Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

With an unbutton and a pat, it was announced. This was a long-awaited announcement for many. Eagerly anticipated, rabid rumors swirled in the past, all to be debunked.  This time, it’s true, though. 

Beyonce is pregnant!  (Not me, sillies!  😆  Sorry to say, that ship has sailed and sunk.  :lol:)

I am not wrapped up in celebrity, and I don’t particularly care about Beyonce/Jay Z, but this situation has gotten me thinking……

Initial reaction was to be pleased that they are going to have a baby.  Y’all know I’m about mothers and babies, and have very strong opinions about mothering.  And that’s putting it mildly.  😉

I see another side to this. While, yes, Beyonce has said she would have a baby at 30 (and I won’t even go into mapping out the minutiae in a your life), she has also made it well-known she was terrified to actually have a baby, after watching her sister.

I’m not going to rant about births being too medical and the damage unneccessary (and scheduled) C-sections cause, not just for the mother, but for the baby, too. (The keyword here being unnecessary– certainly, there are time when lives are saved- I’m not talking about those times)  That’s a topic for another blog entirely.  😀

Nope, I’m talking about the role women often find themselves forced into. I agree, people often have preconceived ideas about birth (and breastfeeding).  Often, those ideas are not based on actual fact; certainly not experience (if it’s the first for a mother), and often, those preconceived ideas affect decisions mothers make on every single front.

The easy answer is to ensure that every woman gets fact- solid information based on science and *good* studies that aren’t backed by companies who have vested interest in the “outcome” (like artificial baby milk manufacturers, for example), and let those mothers make their own decisions.  There is no replacement for critical thinking.

Since we all know that’s not going to happen any time soon because there’s just too much money tied up in it and I as a single person don’t actually have much sway in the big business arena and I have no designs on becoming politically active, the only real avenue for change available to me is what happens in my home.

Are you totally confused?  🙂

My rant today is about the social perception of women. I am not a bra-burning feminist in the traditional sense.  Before you go throwing rocks at me, let me explain.  🙂

I love women.  I think women are God’s gift to the world.  Women are unique; we are not men. We have a distinct place in the world and that place is no less than a man’s place in the world.  I believe in equal pay for equal work.  I believe in equal opportunity.  If a woman can do the same job as a man, she should be paid the same and get the same benefits that would be afforded to a male counterpart. Women and men, though, ARE different.

And from this fact, is where this issue stems. The problem, as I see it, is society in general. Roles are assigned to people based on gender- really, it’s true- and this is why women in the workplace often get the short end of the stick.  Women who have children miss more days of work.  More than that, women who have children are *expected* to miss more days of work than men with children.

Women are expected to want to have children.  Certainly (and my husband can attest to this), if a woman has a ticking clock, it can be LOUD and can-and usually will- dominate her every waking thought.

But is that ticking real?  Is it really a desire the actual woman has, or has it been so engrained in society that children are what women should want that it’s really the expectation of children that is ticking and not so much the woman’s desire?

When I was growing up, the expectation was that I would go to college, meet a man, get married, and stay home when the babies came. True to form, while my path may have veered and taken its own route, where am I now?  I’m married, with 4 kids.  Yep, I mostly stay home with them (although I’ve been active volunteering for a good many years and now have a very part-time job that deals with kids), and we homeschool.

Those are not choices and decisions I question.  I whole heartedly believe that in the early years, the child has an intense need for his mother’s presence that is as basic as its need for food. After all, the child has no say in this deal, and if you are going to have them, there are basic things they *really* need, and are entitled to, for natural development.

My sticking point is this, though: What is wrong with a woman not wanting children?  Why do we as a society ostracize them? Why do we think less of a woman who isn’t married and doesn’t want kids or who is married but doesn’t want children? Why has the “in club” in adult women become exclusive to only those who have children? It is just so we can sit around and tell our war stories about pregnancy and birth?

You probably know by now that out of my four kids, three of them are girls.  You probably already know, too, that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And my personal struggle is trying to be content.  Yes, I’m grateful for my life; for my family and living situation.  Yes, I’m grateful for the opportunities I get to experience because of the that situation. And yes, motherhood IS the most challenging job out there on the planet.  It’s probably also one of the least societally acknowledged jobs.  Dirty Jobs has got nothing on motherhood!

I want my girls to know- and to truly understand- that I don’t have any expectations (besides moving out of the house and being self-sustaining adults :lol:).  I want them to be happy.  I want them to know themselves well enough to make their own choices, and follow their own interests. I can’t do it for them. I can’t live their lives for them; my feelings about their choices should never take precedence or replace their own.

I want them to follow their own paths; unencumbered and unpressured by me or society. I will help them achieve their dreams and goals in any way I can  And, if somewhere along the way, they choose to have kids, I’ll be thrilled. If they don’t, though, they will never be “less than” or “missing out” because it’s not my life; it’s theirs.

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Really. Don’t listen to me.  I don’t know anything, and certainly not that. ‘Cause, you know, I’ve never done actual research on that or anything. My opinion certainly isn’t based on fact or anything.  Nope, I don’t know anything at all.

My girls came home yesterday, after having been gone since Monday.  The whole thing (night after night after night) was unplanned.  Calls were made each day to ask for an extension, and to ask permission to go places.

This stemmed from incidents when the oldest was a baby and a quick trip literally around the corner resulted in driving around town- without a car seat- and us sitting and waiting for the longest time while we panicked, wondering where the heck they were with our week old baby.  Our thoughts at the time had been “Surely they would not do something like that.”   Wrong!  We learned all kinds of things at that time (in a nutshell, they were going to do what they wanted, not as we, the actual parents, said) which resulted in no babysitting and only sporadic, short-lived overnight stays for the last 15 years.

And while I appreciate the learned response of “no way we are putting you in a car without their permission so you had better call and ask” (which, I have to say, is a first because we KNOW they have snuck them off places before, even though I still have 2 in car seats and then didn’t have any) I expected I’d probably have to do some kind of damage control in some way.

I just didn’t expect it to be one the same things that we’d already gone round and round over. *sigh*

As silly as it may seem, I have spent years- literally, years– battling all kinds of old wives tales.  Everything from birthing, to breastfeeding, to child raising, to homeschooling laws, and now back to hummingbirds, has been subjected to these old wives tales which are then given to my children as fact.

My factual reasearch (including medical journals by you know, *doctors* and people with degrees) has always been snarled at. Literally.  And their “research” (thoughts that were based on hearsay from older family members or an opinion based on something they heard once upon a time) has always trumped mine (in their opinions), because, after all, what did I know?

If there is one thing- a single thing– to know about me, it is this: I am the queen of research will research something obsessively (part of my OCD rearing its head here) and into the ground before I give an educated opinion.  If I research and can’t find information, I’ll tell you that. “I haven’t found enough information to form an opinion.”

If I find conflicting information in equal ratios, I’ll tell you that. “Some research says…… while other information says….. As far as I can tell, the jury is still out.”

If I have personal experience with something, I may share that, too.  “While research says….. my personal experience was…….” or “Rearch/experts say/s……. and my experience was…… For what it’s worth.”

Another thing to know about me is that I don’t give much stock into “experts.”  I’ve known people who have claimed to be “experts” who have no actual first hand knowledge of something.  This does not apply to certain people like Dr. Thomas Hale ; Dr. Jay Gordon,  or Dr. Jack Newman, who have years and years of practice, observation, and critical documented scientific studies under their collective belts.

Nope, I think there are a great many people who proclaim expert status who have no actual real experience with their topic of “expertise” and/or rely on stuff they find solely in books to support their claims.

I believe experience is the best teacher. I believe there are things you can’t know-even about yourself- unless or until you have experienced them yourself.  Experience really IS the best teacher, 9 out of 10 times. (I always leave room for the exception to the rule, too :lol:)

It goes without saying that if you tell me (or in this case, my children) and promote it as fact, you had better have some personal experience with it AND have your ducks in a row.

Last night, I sent my oldest daughter facts  information regarding comments that were said to them recently. Even though I had several sites saved, I still did another search, because sometimes new information comes along and debunks the old info. The other comment I posted on a large forum and asked for comments and opinions.  Not surprisingly, the ones I received within minutes echoed my own, even though the one comment made to my kids was a “this is the best way to do it and we always did it that way” kind of thing.

And still my dd was miffed.  I mean, really?  She says “I wasn’t saying they were right, just telling you what they said.”  And then she was bent I sent her information? What is the point of telling me something that was said unless you want an opinon or information regarding the accuracy of the statement? Especially when it’s told to you AS FACT and qualified with a comment of “According to my research….”

My response, of course, was to ask, “What specifically was her research?” This is coupled with thinking “her definition of “scratch” is to scratch something processed and pre-made and say she made it from “scratch.” Now, it’s a big joke because the kids called her on it, but how long was she passing stuff off as the traditional “made from scratch” before they realized the deception? (and, anything made in her house is “homemade,” too)

If you tell me someone told you something, I am either going to confirm or deny it, based on the evidence I can find.  And I’m going to use one of the statements above.

Maybe I should have stuck with my old standby: “If I have wanted their (your) opinion/s, I would have asked for it.”  Meh.

Critical thinking.  I’m a big fan.  If everyone had- and USED– good critical thinking skills, I think as a species we’d be a lot better off for it.

Apparently, I don’t know anything.  So, don’t take my word for it.  Do your own **** research and come to your own conclusions!

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