Profile for Avital Norman Nathman

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Mommie Dearest: Mom Vs. Dad — Who Takes The Lead?

Jessica Valenti Q&A
The author of "Why Have Kids" explores parenting and happiness. Read More »
Stay At Home Dads
father with baby bjorn
Do they really parent that differently from stay-at-home moms? Read More »
On Motherhood
Why are we treating moms like second class citizens? Read More »

New York Times’ writers KJ Dell’Antonia and Bruce Feiler recently went head to head over parenting for the latest “Room For Debate.” Their discussion focused on whether moms or dads more often take the lead when it comes to parenting, and more importantly, why?

This particular debate is an age-old parenting topic. In an era where women are constantly reminded about “having it all” despite stereotypical gender roles being enforced, it’s no wonder that we’re still discussing who takes on what when it comes to parenting. For a long time, parenting actually meant mothering by default. It was traditionally assumed that men were the wage earners while women were the caretakers, no matter how much that “ideal” didn’t match up with families that needed two incomes to stay afloat. Regardless of the advances in equality accrued by feminism, that traditional framework has been a hard one to shake off and families still have trouble when it comes to equal parenting. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: I’m A Mom Who Supports Legal Abortion

Roe Vs. Wade
roe vs wade
Where do abortion rights stand today? Read More »
I Had An Abortion
A mother writes about choosing to have an abortion. Read More »
Coat Hanger Abortions
A Mississippi pol doesn't think coat hanger abortions are a problem. Read More »
mommie dearest abortion

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. I spent the day reading, writing, and thinking about abortion. I’m clearly not quite done.

I’ve never had an abortion, but that doesn’t mean that I — like many women — haven’t been in a position where I ended up considering having one. I certainly thought about abortion when I was 17 and completely freaking out after my first time having sex, both an unexpected and unwanted event. In the painfully long two weeks that I had to wait until I was finally able to take a pregnancy test, I considered all of my options, among them abortion. While I thankfully didn’t need to make any sort of choice in the end (except to head to a doctor for a full battery of STD testing), just knowing that abortion existed provided me with some sense of comfort in all of the swirling chaos that comes with being a teenager suffering heartbreak and confusion. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Focusing On Celeb Pregnancies Only Raises The Bar Higher For Other Mothers

Give Kate Space
Stop getting all up in a pregnant woman's business, y'all. Read More »
kim kardashian kanye west

I’m not sure if you all heard about it or not, but Kim Kardashian is pregnant. I’ll wait a moment for the shock to sink in.

We can now look forward to six more months of paparazzi falling all over themselves for the newest baby bump shots, interviews with Kim and Kanye’s potential nannies, photoshoots of their nurseries, and “in depth” articles that pontificate on everything from what Kris Jenner will go by (something tells me she doesn’t dig “Granny”) to whether Kanye will cut the cord, to dissecting which potential weight loss programs Kim will utilize/shill to get back into her “pre-baby bod.”

And I can tell you already, I’m over it. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: On Steubenville High School & Teaching Boys Not To Rape

Watch The Video
Steubenville High students laugh about recent rape. Read More »
steubenville rape case
hacktivist
Hacktivists threaten to release personal information of alleged rapists. Read More »
Wishes Of Rape
Why wishing rape upon rapists is not OK. Read More »

My son turns six next week, and among all the other wishes I have for him, I have a silent hope that won’t be shared at his birthday party. It’s one that swims in the depths of my mind, surfacing occasionally when awful things happen that force me to think about it: I wish and hope and pray that my son won’t grow up to be a rapist.

I know that sounds horrible and not a wish a mother of a six year old should even have in the back of her mind, let alone flashing loud and red and painful throughout it. But I can’t help it. We live in a society that is steeped in rape culture, no matter how many people refuse to acknowledge that reality. My worry was driven home more forcefully after watching a video that Anonymous posted online of Steubenville High School students talking about the rape of a 16-year-old fellow student. This case is heartbreaking enough — the victim was sexually assaulted while drunk and unconscious, only to have the photographic proof of her rape spread all over various social media outlets. Her attackers, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two football players for the high school’s team The Big Red, were let off relatively lightly, subjected to being under house arrest. However, the victim was also punished, forbidden by the judge in the case from sharing any details of the case, essentially re-victimizing her. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: The Year In Motherhood Headlines

Moms Are 2nd Class
Why are we treating moms like second class citizens? Read More »
Aussies Get Paid Leave
koala baby
Australia enacts paid parental leave for dads and gay couples. Read More »
Mommy Wars Ceasefire
I want a ceasefire on the mommy wars, because it helps no one. Read More »

Motherhood is one hot topic. From magazine covers that pushed people’s buttons to daily headlines on both news and gossip sites, moms were praised, targeted, and questioned.

While most headlines were pure click bait, some were actually attached to insightful, thought-provoking pieces. As we head into 2013, let’s take a look back at the good, the meh, and the ugly when it came to motherhood in mainstream headlines from 2012: Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Explaining The Newtown Massacre To My Son

The Soapbox: Gun Control
newtown
You don't have to be a parent to be worried about guns. Read More »
Obama In Newtown
Watch the president address mourners at the Sandy Hook vigil. Read More »
Shooting In CT
Twenty-seven people were killed, including 20 children. Read More »

“It’s unthinkable.” That’s what headlines are proclaiming and friends are telling me about the absolutely devastating massacre in Newton, Connecticut.

Unthinkable.

For me, it’s the complete opposite. I can’t stop thinking about it. Since the first moment the internet started buzzing with slips of information, my mind latched on and couldn’t let go. Days later and it still hasn’t. I’m not sure it ever will.

Why?

How?

Why? Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Let’s Give Pregnant Kate Middleton Some Space

Kate Is Pregnant!
kate middleton pregnant
Buckingham Palace has finally confirmed the princess is pregnant. Read More »
Kate Hospitalized
Kate Middleton
The princess has "acute" morning sickness. Read More »
Morning Sickness
morning sickness
His wife has the same acute morning sickness as Kate Middleton. Read More »

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, then allow me to be the first to share the breaking news: Princess Kate is pregnant! Now feel free to join in with the rest of the world as it goes absolutely completely bonkers in reaction.

I understand that a new baby, especially one of royal lineage, is a huge deal. And sure, I’m also super curious whether the wee-one-to-be is going to have a head full of shiny, chestnut locks like his or her mother. But honestly? The most I can muster up for Kate right now, beyond my heartfelt congratulations, is my deepest sympathies. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Why Toy Catalogs Make Me Roll My Eyes

Little Girls & LEGOs
Why LEGOs "for girls" are extremely popular. Read More »
Remixed Toy Ads
Remixed toy ads tell the truth about gendered marketing. Read More »
Sweet Or Creepy?
Disney princess doll
Put your daughter's face on a Disney princess doll. Read More »

Mommie Dearest is The Frisky’s new biweekly column about being a mama.

I have a love/hate relationship with catalogs. There are some that I love to flip through and pretend that I have the money to burn. Who wouldn’t want her own cotton candy machine, night vision goggles, or handcrafted teak patio furniture? (I don’t even have a patio.) The holiday season provides me with an ample supply of these catalogs, depositing no less than three catalogs a day into my mailbox. However, they’re not all fantasy furnishings and expensive gadgets. The majority of the catalogs I receive actually cause me to roll my eyes, gnash my teeth and fill my already stuffed recycling bin to the brim: toy catalogs promoting tired traditional gender stereotypes. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Why Is Facebook So Against Breastfeeding?

Professor Breastfeeds
Breastfeeding professor brings sick baby to class, heads explode. Read More »
Rape Jokes On Facebook
caveman photo
Joking about raping women is cool with Facebook. Read More »
Nursing Video On Porn Site
surprised baby photo
Mom sues after "Parents" mag nursing video ends up on a porn site. Read More »

For all the pomp and circumstance of having nursed my son until he was three-years-old, I’ve only ever dealt with somebody negatively commenting on it twice. The first time happened when my son was around 18 months old. We were visiting family in southern Connecticut and ended up at a Johnny Rockets for lunch. A few minutes after being seated, our teenage waitress came over and said that somebody had complained about me breastfeeding my son and informed me that I “couldn’t do that here.” I let her know that, actually, I could, since the state of Connecticut protected my right to nurse my son in public wherever I wanted. She then told me that the restaurant had a special room for nursing, and that I should use that. It turned out that the “special room” was the questionably clean bathroom, and I let her know, again, that I was perfectly fine where I was. She finally left, only to stare at me while snarking behind her hand with her fellow waitresses, and I continued to nurse my son while sipping on my delicious milkshake. Nothing more was said by anyone on the subject (except for my sister-in-law, who ate lunch with us that day and later emailed Johnny Rockets headquarters to let them know what transpired — they sent us free milkshake coupons as an apology). Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: A Tale Of Two Gay Penguins

Gay Scaremongering
gay marriage
This gay marriage scaremongering ad is so bad it's good. Read More »
On Bigotry
Andrea Grimes on love, politics and bigotry. Read More »
Children Of Lesbians
Today's Lady News photo
Children of lesbians are happy and academically successful, says study. Read More »

One of the more challenging aspects to being a parent is keeping a handle on all the various things to which your child is exposed. For instance, the many studies pointing to a connection between early exposure to violent media and aggression certainly causes me to think twice about the television shows my almost-six-year old watches. And while I possibly think too much about the potential for him to turn into a pizza-eating, nunchuk-wielding vigilante as an adult due to too much “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” it’s for good reason. Children are highly impressionable sponges, soaking up as much of the world around them, and most parents want to ensure that their children are only soaking up the good stuff.

It makes sense. We’re raising the next generation and all, and we’d like them to be decent, conscientious people who aren’t car-thieving murderers who played too much “Grand Theft Auto” when they were younger. However, for as much as we’d like to have some semblance of control over what they’re exposed to, we’re not with our children every single second of the day. We can’t dictate what they’ll pick up from friends, extra-curricular activities, or school. At some point, we need to trust that we’ve instilled in them the ability to make good and reasonable choices for themselves, despite their seemingly undying love for Ninja Turtles (No, seriously. My son is obsessed. I do sort of fear he may take to the sewers one day). Keep reading »

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