Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Attachment Parenting and Indepence is it an either/or?

I was recently reading this article why-my-kids-are-not-center-of-my-world on what modern parenting is doing to harm our kids and why they will not be able to function in the world because parents dote on their children and take away the realities of the world. I agree with encouraging children to problem solve, deal with ambiguity, deal with violence and hurt feelings. So in principle I agree with a lot of what this mother is saying. I would also say that although I would lay down my life for them my children are not the center of my world and I do not dote on them.
However I do take issue with one of the comments on the post that attachment parenting as a modern parenting mindset prevents independence and the ability to self soothe. What do babies being comforted and having their needs met have to do with learning to deal with the realities of the world? Is this person saying that if you meet your babies needs that later in life this adult will not be able to function in society without handholding? That's quite the slippery slope. I am of the opinion that there are different stages in a child's life and the infancy stage is not the one in which I teach independence. There is plenty of time later in life when the child understands consequences and logic and patience to teach this. I guess it irks me that feels they have the right to judge how independent my child will be based on my parenting preferences.  My children happen to be very independent now able to play and problem solve independently. Both were worn, breastfed, coslept, neither was sleep trained and we responded to their crying. So in theory, although not proven, AP did not affect their independence or ability to problem solve.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mood Swings or Emotional Instability?

When you grow up with a mother that braves/suffers from/lives with mental illness you may, like me, question your own mental state at times. Like when I want to kill someone for chewing too loudly or slurping their coffee next to me. Or when I want to jump up and down and scream at my child for not putting his socks on.  Yes, I do indeed have scars from my living with a mother that swung from one side of the emotional tipping scale to the other and everything in between (sometimes on the same day). Don't get me wrong, I love my mother and admire her for her many amazing qualities some of which I am sure stem from her illness. Also, those scars obviously make me who I am for that I am grateful because I like who I am. I do however have a deep seeded fear of falling into the uncontrollable emotional abyss of mental illness.

The mood swings in pregnancy heighten this anxiety. This morning I wanted to cry because I NEEDED chicken strips and we had none and it was 9 am so really where I am going to get chicken strips at that hour. Yes I questioned my sanity as I sat feeling completely shattered over my lack of chicken strips. In reality this was not something that needs to be treated or prevents me from functioning. But what about the fact that my house is dirty, not just messy, but dirty. Or the fact that I rarely bake or cook anymore. Or that I am doing the bare minimum to get by in school. Does this signal depression? Or is it normal pregnancy blues? Sometimes I am overcome with contentment and joy but the feeling is fleeting and it rarely leads to motivation. Perhaps it is all linked to my junk food cravings and lack of exercise? I will bring exercise clothes tomorrow and pack my lunch. Can people who are depressed get out of it by making a plan? In my experience usually not so perhaps I am just preggo and moody.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pregnant again sigh....

I know in my heart it should be "Pregnant again Yay!" I am having trouble with the Yay part of it all. I don't remember feeling this blase` about my previous pregnancies. This one was unplanned but it is definitely not unwanted. I want this little being. I am just having a difficult time getting excited about getting fat, feeling awful, having a c-section, bleeding for 8 weeks, intense after pains, no sleep until I am pretty much dead etc. I am wondering if I am supposed to analyze this or if I should just let it be. I know I will love this child when it's out free ranging in the world. I know my thoughts and feelings cannot harm this baby. I thought when I started to feel better I would feel excited but I'm still ambivalent. Cranky and ambivalent. I am usually such a go with the flow type person not worrying just accepting that it will all fall into place. However right now I am worried about EVERYTHING: money, school, daycare, space, our vehicle etc. The ONLY thing that is exciting right now is making maternity clothes and that is about not wanting to spend any money and enjoying the challenge. Perhaps I need to add more challenges. I start a new job on the 18th so hopefully that will take my mind off of things until the ultrasound and feeling the baby dance on my bladder. Those should still be exciting right? Even though the heartbeat wasn't? Right?

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I am wondering how parents that strive for mindful and peaceful parenting find appropriate consequences for inappropriate behaviour by their children. What are the consequences for breaching the boundaries that are set? Often these behaviours are a result of an unmet need by the child. Like the fact that they need sleep. Does that excuse them from the consequences of behaving awfully? I tend to lean towards no.

M made some poor choices yesterday which resulted in H missing work and M missing camp. His behaviour was deplorable. It continued past bedtime. It was frustrating and emotionally draining for all involved. When this sort of emotional storm ensues I often feel left without any tools in my parenting tool belt. I resort to withdrawing privileges, threats, etc. But when he is just beyond, beyond is he able to hear me, process what I am saying and make a change in his actions? I doubt it.

Maintaining his dignity is important. He gets very embarassed and believes he is 'an idiot' his words not mine, when he makes poor choices. Helping him to make the appropriate decision and do what I have asked is the tricky part. Not yelling and raging is getting easier for me although I do still speak sharply. D's instant wailing is a reminder to not yell. It's kind of like conditional behaviour therapy. I yell = D screaming therefore I stop yelling.

I know in my head this is a normal developmental process that he is coming into himself. This means setting his own boundaries and learning to manage conflict. So how do I let him do that without taking us all down with him?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 14: Humour 20 days towards more mindful parenting

Last year I attempted to go through the twenty day exercise of being a more mindful parent that was started at The Parenting Passageway. However I only lasted until day 13 and even then it was several months between posts 11 and 13. Well as fate would have it Carrie is going through this exercise with her readers for the second time and it looks like I can pick up where I left off.

The topic is humour. Perhaps it is time for me to finally read Leonard Cohen's "Playful Parenting". I've had it for years and read sections of it as needed but I've never read it front to back. Maybe it would give me some tools and insights into my broody son that I plopped in the snow is his sock feet this morning. Yes bad parent moment. He did get his boots and coat on eventually but what could have been a funny, break the ice, moment just ended in a whole lot of mad.

I remember when I was younger I felt embarrassed and totally lacked confidence in anything except my academic abilities. Even then I didn't put those on the line in anything I could fail at. I remember a particularly humiliating moment when I grabbed something off a shared plate at a restaurant at dinner of which there were only two. My parents were shocked and let me know in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable. I felt the sting of humiliation on my cheeks and in my eyes and the awful fluttering in my chest. I don't know if I apologized... I hung my head but I doubt I apologized. It always felt embarrassing to say I was sorry, still does. Watching my son I often wonder if he feels the same way. If my harsh words and criticizing tone that comes out all too often make him feel ashamed. I need to learn to laugh at myself more. My husband has helped me with this over the years by gently teasing but even he knows he can't push it too far or I will clam up and get angry. Wait... that sounds just like my boy. How can I help him learn to laugh at himself when I have barely learned to do it myself.

He is boiling over right now and perhaps laughing is just what he needs to get him to express himself. He is doing a drama class in school. It's mandatory and he hates it. He hates putting himself out there and feeling silly. Perhaps we need to institute a little silly into our day. It might be awkward for the both of us since serious is our main game but it is something to try. Right now we need something.

The Balancing Act

It's been a while, almost 2 years since I wrote a blog post. Life has been busy. I am a graduate student taking a double degree in nursing and informatics. My husband had a car accident 2 months ago that injured him. My mom moved in and then moved out. My brother got married. My grandmother in law passed away. Yeah life's been moving at a fairly fast clip. I feel like I need to slow down. I am only taking one course with a full time coop this semester. That means 3 courses next semester though.

My boss in the computer world wants to know what my future plans are and if I plan on continuing to do a couple shifts a week there. The thing is I can't afford to. I like the experience and the people but the money isn't enough. Working Monday to Friday when you are used to the shift work and having weekdays off to catch up is quite the adjustment. I am not adjusted yet. I am wondering if I made the right choice. It is a mental challenge but there's a huge risk of failure which puts me on edge all. the. time. I thought perhaps I was striving for management or an executive lead position out of these degrees. Now I am thinking that the kind of lifestyle that brings with it. The late nights, early mornings and weekend work are not what I want at this point in my life. I am not cut out to be the stay at home mom but am I cut out to be the Executive mom who never makes it to her kids events because work is always in the way? I doubt it. Is there a middle ground? Can I have my career and be a present parent too?

As for the kids D is turning 4 this month. She is turning into a very emotionally insightful little girl, even if that means that she cries a. lot. She likes to dance and sing. She hates to compete unless she knows she can win (and then she gloats). Stress overloads her to the point of bursting at the seams. She is a clumsy sort and falls down standing still on a straight surface. She is loving. This morning I am home sick and I sent the kids to school and daycare. D had tears in her eyes and she snuggled her blankie and told me she would miss me. I could feel my heart tearing in two. I wanted to keep her home but knew I would get no rest then. Sigh... was I being selfish?

M is 6 and in grade one. He now reads and sings in both French and English. His logical, analytical, rule following brain helps him do really well in school. So well in fact that he is 'helping' another student who is doing less well in school. However the teacher mentioned that he would be 'helping' and they would get lunch treats on Fridays in their 'meetings'. The way that M explains it is that he has to remind this other child not to talk to much. It sounds like he is being rewarded for being a nag and a tattle which can't be making him very popular with the other kids. I really don't agree with this but I'm not sure if it harmful enough that I should request that it stop. I cannot picture what kind of fall out that would have.

This parenting thing is hard. Which is part of the reason I decided to not have any more kids. I made the decision on my own without my husband who had been on the fence about this for a long time. I always thought we would have one more. But the thought of a baby at this point in my life makes me want to cringe. There are all kinds of factors like money, time, career aspirations, personal fitness goals that impacted my decision. I always thought I would just 'know' that I was done but I think I needed to feel good about me and where I am at before I could close that door. So it's closed, but not locked for a year as husband wants to wait that amount of time before making it permanent if you know what I mean ; )