Wednesday, July 02, 2008

This is not a rant.

It's the beginning of July and summer is here full-force. But of course, where we dwell, summer is practically half of the year. We've been busy with trips to the park, the library, and life. Our garden is still flourishing, at least it is for us novice gardeners. We get so excited. Like, I planted something. Then I watered it. And it...It GREW!!!!! One of our tomato plants looks to be at it's peak, and is producing ruby red, very average tomato-sized tomatoes, bursting with flavor. And they lack salmonella, which is a major plus for us.

One of our usual parks we go to has a nice sized wading pool the kids can traipse around in and splash each other. I sit in the shade and gab with the other moms. The other day, I actually found myself in the midst of a debate in our little Yahoo group. And I pretty much learned the hard way that it is impossible to talk with other mothers and disagree about parenting styles/philosophies regarding discipline with out it getting all emotional. From now on, I'm keeping my mouth shut, or at least stopping my fingers from typing down my inflammatory opinions.

One good thing out of the whole argument was that I, and I suspect the other mom who I really do adore, found ourselves rather confident in our parenting choices. While I'm certainly no parenting expert, I am the expert on my own children and I think we're all doing just fine. When I have certain way with my children, a rule, or a lack of a rule, I challenge myself with the goofy Dr. Phil question. "So, how's that working for ya?" If it's not, I change it. And lately what has been needed for our family is order and structure. Too much down time and going with the flow has not been working for us whatsoever. But this structure and scheduling tugs at the fibers of the famous attachment parenting philosophy, and ruffles feathers of those who frown upon conventional time-outs and punitive parenting styles. But why should I stick to something if it is so not working for us? Just to keep a label on myself so I know which moms are safe to be around and talk to? Ah. So for now, I'm the happy mom who cloth diapers, enforces bedtime at 8, nurses her toddler, doesn't tolerate backtalk and will send you to your room for it. If you disagree with any of this or act differently, I'd still be happy to grab a coffee and let our kids play together at the park.

Here are my kiddos going to pick up and haul a scooter to the imaginary mechanic. Teamwork. (This is a scene from our daily morning "playtime in jammies" ritual as mom waters the garden and picks up the dog poop.)

7 Comments:

Blogger Michelle Melania said...

I think I probably fit close to you in your parenting style. Semi-natural, but not quite. We don't co-sleep (I've tried and I don't actually sleep) and David weaned himself right at a year. But we do a lot of other things that fit into that type of category. I like how you said, "While I'm certainly no parenting expert, I am the expert on my own children and I think we're all doing just fine." That is true. Good for you, Lauren! I'd love to get a cup of coffee with us and let your kids play. :)

5:45 AM  
Blogger Michelle Melania said...

Ok, let me try that last sentence again:
I'd love to get a cup of coffee with YOU and let OUR kids play :)

5:46 AM  
Blogger Xenia Kathryn said...

Lauren,
I think we're a lot alike... or at least, I found myself agreeing with what you said in this post.

AP was a fantastic method of survival in my first year of parenting. Honestly, I don't konw what I would have done without it... lost my mind? Probably.
And while I still appreciate some AP principles, I also have come to really appreciate some sense of order and routine. ESPECIALLY with two babies. Now that VAsi is older, she in fact really thrives on routine and I can't help but wonder if things would have been easier earlier on if I had the zeal to do things differently.
All in all, I'm no longer quick to give parenting advice or make judgment calls based on "my" parenting styles. Because as you said, every child is different and only parents really know what their children need.

I like this too:
"But why should I stick to something if it is so not working for us? Just to keep a label on myself so I know which moms are safe to be around and talk to?"

2:41 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Haha! I love the mention of picking up dog poo. I have htat job too (even though I told my hubby from the beginning that it would be HIS job...but seriously... if I want the kids to play outside in the day, I can't wait for him to get home at night to pick it up. Duh! Guess I should have thought about that before. lol).

As for AP, I think alot gets lost in today's world. Mostly because there wasn't all this down time for kids before dishwashers, cars, and other conveniences. Less things to say no to and less time for them to get into trouble. Everyone would have had to pitch in to carry things home from the market, animals to feed, clothes and dishes to wash (by hand!), etc... So I completely agree with you that kids do thrive on structure and routine. After all, that's what we do as adults. Even if it's wake up a zombie, get our coffee, water the plants and pick up poo ( :P )..it's a routine. :)

Hope to see you soon!

7:25 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Labels stink don't they? I never want to be a slave to a label.

Drama wears me out!

1:39 PM  
Blogger jenny baker said...

i think you've done a fine job so far. your children are very smart, healthy and well behaved. you should be proud of yourself. :)

3:31 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Lauren,

I hope you don't mind. I have been lurking, reading your BLOG for some months now. You are my kind of mom! Let your children be your guide. When Martin was out of control (when the autism ruled our lives), my husband and I made a conscious decision to ignore "conventional wisom" or "expert opinion" and parent Martin according to his needs. This has paid off in dividends we could never have expected (our outlook on his development in those dark days was overwhelmingly negative). What we didn't realize until much later was that what we had done was treat him the same way we treated Erin. In our family, the definition of "fair" is each child getting what that child needs. We grew up in families that dictated fair as "equal" portions. This, of course, led to jealousies (even though "equal" was supposed to alleviate any jealous tendencies) and competition because we did not want to be numbers or even alike; we wanted to be seen for ourselves and loved for ourselves. Because we have strived to give each child what they need instead of a one-size fits all arrangement (within reason), both of them are confident in who they are as people and in us as parents. Certainly over 20 plus years of parenting I have made many, many, many mistakes; however, I never stopped being "the expert on my own children," and this has made all the difference.

This has been a long response and if you have perservered to the end, I just want to say that 18 years ago I would have been so pleased to have a cup of coffee with you while our children played. Keep on keeping on; it will pay off in the end. May our Holy Mother bless your endeavors with much intercession and joyful attendance to your petitions.

Gina

6:33 PM  

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