Monday, August 3, 2009


I am surrounded by parents, as we all are, and as my own children grow I pay more attention to the parents I see around me. What they do that works, what doesn't. I see the toddler throwing a tantrum and wonder about the parent behind that child. I see a sweet polite helpful child and wonder the same thing.

I am a firm believer in parents raising children as much as possible and have been blessed with the ability to be home with my kids. I know many such women and still I see so many differences in the way we do things. Since we are all different people that is not surprising but some things others do completely confound me. Like the women desperate for a child to fulfill her. She plans and plots, uses fertility help even though she doesn't need it, and gets pregnant. She talks of her joy in the child, all the things she wants to do with and for the child. Then the child is born and she puts it in a chair so she can go about her day without a worry for the child. Instead of nurturing, the child is more a fashion accessory. Then there are the women who talk of homemade baby food and cloth diapers and co sleeping and sling wearing. They talk about how good their plan is but once it comes time to implement it they realize how much work goes into these things and give up but bash those who didn't try that way first.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud all women who do all they can for their children. I know there are many ways to parent, to teach, to love. I just hate seeing people have children for any other reason than that they want to provide life and love to another being. I hate seeing women who are looking for a way to trap their guy, an added tax deduction, a fashion statement, or because they think they are supposed to. What happened to children being the product of love and of a want to share the love between mates with a being that was created by that love?


  1. If someone had told me that being so tired could physically hurt - that I could lay awake at night and cry and fear the "what ifs" - that I could clean some of the most disgusting things up and wonder what kind of sick little twisted child could conceive of doing some of the stuff they did with food and/or bodily functions - if I added up all they cost, I would have never had single one...

    And then they smile, they reach for you, they say your name, they light up at the sight of you, they fit just so in your arms...

    And its all forgotten...and I wonder why I only had 3 ;)

    Precious post!

  2. Lila,

    I think we are re-inventing the wheel.

    Go back to the 1960's and 1970's and you find a generation or two that spent their lives telling their parents that the parents were stupid and couldn't be trusted. I grew up with "Never trust anyone over 30." A generation did.

    And a nation, largely, lost the ability to parent.

    Dr. Spock came out with his infamous baby book, and we lost the breastfeeding bond.

    The problem is just what you point out - we have parents around us, that we look to for inspiration and guidance. But no one has the in-depth understanding of what works, like the parents of the large happy family. When parents have children ranged over 20 years, by the time they get to the littlest, they know what is important, and they have enough help and hands to get done what needs done. Very, very few of us have parents like that available as friends or relatives.

    I doubt there has ever been a nation of all "good" parents. That is, some figure that beating the child is all it takes; others try to stop fussing and conflict by overindulging. Most, though, take a healthier middle road, mostly.

    I found a good teacher's book, Tools for Teaching, that explains some very important concepts in getting and keeping attention, communicating, and keeping control of a room full of children of any age. Every parent should have access to this book - their kids would be better prepared for the classroom, and teachers would be much more effective.

    I consider the home to be a micro-culture, a system of justice, discipline, values, and traditions, that interacts with the local community and nurtures (hopefully!) the family and the members of the family. Every culture defines what is right and wrong, how punishment is handled, etc. Many in the United States have no access to a functioning culture that provides good insight into what is best needed in the home, to preserve the family, raise and nurture the children.

    Some churches have better track records for nurturing and guiding children and parents in good parenting. Some communities seem to share the information down through the generations by osmosis. Some good families pass on the family heritage intact.

    But many are left putting together scraps from TV sitcoms, beer commercials, bad jokes, comedy routines, movies, and articles in Cosmo, Seventeen, Redbook, Readers Digest and National Equirer. Many try to make sense of reports from the school or DHS, comments from friends and neighbors. And product ads at Wal-Mart, JC Penney, and Toy 'R Us.

    In short, few have most of the best answers, and many struggle to understand the question.

    Just one for-instance. I contend that the United States does not, culturally or socially, agree on the questions - why should I or anyone have a child? This question is not about the child, whether or not to bring a child into the world. Assuming some individual, couple, or family feels a responsibility, a need, to create a child - what would that driving need be?

    I consider that question, why should one have a child, to be fundamental to solving problems of spotty parenting, of teen or other unwanted pregnancies, of recognizing what makes a community healthy, and the problem with so many bad relationships and failed marriages.


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