Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogging on the Road

I just downloaded the Blogger app, which lets me write blog posts on the go. Which I would never do under normal circumstances because typing on the iPhone makes me want to ram a sharp object in my eye, but am doing now as we are in the middle of moving and I have some time to kill in the car.

Yeah, moving sucks. Our house is empty, our belongings on a truck somewhere. The kids have handled it pretty well so far. We're all just trying to keep this a positive experience.

However, I am sad. I have a hard time imagining strangers living in our house. It's hard for me to imagine my babies, who have spent their entire lives in our home, living somewhere else.

Yet, here we are. On the road to visit A's sister, then off to Florida. Lots of driving to do.

Thankfully, there is also a sense of excitement about starting our new journey. I'm trying hard to embrace the changes ahead. I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Blog Post I Took Down

I decided to take the blog post I wrote last night off of the blog. I had somehow imagined that speaking openly about a bad time in my life would make me feel better. However, instead, the thought of having everyone know about things that happened to me many years ago that not even my family members know about had me tossing and turning all night with anxiety and guilt. I have no explanation for these feelings, but there they were.
Some skeletons are better left in the closet, it seems. I apologize for any confusion and I thank all of you who commented and sent me messages. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me or see me as a victim. I had some bad things happen to me, but I came out on the other side and though it is part of my past, it is not the person I am today. I am by no means an innocent person- I have done my share of wrongs in the past and have hurt many people.
So forgive me for taking the post down. I am in the process of experimenting with this blog and seeing what I am comfortable exposing. Last night’s story was not something I wanted to continue sharing and I have learned from it. Thank you for understanding!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Barely Blogging

I love writing. I love my blog. Unfortunately, I feel as though it is stuck in a hole, as if my writing hasn’t grown at all since I started blogging.
I have mostly been blogging about the things I feel most passionately about- parenting, breastfeeding, etc. However, limiting myself to this subject seems to have hindered me in my development. I continue to write about my opinions on the things I care about most without paying too much attention to the style of writing or the quality thereof. It feels as though I keep running in circles.
Furthermore, publishing so much information about myself and my family, as well as my sensitivity to criticism, have left me at times feeling naked and vulnerable. People I haven’t spoken to in a year know exactly what I’ve been up to because they were able to read it on the blog.  People I have never met think they know exactly what type of person I am, categorizing me as arrogant and self-centered. I thought I wouldn’t mind a bit of transparency in my life, but I do.
Recently, I was involved in a FB discussion (I know, I spend way too much time on there…) regarding bloggers. Someone pointed out how blogging is such a thankless job, as you spend lots of time devoted to doing it without much of a compensation (if any) Then someone chimed in saying that this didn’t always apply- there were lots of bloggers out there who are good at what they do and are making money doing it. That hit me hard. Not because I need or want money or because I need the validation, but because I am unsuccessful at what I have been doing.
Since my blogging journey began, I have seen many new bloggers emerge. Some of them kind of gave up again. Others now have incredibly successful blogs. They are paid to do this. They are asked to write for other websites and are compensated accordingly. All the while, I am still doing the same thing I did three years ago (or however long it has been) with the exact same results and hardly any readers.
I tried to tell myself that not everyone can be successful. Just like e.g. in the world of music, some people never make it big despite having incredible talent (sometimes I think that my singing is actually miles better than my writing, but that’s another story) I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t my fault, that the others were just lucky. The truth is: I haven’t tried hard enough! I haven’t progressed, I haven’t bettered myself. I have let my writing fall into a casual style, charged with emotions and opinions.
It’s hard to admit that my blog is not good. I try to cling to the few voices who have given me heart felt praise, telling myself that at least some of the time, my writing is pretty decent.
Please don’t mistake this for a pity-party or some sort of scheme to fish for compliments. There are none needed and I know what the reality is. I am also not going to announce that I will stop blogging altogether.
With our impending move to Florida, I feel as though the change that is in the air should be allowed to take affect on more than just our location. I want to try to get away from the writing I have been doing and start to really challenge myself and work at this. I have a few ideas that are simmering in my head that will hopefully help me to improve my writing and my blog. Please stay tuned!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Worst Article on Attachment Parenting

I am so fed up with reading negative articles about Attachment Parenting. It seems as though ever since the controversial article was published in TIME magazine, everyone has to voice their opinion on the matter, even if they have no experience with or knowledge of it. It’s not that I feel I need to defend my parenting style- I am 100% certain that I am doing the right thing for my family and myself- or that I feel criticized. What really bothers me is the misrepresentation and false information that is being spread around freely, possibly deterring parents from informing themselves about Attachment Parenting and making insecure parents question their choices.

A prime example of the damage an article can do is a piece I just read online in Psychology Today titled ‘The Worst Idea in the World’ by Hara Estroff Marano. You see, the problems with this article are so numerous that I have to really refrain from writing an entire book on the subject. The very first issue I have is that this article will probably be read by people who are under the impression that they are reading a professional piece written by someone with at least a smidge of expertise in the area of child rearing. However, Ms. Marano is neither a psychologist nor is she in any other way involved in the field of child development- she is a journalist and an editor. The article is an opinion piece which may be perceived as research based information.

Unfortunately, research is something Ms. Marano doesn’t seem to believe in, since none of the claims she makes in her article are even remotely factual. This lack of knowledge is masked beautifully by an eloquently written piece, again making it hard for readers to question the information they are being given.

Paragraph by paragraph, Ms. Marano makes claims that are clearly fictional. Her writing is biased and leaves the reader with a horribly negative aftertaste. When trying to define Attachment Parenting, the words she uses are almost despising “Unless you’re practicing attachment parenting—“wearing” your baby, sleeping with your baby in your bed, and, as reflected in a recent Time magazine cover story, breast-feeding until a child is 6 or even older…” I am an Attachment Parenter, a breastfeeder, and a La Leche League leader. I know NOBODY, not one single mother, who has breastfed her baby for six years. Not that there is anything wrong with mothers who choose to do so- it is just not representative of what Attachment Parenting is about. Again, I could dissect every word she uses to make her distaste for Attachment Parenting (AP) unmistakably known. Sadly, I don’t have the time to do so tonight, so I will address the most bogus claims made in the article.

Ms. Marano suggests that AP is some sort of competition among elite mothers when she says: “It's become an instrument with which highly educated women bludgeon each other in pursuit of the top prize in the parenting sweepstakes.” As a mother who deals with other mothers on a daily basis I can honestly say that AP is neither a parenting style reserved for the wealthier mothers nor is it something that only the intellectuals among mothers practice. Parenting is not a competition and there is never a prize to be won and I have yet to meet a mother who sees it differently. Some days, I wish there was a prize…

What the author doesn’t seem to grasp is that AP is not a modern concept, something that “some doctor” conjured up in his basement and bestowed upon mankind. AP is a movement back to the very basics of human development, encouraging mothers to disregard advice that goes against their instincts and trust in the ability to mother their children as nature intended. Many, many parents practice AP without even knowing that such a concept exists- solely by listening to their own instincts when it comes to their children.

Sadly, Ms. Marano is not aware that the very things she herself is promoting, e.g. the natural development of a bond and the ability of a child who feels securely attached to be able to separate from the parents, are the concepts behind AP. She herself says: “The goal of attachment is to provide a strong enough sense of security so that the child can go off and explore the world on his own.”, but is somehow under the impression that AP stands in the way of the attachment she speaks of.

I can only hope that future authors who feel the need to bash AP at least have the courtesy and professional ability to thoroughly research what AP means. After all, none of us want to read another Worst Article in the World.

Zoo July 2012 Photos

Checking out the zoo visitors

Hanging out by the water

One of the roos

Feeding giraffes

Nosey baby giraffe

So cute!!!

Lurking alligator

Zen koala

Taking a nap

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wrong Is Wrong

In the recent debates on spanking, I have often been accused of seeing things in black and white and not being able to grasp that there are grey zones. I consider myself someone who is much more tolerant than most, so being perceived as someone who is too closed-minded annoys me.
If in any way feasible, I try to take all sides to a story into consideration. For example, when it comes to abortion, I can fully understand and appreciate both sides of the argument and am always willing to learn about people’s opinions, etc. However, when it comes to certain other issues, there can be no grey area for me. In some instances, there is either a right or a wrong. There may be different nuances, depending on the circumstances, but overall some things are just wrong.
Which is why we have laws. In particular, human rights laws. So that, even if the circumstances are such that we can emphasize with whatever emotions led a person to act a certain way, the actions are still wrong and not acceptable within a functioning society.
There are many things which fall into this category of being wrong, e.g. murder, torture, etc. For me, the greatest wrong is that which is done to a child. Because children have no power and no voice in society to change anything.
Hitting a child is wrong. I can understand the circumstances under which parents do it. I can understand that some people cannot fathom that a child does not need to be spanked in order for him or her to learn respect and decent behavior. I can really see where all of these parents are coming from and why they act the way they do. None of this changes the fact that hitting a child is wrong.
I’ve heard all the arguments and read all the explanations- none of them matter. Either hitting other humans is right or it’s wrong. In our society, it is wrong. You cannot hit another person. Therefore, you should not be able to hit a child. Children are not property, they are human beings.
I do not care in the least how many people agree with me. The majority of people thought slavery was an excellent idea. The majority of people thought that letting women vote would be detrimental to society. Or that George W. Bush would make a good president (well, that may not have really been a majority, but it was still an unbelievably huge number)
If hitting another living being is wrong- which the law says it is, as you are not allowed to hit any adult person or any animal- then hitting a child is wrong. Period. It has nothing to do with parental choice- it should not be a parent's choice to make. The physical discipline of children should be against the law and I hope that it will be some day soon. (it already is in most of the Western world…)
“You do not lead by hitting people over the head- that’s assault, not leadership.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If Spanking Were Effective

More and more scientific evidence keeps surfacing that suggests that the physical punishment of children is harmful. Just yesterday, a Canadian study found that being spanked in childhood can lead to mental illness in adult life, such as severe depression, alcoholism, etc. The AAP advises parents not to physically punish their children, as there is no known benefit and there are some very real risks.
However, I have come across so many comments all over the web today in favor of spanking that I just had to write something about it. The opinions expressed by spanking-fans sent chills down my spine, ranging from being fond of a ‘good old spanking’ to attributing every problem in this world to the lack of spanking today. One person actually said that it was all 'the liberals' fault…
Unfortunately, the physical punishment of children is still legal in the US. (It is not in most other Western nations…) Unfortunately, many parents still use physical punishment as their preferred method of discipline, especially here in the southern states. The general consensus seems to be that children will not be able to learn respect and the difference between right and wrong if they are not spanked.
I want to examine this theory a little further. The basic idea is that spanking is necessary for effective learning. A child will not be able to comprehend the message that it is being taught unless there is some sort of physical element involved.
If this were true, then I suggest we abolish all prisons and use physical punishment instead. We could have a wide range of physical punishments, depending on the crime in question. How much money that would save! No more tax payer dollars for prisons! This would free up so much money for other things. All that the criminals need is some physical punishment to teach them that what they have done is wrong. (Except that this has been tried and it doesn’t work. Also, it is against the law.)
I think it would also be important to spank in all day care facilities, schools, and universities, etc. After all, if the best way to learn is through physical punishment, then we should implement said punishment in all places of learning. That would be a wonderful encouragement for children, teens, and adults alike to really take their learning seriously. It would also make the teachers’ jobs a lot easier. (Except that this has also been tried and it doesn’t work. It is mostly against the law- some schools still allow spanking.)
Animals could greatly benefit from learning through physical punishment, as they don’t understand our verbal communication. Trainers everywhere could start spanking their animals and get outstanding results. Imagine what those dolphins at Seaworld could do with just a bit of spanking encouragement! (Alas, this practice has also been tried and found to be ineffective. It is also against the law.)
If employers were able to teach their employees to do the right thing by physically punishing them, imagine how smoothly all businesses would run. Productivity would be at an incredible high and we would see the end of this recession. (Unfortunately, this, too, has been done in the past and hasn’t worked out too well. For some reason, it is against the law.)
So you see, spanking pretty much anyone is against the law. Why? Because that’s not how a civilized society works. Generally speaking, people don’t like to be spanked or physically punished in any way (unless that’s what they’re into, but that’s a whole different story altogether)
I hate to tell you this, but children are human beings, too. And they don’t like being spanked. Ever. It teaches them nothing other than what they already know: that you are bigger and stronger than them and that you can do with them as you like. The only way they will truly learn something is if you take the time to teach it to them in a way that they are able to learn it, which is through patience, understanding, and love.
Our children are such an incredible gift. They are the most amazing, beautiful, innocent beings on this planet. Let’s keep it that way and protect them from all bodily harm.

Please also read Children Are People and Spanking vs. Hitting