Friday morning musings: parenting, women's issues, food allergies

I spent the morning sitting in the sun, sipping coffee and reading a book at my local Nissan dealer. It was rather a nice way to spend it (forced relaxation). My car needed some lights replaced, a company-wide recall. Call me pathetic but I still feel a little bit empowered to accomplish these sorts of tasks on my own - things to do with the car, things that involve driving to a new place following a map, things that involve speaking Japanese.

The book I am reading is called "Why have kids? By Jessica Valenti. You may wonder why I am reading such a book considering how much I LOVE my kids, every moment of every day (he he) but I actually picked it up a while ago as part of my personal studies into feminism. Specifically I was interested in applying the psychology of parenting to my marketing efforts for Mee a Bee. Oh dear, I hear you say. It's not that sinister, but in order to sell stuff, anything, you have to understand the wants and needs of your ideal customer.

So far I haven't stumbled upon the magic formula but I have had a lot of thoughts running through my head. At times I have questioned the authority of the author given that she's a relatively new mom. I have also thought that the book was just her way of soothing her feelings of pain, guilt and distress over a difficult birthing experience. I also feel she is intentionally antagonizing mom-bloggers - she names quite a few! Aside from those thoughts, the topics in the book seem well-researched and are definitely interesting. Attitudes towards working mothers vs stay-at-home mothers (the mommy wars); policy debates about paid maternity (and paternity) leave; the dangers of helicopter parenting; statistics of child abuse and child abandonment. It's all presented with the author's bias but she never tries to hide that fact. It's all her own opinions but she's done her research. As I said it's very interesting.


When I got home I found a friend had linked to this article about school lunches in Japan. I have often talked about how great I think this system is.

I also think that the school lunch system is a very strong initiative that supports working mothers. It's a huge stress for me simply providing healthy dinner meals day after day. I also worry that my kids don't really eat enough at breakfast. If I were having to race out the door to an office job everyday there is no way I would be able to provide healthy balanced lunches for them both. Knowing that the kids have eaten well at school must surely lessen the pressure for working moms? Like I said, I love it!

One of the commenters at the foot of the article has raised the question of food allergies. Last week we were asked to fill in a form for kindergarten verifying that our child suffered anaphylaxis. Apparently a school child died recently after eating something she was allergic to in her school lunch. Our kindergarten has always been super-careful about Little Guy's peanut allergy. Today is setsubun, the day where kids throw beans at a pretend devil to ward off bad spirits. Peanuts are a lot tastier than the traditional soy beans so the kindy gets them instead. Last year I elected to keep Little Guy home until after the event. This year we planned to do the same. Yesterday his teacher approached me to say that the principal and head teacher didn't feel Little Guy should miss out. They planned to use balled up paper for Little Guy rather than peanuts. She promised they'd be really careful but still I have been anxious about it all morning. I guess no news is good news!

(The truth is we do not know how severe his peanut allergy is. Our allergist advised we simply avoid peanuts altogether to be on the safe side. His one and only reaction occurred when he was about thirteen months old. He came out in severe hives within about half an hour of eating a tiny dot of peanut butter).


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