Sustainable Mothering

About – Sustainable Parenting

J. (Jake) Kathleen Marcus is a lawyer, writer and conference speaker whose work focuses on gender and sexual orientation, particularly breastfeeding, mothering, sexual abuse and domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and gay/lesbian/transgender issues. Her private law practice in Philadelphia serves clients nationwide in a wide range of areas including the representation of non-physician healthcare providers.

She is a Partner at Marcus Law, owner of BreastfeedingLaw.com, co-owner of LactSpeak and owner of Sustainable Mothering. She was Contributing Editor and then Politics Editor at Mothering magazine from 2007 until it ceased publication in April of 2011.

Marcus is the author of Lactation and the Law, a comprehensive article on U.S. public breastfeeding law, and Pumping 9 to 5, an article on workplace pumping law which was a finalist for a MAGGIE Award. Her over 20 years of practice as an attorney includes serving as litigation coordinator for the Women Against Abuse Legal Center in Philadelphia, and on Planned Parenthood’s trial team in its challenge to the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania and was a member of the Legal Advisory Council to La Leche League International. Her writing has appeared in Mothering, Life Learning, LEAVEN, The Philadelphia Lawyer, Vegetarian Baby and Child, and on ePregnancy.com and VegFamily.com.

Marcus speaks at conferences and on television and radio as an expert on the legal aspects of breastfeeding, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, abortion, reproductive rights and technologies, and HIV/AIDS. She was producer, writer, and host of SPEAK! and of Kept Quiet, two television programs focusing on gender issues and political activism.

A 1988 graduate of Temple University School of Law where she was Research Editor of the Temple Law Review, Marcus attended Bennington College and has a B.A. in Philosophy as well as a Certificate in Editing from Temple University.

A New York City native, she currently lives with her family outside Philadelphia, where she home schools her two teens while her third is at college.

What is Sustainable Mothering/Parenting?

Sustainable Mothering Parenting is both creating a world that is physically and socially sustainable, and supporting the ability for people to parent. Breast milk? Green, non-polluting, the healthiest food for most children. Breastfeeding or chestfeeding? It requires a culture that allows parents to be with their children and provide breast milk to their children, while still providing economic support for their families. Barring breastfeeding or chestfeeding people from public space and the workplace? Not sustainable.

Forcing people to choose between being active participants in public economic life and being parents is not sustainable. Flexible work situations? Sustainable.

What is “chestfeeding”? Please see this FAQ by my friend Trevor MacDonald for further explanation.

Home “schooling”? Education is a very individual process. Some people learn best in large group environments, some best in smaller environments. Some children are ready to learn in large groups by elementary school, some kids need to leave their parents in slowly increasing time increments. Forcing all children into an educational system that assumes they all learn the same way and at the same speed is not sustainable. It produces children who hate school, no longer know how to learn and many many people who have learned nothing useful.

Why is Sustainable Mothering not Sustainable Parenting? Because at the time I started this blog, I made a distinction between “mothering” and “fathering” that in some cases does not apply. By “mothering” I refer to the hardcore work of attachment parenting. This work is almost always left to the person who does the daily nurturing and feeding which is usually the person the primary caretaker, historically most often the mother or a paid substitute. As of May or 2014, this blog is Sustainable Parenting.

This undeniably sexist distinction between parenting roles was brought home to me with thunder and fury when radical feminist me had my first child and, as night follows day, childcare and feeding responsibilities were left almost entirely to me. Putting aside how angry that makes me, I have since come to know members of the transgender community who give birth and breastfeed or chestfeed their children while identifying as “fathers.” To them, I offer my apologies. This blogs is for them as well. What these fathers do is the work historically identified with “mothering” though these breastfeeders and chestfeeders are, in my view, undeniably fathers and undeniably men.

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