in and out of there in like 20 minutes whereas a mom might spend a good 45 minutes checking stuff out. So, again, why would you even bother saying anything to a nursing mom? Chances are she’s there at least once a week and has spent at least $50 bucks at every pass.

I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s any time that it’s appropriate for someone to engage in a conversation with a nursing mom. Other than for health and safety reasons–hey, lady, that’s going to fall onyour kid’s head!–I can only find one. And that’s to inform, not suggest, a mom that the establishment has a nursing lounge. And I don’t mean a back supply closet with a folding metal chair; I’m talking about a proper nursing lounge à la Nordstroms, where there are comfy chairs and a changing table.

And for those mommas who haven’t made great use out of the mothers’ lounges at Nordstroms yet, here’s what you can expect:

Obviously this is a little plush for your local Target, but I think a scaled-down version would be a fantastic idea. And could there be a better opportunity to showcase some of the products the retailer sells than to have Target for Home furniture in a setting like this? And as far as maintaining the facility, it could be as simple as getting a key from the service desk. Let’s just hope that Target management can recognize an opportunity to turn a bad publicity event into an opportunity to better serve a core customer.


Filed under breastfeeding, daily life, feeding, infants, lactation, shopping

Yup, I’m Still Human

I’ve had a hectic year. I spent most of it playing a work-from-home single mom. And then in the fall, I became an unemployed single mom. And now in December, I’ve rejoined the workforce as a full-time working, quasi single mom. (Trust me, I’m counting down the days until my husband’s travel schedule has nothing on it–for now.)

My first week returning to an office job was a little rough. My life as a solo parent/head of household only worked because it was programmed down to the minute. Consequently, an unexpected 15-minute delay was enough to practically derail my whole day. So, working through the kinks of a new schedule is fairly painful.

For example, I’ve never been what I call a morning “miller.” I never got up and milled around, drinking a cup of coffee, reading the paper, or watching the morning news before I got going with my day. I have always been a get-up-and-get-out-the-door kind of person. Not possible anymore.

I have figured out that I need to build in a 15- to 20-minute buffer of sorts if I want to (a) actually have a few minutes to speak with my child before herding him out the door and (b) have enough time to deal with unforeseen time sucks, such as missing keys, uncooperative dog and/or child, and major messes (like the extra grande, extra full coffee mug that tipped over, spilling sticky, flavored coffee all over my counter, my stove, my floor, and me yesterday morning).

And I’ve definitely had a couple of why-am-I-doing-this-again moments. The big one was the same morning as the coffee incident. That morning I also tore the house apart twice looking for my office security key (to no avail), the dog refused to eat or leave the back deck to do his thing, and I dropped the brand new roll of tin foil, which of course completely unraveled across my kitchen floor. (Have you ever tried to put tin foil back on a roll? Yeah, not going to happen.)

With all the mini crises, I barely took a second to look at my child much less smile at him. I nearly cried when stopped at a traffic light, I looked in the rear view mirror and he was totally silent, with this look of what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-my-mom on his cute little face. The killer was the dog had a similar look on his mug and had  laid his head down on the crumb cruncher’s lap, almost in reassurance that my craziness, too, shall pass. I totally felt like the worst mom ever.

But the next day was better, so I was reassured that I would figure out a way to make it all happen because somehow moms always do. And by the end of the week, I felt pretty in control of my new schedule and could let myself feel as excited as I wanted to be about my new job.

By Saturday I felt nearly invincible. I had taken my weekday efficiency measures into the weekend. Baby and I went to the gym; turbo shopped in Target, knocking a ton of stuff off our Christmas to-give lists; dropped the dog off at doggy day care; had brunch with our cousins; went grocery shopping; retrieved dog; and was home a little after 3pm. I was pretty proud of myself.

I let the crumb cruncher loose in the backyard with the dog, thinking how lucky we were to have a fenced in yard, as I put away my groceries. How great was it to have a place for him to play where I could keep an eye on him and yet still take care of everything I needed to take care of? Not to mention that I had just powered my way through a super productive day. It was as if life itself was telling me, “You got this, girl,” when it came to dealing with all the craziness of my life.


As I was putting away some dishes, I thought I heard a cry. So, I took a closer look out the patio doors. There was the dog pretty much dragging my child across the yard by his hood. Face down. Funny how life has a way of reminding you just how human you are.


Filed under daily life, pets, working mom

A Win for Tintin

When I heard last month that Stephen Spielberg was working on a Hollywood-upped digital movie version of Tintin, I have to admit I rolled my eyes. Despite everything I should love about him–his vocation as a journalist, his love of adventure and travel, and of course his French-speaking roots in the brain of the Belgian Hergé–I never was a fan.

Maybe there was a little too much Hardy Boys and not enough Sherlock Holmes for me at that point; Hergé’s famed ligne claire illustrative style also felt a little too serious, and so the graphic novels fell a little flat for me. (Little did I know that the flatness was the beauty of the ligne claire technique.) Or maybe it was a girl thing. A whole lot of guy journalists trace their love of their craft to Tintin; maybe his quirkiness struck just the right chord with young boys lacking confidence in the type of men they would become. But 20-plus years and major movie promotion later, I’m reevaluating my feelings for Tintin.

The first article to make me look at Tintin in a different light was a November book review in “The Wall Street Journal.” Meghan Cox Gurdon described Tintin in a light that I’d not considered:

“He is not a superhero or a young James Bond. He is not even really a reporter. His adventures are dramatic yet human-scale, invested with a spirit of moral enterprise and derring-do, in a cartoon world populated by characters at turns quirky, faulty, comical, and villainous.”

Perhaps I was a little too naive in my childhood to appreciate his amateur sleuthing skills; I had expected a more polished junior James Bond when I should have been looking for more of a resourceful boy scout type.

The other thing I failed to appreciate in my youth that I regard as genius in my life now is exactly how inspiring his adventures were for kids with any thread of wanderlust in their DNAs:

“Through his international exploits–in pre-revolutionary Shanghai, the jungles of Peru, a faux Eastern European police state, even the surface of the moon 20 years before Neil Armstrong got there–Tintin shows young readers that the world in all its complexity is theirs to bestride.”

With my long love of travel, how did I miss that? But now that Conde Nast Traveler came out with this handy guide, I feel like I might already be hooked on Tintin without actually finishing a whole book. The guide is basically structured to say, “If you like X place, you’ll love X Tintin book.” Based on the seven destinations the magazine highlights, I’m thinking of rekindling my acquaintance with Tintin with The Crab with the Golden Claws. With my dreams of visiting the rim of North Africa–Morocco and Tunisia have been calling me for years–some day, what better way to get lost in the dream than a Tintin trek through the Sahara?

I’m sure it goes with out saying that I’ve got seeing the movie on my wish list for the holidays. And after seeing the spectacular Spielberg interpretation, I fully expect to be one of what I expect to be legions of American Tintin converts, who no doubt will make the Euro Tintin purists cringe.

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Thanksgiving Post Mortem

Yes, I realize it’s December and I should be talking about Christmas rather than dwelling on Thanksgiving. But I’m not only playing catch up on this blog, but I’m having a hard time shaking off all the good vibes from the last week plus of November. This year was one of the best Thanksgivings in recent memory. Part of it was probably because I actually took the time to actually write down of all the things I was thankful for during November. But a pretty big part of it was that my husband finally got home from overseas with all appendages and a smile to boot And lucky me, I got him a day longer than expected thanks to a cancelled flight. Never in my life have I ever been thankful for that.

So, without any further ado, here’s how I rounded out my 30 days of thankful:

One last thing I’m thankful for–a new phone. These pictures are definitely showing how worn my current devise is. 🙂

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My Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving: 7 Reasons I Haven’t Been Blogging

It’s been what feels like forever and a day since I’ve posted something. And it’s not for a lack of substance. In fact, the past two weeks have been so full of good stuff that it’s hard to know exactly where to begin. But here are the highlights: Not only did the crumb cruncher, the doggone dog, and I take a mini holiday for the Thanksgiving holiday, spending a nice 10 days with family, but in the middle of all that I got a new job and my husband back (at least for a few days) from overseas. Needless to say, I’ve been spending my time celebrating rather than blogging. But it’s back to reality, so here’s a first step to catching up:

The week before Thanksgiving was clearly an amazing week, full of the good brand of surprises. It’s not every week that reasons to be thankful were as big as a new paycheck and as small as a friend’s two-pound miracle of a preemie baby. But I am grateful for them all.

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