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resonance & motherhood

Next weekend is Resonance, our local Burning Man event. Marc is on the planning committee so he's been pretty busy helping get ready and he's really excited about it; he'll be staying there all weekend. I'll spend a chunk of the day Saturday there. I've got family coming into town to hang out at the house with me and watch Josie while I'm gone.

Unlike Burning Man our local event doesn't allow kids, which is bugging me because it really limits my time out there. This is one of those times where being a nursing mother is sort of a pain... I'd like to spend the weekend at the festival but that'd mean I'd be hooked up to the breast pump a lot of the time. Uhg. And Josie gets bottles while I'm at work during the week, but gets fussy about it late in the day when she knows I should be coming home. We're definitely not at a place where she's ready for someone else to handle bedtime. I bet she'd do fine at a campout right next to me but that's against the rules.

Part of me feels like maybe I should have campaigned against their policy and asked for an exception, but Marc discouraged that, he says the no-kids thing is "probably an insurance thing". And I don't want to be That Parent who pushes their kid in everywhere kid's aren't invited. But crap, the festival is about appreciating nature, inclusion, and participation... shouldn't they if anyone work with the needs of a breastfeeding family? I have a baby, not a kid who's going to trounce into someone's campfire.

I've noticed that you're really not allowed to complain about feeling isolated as a mother. People without kids roll their eyes at you and say "Well you decided to reproduce." People with kids roll their eyes and wonder why you'd ever want to go on some silly no-kids-allowed camping festival anyway... don't you know you're a mom now and your life isn't supposed to be the same, just its own new brand of wonderful? (side note: half these people were in love with suburban boredom before they had kids, so they assume that when you become a parent you'll become like them because that's the only way to do it. But that's a whole other entry.)

Oh well.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 4th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
We feel your pain
As a father of four kids, I get the fact that your life will change with kids. But a life change is not the same thing as not having a life at all. Life does not stop because of kids, it just changes ... some. It's not like everything you used to do stops, it's just different or not as often.

I totally understand where you are coming from, and I think there is nothing wrong with complaining. I don't like that others think we are "bad parents" because we do complain.
Sep. 4th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
Totally agree with you! I think there are a few places where kids don't belong, but not that many. Children should be a part of the community, not isolated in children-only spaces. If anything, it seems a bit unnatural to see hoards of kids packed together in schools and day cares all the time!
Sep. 4th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
I agree that you should maybe not complain but definitely bring up the subject with the organizers and see if there is a way to make it work. Unfortunately the reason the rule is in place is probably because of a small minority that don't supervise their kids. There are good kids that would fit in almost anywhere and out of control kids that make life difficult for everyone. Best of luck to you.
Sep. 4th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you feel left out Kim. The no-kids policy is partly an insurance thing and partly because our Burn, like other burns, has adult themes.

As far as meeting the needs of a breastfeeding mother, other than allowing Josie to come, we'd be happy to work with you. There's a private fridge on site, electric hook-ups and we could offer you a private space in the lodge to pump if you didn't want to do it in your tent or out in public. That may not be the compromise you want but we can help out in that fashion and I don't necessarily think it's fair to say that we aren't willing to work with breastfeeding mothers simply because we do not allow children.

Radical inclusion, like everything, has its limits for the safety of the community as a whole. Involving children would put us under more scrutiny from our insurance and the local authorities and we're simply not willing to take on those extra responsibilities right now. There are others of us on the planning committee that have children and we have to make our plans accordingly. In the future, this won't as much of an issue for you since Josie will be older.

I am sorry that this limits your involvement this year and that you feel left out because of our policy; you may not agree with our policy and our reasons, and that's ok, we don't have to agree all of the time! But we do have our reasons and it it's meant to protect our community as a whole, not to isolate.
Sep. 4th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
That's pretty much what marc told me, he said I could pump in the lodge which is nice. In fact that's the only reason I'll be able to come out Saturday afternoon. But pumping is something I don't like to do unless I have to, it's just not very enjoyable, so I don't want to stay so long that I have to pump 2-3 times.

It really didn't bug me at all until I learned that the real burning man allows children. It may not be a good idea to bring kids to burning man (hot desert and all that) but at least the option is there. I mean, I bet I'd love a weekend away from my kid someday... actually I wouldn't mind a weekend away now, but it's logistically impractical. And I can see why you don't want Resonance to turn into a giant kid-fest, but I bet you could prevent that just by saying "it might not be a good idea to bring kids" on the website, with a warning about adult themes (although I didn't notice anything too adult happening last year)

So that's all just food for thought. Marc said maybe these issues could be brought up in future years, policies can relax as events mature and get their footing. There are a variety of things that don't 100% gel with me when it comes to the keepers, but I keep most of it between Marc and I. I did have a lot of fun there last year and it'll be cool to go back and really get the experience someday.
Sep. 4th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Burning Man also has a MUCH larger budget than we do since they charge $250+ a ticket and can afford lawyers should any liabilities issues arise. We're lucky to break even each year. Burning Man also has local authorities on site in addition to their Rangers to keep the children (and adults) safe. We are not the only local event not to allow children as I'm sure you're familiar with InterFuse and up until 2 years ago when Zay allowed someone else to take over HullabalU was also an adults-only event.

In regards to adult-oriented things occurring at Resonance, they definitely happened whether you witnessed or overheard them or not.

We may choose to allow children and we may not. We've discussed it but most of us prefer an atmosphere where adults can gather and not censor themselves due to the presence of children. You may decide Resonance is not for you because of that, and that's ok. There are those who choose not to go to HullabalU because they now allow children. It's a personal choice.

At the end of the day, if something happens, those of us on the planning committee are the ones who are ultimately responsible should something happen to our members (or member's children) and we are simply not open to taking the liability of adding children into the mix.
Sep. 5th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)
I just think there's a huge difference between "children" and "nursing infants", and I have a sneaking suspicion that no one on the planning committee even wants to check with the insurance company to see if they see the difference too, because everyone really wants this to be an adult-only event. I'm sure you didn't mean to make me feel excluded, but you did, and it's made me sad this week, and I wrote about it.
Sep. 4th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Really? I don't have kids, but I like 'em a lot. I think our society, and especially some of the social groups I'm a part of (which are made up of an awful lot of childfree folks or don't-want-'em-yet folks) do a really good job of isolating new parents and especially new moms - and it isn't fair.

Even my friends who are having no-kids-allowed weddings make exceptions for nursing newborns (which your little one still counts as) because they understand that if they don't, the parents will quite likely decline. Plus, really, kids that small don't cause much fuss if the parents are paying attention.

I could, I guess, understand a BM event not wanting to pay insurance for kids - there tends to be fire and things to climb and other dangerous things that you can claim adults should know better then to kill themselves on - but... it does seem like babies who can't walk could be an exception. They aren't likely to climb the fire sculpture or anything. :)
Sep. 4th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
if the parents are paying attention.

And therein lies the rub. While I have faith in spacefem, it's much more viable to ban all kids than to ban merely the ones with bad parents...
Sep. 4th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
Clearly the solution is for you to rent a 172 and fly out to Burning Man next year! Hopefully *I* will also be flying in next year and I can actually meet you! And you can see the fucking art car that's been eating my life! :)
Sep. 5th, 2010 03:16 am (UTC)
I told marc I'd NEVER go to Burning Man... hate to say it but it looks like hell! The desert in August, seriously? 50,000 people trying to get in on like two roads?

Nah, I'll stick to the little local stuff for now.
Sep. 5th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
The 50,000 people on two roads is why you and I would fly in!

(The desert-in-August also means being able to fly *out* would be nice... :) )
Sep. 4th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
I'd be much more sympathetic if I could see a picture of sad Josie feeling excluded.

I'm kidding.

That does really stink. It's not like it's porn fest or anything. Also, an infant =/= 4 year old witnessing people making more babies.

Sep. 4th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
I think that once your event has gotten large enough the restriction on children will be lifted since those wanting to do adult themed activities will have a section of the venue for themselves and those with kids will do the same. There were issues at the first couple of burning mans about kids and nudity but they resolved them internally but that's also because Nevada doesn't have a state law banning sexually oriented displays and Kansas does.
Sep. 4th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
I support your right to opinion, and if that involves complaining, say it loud so your target hears it properly the first time!
I support nursing mothers rights to stay active in the groups and events they loved before they became mothers. For your part: You'd be making a huge commitment of effort to both be mom and be attendee at Res. That double effort should be supported. On my part: I'd like to see you bring her- you'd both be happier (and it's not like any crying would be able to drown out the music)! Infants in general wouldn't bother me...but...I don't want kids at Res and if we allow infants, someone has to decide what age an "infant" includes- and excludes. I like the idea of burners doing a family friendly campout in addition to Res.
Sep. 5th, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
Maybe I should have complained earlier.

But honestly I'm kinda inexperienced at this thing, when Marc got my ticket I remember us thinking, "She'll be three months old, surely she'll be sleeping through the night and used to babysitters!" (we were on crack, thinking that) Also this was around the time when my breasts had made a magical transition, they used to be uncomfortable after three hours of not nursing but they were starting to make it four or even five hours, I figured the trend would continue and I'd be at eight hours by this time. But that's not how boobs work. Damn.

Now that I'm a little more educated though, I wouldn't mind complaining/campaigning for the future of nursing mothers. Maybe Marc will help out. I'd put the "infant" deadline at one year, or if possible just say "If your kid can walk, s/he should not be at resonance, it's dangerous." Boom, done.
Sep. 4th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Bothers me too when there's no accommodation or even allowance for children. They're part of the world, and they don't get to learn to negotiate it if their parents can't bring them along.
Sep. 5th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
I think it's a safey thing - when an event opens up to family participation, planners are obligated to make accomodations for kids - safety first. This is a responsibility which leads to liability. It's okay to know as a parent, you can have some healthey adult focus time.
Burning man family edition might want to be held on another Saturday afternoon -
Sep. 5th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
One event I've attended for several years was a pagan type fest in the mountains of Colorado. They didn't have anything for kids and young teens for a long time and when they finally set something up it was astonishingly awful. People would drop their kids off at 9am and not come back until 5pm. It was like they knew having the kid was something they should do, but not something they wanted to do. So they brought the kids with the express intention of having nothing to do with them. So I /understand/ the, "it's your uterus dropping, leave us out of it" philosophy.
However, that doesn't mean I agree with it. I've noticed most of the events that I've been to that weren't child friendly really weren't child un-friendly, the organizers just weren't mature enough to deal with the issue of children in a thoughtful and prepared manner. I fully support your right to complain, especially if you're someone connected to the situation in such a specific way. And I also fully support your right to complain that a stated Burning Man "Official" event is not even conforming to the rules that Burning Man itself does.
I'm with Tequila on this. I'm hot a huge fan of having ankle biters at events like Res, if for no other reason than the tripping over them in the dark on the way to the bathroom factor (adults are a little more forgiving about such things is all). But there should be a cut off point for mothers who aren't yet free of their infant but would like a few hours off without having to leave the kid at home.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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