Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Lessons In Parenting From A Barely Hatched Robin

Published on May 22, 2011 by   ·   61 Comments Pin It
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Yesterday I met up with my Mom in Riverside Park here in New York City.  She waited about ten minutes to tell me that she had found an abandoned half hatched (still in it’s egg) robin or sparrow’s egg on the street.  It has been super rainy and windy the past week, so it must have fallen out of it’s nest.  “I put it on a warm sock near a candle. It’s moving around like crazy! I see it’s heart beating!” she said  “Now what do I do?”  My animal-loving heart starting immediately beating out of its chest.   I told her to run upstairs and get the egg, put it in a box, and bring it to me. She came down with a little egg the size of a gumball, with a tiny beak poking out, opening and closing, either in pain or looking for food from its Mommy. My breastmilk began to leak a little.  I literally wanted to breastfeed this nickle sized creature.  I called all of my animal rescue friends, and was given a billion places to take the chick.  I ended up at Animal General’s Wild Bird Fund on 88th and Columbus where I was shocked to hear that New York is the ONLY major city to not have  a wildlife rehab center. The Wild Bird Fund is run by a gentle lady named Karen Heidgerd who told me eggs as little as the one my Mom found weren’t usually viable, because they “need their Mother’s” but that she would take home the egg and see if a Morning Dove she had at home who had some eggs, would hatch this little teeny egg.  If not, she said she would euthanize the little creature so s/he wouldn’t be in pain anymore.

The site of this tiny thing’s heart beating, little limbs flailing, and mouth opening and closing is a visual that will sit in my soul forever. I mean, if I weren’t already vegan… I would have gone veg for life at that very moment. But I digress.  If human babies were dropped in the wild, without their Mom’s, they certainly wouldn’t survive either.  Humans have created this culture of formula and Nannies, but in truth, babies need their Mommy’s.  I see the kids all over the Upper East Side without their Mommy’s all day long, being pushed by Nannies on their cell phones.. and I could swear, I hear them calling out for their Mommy’s.

So I’ll say it, and I’ll spray it… KIDS NEED THEIR MOMS as much as this robin needed it’s Mom.  Human baby may not die, but it’s spirit weans and it lessens it’s faith in love. I see the sad eyes in these kids.  A few days ago I saw a set of triplet babies, being pushed by three nannies. THREE.  Probably man-made (IVF) multiples, this couple had gone through all that work to not raise their own babies?  I don’t get it.  I think our society needs a wake up call.  If you don’t have time to be a full time Momma, don’t have kids.  It should be that simple.  And there is absolutely no shame in choosing to be a career maven, and not a baby toting lady.  It’s one thing to work once your child is a wee bit older (1 and up) and have some assistance, but when it gets to the point where you have a weekend nanny (my next door neighbors have two kids, and two nannies.  I just recently met the Mom after living here for a year) – shit needs to change.  Could our society overwhelmed with anxiety, depression, and disorders perhaps be a symptom of abandonment? If we all were breastfed and attachment parented, would we all still be on anti-depressants?

My son Panther is on my chest, near my body, with me 24 hours a day. He sleeps with me, nurses on demand, and is mostly in a baby carrier over a stroller.  He has zero stranger anxiety, goes to anyone, is happy as could be, and is noticeably different from most of the kids in his classes.  He is fearless of all animals, people, and is so loving and affectionate that he would kiss most strangers if I allowed him to.   This robin or sparrow reminded me of keeping my child as close to me as possible, as long as possible for optimum growth, both physically and emotionally.  We need to remember that all creatures need nurturing from their Mother’s, that optimum survival is integral to closeness to one’s Mother.  I’m still praying for this little egg, and can’t stop thinking about her.  I hope for a happy ending, and pray for her little spirit to be with her Mother one day again – here or up there in birdy heaven.

The beautiful way it should have been;

In honor of this life I found, please donate to the Wild Bird Fund.  Even $5 will help.  The money will be used to fund the building of a dedicated wildlife and education rehabilition center in NY, desperately needed.

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Readers Comments (61)

  1. themessenger says:

    I love this and couldnt agree with you more. Babies need their mothers, period, not some stand in. Society has destroyed the natural bond of child and its parents because they decided they no longer wanted to be “inconvenienced” by the childs needs. It’s great to know there are people like you working to bring that beat back.

  2. Ayda Kay says:

    Beautifully told from the heart, from one who knows, and stunningly written. Great follow-up also to the lovely photo of you and your son in Italian Elle.

  3. Tracy says:

    While I understand where you’re coming from, a blanket statement like “If you don’t have time to be a full time Momma, don’t have kids. It should be that simple” only contributes to the shaming of women who may have circumstances vastly different from yours. Not every situation in life is a choice; one’s reaction to a situation is where choice comes into play. If my child’s father suddenly bails on me or dies, I’m left with no choice but to adapt and provide for my child whether or not they’ve reached the age of 1.

    You’ve described a parenting arrangement that is admirable and much can be learned from yours and others who are able to maintain it. Including the aforementioned statement weakens an otherwise strong argument.

  4. go vegan says:

    I saw this because it was linked from another site as though you were saying something terrible, i.e. and how dare you tell people how to parent. But I agree with you 100%. I grew up with a mother who was physically and emotionally absent and abusive by turns, and my sibling and I have never been able to overcome the scars from that. My sibling is a serious addict. Why become a parent if you’re not up to the job, indeed. I think many people who disagree with you had available parents and don’t know firsthand the harm that comes from being the child of a parent who never should have been one.

  5. Krysta says:

    Chloe I love you. Did you read Continuum Concept? I have to agree with Tracy, though, that statement made me jump a little too. I was not capable of raising my daughter on my own when I got pregnant. By that criteria, I should have aborted her. I think what can be more productive is to advocate for systems that are in place in many European countries that acknowledge the unique situation women face with a newborn and support them for that critical period of time. It benefits the entire society.

  6. Concetta says:

    i love this! my baby is on me 24 hours too and i wouldn’t have it any other way. thank you for this!!!

  7. Deborah Davis says:

    Chloe, love, this was a stunning and heartfelt piece. I’m so sorry for the baby bird and I, myself, have attmepted to care for many who fell from the nest at an early age. I did find out that baby birds at such a young age will not survive if held and fed by a human because of their (humans) body heat. I actually had one precious soul die while I was feeding it with a medicine dropper which was very painful. IF a mother can be close to her baby/toddler at all times, then it’s the best gift ever. And, I agree, being Panther’s grandmother, that he is exceptional with people and without any anxiety in all situations. You have made him feel that he is the world and he is. And so it should be! They still need to develop their sense of self apart from their moms…little by little…bit by bit. BUT, like one other commenter said, not all moms can do this. Circumstances sometimes just don’t afford it. They still have the same love and committment to their children but for whatever reason, are unable to be at home. They shouldn’t have to feel shame or embarrassment. The optimum situation would be for all mothers to be with their babies 24 stat, but this is a “dog eat dog world,” and sometimes it just can’t happen. Yes, there is always the decision to live less high on the hog but some just don’t see it this way or don’t want to.
    Personally, it bothers me to see so many children with nannies because , in the scheme of things, it doesn’t seem “normal” for a child. And yes, I think so many problems and anxieties stem from children who feel a sense of abandonment; whether deliberate or situational. It’s a touchy subject and many women probably would like to strangle you for making them feel any less a “good” parent. But on the other hand, most animals mothers DO NOT ABANDON their young until they are able to survive on their own. It’s the society we live in. If we were tribal, things would be very differnt.

  8. AJ says:

    Thanks, as always, Chloe for speaking your peace with love and honesty. I am always amazed at the people who pop out kids, take a month or two off for maternity leave and then hand their babies off to some stranger to raise during their most formative years. Then they’ll say “Why should I sacrifice my career?” or “I can’t afford not to work” – but then they crucify anyone for suggesting that if you can’t “afford” to be there for your child, maybe you shouldn’t have children in the first place. Being a mom means a lot more than merely birthing a child – it is the commitment to truly, wholeheartedly support, raise, and love that child for life. I think many women are losing sight of this and we are raising a generation of completely detached kids who will have no clue how to have meaningful relationships with their own kids. BTW, I decided years ago that having kids just wasn’t for me – and that is because I truly acknowledge what a HUGE sacrifice, commitment, and responsibility it is to bring another life into this world and shape them into caring, productive members of society. I actually gave it a lot of deep thought, something I’ve discovered that most women don’t, even though it is such a life-altering decision – not only for them, but for the life of their child as well. Women need to know they have a choice. If you are not ready to sign up for all that motherhood truly is, then don’t. People will tell you it’s not that simple – but it really, truly is.

  9. Couldn’t agree more with you! My little 17 month-old is still a little koala who loves to be carried around, snuggled into my shoulder. I think it has made her feel very secure. I’ve chosen to scale back on my work to be with her during these formative years. I always want her to feel prioritized and adored.

  10. jordanpattern says:

    Jesus Christ. What a horrible piece of work.

    This is the most ignorant thing I have read in a long time. Chloe, it’s great that you have loads of money and resources and can stay home with your kid (and do highly sexualized breastfeeding shots for Italian Vogue), but surely you realize that your life is not the norm.

    What you are advocating, that women must be able to stay home and be full time moms if they want kids is anti-choice, sexist, and classist. You owe a lot of women an apology.

  11. chloejo says:

    Jordan,

    Let’s leave JESUS out of this, lest you want to offend Christians.

    What is “sexist” and “highly sexualized” about a child needed to BREASTFEED? What is anti-choice about it? Breastfeeding is beautiful and as natural and VEGAN as it gets. I was breastfeeding my child in that photo (as a way to bring veganism to the mainstream, if you’d read the magazine you would have seen it was the ONLY THING I talked about,) and if you found it sexual, then you are the sick one.

    I completely disagree with you entirely, and have enough friends from different financial backgrounds with children to feel confident in that.

    It’s actually the opposite of classicist to choose to adjust your lifestyle to be able to parent closely. It’s the women who have all the money in the world who have full time nannies/ weekend nannies. Nannies cost as much as any average paying job. I’m speaking to THOSE WOMEN, it’s pretty clear. My friend with kids who attachment parent are NOT even remotely well off, with a handful of exceptions. Most of the women I know with f/t nannies could EASILY adjust their lifestyle to parent more often.

    You make a choice and say, I’ll make a little less money if I have to work part time/ from home (a majorly growing trend that I participate in) but you get to save almost as much not having a nanny and get to enrich your child by actually being a PARENT.I never EVER said women shouldn’t work, but said women should adjust work (ie work from home) for the first year or have their partner pick up the slack for the first year.

    And in terms of being anti-choice, I’m vegan, so I deeply respect all life. Personally, I hope to never have an abortion, but I don’t malign any woman who chooses to do so. I’ve been responsible and lucky enough to never get pregnant when I haven’t wanted to (ie once) so my decision to have a child was planned and wanted.

    Jordan, do you have children? I ask because as a vegan, which you seem to be, it would be fascinating for me to meet such a staunch anti-ap women. Veganism is ALL about keeping animals with their families and together.

    I owe nobody an apology for speaking my truth. But thank you for your concern.

  12. Kfad says:

    What an entitled piece of writing this is.
    Speaking your truth should not include blanket statements or blame or shame. And that is what I am reading in this piece and your response to criticism.
    You were not speaking just to the women with nannies in the statement “If you don’t have time to be a full time Momma, don’t have kids. It should be that simple.” Statements like that harm women who must work for a living and who are already battling that guilt.
    You are using a lot of words that carry blame in there meaning. (“responsible enough” carries a connotation that each unplanned pregnancy comes from irresponsibility which is simply not true).
    While I would not suggest you apologize, as it would serve no real purpose, I would suggest that you rethink the words you use.

  13. chloejo says:

    What is your definition of entitled? Is a full time Mother entitled?

    Full time Momma means Mothering your full time focus, not job, for the first year of life. And I stand by that. If you don’t have SOMEONE to help out on occasion, partner/ dear friend/ family member – someone who is invested beyond a paycheck, then you shouldn’t have a child.

    The world does not need more neglected children. Surely you aren’t suggesting we all work 24.7 and let our children be raised by Nannies?

  14. chloejo says:

    To quadruple clarify: I’m not saying women should stay at home with their kids forever, I personally think the first year is crucial. Obviously school aged children can understand, Mommy is going to work. Prior to that, I hold my stance on my opinion. Which is just that. And you know what they say about opinions…

  15. Lauren says:

    Wow, I can’t believe people are coming down on you for this post. I agree with you 100%. and if someone can afford a nanny, most likely they can afford to stay home! Rock on Chloe! :)

  16. Audrey says:

    and what about stay-at-home dads? Do you lump them in with nannies? Yes, I realize they can’t breastfeed but for goodness’ sake, should we limit reproduction to people who can afford to stay home for a whole year? Have you ever heard of unemployed dads? Sure, they should really “pick up the slack” so Mom can stay home, but I guess you live in a world where men can just magically provide, or where you have so much money you can sit here and judge people doing the best they can. I am a lifelong veg and proud working mother – sure, I would’ve liked to stay home the first year but we needed at least 1 paycheck coming in – and you’ve just made me feel sick to my stomach.

  17. Audrey says:

    Also, I’m not a big fan of snark, but since that seems to be a big theme of your blog in general, I’d like to suggest that you take just a moment off your high horse to learn the difference between “you’re” and “your”. Thanks.

  18. Nebraskalaska says:

    Oh, ew. How archaic! You are so blind to your own privilege. I highly recommend you educate yourself about intersectionality between feminism and veganism, and classism and stop publicly posting your backwards ideas about women and family roles. Believe it or not, there is more than one way to parent.

    For the record my mother worked full time and my parents were divorced. She couldn’t afford a nanny or full time babysitter so I was left in the care of a relative after school, as you suggest is the proper way to parent. My caretaker, despite being a family member, was terrible and I would have preferred a nanny. Life is not as simple as you seem to think it is.

  19. themessenger says:

    first off, it was Italian Elle moron. Anything anyone does to promote veganism should be praised. The sandbox that some of you people shout from is immense, but I would love to see you put yourself out there, REALLY out there to promote and encourage a vegan lifestyle.

    SECONDLY, from the vibe I get from the newsletter, she has always and continues to promote and support woman who have to support their children, be it on their own or as a secondary income. This post appears to me to be directly in response to the countless NYC women that strut around the city, cell phone glued to their ears, fur jackets hanging from their botoxed bodies, while their nanny pushes their obviously miserable child in a stroller behind them. I have seen more examples of this than the mother like Chloe who probably carriers her child close to her, smiling, laughing, loving, educating and paying attention to her childs wants and needs.

    Even more sad is the fact that a lot of the time that I see this is on the weekend!!! If you work hard all week to support your child(ren) wouldn’t you be frothing at the mouth to spend time with their angelic little faces all weekend or is gabbing with your jappy friend who looks at idiotic as you more important than raising a stable, happy, and secure child.

    The only privilege anyone has is that to have a child, and you should cherish every moment of that privilege, not treat him or her like some accessory.

    As a parent myself, I am offended by the individuals on here attacking her for promoting something that society has long lost. You can scream from your guilt ridden guts all you like, and I am sorry that you do not have the means to be full time moms or dads, but maybe our society couldn’t be so fucking disgusting if parents gave their children what they actually needed other than what a bunch of people decided at some point in recent history what was best for THEIR lives. Why don’t you go to Africa where people have NOTHING, and watch how they raise their children. A child’s feet doesn’t touch the ground until their at least a year of age and are attached like monkeys to their mothers most of the time. Reminds me of the African Diplomat who arrived in the US for the first time and was shocked by the amount of crying babies he saw. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing, and iterated that babies from where he lives never cry and are never left to “cry it out” and so on.

    All you’re doing here is beating on a fellow vegan feminist, keep that in mind. Shame on YOU!

    Finally, she was never telling anyone how to parent or that they should practice attachment parenting, she was only reflecting on HER experience and questioning the modern mothers role in a child’s life.

  20. Chrissie says:

    I was a nanny, and let me tell you, I was a damn expensive one. I speak Spanish, French, and conversational Italian, took 3 years of Latin, know American Sign Language (result of a deaf brother in law), have fingerprint/criminal background clearance, am American/legal to work in the US, active, health conscious, educated, the artistically inclined child of two teachers, a willing and excellent cook, and generally loved by small children and animals.

    I have never worked for a family that didn’t enjoy a certain measure of privilege to be able to afford me or those like me.

    And I have never had a babysitter in my life. Let me repeat. I’ve never had a BABYSITTER in my life…let alone a nanny.

    I live in Queens, in a modest European influenced hood full of families and old folks. Hubby and I both work, and we are solidly middle class.

    I am the youngest of 4 children (1 adopted at the age of fifteen when I was 9, thanksverymuch) born and raised in the projects of the Lower East Side during the peak of the crack and burnt out building age. My parents are emigrants from Puerto Rican farm villages without electricity or running water. My paternal grandmother died three years ago; she was functionally illiterate.

    My parents never had the money–nor the desire–to pay someone to be responsible for caring for their 3 daughters. My father was a shopkeeper with a wholesale & retail stationary and toy store. He worked six days a week, including Christmas Day, until I, his youngest, was in the double digits. I was unexpected; Mami y Papi had tried for years immediately after the birth of my middle sister, but were unsuccessful for six long years…until I appeared just as my mother was planning to start college.

    My parents practiced attachment parenting, as it is a core part of our traditional culture, and even when my uncles/aunt/cousins/grandfather/mom’s best friend would pick me up from school when my mom started college when I entered kindergarten, there was never EVER a moment of doubt in anyone’s mid he was a FTM. I never questioned which adult figure was the appropriate one to seek for affection, reassurance, nourishment, or anything. It was always Mami, and he was always the center of my world.

    She went to school. She student taught. Worked part time. And was still at every PTA conference, every recital, every everything wih my Papi. It’s bot that I was never left in the care of relatives, but it’s that she made it a point to be present an actively parenting. It’s the class of people who have the means to pay a nanny to rear their children FOR them, whether they work, vacation a lot, whatever that are not Full Time Mommies. It’s about the level of dedication to your children where you make the time and the commitment to being active instead of paying someone to clean your kid’s butt and teach him how to talk for you. THAT’s being a FTM! My mother rocked and rolled, educated herself, cared for us, cooked for us every night, cleaned her own damn house, adopted a fifteen year old boy when I was 8 and took care of business without hiring some stranger on her cell phone to parade me around to the park.

    Of course there are exceptions and some people don’t have an amazing large e tended family and the like, everyone has different circumstances, but the TRADITIONAL like on the farm back in the day way my family did it–and many other families are re-discovering here in the US–is the way many cultures traditionally rear their children to teach them the importance of community.
    Hey, if you need a sitter or a nanny, fine–but if your kid wonders which adult figure to turn to for comfort when you and your nanny are in the same room, and e kid chooses the nanny…something obviously needs to change!

  21. funkycrime says:

    Amen Chrissie and messenger. Raise your own damn children people, if you can afford to hire someone to do it for you, well, I would imagine you can afford to do it yourself.

  22. Concetta says:

    kinda weird that this post would be controversial- i absolutely loved it!

    Point A: italian vogue was fucking beautiful and showed someone breastfeeding- this is truly awesome because maybe it will increase a woman’s likelihood of breastfeeding just like beautiful models sell clothes and everything else in this world. what would be sick is if she posed feeding her baby formula!!! and sexualized ? that’s just bizarre that anyone would bring that in.
    Point B: i know for a fact Chloe was talking about upper east side ladies who hire nannies instead of being with their kids-even though most of them don’t actually work!! which is just ridiculous and heartbreaking.
    Go Chloe!!!
    ps this was typed with one hand while breastfeeding my 21 day old baby :-)

  23. lola says:

    There is much to be gained through the journey of parenting; and to speak with such conviction, assuming that you’ve gained the precise know-how to raise a well-adjusted being, is comical to say the very least. At one year, your journey has just begun. This excerpt brings me back to that first-time-new-mother naivety.
    I am a vegan mother of an articulate, compassionate and well adjusted vegan teenager. A significant amount of knowledge has been gained from year one to now…and learning as a parent is a continuum.
    I personally stayed at home with my child in the beginning for as long as possible; not due to any parenting fad, but because it came naturally to me and I had the family resources to do so. I know the “type A” moms you speak of…with multiple nannies and no job. The moms who prefer their children address them by their first names. I certainly never understood that method of parenting.
    A child needs to feel the consistent parental involvement well over that first year of life. I feel there are many ways a parent can make that happen and that does not neccessarily involve being physically present at all times or attached. My son’s first years were spent in a single-parent home. I worked very hard to establish a career and raise a well rounded young man…thus far, with success. He has never had anxiety or behavioral issues and has habitually maintained high scores in school. We talk, openly, about everything. With his mother’s hard work, he has had the privledge of traveling the world and experiencing a certain education and exposure that he could have never gotten in the classroom. His thirst for seeing what the world has to offer has left him with an unbelievably impressive work ethic.
    I, myself, am a product of a two-parent household. My much involved mother stayed at home with my three siblings and me full time…her occupation says “homemaker” on my birth certificate. Our formative years were amazing. She was always there. We felt safe…secure. Come adolescence, home-life became inconsistent. As a result…my eldest sibling has been in and out of the system battling addiction and violence and the other two have severe anxiety and anti-social behavior that encumber them from work and relationships. Then there is myself…the teenaged parent.
    There is no right way when it comes to being a parent. There is no black and white. There is no certain year of involvement that is more crucial than the other. Just always be there in any way you can. Love them unconditionally always and treat them with dignity and respect. Show them how to give the utmost compassion toward all beings and certainly don’t teach them to judge others. Give consistency. My son will tell anyone he has always felt number one whether I’m physically there or not. And I’m certainly not a perfect parent.

  24. Joshua says:

    I agree with Chloe 100%. I was raised by my mother and we were in no way privileged aside from having both parents together. My father was a high-school art teacher and they both shot wedding photography on the weekends to pay the bills. They couldn’t afford a nanny (and even if they could, my mother wouldn’t dream of it). The only help my mother had was someone who helped her clean once a week so she could spend more time with us and not cleaning for the whole day, and from grandparents and an occasional babysitter to watch me and my sisters on weekend evenings when they would shoot weddings.

    To claim it is sexist or anti-woman is silly and misses the point. Most evidence shows that those raised by their mothers are better off emotionally and physically.

    Of course there are exceptions and circumstances beyond control (a father dying or other disasters) but that is not what Chloe is addressing here.

    Thank you Chloe for your beautiful photoshoot in Elle and for your strong words.

  25. vegiemania says:

    wait, so now full time moms are considered privileged? when did this turn of events take place? from where I’m standing, its the nanny mommies who live privileged lives.

  26. I think so many people are missing the point… it IS a privilege to be able to stay at home with your baby. When I say privilege, I mean that the GIFT of being able to rear your child, is just that, a privilege. Different from using the word “privilege” to describe a person with financial success.
    As far as I am concerned this article is the BEST you have EVER written Chloe! Bravo! I agree with you 100%! I’ve known Chloe long enough to know that she is NOT bashing or judging those that are bound by the system and HAVE to work three jobs just to support the basic needs of the child… I think its safe to say she is talking about the people who have PLENTY of money to stay at home with their children and instead choose to opt-out and hire a nanny.
    This article was a beautiful representation of Chloe’s heart and her capacity to LOVE.

    Shit does need to change and I think it would be wise for everyone who is thinking about having children to take a long look as to WHY they are choosing to have them… if one does not posses the means to take care of THEM-SELF, then perhaps they should choose to forgo having children… at the end of the day… LOVE is the answer. Regardless of the “method” of parenting one chooses, the MOST important message for your child is for them know they are loved beyond measure.

    Bravo Chloe, great article!

  27. Sheera says:

    Ladies! This back and forth beating you are blogging is painful to read. How could anyone admonish Chloe for loving her son too much, being there for him too much and wanting all children in their formative years to have that same unconditional and constant nurturing and parental companionship!? I sense so much hatred pouring out of some of you and it seems to come from a place of loss on your end. One could only be resentful of Chloe if they haven’t experienced the benefits of being with their child on such a deep level. I happen to live around the corner from Chloe and have had the pleasure of seeing her walking the doggies with Panther close to her chest in a carrier…..it is a beautifl sight. I hold her in the highest regard as a mother and a fellow woman because Chloe strives to do better everyday. Her strong and brave opinions come out of personal wisdom, not wealth! She lives her beliefs and doesn’t preach. She was expressing, out of love, her wish that all babies have their mommies. Yes, MOMMIES! My husband is the best and my two year old is wild for him. But, nothing can compare to the peaceful nights he has fallen asleep skin to skin on my chest. Obviously, every family has different situations that can’t be helped…..a parental loss, divorce….and you just pray you find the tough balance when those painful things happen. But, there is no reason to hate on families that are blessed. My son is still in bed with us and is the most outgoing, secure and funny little boy. We all have many decades throughout our lives of being “on our own”. The gift is to spend the most important few years of our lives feeling held, adored, safe……what could be wrong with that. No nanny with the greatest resume and highest price tag could replace that. I take issue with the anger towards people with any kind of money or ideal situations. Just like everyone else, they work their asses off to have enough to stay home with their kids. God bless the parent bringing home the bacon and the parent that sacrifices every moment of every day for their children. Focus on yourselves and let Chloe express herself. LISTEN instead of pouncing on her. She is a woman, a mother and a lover who is just sharing. Give her a break and get back to your kids! :) Sheera, a loving neighbor & friend who lives check to check and is happy for anyone with extra cash! Let’s applaud each other, even when it isn’t our way of doing things.

  28. Medea says:

    What a great article! Completely agree! You are truly one of the best moms I know. :)

  29. JJ says:

    Loved this article. And I will keep this brief. I completely agree 100%. It has been proven that while even in the womb children began to hear, to develop a bond with the mom. The early years of a child’s life are so important for this same reason. The child is dialing in on the parents vibration, especially the mother. Now, I’m not knocking nannies I’m sure most of them are great, but they are not putting the same energy throughout the day into connecting with the child. Why would they? It’s not their kid. So in the early developmental stages of a child’s life it is crucial that the mother raise that child. I mean come on this has been going on for thousands of years. Its only now in this microwave society where we want everything and the moon and we want it yesterday, that nannies have become the step-in moms literally raising other peoples kids. I know nannies that spend more time with young babies then the mothers do and to me that doesn’t seem like its the best thing for the child’s early years of life where its taking in all the wonders of life. My personal opinion is the mom should and must be there for that. Thats my two sense for what its worth.

  30. chloejo says:

    Thank you for all the loving support. I find it so interesting that the women spilling nasty and unkind vitriol about my grammar, their brand of feminism, and anti-attachment parenting rhetoric are SO not practicing what they preach by being catty and bitchy to a fellow sister. If you don’t like the “snark” of this blog, move on. I have always honored my readers in the 11+ years of this blogs existence, and always admitted my wrongdoings (“If you can’t change your mind, are you sure you have one?!”) but this one time, I am not in the wrong. I’m being attacked by two angry people, and a billion loving ones, and I’m okay with it. That’s their issue. I happily noted my change of opinion with the Whoopi Goldberg piece, and took responsibility for publishing something some people were offended by, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. I’m not saying I’m some big experienced Mama.. I am a new Mother. I will fall. I won’t be perfect. I’m doing the best I can. And that includes being here for my boy 24.7 in the first formative months of his life. If you want to bash me about that, go on. That’s your karma or guilt to deal with. I never said all Mother’s HAVE to stay home. I said I think it is best, and I hold steadfast to that. Now, go on and contemplate how sisterly it is to bash a vegan feminist on her punctuation. Donate a few bucks to the wild bird fund, and go bash someone (the meat industry, perhaps) who deserves it.

  31. Malaina Poore says:

    Wow! This has really raised some emotion! I think you are saying something that we fundamentally know is true, that young ones need their mothers presence in more ways than one.

    Its so much being a mama, so hard to feel condemned for your choices and circumstances. I have known single mamas who had no choice but to spend many hours away and working and some of those mamas were just pining to get home. And I have met mothers who just couldn’t wait to get away and carry on like there wasn’t a baby at home. Chloe, in Manhattan you are probably seeing some very extreme examples of this. I know when my kids were babies and I was still nursing I was at my most tender. Injustice of any sort was so intolerable (always, but this was different).

    I do think you make a contract when you decide to have a baby – your body changes, your heart changes and your life changes. Bigtime. Its just not about you in the way that it was before you had a child.

    I wish all of you women the best.

  32. Rachel says:

    I see nothing compassionate in bashing other women for their choices.

  33. Emily Rose says:

    If you have a child they should be your priority, not a bigger apartment, new car, etc.. No amount of money can ever buy our time back when our kids are older. The nanny thing is for women who have kids and have other priorities (social or work). I see so many horrible “caretakers” that ignore the kids they’re supposed to looking after. Kids with parents who make them their priority are happier and better adjusted. They’re not acting out to get our attention, or walking away from us later on the way so many of us do to them. It’s not a question of wealth, it’s priority. We live simply so I can take care of my daughter. I could work and buy more crap I don’t need, but “things” aren’t my priority. Thanks Chloe.

  34. chloejo says:

    Yes, that’s the point Emily! You *totally* got it, the “bashers” missed it entirely by calling me an elitist. I couldn’t have said it better myself; “We live simply so I can take care of my daughter.”

  35. chloejo says:

    Lola: Who on earth said I know the “precise” way to raise children? Never did I say that, you missed the point entirely.

  36. Sandra Schmid says:

    I think the article is just beautiful! There will be always people who use the internet to just spread negativity and always find something they can criticize. Dont worry Chloe – you really dont have to fight over this no more…there is no need, your message is clear and transports only positivity :-)

    I was raised by my mom alone and have spent a huge amount of time with my grandparents cause my mother had to WORK fulltime. I also spent a lot of time in schools and afternoon-programs. That really made me growing up very independent and I had to learn early to stand up for myself. Also to have spent time with my grandparents (or for other people it might be nannies) was a big plus for me, I loved it and wouldnt want it differently.

    But I totally agree that it is very important that you start to bond with your child even prenatal.

    xo

  37. pyr says:

    I have to agree with Rachel.

  38. Deborah Davis says:

    I believe the point here is that children really need that close bond with their mothers. I don’t feel that Chloe was targeting women who must work but specifying a particular “faction” of women who could, if they wanted, be with their babies. Perhaps her words were misinterpreted by some and seemed judgmental to those who do not follow her exact lifestyle. For years and years I worked as a Special Ed teacher in a New York City ghetto and observed, first –hand, what happens to children who are not nurtured, valued, treasured, etc. That is the key point. It is a tremendous “privilege” to attachment parent, and that has nothing to do with money! In my pursuit and love of non-human-primates, I have observed their behaviors with their young for a long, long time. The babies are never far from their mothers and they are NEVER left to cry. The babies wrap their little selves around their mamas as they carry them on their backs or underneath on their bellies. Why shouldn’t human primates have the same closeness? And why shouldn’t women like Chloe have the choice to advocate that? In the scheme of things, are the non-human primates more evolved than us? We have become so technological and so far away from the core of relationships, that it is a breath of fresh air to see women that are so beautifully and courageously endeavoring to make the lives of their babies sacred, miraculous and blessed.

  39. Alucia says:

    While every situation is different, if you can work out a way to be with your baby/babies as much as possible, it is the most beautiful and natural thing in the world. I agree that babies need their mamas. It sucks if you can’t make it happen and I feel terrible every time I leave my little guys to work. Even though it’s only part time. I however do not feel personally attacked by your article. You’re a great mommy. Gorgeous pic in Italian Elle! What could be more natural than that?!

  40. Kendra says:

    Wow, this blog has certainly put a lot of panties in a wad.
    I love the piece for this very reason – Chloe has a way of encouraging passion on all fronts. Knowing her as well as I do, she is not bashing women but simply expressing her own conviction about what she has found to be true in raising her own son.
    And agreed, creating deep bonds with a child as soon as possible is very important. Chloe, thank you for bringing the passion out of everyone!

  41. What a great piece Chloe & I must say…my parents divorced when I was very young & my father moved from NYC to LA….BUT he supported my mother 100% so she could stay home with me until I was old enough to go to Kindergarten….

  42. Juliana Kelly says:

    What a mean spirited, self-congratulatory scree.

    There are lots of great moms who have to work, and lousy ones who stay home, and vice versa. Like everything else, it’s complicated. And there lots of Moms who have to work who are really brokenhearted about it. I’m sure they’d love reading your nasty and thoughtless blog.

    If you want to rail against something, why not investigate how undermined mothers are in this culture, instead of jumping in and giving mothers who have to work an extra kick?

    by the way – you meant “MOMMIES” not “MOMMY’S.” Sheesh.

  43. Funny how ladies like you (Juliana) can only seem to pat yourself on the back for your feminism whilst correcting my spelling. How FEMINIST and sisterly! Guilty conscience?

    Why not, “Hey, So nice of you to rescue that egg off the street. I’m glad you can be a f/t Mom to your kid, wish I could too.”

    My blog is neither NASTY nor THOUGHTLESS, but your comment is. My blog is about rescuing a bird off the street and being the best Mom that I can possibly be.

    I’ve been promoting feminist issues, veganism, human rights, and attachment parenting for 12 years – what have you done to try and make a change in the world? I’ve busted my ass to be a Mommy and partner to a human child, 5 furry rescued animals, a wonderful husband, all whilst working – yes WORKING. My point was, if you have a child under the age of ONE – an INFANT -, you can amend your lifestyle – work p/t from home, have a family member be helpful, work while the baby is sleeping, etc. That’s what I do, and many of my friends do, so I know it’s possible! My blog was directed at the many women who literally never see their kids. We all know alternative jobs are available, and lifestyle shifts are possible.

    The way you are reacting, you’d think I was promoting the dairy industry or rooting for Palin to run for President! Take out your anger on someone who deserves it.

  44. Marla says:

    I was deeply fortunate to be able to spend my son’s early childhood with him. He breastfed and I attachment-parented (co-sleeping, baby in a wrap, the whole nine yards). I really embraced and enjoyed that time of his life and my life. I am lucky enough to work from home because I am freelance writer. I think, though, that Chloe is referring to one socio-economic class here and many of us are thinking of another. Chloe is referring to highly educated, upwardly mobile women on career paths. Many other women, however, do not have the privilege of the decision of whether or not to work. This is the socio-economic group being referred to when people are seeing the elitism in this piece. There are many mothers who simply can’t not work. Not because they’re trying to afford the nicest apartment or the best clothes but because their family unit depends on them working. Helping to financially provide for one’s family is also a protective mothering instinct. I know people who work very hard so that their young children always have a parent with them but for others, it simply doesn’t work that way. It would wrench my heart out if I couldn’t have been home with my son but I was just deeply *grateful* I had that privilege. Not everyone does. There is so much mother-bashing rampant online that we’re basically screwed no matter what decision we make. Can’t we just do the best by our children given our circumstances and try to create a less judgmental climate for everyone else?

    Panther’s got a great mom. Lucky boy.

  45. Inanna says:

    Wow I’m amazed at how many folks reacted in a defensive and angry way at your post! I was really touched at how you were able to put into words my sentiments exactly. I am a working mom who teaches and has had the privilege to observe many children and their families over the last 20 years, and I agree that people have their priorities totally mixed up when it comes to child rearing. If you work so you can hire a nanny or put your kid into daycare, you have missed the most important factor in raising a human being-mothering! I breast fed my children until they were nearly three, kept them in a family bed, and took them to work with me as much as possible. I have taught many kids for as long as a decade where I never once met a parent, only nannies, and believe me, the difference is heart wrenching! Children who are not bonded to their mother’s have little respect for adults, have much greater tendencies towards tempertantrums, depression and lethargy. Many times the nannied-child speaks with an accent or has speech development delays because they are confused when learning their primary language. Nannies throughout a child’s life can be replaced several times, leaving children abandoned over and over. Many of my students who are raised by nannies call them mama and their mothers by their first names! I am not a scientist, my facts are based on my own observations, and it is true that there is no point in having children if you need someone else to raise it. Sometimes life makes it so there is no choice, but if there is any possible way to keep your children close during the first 5 years of their lives, it is worth every bit of strain and stress it takes to make that happen.

  46. chloejo says:

    Marla and Inanna:

    Thank you for TOTALLY getting it, and your support. :)) I wasn’t talking about the women who really have no other choice, I was speaking of a specific socio-ec class. The women who have a choice. They choose to leave so they can make big money and climb the corporate ladder. That’s fine for a child old enough to understand, if you make sure to spend quality time after work, but not for an infant. That’s all I was saying from the start.

    I could be making serious bank working for a big company, but I chose to make *much* less so I could be home for my son, and work towards my vision of a compassionate world.

    I agree that woman bashing is not compassionate, but I don’t feel my article bashed. Maybe Panther would have a big fancy house by the beach to spend his summer in if I opted for Nanny’s and took a big job, but no house in the country, big car, or diamonds can replace a Mamazon being around to kiss a bloody knee or offer her breast for comfort.

    Anyone who says this was a woman hating article must think it’s opposites day.

  47. How interesting that your lovely post and the comments — lovely and otherwise — should post today, just after my daughter, Adair, raised as you’re raising Panther and now in her 20s and married, rescued a baby bird. She does this a lot (the Bird Rescue people said she’d brought in the most injured pigeons in 2010!).

    All this is to say that what goes around comes around: breastfeeding, attachment parenting, & vegan lifestyle creates compassionate adults. And to those who feel threatened by this: it doesn’t have to be perfect! I was on the fence about the whole attachment-parenting thing till I saw that it worked for my baby like none of the other “methods” (probably because it’s not a method; it’s nature’s way).

    And I was widowed when my daughter was 4; I did have to work & after seeing what a year in all-day preschool/daycare did to my kid, I figured out a way to work at home. I thought it would be better to be poor and happy. Turns out, working from home gave me my career as a successful writer. Funny how that kind of thing happens.

    Our life wasn’t always idyllic, but most of the time it was pretty darn good, and that was good enough to raise a child who is today the adult I admire most in the world. If you can’t be 100% with this thing, be 95%. If you can’t be with you baby all the time, the baby’s father & grandparents count too. Just keep him/her with family all you can, especially for the first year and the first three years if possible. Then watch how brave and independent he/she turns out to be.

    There’s even something in it for you. A Russian doula who came to help when Adair was an infant said to me once: “You nurse the baby & the baby never put you in nursing home.”

  48. JimmyC says:

    Just saw this blog and why are people attacking here. She saves a bird and then says moms should be with their kids as often as possible. Then it turns into class warfare. Huh. By saying she thinks it sad to see babies pushed around by nannies is not to something to just dismiss. If those mommies are working then great but if they’re not, then why aren’t they with their kiddies. All moms and dads deserve their “me” time but it shouldn’t be 9-5 if they are not working. If you are going to take the huge step and have a child then commit to it. Being with your child as often as possible is not a bad thing. I wonder if parents with nannies spend more time answering their email and text messages. Nobody wants to be a bad parent. It’s a learning process. We are all baby birds trying to take flight trying to be the best we can be. Chloe, love the Elle photos. Mother Earth has some real competition!

  49. Juliana Kelly says:

    Dear Chloe,
    Your blog entry really upset me, and I posted from a place of feeling really hurt by what I feel is a really provocative statement – the whole – ‘if you don’t parent like ___, you don’t deserve children thing.’ (paraphrased.) And I owe you an apology for how I expressed myself, and for priggishly correcting your grammar. I am sorry about that; it was rude, and it is completely fair of you to call me out on that.

    I still feel troubled by the “you don’t deserve kids” thing. I have practiced attachment parenting as best I can whilst holding down multiple gigs. And like many other New York moms, I have seen Mom and Nanny dynamics that have taken me aback. But I don’t think one EVER knows what the whole of someone’s story is, certainly not by walking past someone & their fleet of nannies on the street … for all one knows, the mother with three nannies might be suffering with post-partum depression, or … maybe she’s just not good at being a mom and can afford all that help!! God bless her, it’s a challenging job.

    I grew up in a low income family, my mother worked two, sometimes three jobs my whole life. I didn’t always get to see her as much as I would have liked, but I always felt her love in the choices she made to keep us fed and housed.

    re: what I have done to change the world – I design and implement arts education programs for incarcerated children, I’ve worked on anti-slavery campaigns in South East Asia. And I try to be the best Mom I can be. Which I feel includes not condemning other mothers for their choices, and sticking up for them when they are attacked in blogs. In a more polite way than I did, of course.

    Sincerely

    J.

  50. June says:

    I completely agree with you, Juliana.

  51. Etirsa says:

    Chloe,

    Your picture in Elle literally brought tears to my eyes. We live in a time where many Mothers would prefer to give man-made formula to their children rather than potentially “ruin” their breasts from breastfeeding. For those of you who are ready to attack this comment, I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE MOTHERS WHO CAN’T OR DON’T PRODUCE BREASTMILK.

    The only thing sexual about the Elle photo is that you and Jeremy had to knock boots to create Mr. Cutie Pie.

    I do believe that every Mother needs a hand when raising a baby, be it from a family member or someone she pays. I am not opposed to a Mom who hires someone to HELP with the kids, however I think it’s on the verge of disgusting when a perfectly able Mom hires someone to RAISE her kids. The hands-off approach has got to change. There is a difference, and I think that’s the point you’re trying to make.

    “If you don’t have time to be a full time Momma, don’t have kids. It should be that simple…” Yes, it should be, but it isn’t always so easy. I DO get your point though, Chlo. Extending the 3 month maternity leave standard would really help! We should take a hint from Sweden. I think we’d have more well adjusted children. And Dads need to be more involved, too, so Women and baby can experience this necessary joy. Insert adjustment here –>_____<– for alternative family structures

    Those of you who take issue with this post are truly not seeing or accepting that there is an undeniable disconnect between parents and children in our society. We have others raise our kids and we put our parents in homes instead of caring for them ourselves. What ever happened to being responsible for our families?

  52. Diane L says:

    I am happy you rescued the little bird and I hope it survives, I would have done the same. It is too bad NYC does not a have wildlife rehab center, every city should have one.
    Love the ELLE photo, it is a beautiful shot. Your son is very lucky to have a mom like you!

  53. elizabeth says:

    Whoa theres alot of comments here!

    Woman of the world- we know whats right- we are here to nuture, not in a backseat way- but in an empowered way.. take our power back-
    its not only human babies that are sufering from not having their mothers undivided attention…

    oh course every being needs their Mother full-time to nuture them- we seem to have lost this way along time ago…

    Beside it’s not a mystery how babies get here, so it’s confusing to me, if you are not willing, or able to fully commit to having a child and raising them 100%, why would you have one??-

    So Chloe’s choice to me is the way children should be rasied…. and of course- what kind of being wouldn’t try to save an innocent little bird….

    I have made a conscious choice to not have children, while I raise my business, becuase I want to be fully present for my offspring- and littel ones that I need adoption

    If more women made their own life schedules in this conscious way- we would live in a much healthier world-full of aware, empowered beings

  54. Ash says:

    Your article was interesting, but I found some of your statements unfair. Firstly, I felt that you’re equating being a career woman with wanting material goods. What about just really loving your job and wanting to stay on top and have that sense of satisfaction? I am a PhD student right now and I take my career really seriously, but Prof’s don’t make that much (at least not here in Canada), even if I manage to find a position. I just really love what I do and want to stay ahead of the game.
    I agree, that parents should take responsibility for their kids, but your comment “If you don’t have time to be a full time Momma, don’t have kids.” is unfair. I’ve read some of your responses to the comment, but it is a really judgmental thing to say and does not seem as though you consider the range of situations modern women face.

    I don’t have any kids yet, but my partner and I plan to when I have finished school and when we are both in a more financially stable position. One thing that I love about my partner is that he is great with kids. He loves them and and wants to be a stay at home Dad (at least for a while). That’s great! Because I really don’t want that for myself. I plan on staying home with our kids for some time, but being a career mother is REALLY not what I want with my life.
    One attitude that really deters me from being a mother, and seems to be a sentiment you share in this article, is this idea that once you’re a mother, that’s all you are. No longer a woman, or a person, you’re just a mom. Which sounds like it would suck. I have tons of interests and things I like to do and if having a child means that I have to give all of those things up and lose myself, then the idea of being a parent does not sound very appealing. It all ends up being this unfortunate cycle where educated and successful women are deterred from having kids because being a Mother and having a successful career are viewed as mutually exclusive. Which isn’t fair because being a father and being successful outside of the home is never an issue.
    I actually spoke to someone recently who had a four year old daughter and is still a PhD student. Her opinion was that parental responsibility should not be on mother solely. The reason for this is that it is a common belief that for women, having children will put them behind in their career ultimately making them less marketable. Well, if the partnership as a whole took equal responsibility to take care of the child, then the male partner would fall equally behind in his career, in theory. I feel like your article put the emphasis on the importance of mothers and ignored fathers. Many of whom, like my partner, would jump at the opportunity to spend all their time with their children.

    As I said, the article was interesting, but I found it a bit offensive at points. While the story of the hatch-ling is emotional, the tone of the article is generally judgmental to anyone who does not share the same parenting ideas as you. The blanket statements you made really should have come with some caveats. You say them anyway in your responses to comments, putting them in the article would have made it less upsetting.

  55. Ash: I explained my “If you don’t have time to be a full time Momma, don’t have kids.” referred to the first year of life when that crucial bond is forming, and optimum nutrition depends on Mama’s milk.

    If Daddy can stay home – post first year – and be nurturer, by all means! That is (almost) as good a Momma, minus the breasts to feed with.

    I think once you have kids, you MAY feel differently. You maaaay never want to leave him/ her. You may feel an integral pull to shift career goals in line with more present parenting. Teaching is amazing for Mamas! They get summers off, have off-beat hours, and are often allowed to bring kiddies to a uni playgroup for easy check ins. It’s the women (and men for that matter) who aren’t home to see their kids off to bed or never show up to a class that get my bee in a bonnet.

    I appreciate your input and respectful critique.

  56. Kyle Svendsen says:

    Such a beautiful article. Chloe, your responses to people are always so intelligent.

  57. Kathryn says:

    I agree 100% on everything except the part about anxiety and depression. As someone who has struggled throughout my entire life with panic attacks, depression, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Anorexia I must disagree that being close to my mother did nothing to stop those things from attacking me and my spirit. There was nothing to stop them. And this is coming from someone who was breastfed until 2 (self weened) and raised by attachment parenting.

    Other than that, it needed to be said I agree with everything except for the psych disorders part. I will be on antidepressants for my entire life and it has nothing to do with my mother being there for me or breast feeding.

  58. Stacey says:

    Beautiful piece. Every woman has the right to parent as they seem fit. Some stay home some have to work. But what really what I took away from this piece. Is that a child needs a nurturing mother that makes him/her feel loved and supported. I walk around nyc all day and see these children with Nannies and some of them seem so sad the nanny is on the cell phone ignoring the child. The child seems sometimes endangered. I think that if you are so wealthy to have a nanny than you obviously have the ability to be there for your child at least during infancy. It does affect children not having a parent or at least a loving family member around. There is a nanny culture in NYC, and I am sure elsewhere. I have friends who were raised by Nannies and most of not all of them have suffered for it. Some don’t even talk about or have relationships with their parents. Kids need to bond with their parents. Period!! If you have to work than make sure you are there as much as you can be. I believe Chloe is speaking out about the people who have the option and choose the nanny route. Chloe is also talking about her parenting choice and the great rewards she is experiencing with her son. People could learn from her. Many women who have a Nanny with their children all day aren’t even working they are out to lunch and workout and shopping. Yes they have that right but the children will suffer. Our society ociety needs to do better with our children. We need to do the best we can and our materialistic values need to subside in order to have a society of healthy children. Thanks for writing this Chloe and I pray the bird finds a mommy.

  59. Wow says:

    Chloe, please stop calling yourself a feminist. You can’t demand that women be “full-time mamas” and tell them that they shouldn’t have children unless they do it YOUR way and honestly say that you are not a sexist, a classist, etc. Why is it that you think women should stay home with their children all day, but make no mention of fathers?

    And seriously, take a beginning writing course. This was painful to read in more ways than one.

  60. nona says:

    what a narrow minded way of thinking. so many have no choice but to work yet they want children. you have no idea how much bonding they do when they are home with their baby. who are you to judge and say if you can’t be a full time mom, don’t be one at all. how about letting those that decide to work make that call as many do. i know many that have very happy, healthy, stable children while they were working full time, and those that have had full time mom’s not so happy Just because one isn’t a full time stay at home mom doesn’t constitute that child to a life any less than those that have full time moms. you need to open your narrow minded thinking, pathetically written!




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