Does Fair Parenting Mean Same Parenting?

I read a blog post recently from another mom who treats her children equally.  Her five year old earned a toy as a reward… so she bought a new toy, of equal cash value, for her thirteen month old.  To her, it was only fair parenting.  Now, I won’t say that I think that she was wrong to do this.  But I will say that I’m not convinced I’d have done the same thing. [Read more…]

You’re a Good Mom… and So am I

You’re a good mom.  Really.  The chances are very high that you have your baby’s best interests in mind.  If you breastfeed, you’re a good mom because you’re trying to give your baby the best nourishment that you can.  If you formula feed, you’re a good  mom because you’re trying very hard to make sure your baby is fed in a way that your family can handle. [Read more…]

Happy First Birthday, Eudora!

One year ago today, I started the morning out just sure that it was the day.  I spent some time in bed timing my contractions.  They stayed pretty consistent.  The husband called our doula.  I ate strawberries for breakfast and then threw them back up.  In the end, I spent a lot of time barfing, but I got a beautiful little baby out of the deal.  Today is my beautiful baby girl’s first birthday!

To think, she started out looking like this:

Happy First Birthday, Eudora! (Motherhood Looms)

A newborn Eudora. I hadn’t even seen her at this point since I was too busy throwing up in the post op recovery unit after my c-section.

She weighed eight and a half pounds at birth, so she wasn’t tiny.  However, she’s awfully tiny for her age, now.

Happy First Birthday, Eudora!

Here’s Eudora helping me shop at CozyBums

At around eighteen pounds, she’s my perfect little shopping buddy.  She’s light enough to carry, interactive enough to be fun, and is absolutely fascinated with the world around her.  Plus, she really loves exploring cloth diapers, so that makes her a better shopping buddy than her dad!

Happy first birthday, my beautiful baby girl.

 

 

Mother’s Voice – How Do You Sound?

Mother's Voice - How Do You Sound? (Motherhood Looms)

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

A mother’s voice can be many things.  It can be a loving sound that encourages.  It can be happy.  Or it can be… something else.

I never really gave much consideration to the sound of my voice.  It’s just mine, and it took me a while to be okay with the sound of my actual voice not sounding like my voice sounds in my head.  Still, though, I didn’t think it was an all too terrible sound.  Sure, it conveys when I’m happy or when I’m frustrated.  I had a rude awakening, though, about the reality of this mother’s voice.

Norton tends to play with my iPhone, even when it’s locked.  He can’t get into anything since it’s password protected, but he can make videos and take pictures.  I went through my phone to clean out the junk pictures he takes and I watched a video he made.

It didn’t last long.  It was around 15 seconds, and it wasn’t something that one could even watch.  The camera wasn’t remotely steady.  It shook as he climbed around on the couch.  It waved wildly.  Really, more than two seconds of it started making me feel queasy from the camera’s motions.  But I could hear it.

I heard the sound of a mother’s voice.  It was an irritated mother’s voice.  There was the sound of the voice yelling at the dog over having a mysterious brown lump in front of him.  Then there was yelling at the toddler for producing that stinky brown lump in the middle of the kitchen floor.  It was just awful.

Being there in the moment was pretty terrible, but hearing how I sounded after the fact was maybe even a little worse.

That voice was a horrible, nasty, nagging sound.  It wasn’t just a mother’s voice.  It was this mother’s voice, and I didn’t like how it sounded.  I didn’t like that the voice was directed at my children.

There have been times that I’ve realized in the past that I needed to watch my temper.  I’ve gotten better about a lot of things.  While my “fight or flight” reflexes still lean strongly towards flight, spankings are something that don’t happen in my house.  Not anymore.  I’ve gotten control of that.  However, I still have to conquer that voice.  I want my children to remember the sound of their mother’s voice being a nice sound, a loving sound.  I don’t want them to remember the screaming, shrewish, biting sound as their mother’s voice.

Have you struggled with keeping your voice calm?  What kind of mother’s voice do your children hear?

Anti-Smoking Teen Makes Me Proud

Anti-Smoking Teen Makes Me Proud (Motherhood Looms)

Image from stockxchange, used with permission.

I had a conversation about tobacco with my teenaged son not that long ago.  I was pleased to find that he is militantly anti-smoking.  When he credited me with his anti-smoking attitude, I was beyond thrilled.

Statistically, smoking parents are more likely to have smoking children.  I read a UK study that indicated that children of smokers are three times more likely to become smokers themselves.  That’s a pretty significant number.  I smoked when Andy was younger.  At times in my life, I smoked quite heavily.

So how did I, his dirty smoker mother, influence my boy to become militantly anti-smoking?

I treated it like something shameful.  I never smoked where he could see it.  There was no smoking in my car or in my house.  If he’d follow me outside when I was smoking, I’d “hide” my cigarette from view and then send him back inside.  It wasn’t “cute” to see a child imitating a smoking parent.  (Fortunately, Andy never did that, but I did have quite the freak out when I saw his little cousin imitating his dad and grandfather smoking on the back deck.)  The last thing that I ever wanted was for my boy to see me smoking and think that it was okay.  It wasn’t.*

When I did finally quit, he was my biggest cheerleader.  And now he’s encouraging his school aged friends to either quit smoking or never start in the first place.

Did you raise an anti-smoking teen?  How did you do it?

*Disclaimer: No judgment on those who still smoke.  It’s hard to quit.  I get that.  That doesn’t mean that I want kids to start, though, and sending them the message that smoking is not okay is a great way to do that.

 

Taking a Stand Against Racism

Taking a Stand Against Racism (Motherhood Looms)

Image courtesy of njaj/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I like to think that I’m a fairly tolerant person.  I know that my own parents did a lot to teach me to be more tolerant than they themselves were.  I think that taking a stand against racism is important whenever you see it.

In a rant community that I take part in, one of the rules is “People suck for what they do, not what they look like.”  I’m not down with the PC police out there, and I’m far from a “social justice warrior,” but taking a stand against racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry is something that I feel like I have to do in order to teach my own children that it’s not okay.

Someone on my Facebook group had an episode of horrendous service from a vendor back home.  She didn’t get her Valentine’s Day gift from her husband because the company just didn’t bother getting it to her.  I don’t blame her for being angry.  The resolution was far from satisfactory.  But when she used an ethnic slur to denigrate the company owner, that was when my empathy went away.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this: when we use any sort of slurs, we’re teaching our children that it’s okay to hate.  We’re teaching them that it’s okay have problems with people because of who they love or what they look like.  It’s not okay.  If you’re looking at it from a religious perspective (and since the person who used the slur says she’s Christian), it’s not okay.  Love thy neighbor, etc.  If you’re looking at it from a human perspective, it’s not okay.

Some people are jerks.  That’s fine.  Taking a stand against racism doesn’t mean that people get a free pass on being jerks because of their race.  It just means that they are jerks, regardless of their race.

Have you ever been in a position to take a stand?  How did you handle it?

Babies Cry – A Newsflash

I was perusing my Facebook feed this morning before I got out of bed.  It’s something that I often do while I get ready to face the day.  I came across a bit in my newsfeed about Heather at The Parenting Patch putting her daughter in her crib for a timeout.  Obviously, Poppy’s response was tears.  This shouldn’t be a surprise.  After all, babies cry. [Read more…]

Teaching Tolerance – A Parenting Decision

My father was a racist.  I love my father and miss him still, even though he’s been gone for many years, but that does not change the facts.  He was a racist.  There’s a parenting decision, though, that made him different than your run of the mill bigot.  It’s a very good thing.

My father realized that while his views were not uncommon in small town Alabama when he was growing up, times had changed. His children were not growing up in the 1940’s, nor were his children in that little town in Alabama. Our own town was becoming more racially diverse, et cetera. For him to teach bigotry to his children would have been a disservice to us.

He made a point of not spreading his bigotry to his children.

So how does a bigot teach tolerance? Through careful moments of quiet embarrassment.

I remember hearing my father use the “n” word when I was small. I also remember him teaching us that it was a bad word, and a time came when he stopped using that word himself.

Racism isn’t genetic.  Hatred is not a family value.  Bigotry is taught the same way that tolerance is taught: a series of parenting decisions that may more may not have the consequences intended.  My father could have very easily raised a bunch of little future bigots who proudly pushed their bigotry on other people.  While he himself did not change his views, he did his best to encourage us to be not like him.  He also insisted that children were to be exempted from whatever racism their parents may experience.

It’s strange and confusing, but it just goes to show that it is entirely possible to make a conscious parenting decision to end racism.

Have you seen bigotry in your own family?  How did your family prevent the spread of bigotry?

Toddler Jealousy – Now What?

Toddler Jealousy - Now What?

This is a rare moment of peaceful interaction.

I knew that we’d have some changes in life as Eudora became more mobile. We’d have to get used to having a tiny person who puts things in her mouth. One thing that I did not anticipate was an unbelievable increase in toddler jealousy.

Norton has always had issues with his baby sister. Granted, the birth and homecoming wasn’t exactly what we’d had in mind.  Our plans for a VBAC didn’t work out.  The husband was so sick with a stomach flu that he couldn’t come get us. My mother-in-law had to pick us up.  I was also starting to come down with that same stomach flu.  In short, Norton ended up spending five days at his grandparents’ house.  It was the longest that he’d ever been away from us.  Then he finds that little baby sleeping in his old room and riding in his old car seat.  Toddler jealousy was pretty rough for that first little while.

For a couple of months, we kind of reached a sort of uneasy truce.  Norton had stopped napping altogether.  Eudora was still taking two naps a day.  We usually had our Mommy and Norton time while Eudora took a nap.  Then all at once, Eudora started crawling and dropped a nap.

That was was the end of the truce.  Norton was no longer able to just ignore her.  Oh, he’d try, but Eudora would commit the intolerable acts of touching his toys and petting his puppies.  That was what caused the resurgence of toddler jealousy.  At first, it was manageable.  He’d snatch a toy from her.  Maybe he’d push her if she touched something of his.  It was always dealt with swiftly.

The more mobile Eudora got, the worse the toddler jealousy issues got.  Now I can’t turn my back for a second.  Even going from the living room into the kitchen to get a bottle is enough time for toddler jealousy to rear its ugly head.  He’ll push her or hit her.  Eudora is no angel, either.  She will pre-emptively scream like he’s killing her because he brushes up against her or even looks at her.

I’m completely at my wit’s end.  I can’t get anything done.  My house is in shambles.  I have to try to minimize bathroom breaks even.  And him telling her “no no” when she does anything (including climb on me or play with her own toys) is getting beyond old.  Sending him to his room for timeouts has no effect.

Have you ever had to manage toddler jealousy?

Wordless Wednesday – Christmas Cuties

Norton opens gifts

This was the first time that Norton actually opened presents. He was mad at me at first, but once he realized that there were toys to be found, he got much more interested in tearing off the paper.

Eudora

Eudora in her pretty red dress.

Eudora and Norton checking out Eudora's My Pal Violet

Eudora and Norton checking out Eudora’s My Pal Violet