Friday, January 27, 2012

bad parenting: how much slack should we cut parents?

There's a post over at BlogHer that has provoked quite the storm of responses this past week, essentially for provoking moms who feel the author Issa Waters (of the blog Love Live Grow) isn't cutting them enough slack when she argues that "parenting isn't hard." But the claim is rhetorical, for Issa immediately states that, "okay, sometimes it is hard." Her point is that we cannot excuse abusive parenting with the dismissive "parenting is hard." Excerpt:
Sometimes I participate in a discussion about someone in public being mean to their child. By “being mean” I mean spanking, slapping, grabbing, yanking, dragging, yelling, name-calling, belittling, punishing and so forth. And there’s always someone in these discussions ready to declare that “parenting is hard” and we should therefore cut the parent some slack. And I just reject this wholeheartedly. It is not hard to not treat people like shit. Children are small, dependent people, and we should be doubly sure not to treat them like shit.

Parenting is the very act of caring for these smaller people. It should not be synonymous with treating them in abusive ways.

Spilt MilkSay I’m in a McDonald’s. In a booth near me is what appears to be a romantically involved man and woman enjoying a meal together. Near the end of the meal, the woman accidentally knocks her soda over and it spills over the table and floor. The man leaps to his feet and yells, “Oh my god! I told you to be careful with that!” He grabs her by the arm and drags her out of the booth. “That’s the last time you get to have a medium drink!” He shoves her off to the side while he starts to clean up. “Go stand by the door, we’re going home right now!” After an initial little gasp at the spilled drink, the woman remains silent, body slack, eyes averted.

Friday, January 20, 2012

balance, schmalance and sheet therapy

I’ve read somewhere that depression is worrying about the past, and anxiety is worrying about the future. I've been doing a lot of both lately. And aside from writing about it here now and then, I haven't done that necessary murking around, as my therapist calls it, not to feel like there's this huge tsunami brewing that will wash over and drown me.

So I went back to therapy this week for a third round of serious murking around. I realized when talking with my therapist that I had somehow fooled myself into thinking that my previous rounds of therapy had, if not fixed me, at least sort of allowed me to take care of business and put it behind me. Not true. The wound inside will always be there. I can distract myself as best as I can, but it won't make it go away. And the more I avoid going there, the more I refuse to let it be part of me, the uglier and more ashamed I feel.

Friday, January 13, 2012

did you set out to sleep train your child?

Working on my sleep question book again, I'm struck by the absence of the hardcore sleep trainer. Sure, there are several moms and dads who've shared their experiences using some form of the Ferber method with its recommended intervals of crying, or the Baby Wise sleep scheduling and cry-it-out approach, or Dr. Weissbluth's solution of "controlled crying" or "all crying" ("extinction"), but I have yet to find a first-time parent that set out to sleep train from the get-go. While some are quicker to turn to sleep training, and all seem happy with the results, most moms and dads who've shared their experiences with me, resorted to sleep training as a final recourse after much sleepless agony.

When I started my sleep question project, I imagined I'd find one camp of co-sleepers and nurse-on-demand mamas, and another die-hard camp of sleep trainers and child behavior schedulers. What I've found instead are these murky waters of a lot of in-between and a-little-of-all.

Which is why I now wonder: is there anybody out there who set out to sleep train their firstborn child from the outset? Did you or do you know someone who did? Please comment or email me at anne(at) And please pass this on to other moms and dads. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

the other side of the holiday card

If you received our holiday card and think everything's swell over here, let me clarify:

Lilly went to summer school and nature camp and music camp over the summer. So she was prepared and very eager to start at her Montessori preschool. Every day she looks forward to school. We are proud of her and have heard many telling reports about how happy she is there, very social but also concentrated on her work.

This is all true, but fails to mention that Lilly has been sick with one cold after another all fall long, ending on a big note with an eye infection on the first day of the holiday break, after which followed strep throat symptoms. She remains under the weather.

Anne has more time to write, now that Lilly is at school every morning. She completed translating a manuscript into English, and is shopping it around at publishers. She has had very encouraging feedback from an agent and even a request for a proposal for her second book. All the time and effort she has put into creating her online platform—including three of her own websites—is starting to pay off, as she is now being sought out in both the US and Norway.
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