14 August 2009

Thought experiment

Imagine for a moment what you would be like as a mother if you had never read any parenting magazine or website; any book on how to raise, teach, or discipline your kids; any blog about how some person you've never met runs her kitchen and her bathroom and her nursery and her yard.

Imagine what you would be like as a mother if the main observations you had made about being a mother were of your immediate and extended family of origin, and your other observations were of people whom you know personally (internet only soul-acquaintances get no more than half credit, and that's just to be nice).

You wouldn't necessarily be better, but you would surely be different. The world's experts and pseudo-experts, fearmongers and doubt-raisers, tyrants and aspiring tyrants, paranoiacs and politicians, bloggers and braggers (forgive the redundancy) are good primarily for a laugh. After that: vanity, vanity.

When I try this exercise, I envision some concrete things (like fewer stupid library books brought home out of some sense of should-itude), but mostly less worrying about if I'm spending enough time and dispensing enough affection and disciplining with enough wisdom. I see myself not thinking about how Goneril's kids were all potty trained at 18 months (or four years), and caring what Brunhilde will say if I confess I'm really sick of everything I swallow and spray and put leftover pizza sauce in being a HEALTH!! issue, and searching for meaning in Zdenka's disclosure that her 3-year-old learned how to read in 100 easy lessons, and trying to figure out if a cluttered house is a sin or if thinking a cluttered house is a sin is a sin.

I trust whom I trust, and realize that only one of them is trustworthy. The rest, mostly as unqualified as I to make most of the everyday judgments I must make, provide comfortable camaraderie, not confirmation of the rightness of those judgments. Everyone else is comic relief, and if I can't laugh about it, I steer clear.

10 comments:

Melrose said...

where was this post a couple days ago?! :) Thank you for a much needed reminder.

MooreMama said...

Honestly? I'd probably be less confident in my choices. My parenting ideals are not exactly the norm here in formula-feeding-antibiotic-happy-cows-milk-is-wonder-food-and-breastmilk-magicly-turns-to-water-at-a-year land. Having strong women that live in this box and tell me that I'm not so wierd (and by the way, neither is my mom, who is the only other person that I know IRL that parents like me) bolsters my confidence and gives me the backbone to stand up to ... my MIL.

Rebekah said...

I looooooooooove antibiotic happy cows' milk. :)

Tena said...

Thanks again for another wonderful post.

EKGaunt said...

Eek.

Having few great examples in my personal life, I for one am thankful for the wisdom I can happen upon elsewhere.

Monique said...

I have to agree with MooreMama and EK Gaunt.

We are raising our family so different from the way we were raised, I've found great comfort in books, blogs, etc.

Rebekah said...

There is definitely encouragement and solidarity to be found away from home. I've also witnessed pretty closely the good that can come of knowing that what one grew up with is NOT what one's kids are going to grow up with. What I could do without is the guilt-tripping, one-upping, and alarmism.

Gauntlets said...

As one who only recently started oiling her feathers against the rain cloud of Supreme Awesome Parenting, hear hear.

Homeschooling sucks. Cleanliness is next to godliness only because it's completely unattainable. I hate the big stack of library books that none of us is interested in reading, and that can't seem to find its way home. . . This list might go on forever, but no doubt no one really cares to read it, so I'll stop.

Thesis: Everything is hard, and the only things worth doing are even harder. So. I'm just going to do (and likely blog about) all the hard things however I want, as long as they let me get away with it.

Solidarity, however, is good for the morale. C'mon friend. Let's go break something.

Reb. Mary said...

Hey Gauntlets, easy on the homeschooling there. Aren't you supposed to be giving me a little pep talk on the topic right about now? ;)

Gauntlets said...

Reb. Mary, my dear friend, homeschooling is a lot like nursing: not at all as romantic as everyone wants you to believe. I like you too much to tell you otherwise.

I feel a post coming on. Wait for it. . .