T: Amazing Husband ST: Three-year-old Wonder Prof. G: Advisor I Prof. C: Advisor II Julie: Stylish Sister Rob: Awesome Brother Belle: Our Cat Bill: Grumbling BIL Rita: Uncomplicated SIL SMU: Smallish Midwestern University Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
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Quote of the Day
Saturday, August 20, 2005
I love going into our departmental main office. The administrative staff (an undergraduate secretary, a graduate secretary, and an office adminstrator) are wonderful people, always ready to help and always genuinely curious about what's going on in everyone's lives. Two of them have grandchildren, and so whenever I'm in the office we end up talking about children so they can get the latest ST update. Our administrator's daughter is pregnant and due in December, and so our administrator and I were talking about strollers and carseats.
The undergraduate secretary piped up, "It's so hard to buy anything for new moms these days, because they research every detail! I bought a carseat at a garage sale and my son and daughter-in-law looked at me like I was crazy!"
The office administrator and I laughed. "Even I know that you're not supposed to buy a second-hand carseat," the administrator said. "But you're right -- it is hard to buy for these academic geekmoms like this one here." She pointed to me and grinned.
Geekmom. I like it. I think.
I suppose a term like "geekmom" would specifically refer to a mother who is a fan of the latest technology. A mom who is also a computer programmer, perhaps, or one who has a strong affinity for gadgets. But I think the term could be used more generically, to refer to mothers and mothers-to-be who are obsessive about researching every product that comes into contact with their baby while in utero or out, who turn to the latest research for problems they might encounter with their children, who seek out expert advice wherever possible. Thus, a broader definition of a Geekmom would encompass mothers who not only embrace new technologies, but who research every possibility to decide on the best one for their children.
I suppose I was and am a Geekmom in many respects. I am a minimalist, and so I wanted to buy only those things I really needed for a new baby, and not have a baby's room cluttered with junk from the aisles of Babies R Us. I researched cribs, travel systems, breast pumps, and baby toys. I researched bottles, just in case breastfeeding didn't work out, as well as formula and formula companies. After a lot of searching online, I decided to cloth diaper because I felt it was best for my baby, my conscience, and the environment, and I bought cloth diapers only after months of careful consideration. I decided to make my own baby food (best move ever, and so easy) because I researched the additives sometimes included in prepared food, and I even taste-tested commercial baby food and discovered that it's mostly unpalatable. Even now, I try to keep ST away from a lot of packaged/convenience foods (and I am greatly assisted in that by ST, who literally eats anything you put in front of him aside from black beans and mangoes), I try to buy toys that have been favorably reviewed on amazon.com, and I buy him clothes (but not very many, and none that are impractical) that will last. And now, while my husband and I are trying to figure out appropriate discipline, I went straight for the bookshelves of amazon.com to glean some insight into my ST's crazy behavior issues.
I wonder if being a Geekmom is a problem. Am I (and fellow Geekmoms -- I'm sure you're out there, and I suspect academia is a veritable breeding ground for them) missing out on something valuable by just going with the flow? Am I losing a connection with mothers around the world, such as my own mother, who followed their intuition instead of reading stacks of information on child products and child-rearing? Are Geekmoms in general isolating themselves by insisting on their own personal standards from everyone when it comes to their children? Is it sad that new grandmothers of Geekmom children are reluctant to make an excited purchase at the babystore in the anticipation of Geekmom's disapproval? And is a second-hand carseat really a problem, anyway?
I like to think that, in spite of my research-driven tendencies, I'm a pretty laid-back Mom who appreciates a lot of input from a variety of sources, and who is grateful when grandmothers or great-grandmothers do or buy something special for ST. I don't think there's a right way to raise children, or that the products I choose for my child will make him any better than a child with a different assortment of things. And while I rely on "experts" for advice a lot of time, in the end my husband and I go with what we feel is best. I suppose being a Geekmom is really about having all the information, and about making the best decision for a family when faced with a dizzying array of choices. It's not all about making the "rational" choice, but about making the choices you can feel good about for a long time to come.
All that said, my stroller really sucks. Despite all that research, Geekmom does not always win. And Geekmom could not foresee a very tall, 38 lb. two-and-a-half year old who is literally giving said stroller a run for the money.