Last night I posted this photo of an unknown woman on the left, who appears to be driving a tractor while breastfeeding, and Gisele Bundchen, on the right, in a photo she posted on her public Instagram page. Gisele captioned the photo (in her own words) as this: "What would I do without this beauty squad after the 15 hours flying and only 3 hours of sleep #multitasking #gettingready". I got that quote from her own Instagram. She does not mention work, or this being getting ready for work. So it struck me as a little funny that perhaps she thinks this is multitasking. Was she being sarcastic? Maybe, maybe not. I have no idea. Was she getting ready for work? Possibly. But not really clear either way. On my own facebook page where I shared this photo, this is how I captioned it: "Dear Gisele, see that lady driving a tractor while breastfeeding? THAT can be considered "multitasking". What YOU are doing, on the other hand, is not. Just wanted to clear that up. Love, Jenny". I did not mention her breastfeeding, I did not mention her worth, her job, make any reference toward her personal or moral character, nor did I attack, criticize or judge her or her behavior. I merely wanted to point out, in a humorous way, that what she appears to be doing in the photo is a far cry from what us "regular" moms would consider "multitasking". I have multitasked myself many, many times as a mom. I have cooked dinner while nursing a baby in a sling while also popping over to my laptop to check work emails and answer questions about my oldest son's homework. That is multitasking, doing more than one task at once. Quite simply, as it appears in the photo, it looks like she is nursing a baby (good for her, again DID NOT in any way make any comment about her breastfeeding) while having other people work on her hair, nails and makeup. So not multitasking. That was it. Plain and simple.
So, in an effort to get a little chuckle, I shared that photo above. Here were some of the responses I got:
"Not only does she sound grateful for having help to do her job (and yes, modeling counts), but she is at work with her child. Anyone who's ever had their child at work knows it IS multi-tasking, let alone trying to breast-feed/pump on the job. I'm the first one to admit that I need to lighten up, but this post rubbed me the wrong way. Don't most jobs have some downtime and haven't we seen folks post selfies on social media sites while at work? I don't get why we are we even judging her, let alone on this site."
"Just because one person has a job driving a tractor, and the other as a model, don't diminish either one because one is seen as glamourous. A little catty are we today, or just judgmental?"
"I don't understand the issue her job is a model? So this is her work so I don't understand why everyone is bashing her for it?!"
"Stop hating and stop being a bully. In the words of Glennon Melton, If you are not kind on the internet, then you're not kind. #momastery"
"Why the need to judge, compare & rate. Two different women, with different lives & different goals, but both unique & special in their own way. Gisele's career &/or beauty does not diminish her value as a woman &/or parent. When are women going to stop competing against each other ...."
"Not a good statement..!! Both women are wonderful.. Stop Comparing..! Shame on you Mamatoga. What are you really saying!??????.. Uusch"
This is what I'm really saying.
I also received some emails which accused me of being "petty" and "jealous". I was pretty surprised to read these comments, most of which accuse me of being judgmental against Gisele Bundchen, which I assure you was not my point. I was not saying one woman was better, more valued, more worthwhile, a better mom, more special, more wonderful or anything of the sort. What surprised me the most, however, was that in a forum that was created on the basis of NOT being judgmental, how many people were quick to jump on and accuse me of being "hateful", tell me I should be ashamed of myself, being "catty" and more. Is there not a bit of the pot calling the kettle black in these statements? The comparison I made was between two ACTIONS, not two women. It happened to be two women who were both breastfeeding.
My reason for posting this today is to point out that without understanding my meaning, I was accused of being judgmental. Without understanding where I was coming from, I was accused of being catty. Without taking the time to see what my perspective was, I was accused of being hateful and unkind. And that is unfair. I was saddened that many of you wrote it off as me being judgmental.
This goes along with what I have been saying for years, in posts like this one, and this one. The comment that stuck out to me from that photo above was this one: "It is ironic when a bunch of moms start judging/bashing one mom for being what they perceive as judgmental." I have tried very hard, and very passionately, to build a community here that is open, and accepting, and judgment free for all moms, regardless of what their parenting styles or lifestyle choices are. We are all in it together, and it is something I feel strongly about.
I stand by my innocent playful joke. I thought about it this way, if my good friend sent me a photo that was posed exactly the same way, I would probably respond to it with something playful like "Looks like a tough day at the office". Judgmental? Nope.
I also stand by this forum as a way for everyone to express their viewpoints and opinions in a way that is respectful to everyone, including myself.
I invite all of you to share YOUR photos of yourselves multitasking as moms. I want to see first hand what your experiences are with trying to do many things at once as a parent. If any of your photos turn out to look like Gisele's then my hat goes off to you, you are a lucky woman. If any of your photos turn out to look like the woman on the left, then my hat also goes off to you, I'm amazed by someone who can breastfeed while driving a tractor. My hat goes off to them both for being with their babies. Send me YOUR photos, be them funny, serious, poignant, or just you being you and they may be featured in an upcoming story in the Spring Issue of Mamatoga Magazine. One of you will win a chance to multitask at Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio where you will have to paint AND drink wine (or beer) at the same time. Sounds like a pretty awesome way to multitask, no? Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you feel so inclined, feel free to send me your comments on the photo above as well. Just please try to remain as nonjudgmental as I intended to be. xoxo