Parenting Goals for Summer 2013

Summer is here, and it’s beautiful out.  Now that it’s finally nice enough to do things outside with the kids, it’s definitely time to get my summer parenting goals in order.  I’d like to think that these parenting goals will somehow magically make me a better parent… but the reality is, these goals will do nothing more than have me focus more on my babies.  Maybe that’s the definition of being a better parent, but it’s not about me.  It’s about making sure my littles have an awesome childhood to remember.

Summer 2013 Parenting Goals

1.) A playdate a week

I’m a little anti social.  Now that I’m super busy with our local cloth diapering community, though, I’m making more friends… and these friends have children.  Hopefully, we can continue to meet out at a local park once a week so that our littles can run around and play.

2.) Increased storytime!

Lately, Norton has been all about watching Disney/Pixar movies.  I’d like to spend less time with the TV on (even if it’s just “background noise”) and more time reading stories together.  Storytime three days a week, while not as awesome as Heather’s five times a week, is much better than the “whenever Norton brings me a book” that we’ve been doing.

Parenting Goals Summer 2013 (Cloth Diaper Addicts)3.) Arts and crafts

I’m not a crafty person, but Norton loved arts and crafts time at language playgroup last year.  He got a great kick out of it during preschool, too.  It’s time to make new finger paints, roll out the craft paper, and let Norton and Eudora go nuts.  I’m shooting for an arts and crafts time one day a week.  What’s the point of Pinterest if not to find cool stuff to do with the spawn?

4.) Park time!

While Prince George may be lousy for shopping, it’s fantastic for the outdoors.  There are three parks within walking distance of our house.  Actually, there’s one right across the street.  At least one day a week, we will make it to a park so that Norton can run around and play.

Those are my parenting goals for this summer.  Do you have any parenting goals of your own?

 

 

 

Proud Mom, That’s Great, But…

There’s absolutely no shame in being a proud mom.  I know that I’m absolutely elated when I get to tell someone about my kids’ accomplishments.  I was thrilled to tell everyone in the world that would listen that my fifteen year old is going into his junior year of high school (he’s a grade ahead of where he should be) next year, he’s made honor roll all year in a complete turn around from the previous year, and is set to take 3 AP classes and two honors classes next year.  Whenever Norton used words to overcome his language delay, I was over the moon.  And I danced a jig when Eudora took six steps. [Read more…]

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?