When I was younger, before I had kids, my response to tragic events was to go numb, immerse myself in a protective bubble of denial and go about my life. I wasn’t callous or uncaring. In fact, these events affected me so deeply that the only way I could function was to find a way to bury my emotions until I was ready to dig them up again.
But, bubbles tend to be weak. And, I have other feelings to shield aside from my own. I have two children, who, thus far, have no idea about mass shootings. I am facing the truth of this no longer being a mystery. My oldest will be practicing lock-down drills in his school this week. How much will he learn? I don’t know. But, he will have questions. Questions pricking holes through the bubble. Continue reading →
If you have young children, you have likely heard some iteration of the phrase, “Enjoy every moment,” repeatedly. They are the words uttered to you with a smile by the store cashier as she sees your toddler yanking at your hand. It is the comment on your Facebook post about finally getting the kids to bed.
Being a new parent is tough, but not tough enough to ever be sad, angry or even just a tiny bit annoyed by the situation.
That is what you are telling a new parent when you say, “Enjoy every moment.”
Being a kid in the 1970s, 80s or 90s was so much better than today, or so says countless essays, listicles and Facebook rants. We played in the street, stayed put until dark and used our imagination instead of iPads. Our parents were stern, but still gave us freedom to explore. We tell our own children of the good old days and wax poetic about how wonderful their lives would have been back then.
Raising children today can never be like it was. Society changes, values evolve, technology grows, new challenges emerge, etc., etc. Our grandparents grew up very differently from our parents, as did our parents from us. Our great grandparents may not have had much of a childhood because, back then, kids were expected to work at a young age.
Our ancestors are looking down on us and wondering what is wrong with us. Our kids are fortunate in so many ways. They are not suffering the burden of a Great Depression or the terror of a World War. And while, as a New Yorker, I do not discount the real fear of terrorism, the truth is, kids in the United States are safer than ever. Instead of bemoaning the fate of our children, let’s give them the childhood they deserve. Continue reading →
When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided I would keep working. My job as a writer/editor enabled me to work from home, and, while it didn’t pay a lot, it did provide decent insurance coverage for my family. My husband, then an independent contractor, also worked from home. Our ability to work where we wanted and flexible schedules, in theory, gave us the perfect scenario for keeping our jobs while raising our children.
Before my baby was born, I arranged, what I thought at the time, was a pretty sweet setup. I would work from home four days a week and come in to the office for one. I could be at home with my child and still work. On those days I had to be in the office, my husband could take care of the baby. What kick-ass parents we would be. Killing it in the workforce and as parents.
I love my children unconditionally. I imagine most parents and other caregivers would agree our children could do very little to lose our affection. They will test us, absolutely, but, we will remain steadfast in our devotion.
Our children earned our love the moment they entered our lives. They owe us nothing. They need not prove a single thing. We chose them. Whether by birth, adoption, or act of faith or circumstance. We asked for them, and they answered. We owe them our love.
Thanksgiving is nigh, and that means lots of articles, essays, poems and prose on all of our blessings. I am, of course, grateful for my two beautiful children. I could write a whole post about how wonderful they are, and most parents would nod in agreement. We can like and share the precious moments and everyday gifts, gushing about our little angels.
But, what about the things us parents are really thankful for. You know, the stuff that probably won’t make the greeting card aisle. I thought those things are worth celebrating.
My youngest is 19 months old and still breastfeeds. I know writing the word “still” might seem both absurd and shocking depending on who you ask. This is what is working right now, so for me, this is normal. Like with most things related to my second child, I have much firmer, I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude regarding the parenting of my children.
My oldest was weaned very gradually, starting from the time he was about a year old until he was off my breast by 20 months. It was a gentle process that utilized the support of those closest to me. And, while, my son was/is a high needs child, having no other children to care for at the time meant I could focus my energy on assuring his needs were met beyond our nursing relationship.
My youngest son has different needs. In many ways, he is less demanding than my oldest. He was never the type of round-the-clock feeder. He also easily adapted to his role as the second child and the divided attention that is part of the deal.