Rock the boat baby.

PIN IT

I’m all for political correctness (when it comes to being respectful of other people – the rest of it I could easily do without), but have we gone too far? Like, way, way too far? I’m sick of walking on eggshells, aren’t you? Is it just me or are people way too easily offended these days, we are all so careful of not offending each other that I fear that nothing of any real importance is being said. What sort of communication is that? What sort of life is that?

Let me clarify before I go on, surely offending at least a few of you. I do not like offensive behaviour. I in no way condone name calling, discrimination or judgement towards cultures, religions, or individuals. But having an opinion, one that differs from the throngs of “yes” (wo)men out there? Yes, power to you lady! I have enough people in my life who go out of there way to say/do things just to be different/argumentative/sh!t stirrers, the last thing I need is more of them.

We all live as a part of various different communities. Online communities, family communities, school communities, neighbourhood communities (and on, and on), each of these communities requires that we conform to some extent to a certain level of behaviour and an often unwritten code of conduct. I’m OK with that, to an extent. Learning to conform enough to get through day to day tasks and function as a member of society is very important. But saying “yes” just because it’s the easiest answer and doesn’t ruffle any feathers, is not.

Long before I became a mama, I was a person with conviction. Now all of a sudden in this mama world it feels like we are all treading so carefully around each-other, so as not to offend anyone. There are all of these mama blogs that talk about clothes and nurseries and strollers… but not so many that talk about what’s underneath all of that. The things that run deep in the veins of the mother, not just the things that fill the diaper bag. Why is this? Are the thoughts of the individual mother not interesting to the reader? Or is the mother too worried that her views don’t conform? Scared to offend? Scared of tarnishing the beautiful polish that her online life depicts? Or is it something else entirely? There are countless articles out there which ask breastfeeding mothers to not harp on about how breast is best, so as not to make formula feeding mothers feel guilty. Gosh. I’m all about respecting a womans choice to parent their child the way they want to – but does that mean we don’t get to have opinions anymore? And, since when was being offended equal to the end of the world? Since when was offending someone the worst possible thing you could do? Aren’t we all just getting a little too precious?

I will be teaching my daughter that opinions are important. There is a big difference between being opinionated and having an informed opinion on a topic of interest. You can have an opinion that is different to someone elses and still be there friend (shocking, I know). You can stand up and say, hey, I don’t agree with that – I don’t think that’s OK – without being rude. The world is full of rules, I was told growing up, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And whilst I agree with the concept, which is being kind (being kind is the most IMPORTANT thing you can be), I don’t agree with keeping your mouth shut and not sharing an opinion, especially when it is an opinion that is not the social norm. Some rules, well, they need to be broken. Some people say to me, oh, well you’ll create a rod for your own back with that one. Much the same as they say this to me when I rock my baby to sleep, breastfeed exclusively or spend 99.9% of my time by her side. I have nothing much to say to that except that a rod is only a rod if you want it to be.

A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.

– Mahatma Gandhi

I want to teach my daughter that you don’t have to become a social pariah because you rocked the boat a little. There is nothing wrong with rocking the boat sometimes, in fact a little bit of boat rocking is what get’s things changed. It helps us grow as people. It is what spurs education, development and drives us towards a more just world.

Be a kind, empathetic person Bo. Be good to other people, never be quick to judge and always forgive easily. Life’s too short for anger, regret and revenge. But never, ever be afraid to rock the boat baby…it’s (more than) OK to ruffle a few feathers every now and then.

xox

 

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  • August 28, 2012 - 3:34 pm

    Lila - You read my mind! I do struggle with which strong viewpoints I put out there for others to see, not to protect an image but more that it can be hard to gauge interest when as you say so much out there is superficial. That and the shaming that is used as you mentioned in the case of breastfeeding mothers definitely extends to other topics.
    You’re absolutely right though it is important to teach our children that their opinion is valid.ReplyCancel

    • August 28, 2012 - 4:19 pm

      Sash - Absolutely, the breastfeeding example was just that, one example of hundereds of similar situations in the mama world and one of millions in the general world where we are too careful to offend and important views are often silenced. Opinions count!!ReplyCancel

  • August 28, 2012 - 4:37 pm

    Sarah - All very true, and nicely put. I think there is too much mama superficial stuff – it feels competitive sometimes too….which is not why i started my blog. It was supposed to be somewhere where I recorded my day to day life with my little boy and my work, but it is easy to fall into a rut of lazy blogging. I think I’m in danger sometimes of creating lack lustre posts for the sake of posting anything at all, or what I feel is ‘safe’ with not enough thought going into it. That is why I love your blog -it is a breath of fresh air! You’ve inspired me to consider a bit more what I’m posting… thanks!ReplyCancel

    • August 28, 2012 - 7:46 pm

      Sash - Thanks Sarah – the mama blog world can seem a bit like the playground in highschool… with all the same competition. But I think most of that is in our heads… and that which isn’t, well, it’s not important anyway is it? Love your blog and your gorgeous pictures (and your even more gorgeous little man).ReplyCancel

  • August 28, 2012 - 4:53 pm

    Lilybett - It has gone too far. Sometimes people need their feathers ruffled to make change happen. I would happily – HAPPILY – offend quite a few American politicians at the moment who think abortion isn’t okay even when women are raped because… you know… some women are uptight about the rape and that prevents the semen from getting into the womb. Some people need offending or to have their dumb-arse world-views shaken to the core to get them to change their minds.

    Me, personally? I am a formula feeding mama and hearing women talk about breastfeeding doesn’t make me feel guilty (because there was really no more I could have done to make breastfeeding work) but it does make me feel sad. I feel sad when I hear talk about breastfeeding, I feel sad when I receive my ABA magazine in the mail because I didn’t cancel my membership, I feel sad when I see women breastfeed.

    But it’s my sadness. Not anyone else’s. And I would never expect anyone to stop breastfeeding in front of me to make me feel better. Because that’s dumb. And it really wouldn’t help. Neither would killing the conversation.ReplyCancel

    • August 28, 2012 - 7:41 pm

      Sash - Thanks Lilybett, I’m sorry for your sadness and very grateful for your opinion. I’d like to go and shake those bloody politicians with you! xReplyCancel

    • August 28, 2012 - 7:41 pm

      Sash - Thanks Lilybett, I’m sorry for your sadness and very grateful for your opinion. I’d like to go and shake those bloody politicians with you! xReplyCancel

    • August 31, 2012 - 5:17 am

      Cassie Nguyen - Yes! This is exactly how I feel about breastfeeding too. It’s my sadness, not one to throw out into the world.ReplyCancel

      • September 1, 2012 - 4:57 pm

        Sash - Love ya Cass xoReplyCancel

  • August 28, 2012 - 6:43 pm

    Lina Ibrahim - Thank you!! well said! I was too scared to rock the boat but now.. uhhmm, yeah, still scaredReplyCancel

    • August 28, 2012 - 7:47 pm

      Sash - Just rock it lovely!ReplyCancel

  • August 29, 2012 - 1:33 am

    Erica - Maybe those articles by formula feeding mothers ARE rocking the boat. In this culture mommies are constantly being bombarded by judgmental mothers who try and shove breast feeding down eveybody’s throat (especially in the blogging world). If you run roughy rough “top baby blogs” how many women assert the fact that they breast feed? How many say they bottle feed? Not one. I think that even admitting you bottle feed in the blog world takes guts, let alone pointing out to lactivists that breast is not always best (not for everybody). Maybe it is not right to tell people to keep their criticisms to themselves, but the fact that they are even speaking up IS rocking the boat, as evidenced by this very blog post.ReplyCancel

    • August 29, 2012 - 1:34 am

      Erica - *if you run through top baby blogs… Stupid auto correctReplyCancel

      • August 29, 2012 - 7:31 am

        Sash - I think you have a very valid point there Erica. I wish there was more to read from bottle feeding mothers instead of just mommy guilt or sadness. As a non-bottle feeder I’d be interested to know what the experience is like/the challenges/why the choices are made etc. However, I think it is wrong to say to one person, you shouldn’t talk about something that is important to you (and I used the example of breastfeeding, but could easily use an example of drug addiction, bi-sexuality, suicide, abortion etc.) because it might offend another person and make them uncomfortable. A little discomfort every now and then… well, I think we learn a whole lot more about ourselves and the world when we take a good hard look at what it is (and why) that makes us uncomfortable.ReplyCancel

        • August 29, 2012 - 8:47 am

          Erica - Oh I see what you’re saying. So all those crazy fundamentalist christian people who make it their life mission to “convert” gays should be allowed to harass (but they might call it “enlighten”) gays with literature or whatever other articles and information they can get out there about how they’re going to hell and what not? I totally agree with you, but at the same time I don’t think people should from discouraged from responding with articles that say “just leave them the hell alone.”ReplyCancel

          • August 29, 2012 - 6:30 pm

            Sash - I don’t think anyone should be discouraged from responding, a response is indeed a part of a conversation that is in fact what brings us forward. And don’t get me started on the fundamentalists trying to “save” the gays… I’d never stop harping on about the ridiculousness of it all. But then – they have the right to their opinion (and to express it in a fair, humane and just way – ie. NOT harass), just as *we* have the right to disagree.

          • August 29, 2012 - 7:29 pm

            Erica - I guess I’m misunderstanding you then. Either that, or you’re contradicting yourself. At least in the example you gave (people telling breast feeding moms to leave formula feeding moms alone), it sounds like you are discouraging such responses (which ARE part of the discussion and ARE rocking the boat).

          • August 29, 2012 - 7:50 pm

            Sash - I think you might be misunderstanding me. What I mentioned was an example of when one persons opinion is encouraged to be silenced so as not to offend (or in this very quick example make feel guilty) another person (in this case the breastfeeding mother and the formula feeding mother) – not one person engaging their own opinion into a debate. Using this example; instead of someone saying “you should stop saying that you’re hurting their feelings” and the formula feeding mother was to say, “hey, this is my opinion on the matter…” then I say, GREAT! Does that make sense?

  • August 29, 2012 - 6:15 pm

    Rachel - I wonder how much of it is “its not worth the argument” rather than being worried about offending. Personally I think, my child is my child and yours is yours — if we choose to raise them differently, why should that put us at odds? But it does. I can’t talk about my decisions regarding child-raising on my blog because it offends my husband’s family too much. I used to talk about it alot. But I give up. The family fights are NOT worth it. For the record, all child-related decisions are made by BOTH my husband and I AND moreover, we agree on them! But since our families cannot agree…well… I just can’t take the criticism anymore. I’m not saying that’s right but I don’t understand why opposing opinions on child related subjects can cause such reactions? So yes, I guess offence is a big thing after all.
    I do believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions (on anything) and I do believe that everyone should have the right to express their opinions but I also think, that no opinion can be forced on others OR should hinder relationship.ReplyCancel

    • August 29, 2012 - 6:27 pm

      Sash - Thanks for that Rachel. I see where you are coming from… you are absolutely right, no opinion can be (nor should it be) forced upon others. And it’s always much more difficult when families are involved. I think it comes down to choosing your battles, some are as you say “not worth it” and others are too painful I think. I guess like many things it comes down to having the freedom to choose, to choose what it is we want to express for our own personal reasons, not because something outside of ourselves has silenced us.ReplyCancel

      • September 1, 2012 - 11:06 am

        Rachel - I wish more people could have the attitude of Elise down below in the comments! Why does it matter that we don’t all agree on everything? Wouldn’t that make the world a bit boring?! Besides, my opinion is its good to be offended from time to time because it helps us go back and check our own standards/beliefs/methods/etc and make sure we own our own opinion! I really like your reply here — I feel the same way…its too bad we all can’t agree to disagree and get on with life together! It was a really good post Sasha!ReplyCancel

        • September 1, 2012 - 4:54 pm

          Sash - Thanks Rachel – I think it’s really important that we check back with our own opinions like you say… opinions aren’t set in stone, time, age and experience have seen to shift my opinion on things and often when I look at what my view is on something, sometimes I realise it’s time for an update…ReplyCancel

  • August 30, 2012 - 12:20 am

    Erica - so applying it to the fundamentalist christian example, gays & allies shouldn’t respond by saying “stop saying they’re going to hell, you’re stressing them out and making them feel inferior,” but instead say ““hey, this is my opinion on the matter…”.

    but what if their opinion on the matter IS that they should just mind their own business? i guess i had a hard time understanding what you were saying with the breastfeeding example because i have never read a formula feeding article that simply left the argument at “don’t say that because you’re hurting their feelings.” that might be the broad goal, but there are typically reasons to support the request.

    there is almost always something to back up the reason that people should be left alone when it comes to personal decisions- and in both examples (gays & feeding choices… or abortion or whatever) the premise is “my body, my choice. it has nothing to do with you so just stay out of it.”

    but there will always be bullies- people making others try and feel inferior for things that don’t even affect the bully in any way. they are entitled to their own opinions, and their opinions should not be sensored. sometimes the person being bullied just keeps their mouth shut and says “okay… whatever,” sometimes the person being bullied fights back, and sometimes the person being bullied just says “leave me the hell alone already.” i don’t think there is anything wrong with the latter response.ReplyCancel

  • August 30, 2012 - 2:01 am

    MonicaBradnan - I know what you’re saying…when it comes to Mothers and how they raise/parent their child(ren) it’s easier to not offend those who are on the same path. For example, I had a home birth & breast feed and my conviction to other (future) mothers to stay away from the hospital & bottle feeding is not out of judgment but out of, “You Can Do It”. But it seems like I come across as I’ve done it ‘better’ which I feel sad about, since that’s not my motivation. It is hard to birth naturally & breast feed. In no way am I saying its easier to birth at a hospital or bottle feed but I am proud that I’ve come out successful in these areas cause I’ve worked really really hard for them, especially breast feeding. Nonetheless, someone will read into this as a statement that I did it better. I believe if I’m coming from a good place in my heart-not from judgment or competition then it’s on them. They are upset they didn’t have the same opportunity and if that was said I could mourn with them instead of dealing with resentments.ReplyCancel

    • September 1, 2012 - 4:58 pm

      Sash - Guilt, resentment and fear can manifest themselves in awfully negative ways I’m afraid, and often even with the best intentions you can rub people the wrong way… it’s not always on you though. xoReplyCancel

  • August 31, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Elise - I love this post and agree with it 100%
    If someone’s offended, fine. Let them be. I’ve been offended in the past and that’s my own issue. The other person (who offended me) has their opinion (which is also important – to them) and I have mine. End of story. We all have our own thoughts & feelings. Why can’t we just deal with that?!ReplyCancel

    • August 31, 2012 - 2:34 pm

      Sash - Pretty sure you were the one that started this post knocking around in my head E. Like minds… I don’t like being offended. But as long as someone isn’t attacking me personally, then I’m big enough to recognise that being offended is more about me than it is about them.ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2012 - 2:19 am

    Lisa - I was forced to move back to my mother’s house when I had my baby (for a couple of reasons). It is the first time in 14 years that I’m living here permanently. Now all of a sudden, because of the closeness but also because of my little one which makes me want to be the best possible human being, I recognize my mother being an extreme opportunist, never really thinking for herself, sheepishly following the masses and changing her opinion on a whim to what’s most convenient. I cannot say how much this angers and disturbs me, because I remember now how I was brought up to never question anything or to stand up for myself if it could offend anyone. Even only if it makes everything just a wee bit uncomfortable. I was raised basically to shut the f*** up, and for a long time, I did. Now it is out of the question for me to adopt this kind of behaviour again or tolerate it because I do not want my child to become a mindless and scared zombie, I want him to know he can make all the difference and his thoughts are valid and important, even or because they are not popular thoughts. You can believe me, I’m ruffling quite a few feathers now with my mother, but I just can’t let it be even if it’s wasted energy – you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, obviously. I think staying kind while clearly expressing your (uncomfortable) opinions is the hardest if you’re only met by deaf ears. I guess I need to start meditation or become a Buddhist in general 😉 Sash, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog because you seem to be such a strong, interesting and interested, considerate, intelligent, fearless, humane woman. Bo is really lucky to have you. It would be intersting to know more about your husband, he must be an interesting person if you chose him. Take care!ReplyCancel

    • September 1, 2012 - 4:57 pm

      Sash - Thanks Lisa. Sometimes you don’t need to teach an old dog new tricks to get them to understand that you have outgrown their rules. You’re right, it’s not always easy. Thank you so much for your kind words, I hope you have much success in your own challenges. I’m sure with your attitude regardless of the challenges you face your little boy will be gifted with all of those wonderful qualities you speak of. Maybe I will do a blog on Ni sometime in the future… he certainly is an interesting person in my world! :) We’ll see!ReplyCancel

  • September 12, 2012 - 7:27 am

    Feeding Mama’s Emotions - […] wrote quite recently about now bottle feeding my baby.  A recent post by Sash at Inked in Colour referred to the way in which breastfeeding always seems to be a topic of contention in the […]ReplyCancel

  • November 12, 2012 - 6:36 pm

    » Feminism is not a dirty word. Inked in Colour - […] and the basic human rights of these women not our responsibility. If you even have to question it, IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY. Not just us, the women, but us, the men and women, the people of the world. It is our […]ReplyCancel

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