Saturday, January 14, 2012

If men breastfed

Yesterday, as I struggled with my son's pants in a public restroom so that he could sit on the toilet, I couldn't help but wonder; if men were the main caretakers of children, would the world be more accommodating? 

I've actually been thinking about this a lot since my son was born. When I was a new and breastfeeding mama, I started to realize just how unaccommodating public places were for me. I was not comfortable nursing in public, so whenever A was hungry, I often went into a restroom at a store or restaurant. Unfortunately, most of these places didn't have have the courtesy to have a chair out for nursing moms. Guess where I ended up nursing my child? That's right, on a toilet! Looking back, I probably should have just nursed my son in front of everyone. After all, there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about a mother nursing her child. Especially since everywhere I look, I am seeing some woman's boobs, whether it be on TV, in a movie, or in the ads in magazines. 

I grew tired of feeding my child on a toilet so I began going out to my car instead. Hubby was so sweet, he even had the windows of my car tinted for me. I still had to wonder, what if men were the ones who breastfed their babies? There would probably be a private nursing room in every store and restaurant. I imagine this room would be filled with massage lounge chairs, magazines, snacks, big screen televisions, and video games. Actually, scratch the massage chairs- they'd probably have their own personal masseuses in the bathroom!

Would nursing be easier for men who went back to work? Personally, I had a very difficult time being a working, breastfeeding mother. Especially because I was a teacher and didn't have much time to pump. I do have to say, I have female friends who work for big companies and they do have nice nursing rooms with soft chairs and refrigerators. I, on the other hand, had a somewhat different experience. Although my principal was extremely supportive and accommodating about my need to pump at work, the logistics were still complicated. I had to ask a friend if I could borrow her teacher's aide every day at 10:30 to cover my class while I pumped. When the aide came to my room, I had to have work prepared  for her to do with my students. After that, I either went to a small supply room in the school office or into the library bathroom to pump. When the kids left at 2:30, I locked and covered the windows of my classroom door and pumped at my desk. Surprisingly, I kept this up for over 7 months. 

My last gripe is again about public restrooms. After potty training my son, I've come to the conclusion that every women's bathroom needs a small toilet AND  especially a urinal!!!!!!!!!! It makes sense to me. Mothers are usually the ones who take their kids to the bathroom. This can prove to be a difficult task, especially for mothers of little boys. My son is too short to reach the toilet to pee standing up and he doesn't feel comfortable peeing while I lift him up. Oh no, that would be too easy! Instead, I need to take his shoe, pants, and underwear off one of his legs and sit him on the toilet. This is a really fun struggle in a teeny, nasty bathroom stall. What if men were the ones who typically took their kids to the restroom? Would every men's bathroom have a little urinal for preschoolers? Perhaps a small sink or stepstool in each bathroom? 

In any case, until men are the ones who breastfeed and are the main caretakers of the babies, we women are stuck adapting. Motherhood is worth it after all. Although....I DO think we can start a movement for those tiny urinals in the bathrooms....

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