Profile for Avital Norman Nathman

avatar

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 »

The Soapbox: No, Nickelodeon, Mothers Do Not Need Our Own TV Channel

Jessica Valenti Q&A
The author of "Why Have Kids" explores parenting and happiness. Read More »
Helicopter Parents
"Helicopter parents" versus "free range moms." Read More »
Soapbox: Mommy Wars
Calling a ceasefire on the mommy wars, because it helps no one. Read More »

I’m a TV junkie. Once my kid finally falls asleep, you’ll find me splayed out on the couch, flipping through the over 800 channels we apparently subscribe to. And my tastes run rampant: I’m just as happy sitting through an hour of “Alphas” on the Syfy channel as I am watching Barry’s antics on “Storage Wars” or crossing my fingers for a “Charmed” marathon on TNT. I DVR “30 Rock” to watch each week as well as the latest episode of “Top Chef.” Truly, there is very little I won’t watch.

Oh, except Nickelodeon’s new channel for moms, NickMom. You probably won’t find me watching that anytime soon, despite being a mom. On October 1st, NickJr — a channel originally created to provide age-appropriate programming for preschool children — began airing a block of nighttime programming “just for moms.” When I heard the news, I started wondering what I, a self-professed TV fiend and mom, was lacking from my already jam-packed television watching schedule.  Keep reading »

The Soapbox: It’s Kids’ Options For Halloween Costumes That Are Truly Scary

Sexy Food Costumes
Food Halloween Costumes
Maybe you've gone the edible route this Halloween. Read More »
Baby Golden Girl
"Golden Girls" baby photo
It's a baby Sophia Petrillo! Read More »
Halloween!
Everything you need for a spooktastic Halloween. Read More »

I’ve always loved Halloween. The candy, the Jack-O-Lanterns, the parties, and of course, the costumes. I’m no stranger to awesome Halloween costumes. I’ve been everything from a box of crayons (four-years-old) to a genie (10-years-old) to Britney Spears pre-public meltdown (27-years-old, while eight months pregnant — it was a truly brilliant costume if I say so myself).

One thing I love about Halloween is the ability for both kids and adults to play pretend for an evening. One thing I don’t love about it, however, is that if you lack the time/desire/sewing skills to scour Pinterest and create a homemade costume, your choices for children are sadly limited. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: On “Helicopter Parents” And “Free Range Kids”

Baby Bong Pics
Mother arrested for posting pics of her baby with a bong on Facebook. Read More »
Baby Keg Stand
People are not laughing at this picture of a baby doing a keg stand. Read More »
Jessica Valenti Q&A
The author of "Why Have Kids" explores parenting and happiness. Read More »

I grew up in the ‘80s on a tree-lined neighborhood that skirted the edge of New Haven, Connecticut. Nobody really traveled down my short street unless they lived there or were visiting, and my family was friendly with all of our neighbors. With a backyard that was mostly brambling bushes and trees, I spent the majority of my childhood playing right out in front of my house, alternating between frolicking in the garden (much to my mother’s chagrin) or biking up and down the sidewalks with friends. A good portion of that outside time was spent with friends, by myself, or with my younger brother in tow, but mostly unsupervised by adults. Sure, my mom stuck her head out every now and again, and a neighbor was never far off. But the majority of my outside play was independent and unstructured. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Why Choosing Your Baby’s Sex Is Gambling On Gender Stereotypes

Pink Photo Project
The Pink & Blue Project photo
A fascinating photo project captures little girls and their pink toys. Read More »
I'm Doing IVF
IVF
One women's experience with IVF. Read More »
Sexist Beliefs
mother and daughter photo
Sexist beliefs are passed down more from mothers than fathers, study finds. Read More »

There are many in Western society that seem to band together anytime the subject of sex-selective abortion in foreign countries comes up. It’s a tricky topic, especially for those of us who favor unfettered abortion access. Outrage and incomprehension over aborting female fetuses in favor of males is usually the default response, with many claiming the practice is misogynistic, and rightfully pointing out the negative impact it has on many countries, specifically in Asia.

But despite our alarm and discomfort surrounding sex-selective abortion, many in Western society have no issue doing all they can to conceive a specific sex. And while pregnancy screenings to rule out female fetuses abound outside the U.S., there has recently been a surge in the number of parents looking to do exactly the opposite within this country: going to great — and expensive — lengths to ensure that their newborn is a girl. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Breastfeeding Professor Brings Sick Baby To Class, Heads Explode

"A Disgrace"
breastfeeding Air Force women
Air Force mamas photographed nursing called a disgrace. Read More »
"Reclaim Your Wife"
Company tweets bottles will help men "reclaim your wife." Read More »
Nursing Reality Show
A reality TV show about breastfeeding older children is on the way. Read More »
Nursing Is "Obscene"?
Funny Or Die removed a breastfeeding skit it found "obscene." Read More »

At this point, I’m absolutely over the phrase “having it all.” It’s been beaten to death, taken out of context, used as link bait, etc… And I’m over it. I’m mostly over it because it’s a convoluted concept. “Having it all” doesn’t have one universal definition and it is something we only lord over the heads of women. It’s problematic on many levels, yet that doesn’t stop folks from hammering the point over and over and over again. But because the concept of “having it all” is so entrenched in our society, when an accomplished professor (of a feminist anthropology course, no less) ends up bringing her sick baby to the first day of class, and at one point nurses her, it becomes fodder for an investigative story.

Keep reading »

  • Zergnet: Simply Irresistible

  • HowAboutWe

  • Popular