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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Conundrum

When I was first a new parent 5.5years ago, I parented with my gut and agonized over the "type" of parent that I wanted to be. I had been given Babywise as a gift while pregnant and the whole book rubbed me the wrong way. I happened to stumble upon an ad for a online parenting group that called themselves "Attachment Parents" but really thought nothing of the term, because I thought that all parents were "attachment parents"...didn't we all want to be attached to our kids?
And really, all that I was looking for were people to connect with because as a 24 year old University student I had absolutley NO friends with kids....ok not entirely true because my best friend had a baby just out of highschool but she lives in another province.
So there I was looking for people to go on playdates with. So I joined this group and started asking questions and posting, and finding myself pretty mainstream and not entirely supported by this group. They had their ways and apparently I was not crunchy enough. I made some good connections and the women were really nice people, just a lot of them were at least 5 to 10 years my senior and were pretty black and white when it came to what was acceptable and what wasn't.
So I joined another local pay for service forum to find more people to bond with, meanwhile I was still having issues breastfeeding and finding no support what so ever, other than the LLL. So I joined this other group and it was way more mainstream, but the parents were even older and the kids were all older too, and I felt like an even bigger outsider.
A couple moms posted asking questions about Crying-It-Out and I posted links to articles and blogs that I had gotten...but really I had no idea because who would really leave their child to cry? I mean really? My baby was a great sleeper and I could sleep with him and he could breastfeed while I was sleeping so really, what was wrong with them.
I would be lying if I said that I didn't get flamed. At the time it pissed me off so badly because all these women got so much support for CIO or ignoring their babies and I was the one being told that I lived in fairy tale land.
I left that group, and coincidentally met a really good friend of mine at a LLL meeting. I gave the AP group a second chance and started recruiting. I have met many many inspiring women throughout my time with them...I have also met women that make me want to put my head through the wall...but that is life!
I became a really strong advocate for cosleeping, and/or responding to your baby...but more importantly *listening to your own gut*.
Sure mother to mother support is paramount, and we need tribes to keep us sane, but at the same time we have to be aware of the decisions that we make and how they affect us and own own families. Cosleeping doesn't work for everyone. It works for me, but I am one person in a city of one million.
I have found often in my years of being a "attachment parent" that this type of parent is too smart.
Let me try to's like smart and neurotic, but somewhat insecure. I am not excluding myself from this evaluation. I came to this conclusion when I was picking my oldest up from school and was explaining to one of the moms how much I loved Alfie Kohn. She did not have a clue who I was talking about. She said that she wasn't really into parenting books and did most of her parenting by instinct.
This is exactly my point. I was the moderator of the AP group of my city for 3.5 years and in that time I read every single questionnaire. "What is Attachment Parenting to you?" and almost every single answer was "I didn't know that what I was doing had a name until I *read* about it somewhere."
So back to being way too smart and neurotic...Attachment Parents are researchers. They research the hell out of something to find the appropriate answer. Textbooks, parenting books, expert advice, emails, forums and websites, blogs, all searching for what an "AP" parent would do in that particular situation....but the kicker is that no one actually knows because AP is not something you do, it is something you are.
Most people follow Dr. Sears Baby B's...but I have said before and I will say it you really think he did all those? He was on tour making money. Bottom line. He had 8 kids to feed. It was Martha who really knows...but then she only knows how to parent *her* own kids.
So back to the CIO and the rest of the rules etc. We as "AP'ers" try to hold ourselves to some higher standard that our "mainstream" counterparts. I was right to get flamed by all those women. They were older and wiser and had learned more about parenting than I had in the 18 mos that I was a parent of one pretty easy boy.
But what happens in the AP community, I am noticing is that new moms come in trying to find out what constitutes AP and how to assimilate into the community but only have parents of children that are maybe 2 to 4 years older than their own children to gather information from. And you have your die hards that live on another level, or your super "natural/green" parents that follow another sect, and so the new mommies think that this is the norm that these are the parents that they have to look up to...when really in real life they are nothing like the posts and chats that they answer.
Really. Who is going to actually say that they did something that is not AP on an AP forum. NO ONE. Because people are so afraid of losing their community or tribe or what have you.
So they form little separate groups with other moms of kids the same age and get together in real life and find out that it's okay to dislike your child somedays, and that makes you human.
But this doesn't help the community as a whole because those secret conversations are not shared with all the new mommies that are looking for support.
It seems to me to be a real conundrum.
People are not completely honest for fear of being judged by those who are afraid of being judged themselves. All because some "expert" wants to make money by selling a book, and tours and an endorsed "arms reach cosleeper."

So, in closing to this incredibly long winded blog post...I am going to post the things that I hate about myself and how I parent...a confessions post (which we used to do in the AP group long ago) to let others see just how human I am.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Is Santa Real?

Every year there are a slurry of posts about whether or not to "do" Santa. Lots of parents feel like it is lying to their kids and do not feel comfortable with it.
This post of Code Name Mama really breaks it down on why that particular blogger doesn't engage in the Santification of Christmas.
I get it. I really do. Of course we don't want to lie to our kids about anything, but you are lying to yourself if you think that you will never stretch the truth with regards to your kids.
I hate the commercialization of Christmas. There is nothing that I hate more than having to think of some gift that you know is just going to get re-gifted or returned or the like. Wasting money. I would rather give homemade items or things that I know will get used.
I personally think that Christmas is only for children, and because of that we "do" Santa every year. For me it's not lying. I don't tell my kids that there is a Santa. I ask them what they think, and they think that he is real.
Who am I to tell them that he isn't? Just because I personally don't believe in something doesn't mean that it ceases to exist for anyone else.
Also, because St. Nick was a real person, (as far as anyone knows) then why can't we still celebrate the idea?
Really.... I am finding it harder to explain to my son the story of Jesus. And you know what? I use the exact same wording when it comes to Jesus and God as I do for Santa.
Some people believe in Santa. Do you Keenan? How do you think he gets from house to house, etc etc. Some people believe in Jesus. Do you Keenan? Do you think there were angels at his birth? And you know what...he does.
Is it lying that I don't tell him MY belief on God or Jesus or angels, or fairies etc.
I want my kids to question the world and question my beliefs and my parent's beliefs and my husband's beliefs and on and on...because they are human, and we have the ability to think and learn for ourselves.
So I will provide information, and let my kids believe in what they want to believe and support that decision and play along....because really I have never stopped believing.
Santa, in my opinion is the spirit of giving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time Marches On

As everyday goes by I think that I want to update my blog but never seem to have the time. I started this blog to keep my musings as I am a journaling type of person and enjoy writing for leisure. With the kids being sick non-stop these last two weeks any type of "leisure" seems to be a pipe dream, but isn't that just the way? The kids take priority.
Getting sick this week myself showed me what awesome supports I have in this city of mine. We had a massive dump of snow and yet my friend still came to my house with a bottle of gingerale, and my parents drove to come and collect my whole family so that my mom could take care of us.
While being taken care of, instead of being the one taking care of, it really hit me how in denial of my hyperthyroidism I am.
Last year while pregnant with Ewan I was diagnosed with Graves disease and at the time I was devastated. No, it's not cancer, but it is a major lifestyle change, diet change, daily medication and the like. Stuff that until this week I was just not interested in even thinking about.....but as the post says "Time marches on" and I really need to get it under control.
Not only because I am hungry all the time, and yet do not have an appetite, but also because I am so tired, and weak and insomniatic.
I need to get it together for the sake of my kids. I bet that I would be a way better mom without these incredible mood swings and anger outbursts...all related to hormones.
I am just so tired of being tired.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Re:I feel like such a terrible mother :-(

This blog post is an answer to a post on feeling overwhelmed and such with your first child when pregnant...I wanted to keep this to remind myself.

I have been trying different ways to post this and sounding supportive.
Please read this with love and understanding as that is what I am trying to convey, and WISH that someone had posted this for me when I was feeling the same way...

#1 - you are hormonal as many people have said which causes you to lose your temper faster or be irritated by things that may not have irritated you in the past.
#2 - you are tired which is more of the same above
#3 - you are wrapping your head around having another one and all the psychological stuff that comes with that...and believe me that in itself is a huge point.

But, #4 - your daughter doesn't know any of that, and to her they are just empty excuses.

When I was pregnant with my second, and after he was born my first (keenan's) whole world fell apart. I *used* to listen to his needs, wants, demands etc as much as I could, I researched, posted and listened to so many people, but it turned to all about ME because *I* was grumpy, *I* was tired, *I* was sick really *I* ceased to be the mom that he was used to the mom that he knew, I was some stranger that puked all the time and yelled.

After coming out of it at 6mos post partum (and dealing with some PPD), I realized that I HATED myself for being that mom, and that I couldn't be AP if I had broken his little spirit so badly...and so became the anger to myself, which still eaked out towards keenan until he was 3.5-4.
And then I got pregnant with Ewan and realized that these kids didnt ask for this.
They don't ask for us as parents and they certainly do not ask for a you know what, I stopped.
I stopped yelling, and cursing and the like because *I* did this to *myself*. *I* was the one who was pregnant and if I wanted to get mad at anyone it needed to be at the man who made me that way and not the child who was just wanting a cuddle, a glass of milk or the like.
We can not change their behaviour but we can change how WE react to it.

I know you are sick, and tired and scared of not having enough love or that you won't be a "good" parent or an "AP" parent....but that doesn't really matter. Your daughter loves you NO MATTER WHAT!

And if you feel bad now you can change the way that you are reacting so that you don't have the same regret that I have and feel bad for every. single. day.

You are a GOOD MOM! You CARE! This shows that you are the best kind of mom.

Stop beating yourself up, go into her room and tell her that you love her, that you are grumpy because you feel sick and remember she isn't doing any of that on purpose...she just needs you.

So be there.

And when you get so mad that you want to yell and scream and say how much you dislike your child at that moment for doing X, come on here, vent, blog, or call me (number left out for the world wide web)...
because I have BEEN there and will never ever judge you.
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