Our childhood v their childhood

I read a post the other day where the author said that she has learnt to parent from her parents, and is doing things differently. What followed was a laundry list of the things that she felt she missed out on because her family has 5 kids and not a huge amount of money. Stuff like she didn’t get lunch orders and she didn’t get to do much of the extra stuff. So now her kids get lunch orders each week and do heaps after school.

My mother would have asked you whether you were feeling hardly done by. And that really is what is going on. She is living her childhood the way she wanted it to be through her kids. Giving them what she wanted.

It just seems like a ridiculous thing to do. By all means improve on your parents parenting if necessary. If your parents were emotionally distant and you were bullied to a point where it was awful, but you could not talk to them, by all means connect more with your kids! But it does not mean you have to become their best friend.

I still remember watching a series called Status Anxiety by Alain de Boton. On of the things he said was that we almost universally look towards those who have more than us and covet their status and ignore those below us. It drives us to not be content with our lives. This mother has looked at those kids in her childhood who seemed to have it better and it felt like everyone else had more than she did. I am guessing that it was just an illusion as she would not have noticed that others did not have that stuff either. When I was at school it always felt like everyone else got lunch orders all the time and I didn’t. But now as a teacher for 15 years I know that it is just a few kids who have them heaps, not most kids.

I know with my peers at some point we used to always talk about the cool childhood stuff that we missed out on but it seemed that everyone had. We had a deficit model of childhood.

I guess I want to ask why are we trying to make our kids lives so great. Are we doing this stuff so that they can reach their developmental potential, or is it so they don’t miss out on anything.

I haven’t explored or expressed this very well, but I wonder where it will lead. It is so cheap and easy to get stuff these days, and we are so much more aware of what can be bought and what others are doing. Are we giving our kids a gift, allowing them to not regret their childhood, or are we robbing them of something important, something intangible, an experience that you can’t have what everyone else is having just because.

It takes a village…

I want my village.

I want to have been watching my aunts, sisters, cousins and mother have and raise babies. I wish I could have experienced that there is a huge range of normal. I want those people there in my current time of two small people, one of whom is trying to make a Berry shaped hole in her world.

I want a shoulder to cry on, a team to celebrate with and someone to talk to when my 10 month old is awake again, after waking every hour at 3am. Sometimes I think about that tribe in the Amazon who all live in a single building, and I wonder what we have lost in our never ending quest to be comfortable.

Most of all I want my grandmothers. Wise women who lived amazing lives. I want their insight, perspective and wisdom.

I want my village.

Sleep

So hard. Trying really hard to parent gently and I have read far more about it to be equipped. But. It is hard to parent a 2 year old gently when short of sleep. Of course she is trying to deal with heaps of change, and so her melting point is much lower.

Must keep on

Long Pause

Well it’s been a while since I’ve even thought about this blog, parenting and working got in the way, and now I have an almost 2 and a half year old girl – Berry – and a 4 month old boy – Monster, though he is anything but.

I’ve decided to have another crack at this as second time round really makes you think about what things worked first time round, which didn’t and which things matter now a bit further down the road.

After a recent experience in social media I’m left wondering if I have a worth while opinion, and if I give it too often unsolicited. Isn’t that part of what social media is about. So now I’m thinking I’ll bloviate here where it is my space and you are duly warned.

However, mostly I’ve come back here so I can explore some of the things that have me perplexed right now. Mostly parenting, but a bit of other stuff thrown in for good measure. I’d love to engage in conversation with others, but I doubt anyone else will read this. Anyway it’ll give me an outlet at 4 in the morning.

Routine and Gender Roles.

Not together.

Tonight is the first night of our ‘routine’. We’ve been doing a very baby-led routine until now, but now that I’m going to be working 3 days a week, and our lives are getting back to pre-baby busy, it seems like it is time to put a bit of parent direction into the mix. The end of daylight savings was chosen on purpose as we were going to have to adjust things anyway so it seemed like a good idea. The big things are the get up time, the midday nap and the start of dinner/going to bed. There is a bit of baby led stuff in the rest of the mix. Let’s see how it goes.

The other thing was as I was updating my ‘about’ it got me thinking about something someone said at church this morning. Two boys were hitting each other and one didn’t seem all that pleased about it. My teaching instincts got me to check with the boy that everything was alright and then chat to his Mum. She then got talking about how they were just boys and that is how they play. She then said that the eldest boy gets in trouble at school as he tries to play rough at school and his Mum needs to remind him that girls are a bit more gentle. It got me thinking about whether the boys are naturally more rough, or if that is a cultural expectation, and what was my little girl going to be like. Would she be gentle because ‘that’s what little girls are like’ or would she be allowed to play rough with the boys if that was in her personality. Or is rough play suitable for anyone?