Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | May 11, 2009

parenting in the modern world

I obviously think a lot about parenting. I question my abilities and my methods. I think that a lot of parents do that these days. The thing is, there are so many outlets out there telling us what to do, what to buy, how to teach, how to feed, there is no shortage of websites and articles and parenting magazines trying to tell parents what they are doing wrong.  In trolling the web today, I found a few pieces that got me thinking.

First, I found this is a very interesting article called How Mac N’ Cheese is Like a Cigarette. The article looks at how what we eat encourages overeating and how that contributes to the obesity of America – there are also some really interesting debates in the comments section.  The article is based on the book The End of Overeating which looks at the way Americans eat and how junk food encourages hypereating. In general, I think we feed the munchkin pretty darn well so I’m not overly concerned by this article, I just find it incredibly interesting. We follow the practice that your child will eat what they see you eating. We don’t eat a lot of junk food so neither does she – save for a love for m&m’s and ice cream.

I constantly ponder educating the munchkin, especially when I also think about the idea of being a stay at home mom. I’ve recently found a variety of blogs that are written by women who just seem to have it so much more together than I do (or so I beat myself up). Seems like there are tons of projects to make sure that kids learn their letters, numbers and colors. I’ve done none of them. However, the munchkin has had her letters, numbers and colors down pat for quite some time. Now she’s counting to 12 in Spanish. But I don’t do fancy arts and crafts projects like this. When I try to get the munchkin to do projects I’m usually met with some sort of disagreement. Perhaps because she does projects at daycare she wants to just do what she wants to do at home, but of course I second guess myself.

One of the blogs that I’ve recently fell in love with is FreeRangeKids and it has touched a nerve that sparked this post. Lenore Skenazy’s belief is that we should give our kids the freedom to grown and learn without driving ourselves nuts. Finally! A voice of reason. She wrote an absolute fabulous post about Mother’s Day and that what a mom really wants is to just relax a little. She continues to say that we aren’t just trying to relax in bed with a good book (although I’d really LOVE to do that more often), but we want

“a whole new way of parenting that is not quite so overwrought.  That’s a tall order in a country that has brought us a dozen different parenting magazines, a whole section of the book store devoted to childrearing issues, and the typical baby super store filled with 10,000 different items. Literally. We are swimming in so much advice, so many products and so much pressure to DO THE RIGHT THING, every second, every day, it is hard to feel like we are doing a decent job.”

You can also read an interesting interview with Skenazy here.

I think Mother’s Day just got me thinking. We work so hard and we are so incredibly hard on ourselves. I know I never thanked my mom enough (THANK YOU!!!!) and I truly didn’t understand anything my parents went through with us until I had a child of my own. But we have also become a society that always knows what everyone else is doing. Many of us can’t help but compare ourselves to other mothers, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. When I stop and think about it, I know that my munchkin is happy and that is the most important thing. She’s pretty smart, friendly and active. I might not be great at pretend play, but she’s been in a fabulous daycare with a woman who excels at it. She is polite, most of the time, and well behaved in restaurants and on airplanes. But can I teach her and do enough for her if I stay at home? Do mother’s groups help with this? It truly does take a village.

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