Elisabeth Badinter & modern motherhood

I read this week’s New Yorker piece yesterday on the French feminist Elisabeth Badinter. The full article is unfortunately not available online but there is a summary of it here:
There is quite a bit in the article about her feelings about women and Islam (for example, she is in favor of the niqab ban) but a lot of it relates to her new book about modern day motherhood.

Badinter is convinced that young Frenchwomen have been undermining their hard-won claims to equality. She believes that, in the name of “difference,” young women are falling victim to sociobiological fictions that reduce them to the status of female mammals, programmed to the “higher claims” of womb and breast.

She herself has 3 children, by the way – she is quoted in the New Yorker as saying they all arrived very quickly (I think within 3.5 years) partly because her husband was quite a bit older. She is now a grandma of 3 who takes the grandchildren away every other weekend to their country home. She is quite wealthy.

Here she is being interviewed in Der Spiegel –

Badinter: We are currently living through a troubling phase in our development, a relapse to times long past. In French, we call this phenomenon “l’enfant roi,” or “the child is king.” According to this view, the interests of the mother are clearly less important than those of the child; they are secondary. And that, in turn, brings with it the desire to have the perfect child. Many of today’s young mothers believe that if they’re going to make the effort to stay at home and completely dedicate themselves to their children, they want them to be perfect, too: perfectly raised, intelligent, balanced, in harmony with nature. I honestly wonder how this affects children in the long term.

SPIEGEL: You’re particularly opposed to breastfeeding, which women are gently pressured to do.

Badinter: Gently pressured? Sure, with the help of a massive guilt trip! “You don’t want to breastfeed? But, Madame, don’t you want the very best for your baby?”

The New Yorker article commented that breastfeeding rates at 3 months in France were by far the lowest in Europe, I believe it was 30% vs. (for example) Norway’s 90%. French women work full time at a very high rate, however they have twice as many children as several other European countries. France has a very good child care system.

SPIEGEL: Has the model of their mothers really made women happy?

Badinter: Though it certainly wasn’t perfect, it was a huge leap forward. We could have kids and work — and no one made us feel bad about it. I think that’s one of the big differences between French and German women. French women have always been women first and foremost, and only then mothers. Shortly after giving birth they don’t just stay at home with their child; they go out, and they go back to work quickly. They want to return to their lives and be a part of society, and they also have to be a woman again, to be seductive — that’s what French men expect. It’s not just an upper-crust phenomenon, either. It’s in our genes. Even in the 17th and 18th century, women had a life apart from the children — a communal life, a social life, a love life.

The above quote made me wonder how much of this has to do with the role of women specifically in France. Evidently in the book one of the things she is opposed to is the family bed. The importance of sexuality to adult womanhood and the fact that she thinks it is less possible among women who are living more for their children is one of the reasons I think she is opposed to the newer model of motherhood.

Badinter: I can tell you something else I’ve learned over the years by looking out my window and watching mothers walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg park: I’ve spent hours watching their empty faces and their God-how-I-hate-all-of-this expressions. These women sit bored by the side of the sandpit looking to the left and the right, while their children play alone in the sand. Why can’t women admit that it can be unbearable to have to spend the whole day with a small child? That doesn’t automatically make you a bad mother.

SPIEGEL: So, what is a “good” mother, then?

Badinter: The French ethnologist Claude Lévi-Strauss said that you should always maintain the right distance between two cultures. I believe that a good mother is someone who manages to keep a certain distance between herself and her child — not too close, not too far away — to give it what it needs, to not smother it, to not be constantly absent or constantly present. She has to be something in between. But, unfortunately, that’s extremely rare.

The book appears to be coming out in English in January. The French version was reviewed earlier this year in several places.

The Daily Beast

Yes, the great new oppressor of women—according to the impassioned screed of a popular French author—is that warm, pudgy little creature in the crib. “The baby,” writes polemic philosopher Elisabeth Badinter, “is the best ally of masculine domination.”

Badinter’s recently released screed has divided feminists, angered ecologists, annoyed health experts, and become a bestseller in France. The book may have an academic title— Le Conflit, la femme et la mère ( Conflict, Woman and Mother)—but it might as well be called: New Mom, Your Life Is Over! She rails against the sanctification of motherhood, over-the-top environmental-sensitivity, and return-to-nature trends in contemporary child rearing that relegate the modern mother to the level of a “female chimpanzee.” A mother of three, Badinter argues that the progressive demands on motherhood take away a woman’s physical freedoms, smothers her social life, and usurps her sexuality, among other laments—all in the name of being a “good” mother. And despite mom’s best intentions, she will never quite be good enough.

The New York Times

“Women’s lives have grown more difficult in the last 20 years,” Ms. Badinter said in an interview. “Professional life is ever harder, ever more stressful and unattractive, and on the other hand, there is an accumulation of new moral duties weighing on women.”

In “Le Conflit: la femme et la mère” (“Conflict: The Woman and the Mother”), she contends that the politics of the last 40 years have produced three trends that have affected the concept of motherhood, and, consequently, women’s independence. First is what she sums up as “ecology” and the desire to return to simpler times; second, a behavioral science based on ethology, the study of animal behavior; and last, an “essentialist” feminism, which praises breast-feeding and the experience of natural childbirth, while disparaging drugs and artificial hormones, like epidurals and birth control pills.

All three trends, Ms. Badinter writes, “boast about bringing happiness and wisdom to women, mothers, family, society and all of humankind.” But they also create enormous guilt in a woman who can’t live up to a false ideal. “The specter of the bad mother imposes itself on her even more cruelly insofar as she has unconsciously internalized the ideal of the good mother,” she writes.

The Guardian

Thanks to a new coalition of ecologists, breastfeeding advocates and behavioural specialists, she argued, young women are facing increasing pressure to be perfect mothers who adhere to strict guidelines for how to care for their babies.

If this “regressive” movement takes hold, French feminism could be set back decades, she argued.

“The majority of French women [now] reconcile maternity with professional life. Many of them work full-time when they have a child. They are resisting the model of the perfect mother, but for how long?” Badinter said in an interview with Libération newspaper. “I get the impression that we may now be at a turning point.”

Ms. Magazine asks, “Will Elisabeth Badinter’s new book rile Oprah mommies?”

She does, however, hold fast to the philosophical tradition of Simone de Beauvoir, arguing that a woman’s identity must be determined outside of motherhood or, as she writes “a woman first and mothers second.” Badinter is primarily interested in deconstructing “essentialist feminism” which, she suggests, “boasts about bringing happiness and wisdom” to mothers and families but subverts feminism and holds mothers to a false ideal (one can never actually be a perfect mother)

Badinter suggests that the culture of masochism and female sacrifice to maternity is at unforeseen levels in America, where the ideology is fueled. One only needs to look at the case of Ayelet Waldman for an example.  Waldman, some of you might remember, was booed on Oprah and demonized by mothers across the country for daring to suggest that she loves her husband more than her children.

Jezebel has a jokey take on it all as well, with perhaps unsurprisingly the most positive review of her out there that I ran across. She’s good at getting press, that’s for sure.

I like to listen to podcasts while I run and last week I was listening to the Slate Double X gabfest. The July 14 one discusses In Spite of Everything, which is a Gen X divorce memoir. Evidently the author is a child of divorce herself and I think maybe her husband is too. In the podcast one of the women commented that she thought in the 1970s divorce was treated more casually than it is today and that she thought there is something of a backlash against that for modern day married people. I believe she also related this to modern day parenting: that women today take parenting much more seriously than women did 30 years ago. I thought this was similar to Elisabeth Badinter’s contentions about the idea of maternal perfection, as well. She comments in that Spiegel interview,

What we’re currently experiencing is daughters taking revenge on their mothers. I didn’t want to be like my mother, either — that is, sitting at home waiting for daddy to get there, hoping that he’d give me some money. I wanted to be independent. The current generation of young women is made up of the daughters of the feminists of the 1970s. They don’t want to be like their mothers — torn between their job and their family, constantly stressed, constantly tired. They think it must be much more satisfying to devote themselves entirely to their children.

I think she has a point that the culture of maternal perfection and subjugation to the children does have an impact in that it is the ideal in American mothering culture at the moment and is difficult to live up to. The fact that it doesn’t seem to be nearly as much a part of MotherTalkers as it does on some other parenting blogs is one reason I prefer being here where people are pretty live and let live. (Ms. was a bit snide in calling them “Oprah mommies.”)

I’m not so much on board with Badinter’s idea that you have to work in order to be a fully actualized woman – I work (part time) but I think it is kind of an old fashioned idea that women have to work. The 1970s feminists had a real backlash from women couldn’t work to all women should work and my hope is that nowadays we have somewhat gotten to more of a balance where every family can decide for themselves what is the right work situation for the mother and hopefully the father as well. I like working and having that adult and more intellectual challenge, but I also like having time for my home and my family, so that’s what works best for us. I’m sure other families have worked out a situation that is best for them as well. I don’t agree with the one size fits all prescription.

So – what are your thoughts?


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I hope you are well this morning. I am enjoying my new car — a red Mazda 5. Thank you to those of you who suggested it! It offers more space than our previous car, a Suburu WRX sportswagon, but it is still small enough to parallel-park in the city. It doesn’t have enough power for my husband, but in terms of its size and practical use, it is the perfect vehicle for me and the kiddos. In other news from MotherTalkers:

Our Gloria wrote a funny rant about the hypocrisy that is Carrie Prejean. Speaking of, did anyone catch her walking out on Larry King?

This Associated Press story was eye-opening. It is about outrage in France over a father who plans to record and broadcast over the Internet the daily life of his adult daughter who has severe cerebral palsy.

Salon had a story on some of the creepy aspects of child beauty pageants. I did not know this, but beauty queens as young as 6 and 7 will wear fake teeth to mask their baby teeth. Also, the girl in the article looked just like Barbie. What do you all think of children in beauty pageants?

The Washington Post had a depressing article on how three-quarters of our adolescents are too fat or poorly educated to serve in the U.S. military.

We had a long and thoughtful discussion on the terms “childless” and “child-free.” Both these terms are often floated around the blogosphere to refer — more like pit — parents against non-parents. I have no need for that, but wondered how I should refer to people without kids. I don’t like either term because I feel like they are antiquated or loaded or both. What do you think?

Our Katie, who is a lesbian mom living in New Hampshire, wrote a beautiful letter to the people of her native Maine who recently voted against a gay marriage law.

Teen Vogue recently received an earful from parents for featuring a pregnant 19-year-old model on its cover and not discussing teen pregnancy, in general, in its article, according to the Associated Press.

In case you missed it, Maclaren has recalled a million umbrella strollers because 12 children’s fingers were amputated in the hinges.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


French Parents Educate Country on Disabled

I was moved by this Associated Press article. In an effort to confront people’s prejudices against the disabled, a couple in France plans to broadcast the daily life of their 32-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy.

According to the article, France trails behind the Nordic countries, the United States and Canada in disabled rights like visibility and access to public transportation and buildings.

Advocates for disabled rights say the parents surely have good intentions, but many are dismayed — especially because Anne Lamic, whose family says she has physical and mental abilities comparable to a 1-month-old infant, cannot have a say in the matter….

Visibility of the handicapped is a problem in France, especially on television and in the media. A report last month from France’s audiovisual regulator scolded TV stations because a meager 0.2 percent of people depicted on the airwaves have disabilities.

Didier Lamic, who lives in the southeastern village of Tallard, set up a Web site devoted to his daughter, http://www.doudouworld.com, in August, hoping it would make those in her situation “less invisible.”

Decorated with a background of twinkling stars, it includes photos of Anne Lamic and news about her life — visits from nieces and nephews, a bout of scarlet fever. One goal is to reach out to families in similar situations.

Even though Lamic is still waiting for the webcam to be delivered, his plans have created quite a stir in France. More from AP:

Lamic and his wife Chantal have cared for Anne at home since she was born. Though activists have asked why they don’t take their daughter out more if they want her to be seen, Didier Lamic says that’s difficult — she has to remain lying down, and an ambulance collects her for medical appointments.

When he recently decided to add a webcam to the site, Lamic informed a nearby newspaper, hoping for a mention on the local pages.

The story touched a nerve and went national, even though Lamic is still waiting for the camera to be delivered.

What do you think of Lamic’s plans? Is he doing the disabled community in France a favor or is he invading his daughter’s privacy?


Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers! How are you?

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here is what we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Gloria sparked a discussion on eating disorders and picky-eating children.

I put up a thread about mothers-in-law, which definitely sparked a long discussion. Do you get along with your MIL?

France started a pilot program that pays students in vocational training programs to attain good grades, according to Time magazine. We had a similar discussion some time ago about parents who pay their children to get A’s. What do you think? Have you or do you pay your children to do well in school?

From the Independent in the UK: This is a heartwarming story about the father of an autistic son who turned his grief into a profitable and global IT company staffed with all autistic employees.

How did you choose your children’s names? Parents magazine had an article to help parents choose names for their children. We had our own discussion on how we came up with our children’s names.

Like so many school districts across the country, the Washington-area Loudoun County high schools have had to slash their budgets. Student athletes now pay $100 for each sport. Starting in the spring, students will have to pay $86 to take an AP test. But nothing has stoked the ire of families like the county’s new parking permit fee for students, which shot up to $200 from $25, according to the Washington Post.

In case you missed it, Susan Klebold, mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold, wrote a chilling article about the shootings for Oprah magazine.

Fellow MotherTalker Erin wrote a fun column about her favorite childhood books. What were yours?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


France Pays Students to Make the Grade

We have discussed the merits of paying students to attain good grades. The outcomes of pilot programs in the United States are mixed at best.

France has started to pay vocational training students to attain good grades, but the money comes with strings attached. From Time magazine:

This is exactly what’s happening in a pilot program that started this month at three vocational high schools in disadvantaged suburbs of Paris. Accounts will be set up for two classes in each school, each containing around $3,000 apiece. If the students maintain good attendance records and reach performance targets agreed upon with their teachers, reward payments will be added to their class account. But here’s the catch: the students can’t go and spend the money on a new iPod or an Xbox at the end of the year. Each account, which could reach a maximum of $15,000, can only be used to finance a school-related project or endeavor, such as a class trip abroad to improve foreign-language skills, computer equipment for the classroom or driving lessons to obtain a license. Still, not a bad deal.

The government’s objective is simple: increase student motivation and class attendance and reduce the number of French teenagers who leave school without earning a diploma or professional training certificate, roughly 120,000 to 150,000 each year. The program is being tested at vocational schools, not at the more traditional high schools that most students attend to prepare for the Baccalaureate exam — and university study beyond. The reason: students at vocational schools, particularly those in marginalized, immigrant-heavy areas, tend to have the most performance problems in France. Many students feel like failures after ending up in professional schools. Some also lose interest when they’re moved to classes they’re not interested in due to lack of space in the ones they’d requested. Truancy and dropout rates are high.

Not surprisingly, the program has met opposition from people of all political persuasions who say students should not be paid for the minimum requirement of attending school. They see being educated as a basic responsibility of French citizens.

What do you think of this pilot program? Should parents, school districts or the government pay struggling students?


Europe Not Necessarily Growing Older

Despite conventional wisdom that Europeans are not having children therefore its social welfare system will collapse under the weight of the elderly, a recent report by Goldman Sachs suggests otherwise. From Newsweek:

According to the report, fertility rates in a number of advanced economies actually bottomed out in 2001, and have been rising since. The jump is most pronounced in places like the U.K., France, and Spain, and it’s not, as some have suspected, just because of increased immigration. The explanation: women in rich countries have been having children later in life, something that traditional economic models (amazingly) don’t account for.

I couldn’t find the Newsweek story online. But according to the Goldman Sachs study, countries like Italy and Japan are still experiencing declining birthrates, which will have an impact on their workforce. The study also suggested making 60 the “new 55” to ease the burden on the retirement system — including the United States.


How I Ended Up in France (or Do Not Try This at Home)

Hello again,

It was nice to read everyone’s comments to my intro post.  This is the second “forum” type group I have been a part of.  When I first moved to France, I started listening to the Laura Schlessinger on my iPod (as well as another radio talk show, Dr Joy Browne) because I was desperate for something English.  Frankly, Dr Laura drives me insane on multiple levels (that could be a whole ‘nother post), but being newly married I found the marriage/relationship advice somewhat helpful, especially since I was in a more “traditional” housewife role for the first time in my life.  About six months ago, I joined the “We Love Dr Laura” but I am so far left ideologically compared to the people that typically post  there, that it interesting but not adding anything to my life.  This group seems MUCH more my speed – a good mix of left, right and everything in-between from what I have seen.

So – how I ended up here.  When I was living in Portland, I dated two French guys in a row and the last one had mentioned this French dating site that was very popular in France (meetic.fr). After we had stopped seeing each other, I looked at it out of curiosity and saw a photo of Patrice.  I was just drawn to his face and clicked on his profile.  This “click” was noted on his end and he sent me a message.  I think “bon soir” was all it said.  Anyway, through the use of Google translate (as I didn’t speak a word of French) we started chatting back and forth and through the French I learned through these chats, it progressed to short phone calls.  Several months later, we made the decision that I would come to Paris for a vacation and we would meet.  It was ‘lust and friendship at first sight’ and after two weeks, we impetuously decided to get married!  I came back to the U.S. for a few months to tie up loose ends – rent my house, find a manager for my business, etc and then he came to Portland with a couple who were his best friends, and with 35 of my friends and family, we got married (at Voodoo Doughnut, for any of you Portlanders). Two days later, we were back in France.

I had lived abroad for a few years (Germany, England and Canada) but this has been the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life.  People think “Oh, you’re in France, how can you be depressed” but I had not expected the sheer initial shock and isolation that I felt.  Portland has over a million people in the metro are and my village was 500!  I didn’t have a car, a job, friends, speak the language.  I had a VERY traditional French husband with a VERY French temperament, and there were wonderful times and not-so-wonderful times while I was trying to acclimate.

In the last two years, I have found a small group of friends, a wonderful job, gained more proficiency with the language, plus a love for my husband (and vice versa) that grows daily.  That makes life a WHOLE lot easier but it’s a ‘one day at a time’ process.  I miss going to movies or out for coffee with friends (that happens very, very rarely here), I miss browsing bookstores with English books, or being able to eavesdrop on a conversation in a restaurant and understand what’s being said.  I have missed the birth of a new niece and updates on Facebook just don’t cut it.

Now that I work almost full time (I do accounting for a company in Paris as well as teach English and work for my business in Portland), I am really struggling with being a good housewife to a husband who expects it (clean house, good meals, clean and folded laundry) in addition to the outside work – which is necessary for my mental heath at the very least. That coupled with birthmom stuff, stepmom stuff, getting older and not sure if I want another baby stuff – well, get your thinking caps out because you’ll probably be hearing a lot from me!  :)

Anyway, I could ramble on forever, but I won’t!  For those interested, I have a blog with even more mundane information about my life here.

The Petite Coquine blog


Monday Open Thread

Monday Open Thread

Happy Monday, friends. Politics, politics a-bounding today. My apologies for those who are overdosed on the subject.

When French President Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president, he appointed an unprecedented number of women and officials of immigrant heritage to his cabinet. I was very impressed by the diversity of background and the number of women in the cabinet – France has a very uneasy relationship with immigration, and women in France are handicapped by their own version of the glass ceiling as well. Well, seems like it was too good to be true; in the past two weeks, Sarkozy has removed both Justice Minister Rachida Dati (who controversially returned to work five days after giving birth to her daughter) and now Human Rights minister Rama Yade.

The 32-year-old Human Rights Minister faces the cold shoulder from the President after refusing to “leave quietly” and join the European Parliament.

Miss Yade’s fate was likely to be sealed in a face-to-face showdown with Mr Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace last night after a council of ministers meeting, according to a report in Le Monde, citing government sources. The newspaper stated: “The President freezes out his human rights secretary and denigrates her in public, even if he doesn’t mention her name.”

Ouch. Apparently, Ms. Yade’s “crime“ was speaking out against some of Mr. Sarkozy’s decisions, such as his welcome of Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Thus far, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde seems to be safe in her position. An anti-trust and labor lawyer who worked in the US for a number of years (among other things, of course), Lagarde is very popular in France, but, wisely, it seems, keeps a low profile and doesn’t appear to pose a threat to Mr. Sarkozy.  </waspish tone&gt

Am I the only one to feel more ambivalent about the fact that Tom Daschle has collected millions working for private equity than the fact that he didn’t pay tax on in-kind services?  Okay, he was out of the Senate, but since he wasn’t a gun in the banking/investment community before entering the august chamber, can we really claim that the guy was being hired for his financial skills?

Mr. Daschle agreed to become the founding chairman of “a world-class executive advisory board“ of “industry and regulatory experts“ for a new investment firm run by Mr. Hindery, according to a news release announcing its inception and seeking investors. The Daschle-led board, the release said, would help provide a “collective depth of industry knowledge and expertise that will allow us to pursue unique and high-value opportunities.“
In addition to lending the prestige of his name, Mr. Daschle traveled to help raise money from investors for Mr. Hindery’s new venture, said Jenny Backus, a spokeswoman for Mr. Daschle. And in exchange, over the next four years the firm compensated Mr. Daschle with over $2 million, and Mr. Hindery lent Mr. Daschle the use of a chauffeured limousine in Washington.

It doesn’t seem like the tax revelations will derail Daschle’s nomination as health and human services secretary, but I’d like a bit more discussion about how his experience working for private equity firms and doing other it-seems-like-lobbying-but-he-didn’t-have-to-register-as-a-lobbyist work might impact on how Daschle influences the health care policy debate.

Finally in “what parallel universe were you visiting“ news, Australian shadow treasurer Julie Bishop has made a totally befuddling remark recently. Much like the US, Australia is debating the shape and form of a stimulus package. Again, much like the US, the Australian Labor Party-led government under Kevin Rudd is looking at a combination of tax cuts and big-ticket spending projects to help kick-start the economy and take up some of the private sector employment slack. And again, much like the US, the (right wing) opposition Liberal Party favors a package with mostly tax cuts. But here’s where it gets weird: Julie Bishop was recently in the US for a visit and had this to say:

Shadow treasurer Julie Bishop said action to stimulate the economy should be centred on tax cuts.

Although the Opposition initially supported the Government’s first package last year, Ms Bishop said there was “a growing consensus that these temporary stimulus packages don’t work”.

What were needed were permanent measures like tax cuts, she said. Everything should be on the table — personal income tax and business taxes.

Ms Bishop, just back from the US, said the debate there had “moved on from focusing on the malaise to what they do when the economy turns — how to get the government out of the market”.

Lady, what United States did you visit? Or did you merely content yourself with meeting with Republicans? Either way, you were in a parallel reality, my dear Ms. Bishop.

So, what’s up with you?


Monday Open Thread

Just to prove that we in the US aren’t alone in having a scandal relating to a pregnant politician, feast your eyes on France’s Justice Minister Rachida Dati. Ms. Dati, 42, has just confirmed that she is pregnant… but all of Paris is a-twitter because she doesn’t have a partner and will not name the father. Rumors abound – could it be former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar (who has strenuously denied the claims and backed his denials with threats to sue), various millionaires, or even (shock horror) Le President Sarkozy himself?

Speculation has been feverish since the minister returned from holiday last month and made no attempt to hide her blooming figure. She added to the sense of mystery this week when she said: “My private life is complicated and I am keeping it off-limits to the media. I will not say anything about it.”

Ms Dati, a Sarko protegée and symbol of the Cabinet’s ethnic diversity, has had a meteoric rise from the immigrant estates to the corridors of power. She has fuelled the fascination by posing for fashion shots for magazines – although she has said that she regrets a shoot in a luxurious hotel for Paris Match last year. The pictures, in which she wore fishnet stockings and high-heeled boots, appalled judges’ unions as an act of frivolity at a time when she was cutting hundreds of jobs in her ministry. Her high-handed ways have not endeared her to the court system either.

The French media, which has built Ms Dati up as a star, has taken its default position of considering the private lives of politicians taboo – even condemning the blogosphere for changing the rules of the game. The main evening news on TF1, the biggest television channel, failed to mention the matter, even though it had been a favourite topic on the internet all day.

Don’t count on this being a serious drain on the Sarkozy administration; this is France, after all. Remember when President Francois Mitterand died in the early 90s, his widow invited his mistress and their daughter to the funeral (I still think that is one of the bravest, most selfless acts by a wife that I’ve ever heard of.) And, should it prove true that Sarkozy is the father, I don’t think his wife, Carla Bruni will be that phased; she’s already on the record as saying she doesn’t believe in monogamy and is far more comfortable with polyamory. Vive la France!

So what else is, ah, popping up in your lives?


Monday Open Thread

What’s up with our fellow beings in the blogosphere?

I loved this bumper sticker posted by Arredonald. What other interesting bumper stickers have you seen lately?

Yes, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had their twins Saturday night. They had a boy, Knox Leon, and girl, Vivienne Marcheline, born in Nice, France, according to that bastion of journalistic integrity PerezHilton.

Via BlogHer: Judi Sohn, the mother of a daughter with special needs, just lost a court case against the public school district, in which attorneys used her blog entries against her as evidence. The “blog posts were taken out of context and presented as ‘evidence’ against me in the hearing in December 2007/January 2008 where we sought to show that the district’s proposed program for Laini was inappropriate,” she wrote in her blog A View from Judi Sohn. “We were seeking reimbursement for the private school, and we lost. We didn’t lose the decision because of the blog posts. There are other reasons that the hearing officer decided against us which aren’t necessary to elaborate. I have no idea if the hearing officer cared about the blog post because he never mentioned them in the decision, but I’m sure those words taken completely out of context didn’t help my case.” Doesn’t this make you less inclined to write about your children? Yikes!

Also, the BlogHer conference will take place on Friday, July 18 to Saturday, July 19, in San Francisco. It’s a great conference and this will be the first year I will miss it. But I will be at Netroots Nation — meeting with fellow MTers! Don’t forget our lunch on Thursday, ladies. I will post a reminder.

Mable Yee wrote an inspiring piece about our Congresswoman here in Berkeley, Barbara Lee, in her blog EngageHer.

Check out Expatriate Chef’s rant on why junk food should be taxed. It’s worth a read and a bag of chips.

Via Feministing: “I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption,“ Sen. John McCain told the New York Times. So it’s better to leave children in limbo than hand them over to a committed same-sex couple? Oh-kay.

Our Stacey wrote about a Time magazine interview, in which an experienced couple’s counselor said honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to cheating on your spouse. As long as the spouse doesn’t know about it, the counselor said confession of an affair would only destroy the relationship, Stacey wrote on her blog Fussbucket.

Our Dana pointed out this hilarious kid’s book Good Night Bush. Here is a sample line of the book, which is a parody of the book Good Night Moon, that she ran on her blog Mombian: “A grand old party to war in a rush/And a quiet Dick Cheney whispering hush.“ Ha!

I agree with Momocrats’ Nina Moon and have a bone to pick with “Latinas for McCain,” a group campaigning for him in the Las Vegas area. Apparently, they are going to vote for McCain because he is “middle of the road” on abortion rights, and plus, Obama is a secret Muslim. As Moon pointed out, it’s good that they are politically involved, but they should at least get their facts straight because they sure sound ignorant.

California’s Budget Conference Committee voted to support a proposal that would require children to renew their Medi-Cal coverage every six months, according to JennyKattlove over at the MomsRising blog. As JennyKattlove pointed out, this proposal would only bury families in paper work and actually cost the state more money in administrative expenses.

New York City Moms Blog ran a compelling column on postpartum depression. It was detailed and realistic in terms of the feelings one experiences when depressed.

Katy Farber over at Non-Toxic Kids wrote about Sunbutter, a substitute for peanut butter made out of sunflower seeds. Sounds yummy.

This is cool: A high school student taught his classmates AP economics when the school failed to offer the course, according to Offsprung. At least one night a week, Seth Weidman taught 18 of his classmates at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School college-level economics — successfully. Out of the eight AP test scores that have come in, six are 5’s — the highest possible score — and two are 4’s. Just wow.

Our GiGi pointed out this cool online tool that allows anyone to nominate a progressive candidate. She writes about it in her blog One Lazy Liberal.

ParentDish has alerted its readers of a recall of WalMart’s “Faded Glory” jewelry set and lip gloss for high levels of lead.

Respect Rx mentioned a Teen Vogue article about “girl crushes,” or basically, when a girl looks up to another girl and wants to be just like her.

Strollerderby wrote about the emerging industry of catering to obese pregnant patients.

What other interesting nuggets have you spotted? What’s up with you?