Monday, March 25, 2013

Things I Am Thinking About

I have read some stories recently on the news and blogs that I have been mulling over and feel the need to externally process. I don't know that I have settled on my final opinion but writing my thoughts out usually brings me to a conclusion.

1. Why is there so little confidence around parenting styles nowadays?? I feel like most parents I talk to express within a few minutes of talking about their children that they are questioning their choices or decisions around discipline, schooling, sleep training- whatever the current issue is. And I do it too, more out of habit than anything else. I was having lunch with my friend Jen last week and because she tends to bring unfiltered thoughts out of me, I "confessed" that I actually have no concerns about the way Grant and I have decided to parent Purslane and Knox. My struggle right now is having the time and energy to carry out the decisions we have made about parenting. I spend very little time reading books or searching blogs for advice or information- I really think we are confidently raising our children with the values we have agreed are important and in line with the family structure we decided to live by.

I am proud of the things I have discovered I simply cannot do and have let go of, rather than making my husband and children suffer for my inability to adapt. Sometimes when I am sleep deprived or out of patience or in a stressful situation I fail to carry out the parenting philosophy that we live by, but it isn't because I didn't know what I wanted to do or say to be a parent to my babes. I feel like because of the huge access we have to information and the transparency by which people live their lives on social media and blogs, there is a surge of insecurity around parenting. And I have felt it when I talk to Mamas who have made different decisions and are asking me about mine. My first instinct often is to defend my choices rather than simply explain and move on. Particularly if my choices aren't working out for me that day, manifested by "bad behavior" in my children.

I have blogged quite a bit recently about how hard things have been around here, trying to figure out how to keep up with an almost 3 year old and an 18 month old. I have felt like a failure and an unfit mother. But I am able to recognize that those bad days are not unusual or special. I am not alone or unique. I am one of the masses of mothers of young babes. And some days are more magical than others... But if you ask me what I think are the pillars of our family structure, I would tell you without pausing for a moment that we believe in grace, love, an open door, relationships, loyalty, manners, respect and a good beer. We believe God cares about the decisions we make and we are raising Pursy and Knox in this way. I am confident. I just need to let it show more often. Maybe I could encourage more confidence in other Mamas...

2. I have read quite a few stories now about the launch of a new Victoria's Secret line called "Bright Young Things" that many parents understood to be referring to underwear for middle school aged girls. The company has come out with statements claiming that Bright Young Things was referring to underwear for Spring Break, not young girls. Apparently the line is all brightly colored and appears juvenile but it supposed to be "beachy" and fun.

My initial reaction was an eye roll. One more thing, right? First we had Abercrombie and their tween half naked models, then Target and their "Party Favor" t-shirts in the Young Girl sizes. I am just surprised that VS is just now coming under fire by parents not wanting their daughters to start reeking of sexuality too early.

I actually think the parents who are boycotting VS have misguided anger. Even if the statement was a lie and Vicky's actually IS targeting 12 year olds, I would still shop there because they sell beautiful lingerie that has a specific purpose. If I took off my jeans and Grant didn't think about sex, I would take my underwear back and demand my $25 be refunded. The problem isn't Victoria's Secret. The problem is a culture that has folded back on itself when it comes to women and sexuality. I read a book a few years ago called Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy, which addresses the reality that women have begun to objectify themselves in their desire to be fully liberated. I don't really want to go any further into that discussion, but I have plenty of thoughts if you want to hear more.

3. If any Mamas out there have not read the blog post by Fried Okra (Megan Cobb) entitled Dear Mom on the iPhone, you absolutely should. It is a beautiful example of why anyone (but particularly Mamas) should hold their judgment of others unless you have all the information. I talked about a blog that was circulating a few weeks ago about being a "hands-free Mama", encouraging mothers to put down their devices and just live in the moment. I agreed with the idea of the hands-free moment. I used the inspiration to spend a little less time behind my camera and a little more time just laughing at whatever antics Pursy or Knox was doing right then. Not trying to capture it, just enjoy it. And I moved our computer to the upstairs office instead of leaning against the counter over a cup of coffee surfing facebook or my favorite blogs after breakfast. I'm glad I did. But I hope that I didn't encourage (read: guilt) anyone else to do the same without proper introspective searching. Some good ideas don't apply to you. Or me. See #1 on this blog if you aren't tracking with my thoughts on this.

I think that's good for tonight. Just some things I am thinking about...

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