• Pandemiployment

Why so Nasty?

There I was, looking for reviews on a baby food delivery company. I don't endlessly debate the use of purees. I had been given a second hand BEABA Babycook machine. It was a nice gift. I love getting secondhand items, it combines my love for things costing FREE dollars with my Yankee Thrift. It was fancy as hell. And I just. Didn't. Have. Time.


So off the shelf purees it was. Son survived, and Daughter appears to be on the same track. However, she needs to learn to eat food as well. With Boo heading overseas, and grocery trips being a much more fraught experience, I thought I might look into ways to make it easier on myself.

Side note - I recommend checking out Yummy Toddler Food if you're interested in reading up about Baby Led Weaning (BLW). BLW is basically giving your kid items that are recognizably food and something you might eat in a modified form, instead of pureed everything. The purists will shame you unto your grave if a drop of puree crosses your sweet angel's lips. I like this article because she while she advocates for BLW, there is no shame in choosing puree instead, or trying to combine methods. I like my information to be shame free, thank you very much.

I enjoy reading product reviews because they could mention something I didn't think of, or they point out a fact of the product that makes or breaks it for me.


I googled Name of Company + Review. Read a few reviews. Found one on a parenting blog I hadn't heard of, started reading. Woman was Canadian, and the only reason that's worth mentioning is HOLY GOD SHE WAS NASTY. Sorry Canadians, but there is a pretty strong stereotype that you all are nice folks. It's not the worst stereotype to have.


She had some solid points to make. She pointed out the waste of all these tiny containers. She talked about some similar brands were equally wasteful. One included tiny spoons with every meal (how many spoons does one baby need? do you lack the ability to wash dishes?) She pointed out that even if your baby didn't eat dragonfruit in their first year, said baby would not be doomed to a life of white bread with butter. Palate expansion panic is getting a little crazy.


However, her main thesis was JUDGEMENT. Judgement of any fool who would sign up for such a service. Those fools! They're killing the environment! They're lazy!


I particularly enjoyed when her solution was to bring a small hand grinder to each meal to mash up the food for her children. A commenter pointed out that for a working parent, there's very little time to prep food for adults, much less prep it further for a baby. That some folks might need a little help. I thought the comment was pretty bland (I wanted to SCREAM do you send a hand grinder to daycare? Because a lot of folks don't have all their meals with their children, and rely on other carers who likely don't have time to hand grind extra food for your child).


The blogger eviscerated the working mom commenter. It was NOT NICE.

That same day, I was stress-scrolling through Instagram (my time wasting nemesis). Clicked on a picture, a grocery cart with some Trader Joe's frozen food. The account holder, a female blogger and mom of two, wrote a funny caption about how she hadn't put a cooked meal on the table in a month, and did anyone have recommendations in the fabled Trader Joe's frozen food section?


One commenter decided it was a good time to comment how she worked 80 hours a week and put a homecooked meal on the table every night, and that providing fresh food was really important.


Why so nasty?

If you're not struggling with life in some way or fashion right now, as a parent, as a pandemic survivor, as someone working (or not) in an uncertain economy, and so forth...you don't exist.


If you need to be nasty, maybe direct your nastiness to a critique of the factors that are putting us in the position of looking into subscription food services, or frozen meals?


Pissed off about the waste of individualized baby food subscription services? Why don't you point out that one reason a working parent might buy something with dragonfruit in it is out of a sense of guilt and fear. Guilt that the working parent (and let's be honest, it's probably a mom, drowning under cultural baggage of the perfect mom) is not providing what their baby needs. That by choosing or needing to work, you are setting your kid back.


Maybe the stress over women joining the workforce has been collectivized by a culture and dumped on those same women. Pew Research states, "In 2016, moms spent around 25 hours a week on paid work, up from nine hours in 1965. At the same time, they spent 14 hours a week on child care, up from 10 hours a week in 1965." Anne Helen Peterson in this NYTimes article rightly points out that women typically have to soothe anxieties when there is social change - entering the workforce put all the pressure on women to prove that bringing home the bacon would not turn it into nuclear waste.


Want, or need, to work outside the home? Because let's be honest, raising children is a hell of a lot of work, it's just unpaid when you do it in your own house. Then you better be perfect. Junior needs a handmade Halloween costume or his memories of childhood will so cripple him he'll be a Basement Boy for life and spend his days eating your food, playing video games, crying when you try to confront him with responsibilities like laundry and his cell phone bill.


Why are parents so stressed that their kids are "falling behind" when they're trying to eat finger foods? Maybe because we have a shrinking middle class, and parents have a subconscious fear that unless their child can keep up with the other kids, they will fall behind developmentally, do poorly at school, be unable to get into a decent college, get a good job...I'm having a panic attack right now just typing this sentence.


Buying frozen meals? Maybe your country's work culture puts the onus on you, the worker, to be physically present for x number of hours a day, then available via emails and chats and texts outside their hours, while the parent struggles through the commute to get to the childcare facility which in fact costs more than their mortgage, because the government doesn't provide jack shit for families to keep their kids alive while parents work for the money necessary to pay the damn bills...

Now, this is a very middle class, privileged list of stressors, no? Someone is who lucky enough to have a job to put food on the table, who gets to consider the option of an expensive food subscription plan to help get some damn finger foods on the table for their baby. Someone who can pay a little extra for prepared foods vs. pureeing her own.


Judging feels good. We all need to find ways to feel good, especially right now. What burns me is when someone's choice, made in a vortex of pressures and factors, gets torn apart in a nasty and public way.


Maybe that blogger was buying frozen food because she was a working mom of two, trying to handle it all. Maybe she just doesn't like to cook, and is trying to cut back on her takeout spending. I could write a novel on all the factors I can imagine for that woman.


Bravo to the commenter who works 80 hours to put food on the table and its all homemade. She has clearly chosen to put all her time and effort into her job and her delicious meals. I would bet she either pays a cleaning company or she lives in a shithole though. I would bet she's got a solid partner running that laundry machine, though. I would bet she commutes for ten minutes each way, though. No one is magical, not even Beyonce. Time, effort, or money people. There is a limit to all of these things. There are only MATH ALERT 168 hours in a week, and if someone spends almost half of them at work, and they sleep for some of them (assuming she's not a vampire, and "healthy, homemade meals was code for bringing home a live human), there's not a fuckton of time left to, you know, actually eat those meals. Or raise kids. Or shower.


What irks me is that when another parent, another mom, is doing something you don't agree with - and you just BURN THAT BITCH DOWN. A lighthearted request for food recommendations turns into a chance for you to lord your superiority and attempt to shame that other woman.


I'm just saying, 80 hour a week woman, that maybe those homemade meals with the fresh food you always make time for aren't doing it for you. I'm not sure you're meeting your fiber intake requirements or something, because it seems like you're having trouble getting that stick out of your butt. I would judge you in the privacy of my head, but since ya gotta be nasty on the internets, I'm gonna judge ya hear on a blog three people read.


Karma's a bitch, friend.



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