Google+ Authentic Parenting: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Quote of the day

The darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of it.
- George Kimble


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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Surf



Peaceful Parenting had an article about how sunscreen may actually accelerate cancer, and as a little sidenote, this info has been carefully hidden in some obscure part of my government's health website for a very long time, yet strangely, nobody is crying wolf (loud enoughh). On the same blog, a rebuttal to Better Homes and Gardens' 10 Commandments of Dining With Children. If you've missed the buzz, you can jump right in here.
For just a few short years (during the time they are babies) kids need their mom. Sure, she can escape for a dinner out here and there without much fuss - but why not take them along on occasion and let them soak up culture and learn how to behave right along side you from day one?
Dionna (Code Name Mama) joins the discussion by analysing the sanity of breastfeeding in a public bathroom.

 Jeff (Just A Bald Man) had some great posts this week, the most recent one about dealing with your family member's different reactions to stress, and the other one about unjobbing.

Processing stress effectively, and having reactions, is a good thing for a healthy mind and body.
Red kitchenette shares her view of how informing mothers could change some of the harmful practices in industrialized childbirth.

 It's such a slippery, slippery slope. So much of it could be avoided if women were aware how interventions cause a snowball effect and knew what questions to ask.  



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Friday, May 28, 2010

Quote Of The Day

B is for Breasts 
Of which ladies have two
Once prized for the function
Now for the view
- Robert Paul Smith


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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quote of the day

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.
- Polish Proverb


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Any man who does not make himself proficient in at least two languages other than his own is a fool. 
- Martin H. Fischer


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Losing Language

I never understood how parents could not teach their children their native language. Much less lose their own native language. And yet you see it rather often in expats who have settled in a country that speaks a different language then their own.
As we became parents, we knew we would be giving our daughter the gift of growing up bilingually, she would be talked to in Dutch by me and in French by my bilingual husband. Since my husband and I speak Dutch to one another, losing my language was never an issue. It never even occured to me that it might be possible.

Three and a half years ago, before our daughter was even conceived, we moved to Cameroun, a francophone country in West Africa. That's where we were living when our daughter was born. When she was a little shy of 6 months, we were ordered to move by my husband's head office, destination unknown. Due to the financial crisis, the project he was working on had been put on hold.
We found ourselves moving in with my parents for a couple months, and eventually moved to Ivory Coast, another francophone country in West Africa.

So now, after having lived for close to four years in francophone countries, surrounded only by francophones, with only the daughter and my husband to speak Dutch to, I find myself substituting words with French ones. I catch myself speaking French to my daughter.
Often it is a direct result of being arround other french speakers and not wanting to offend them. But slowly, sneakily, it starts happening when I'm alone with my little girl too. I have to be really focused when I talk to her to not have some stray french words and phrases seep in.

I don't want to lose my language. I don't want her to not know her mother tongue.



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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quote of the day

We've had bad luck with children; they've all grown up.
- Christopher Morley


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The Big Two

I have stepped out of my denial... and finally bought that sparkly candle in the shape of a 2. I have walked passed it in the supermarket at least seven times. Each time thinking I could just postpone buying it another week.
Now I sucked it up and put it in my cart. I was alone in the isle, so I bet nobody saw how hard it was for me to do so.


My daughter is growing up.

Becoming 30, 50 or even 60 is overrated, 2 is the biggest and most underestimated age barrier there is. She is no longer my baby. She has become my child. She has become a small human with wants and opinions, she decides that there are days she does not want to play. And days she does not want to go to the beach. And days she really really wants to eat cheese... a lot of it.
She picks her own clothes and tries to put them on - well that's only on those rare days that she's not running around naked all day long (oh the shame, the horror, a naked child... moehahaha).
She says "mommy is leaving" on the days I go to San Pedro with my husband and then asks for a hug.

I'm going to stop here because I'm all melancholy and infinite sadness, but yet strangely exited for what's to come.


Image: kevindooley on flickr


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Monday, May 24, 2010

Quote of the day


The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.
- Mark Twain 


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Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Radical Parenting


The topic of this first ever Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival was 'radical parenting'. After a bumpy ride and some motivating, pleading and begging, I received some great submissions.

A while back Kimberly from Fertility Flower donated a guest post for the purpose of this carnival, where she talks about natural duration breastfeeding and lactivism as forms of radical parenting.
In the early days, what I most definately did NOT want to be was one of those women who pushed the envelope, breastfeeding a toddler.  Now, I look at those women and I salute them because breastfeeding has changed me forever. 
Sherri at Sidhe Herbal writes about how she overcame the bedtime rebellion by using her botanical knowledge. She even throws in a little recipe and I must say it sounds lovely!
Most nights we snuggle up to a nice cup of passion flower tea and read our story. Unwind from the day and enjoy each other. Then time to tuck in and drift off to sleep smelling the lavender.
In 'Nobody Puts Baby In A Crib' Connected Mom is prompted by her 2-year old to write about cosleeping.
Sleep sharing is supremely natural.  My child belongs with me.  She needs me in the most basic, simple, yet all-consuming way that she will ever need.
Jeff  'Just a Bald Man' Sabo talks about the uselessness of giving your children chores, to which I whole heartedly agree.
Is it my kids' fault that I can tolerate less mess than they can? Of course not. I'm like three times as big as they are, so the house seems three times as big to them as it does to me. If the entire house if a mess in my eyes, only one third of it is messy to them. That's my problem, not theirs.

While I didn't really have distinct expectations for this carnival, and deliberately left the 'radical parenting' topic open to consideration for the submitting blogger, it surprised me that all forms of radical parenting described in these posts,  are actually different topics within natural parenting. Breastfeeding, herbal remedies, cosleeping and avoiding coercion are in fact all aspects of parenting authentically. So is authentic parenting really just radical parenting? Maybe, at least in the sense that it does go back to the roots and nature of humanity.

Thanks to these magnificent bloggers for participating. I hope you enjoyed this carnival and that you will be back for the next edition, which will be two months from now. For more information, see the carnival tab.


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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Surf


  • MamaTRUE had another wonderful list-post about how to take care of yourself, and your child at the same time. I am in total admiration of this blogger, she is writing her way through divorce and all the while manages to stay positive and give out great tips for other mama's.
  • Another great Hathor comic about consumerism and individualism
  • Boheime writes a nice to the point buletted article about the qualities of self-directed children, which could work as a rebuttal on stupid questions about rules and authority. 
  • If you want some laughs, head over to The Leaky Boob for a very crappy story - yes, literally.
  • API speaks had a post that made me do a little soul searching. In 'Sticking Up For Your Child' Jasmine Carlson writes about not standing by quietly when other people try to discipline your child. This is something I seriously need to work on, and not only for my daughter, but also for myself.
  • Naturally Knocked Up writes a clear piece on why we should prefer butter over margarine. We actually don't use either, but if I'd have to choose, and on rare occasions, I would certainly go with butter. 


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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Quote of the day

Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find out they haven't half the strength you think they have.
- Norman Vincent Peale 


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Take It Lying Down

I am thought to be a very opinionated person. A rock upon which one can lean. A strong person.
And though I am a great many things, I am not the latter. I am not strong, or at least not all the time. I can be strong, and I can put up a fight for my friends, I would literally walk through fire for a lot of people, but when it hits closer to home, I lay down and allow myself to get screwed over.


I did it when I gave birth to my daughter, and all through my pregnancy. I do it when people are rough with my dog. I do it when other mothers are get authoritarian with my child and I even did it in relationships.

Why?

How can such a strong, dependable, opinionated women be so easily conditioned to just swallow it, to take it lying down - and not only as a figure of speech? Why do I just let it all run over me and - yes, feel like shit - but don't do anything about it?
Why do I feel like someone needs to come and rescue me? Like I'd better keep my thoughts to myself. Like anything I have to say doesn't matter. That's I 'd better keep my mouth shut, keep the peace, go with the flow, be guided. Even if Every. Single. Bone. In My Body tells me its wrong. Even if I am screaming "No" in my mind. Even if I'm feeling raped and totally screwed over. Why do I not respond?
Why do I want to 'keep the peace' at the cost of my own sanity?
Why do I rather deal with the shame, the guilt the frustration afterward, instead of just stand up for myself, for my family.
Why doesn't my husband fucking stand up for me and my family when these situations occur, knowing that I am paralyzed?

What cause this shift from fierce cougar woman to meek lamb off to the slaughter house?

Is it the fact that I got locked in a room with no food for the mere reason of speaking my mind when I was younger?
Is it because I was raised with the idea that a woman is worth very little?
Is it because I was beaten every time I didn't agree or wasn't servile?
Is it because I am conditioned to please?

And what the fuck can I do to change this?


Image: Stephan Uhlman


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Friday, May 21, 2010

Quote Of The Day

The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.  
- Ellery Queen


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The Odds Against Women

No matter what path a woman chooses, it's like she can never win. There will always be someone to tell her that she is doing The Wrong Thing.


  • If she decides to stay at home, she is waisting her talent and education, she is being medieval and anti-feminist.


  • If she works at home, she isn't putting enough effort in her family.


  • If her husband stays home, she's a dominant bitch and her husband is whipped.


  • If she decides to have a family and work, she is neglecting her family.


  • If she puts her kids in daycare, she is lazy and doesn't want to take care of her kids.


  • If she employs any kind of personel around the house, she is lazy and can't take care of her home.


  • If she provides her family with secondary caregivers, she is too selfish to take care of her child herself.


  • If she takes time for herself, she is selfish.


  • If she does not, she's a slave to her family/career.


  • If she decides not to have kids, she is strange and unnatural.


  • If she calls herself a feminist, she's a bitch.


  • If she doesn't, she's medieval.


  • If she's sexually liberated she's a slut.


  • If she's not, she's frigid.


Most often, it's the Other Side throwing these judgements at us. But we shouldn't be waisting our energy on judging other women's choices, we should fight the system that made it so we can never win.


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quote of the day

My opinion is that anybody offended by breastfeeding is staring too hard.  
- David Allen


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Breastfeeding Courtesy

Dear reader,

when you see a woman comfortably nursing her child - no matter where she is sitting or no matter how old the child - DO NOT offer her a towel, napkin, blanket or any other device to cover up her baby. DO NOT suggest she goes elsewhere, where its quieter/more secluded/less crowded/...
If this mother is indeed comfortably nursing her child, this means she is comfortable where she is. Nursing mothers who do need privacy will seek it out, or ask for a place to nurse their child more discreetly if they feel the need for it. Nursing mothers who feel the need to cover up will have something handy to that ends.
A nursing mother knows that her child might get hungry if she's out and about and she comes fully equipped.
Suggesting these things, even out of consideration or kindness, is offensive. It makes the mother feel like you think she shouldn't be nursing where she is right now. It makes her feel as if you notice her nursing because you are offended or unsettled by it. Any remarks about a nursing mother's discretion are simply uncalled for and not yours to give. Every nursing mother does exactly what she feels comfortable with so there is no need to meddle whatsoever. Most certainly she has considered the spot where she is sitting or the amount of 'exposure' she is portraying and is comfortable with it. She is not a sad little creature in need of chivalry or rescuing.


If you still feel the need to do something when you see a mother nursing her child, smile at her. Tell her how wonderful it is to see a mother nurse her child. Tell her how great it is that she is giving her baby the most natural, wholesome food she can. But please don't tell her to move or cover up. How would you feel if you were eating in a restaurant and some person came up to you and ask you if you would like a towel to put over your head while you eat? Or tell you maybe you'd rather sit in the bathroom or the staff room. Pretty damn awful, no?



This post was inspired by this article


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quote of the day

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. 


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Unconditional Love

I had started a little art project this weekend. It had been over a year since I have really done something creative, besides the sewing I had to do. I did a bit of collage and it took me three days, a bit here, some cutting and pasting there. Monday morning, I got busy with the finishing touches and found my daughter hovering around like a hawk around prey. She wanted to cut too. I told her I would finish and then we would do some cutting together.
This was much to her dislike.
A few minutes later I had to go into another room to check something out and by the time I returned, the Monster had taken my project and torn it up.
I gasped. I said nothing.
Lots of things went through my mind. I saw the project was irreparable. I didn't feel like starting over. I felt sad, frustrated, dissapointed.


Even though I had said no word, the Monster started crying. She knew whet she had done upset me. She had done it only out of frustration and anger that I wasn't immediately available when she needed me.

I held her and nursed her until she stopped crying. I told her I wasn't angry, just sad. That it hurt my feeling that she had torn up my project, but that didn't change my feelings for her. I still love her dearly.

Now I could have gotten mad at her, spanked her, given her a time out, screamed at her, whatever. I did no such thing. What's the use? My collage was ruined anyway and I could tell from the look she gave me she knew that what she had done was wrong.

A little bit of vandalism does not take away a mother's love.


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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quote Of The Day

I never let schooling interfere with my education.
- Mark Twain


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Monday, May 17, 2010

Quote of the day

Nothing is given to man on earth - struggle is built into the nature of lilfe, and conflict is possible - the hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen.
- Andrew Bernstein


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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Surf



Taking a little breastfeeding trip today. I loved this article on ABM and wish every doctor was like that. Or maybe they could give you a present after every year of breastfeeding, instead of whine at you that you are still going at it. Breastfeeding milestones are a cause for celebration, instead of criticism.
Don't you just love the Hathor cartoons? I do! She had a great one about the "being old enough to ask for it"-argument.

Just A Bald man had a beautiful post about being available for play, something I can learn from.

API Speaks had an article about taking time for ourselves, and gives some pointer on ten minute things we can do for ourselves to relax. We can all use those, right.


Link up your Sunday Surf or must-read here:


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Saturday, May 15, 2010

What The Heck Is Baby Led Weaning?

First of all, to avoid confusion, the term baby led weaning applies to a method of introducing solids, and the term child led weaning applies to an approach of weaning a baby or child of the breast.

Maybe we'd better start off telling what baby led weaning is not. It's not jars of baby food and purees and mush. It's non-coercive and not dependant on pre-fixed schedules.


It is truly a baby led approach to introducing solids, which might look different in every household that practices it. It's kind of an unschooling food approach for babies. There are no golden rules and everyone can approach this as they see fit.
So, with baby led weaning, the child will get to nibble, suckle, bite the kinds of foods he finds interesting at the time he is interested in them. He might be interested in something off your plate and you will guide him on his journey of discovering tastes and textures.

It might be wise to cook salt-free and put the salt on the table for individual use, as baby's kidney's can't handle the enormous quantities we tend to absorb (in fact, neither can we, so going a bit lighter on salt might be beneficial for the entire family) . if you are worried about allergens, you might want to divert your childs attention from them, again, this is all up to you.

I think BLW is much more about changing ones mindset about food than it is about how to do it.


Image:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/ / CC BY 2.0

Find out more about it:
See what it looks like on Baby Led Solids.
Baby Led Weaning
Forum about Baby Led Weaning
article about BLW

Thanks to my lovers on FB for the links.


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Friday, May 14, 2010

Quote of the day

It's important to remember that feminism is no longer a group of organizations or leaders. It's the expectations that parents have for their daughters, and their sons, too. It's the way we talk about and treat one another. It's who makes the money and who makes the compromises and who makes the dinner. It's a state of mind. It's the way we live now.
- Anna Quindlen 


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Am I a feminist? Part one

I have often said semi-jokingly that I am not a feminist, I am a humanist. In part, that is true. I care for all things human, yet I also care for all things animal, and all things natural. So maybe I am an omnibiotist? I think - where it is true that women have yet a long road to travel to be treated equal, to be empowered, to be raised to the status they deserve - men have quite a few boundaries to cross too. I also think there a huge steps to make for how children are treated, indifferently of their sex. And then I'm not even speaking of the way we treat nature.
But does that mean I am not a feminist. No, certainly not, for amongst all the things listed above, I do care for the sort of women. Women are the source of all human life on our planet, so maybe it's fair game to start there. And we still have such a long way to go. How could I not be a feminist.

Maybe I should explain why I used to distinct myself from feminism. Where I come from (I.e. Belgium, a rather backward country with no government) feminism is still stuck in an "all women must have a career" and positive discrimination kind of mindset.
And although I get where that's coming from, I don't think that's the way freedom of choice for women will be created. Nor do I think that will acquire a lot of sympathy for the cause.

Actions like the zipper principle (does that exist in anglophone countries? it basically means political parties need a woman for every man on their list), they are in fact reverse sexist, since we are not concentrating on the candidate's capacities, but only on his or her sex.
Isn't it odd to try and overcome sexism by the same means as the ones we are trying to eradicate?

Moreover, the type of feminism I am talking about - the type that repulses me and makes me say I am not a feminist - it's not really friendly towards women. It only glorifies a certain aspect of choice (the freedom to have a career and to be treated equal therein) and annihilates all other possibilities.
It belittles women who choose not to go down that road.
It denounces or diminishes the virtues of motherhood.

Feminism may not be a girl on girl thing.
It's not even a battle of men against women.
It should be an attempt to overthrow kyriarchy (*).


* the term was introduced by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, based on the Greek terms Kyros (master) and  archein (to dominate) as an adaptation of patriarchy (which is the domination of the father/male), so it diverts the notion of sex as part of the ruling class.


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quote of the day

No one could give her such soothing and sensible consolation as this little three-month-old creature when he lay at her breast and she felt the movement of his lips and the snuffling of his tiny nose.
- Leo Tolstoy


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Lactivism As Radical Parenting

This post was written by Kimberly as a submission for the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, there is still time to submit your post, see details on the carnival here and here.

Over the weekend, I reacted strongly to a tweet from @fentonslee, who said: ˝for the record, breastfeeding my 12 month old does not make me an extended breastfeeder.˝  The tweet piqued my interest not because I felt that twelve months of breastfeeding did, in fact, constitute some egregious amount of time.  In fact, I was struck at how fairly radicalized I had become with regard to the issue of extended breastfeeding.  While it was considered cutting-edge in my mother's day to make a bee-line from the hospital nursery to the formula bottle, now the pendulum has swung toward the opposite end – with a (not so) small army of lactivists like @fentonslee, @mamapoekie and others leading the charge by breastfeeding their infants and toddlers well past their first birthday.


But back to me.  I am a breastfeeding mother, myself.  At the time of Blanka's birth, I thought that 4 months of exclusive breastfeeding would be hard-core enough and afford me a spot among the ranks of breastfeeding superstars - women who took it seriously enough to work through the initial learning curve and become really skilled.  Now, my daughter is approaching 6 months and we're *happily* still at it.  In the early days, what I most definately did NOT want to be was one of those women who pushed the envelope, breastfeeding a toddler.  Now, I look at those women and I salute them because breastfeeding has changed me forever. It forces me to slow down. To close up my laptop and truly enjoy up-close-and-personal time with my daughter, moments that will be gone forever if I don't pay attention.  And now that she's a little more mature and engaged with her surrounds (and her surroundings include me), my love of breastfeeding has only grown as has HER love for breastfeeding.

So with that praise, indeed, let me tell you why I won't be there in the trenches with @fentonslee, @mamapoekie and the rest of the lactivists.  Very simply, the reason is that I'm 36 years old.  And as selfish as it might sound, I have high hopes of continuing to grow my family.  Simple biology dictates that at my age, the longer it takes for my fertility to resume post-partum, the less chance there is of that happening.  And so, I find myself a person in conflict - dealing with my own declining fertility while dearly wanting to continue feeding my infant daughter food that is nutritionally perfect (and to enjoy that particular connection between breastfeeding mother and child).  If I were 26 instead of 36, I would be right there in the trenches.  But I'm not.  And thus, I must remain just a lactivist sympathizer.

Next to being mom to a baby girl, Kimberly started a project called Fertility Flower that will launch in June 2010. In the meantime, she can be found on <Facebook and on Twitter @fertilityflower
Image:


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Best - And Worst - Places To Be A Mother

Motherhood denied posted an article on Faceboob entitled "The Best - And Worst - Places To Be A Mother", based on a study from Save The Children. To my great surprise, Belgium was listed in their top ten (number nine to be exact). A little less to my surprise, the top ten worst countries were all African.

You must understand that my family fled Belgium for me to fully enjoy motherhood.
So I wondered what were the criteria to decide where it is good to be a mother, since they would determine  the results.

In the report, the good and bad places for mothering are clearly indicated as to developed - less developed - poorly developed countries... So that kind of explains it all, even before I read the full report.

This study is another very beautiful example of how we impose our hegemonic world view on the rest of the world. It is a pretty picture of how we westerners think we are superior and we should bring enlightenment to those poor little Africans. And it makes me so very very angry.
Without knowing the criteria, without even knowing anything about this study, I could have predicted the results.

Those poor little Africans... they know way better than we do how to mother their children. They have far greater respect for it. They have a more natural approach to child rearing. They do not judge each other, rather help each other out. They live in tight communities. They have their mothers and sisters and friends help out. They know where to turn to for advice. Everybody loves babies and children and you can have your children roam free without a worry in your mind. (Little side note: I know I am generalizing, in african cities, they are already going way West, so all this doesn't apply)
Yes, they are more likely to die in childbirth, their child is more likely to die in the first years of their lives and they are often undereducated (again, compared to our wonderful Western model, that seems to do the job oh so very well).

So what are the criteria handled here? Reading page 32 of the report states: education, economic opportunity and mother and infant's health care.
When we go read the report, however, it turns out it is a report about health care. I ask myself, is healthcare all there is to being a mother? I hope not.
What about education, or even economic opportunity? Does one have to be employed officialy to enjoy motherhood? Does one need a university degree?
I completely and utterly agree that there are giant leaps to be taken in the field of healthcare in Africa. I myself have experienced care in several different countries and I could write very long winded posts about that. I also agree that poverty can put a serious strain on the joys of motherhood. But don't sell a study about health care as one resulting in defining where it is better to be a mother. Don't say 'formal' education is a determining factor for happy mothering. Don't pretend jobs or careers are what a happy mommy make.

I prefer being a mother in an African country every day. And I seriously dislike being a mother in Belgium. Here, being a mother is a compliment, while over there, it's an insult.

And yes, I know that I am privileged, that I am a white in a black country, that I live to a standard few Africans can aspire to. I know that there is hardship and suffering and loss and grief. But I also know that they simply deal with it differently, and in a way no Westerner can grasp, certainly not if you have never lived here. So why won't we just quit meddling and telling them they have it so bad and they should be pitied, because they're just such sad little creatures, will we!

So what do you think? Is being a mother all about healthcare? Or education? Or economy?


PS Let's have it for the rock, egg and tomato throwing again, will we :)
PPS I have lived in country no 3, no 9 of the 'more developed' countries, no 71 and no 76 of the 'less developed' countries


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Quote of the day

Motherhood means being instantly interruptable, responsive, responsible.
- Tillie Olsen


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Wednesday Wisdom

Don't accept anything you read, see or hear as fact without critical consideration.
Keep in mind that all messages are sent with an agenda.
Remember that messages are defined by their cultural frameset.
Your thoughts are also structured by social and cultural paradigms.
The way you read a message is biased.


Truth, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder.


Image:


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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Quote Of The Day

I studied the lives of great men and famous women, and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.
- Harry S. Truman


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Change The World... One Parent At A Time

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***

This blogging thing is a lot of work. I think I spend about three hours a day just on writing and researching my articles, and then I'm not even counting the time I spend on Facebook, finetuning the blog or reading articles. I don't consider it to be work though - even though I might jokinly suggest that every once in a while - because it is so gratifying.
"Change the world... one parent at a time" is my tagline, and I believe this is possible.



Some days I wonder if it is worth the hassle. If I wouldn't be better off spending those three hours and loads of stolen minutes playing with the little one. But then I get a comment about how something I wrote opened a reader's eyes, or a likeronie - that's what I'm calling my FB fans now - thanks me for having suggested a gentle parenting technique, or tells me I made her think about the way she is parenting. This all makes it worthwhile and I think the little one won't mind the time she has to share me, if another little one benefits from it.

But this blogging thing... well, it is fairly easy, considering that the people reading it or 'liking' me on Facebook are already searching for advice and are like-minded.
In Real Life, however... things don't go so smoothly, and I don't advocate so loudly. Don't get me wrong, there is no doubt as to where I stand on birth, parenting and educational questions, everyone who knows me knows of my crunchyness.
But with the real life people, those who don't necessarily share my opinions, those who might even oppose much of what we believe and practice, one must tread lightly, move slowly, and often just shut up. It is hard, it is excrutiating even...
Sometimes I wish I could just take them by the shoulders and shake them up a bit, in order to have them open their eyes. But that's not how you create awareness. That's not how you change minds. On the contrary.

So I tread lightly, speak in whispers, move slowly and cry at night. But I did change some of them, a little bit at a time. Social change does not occur overnight.


Image:

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


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Monday, May 10, 2010

Quote of the day

No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you - life.
- Anonymous


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What's Wrong With Mother's Day

How can anyone take offence in a day designed to appreciate mothers and pay them some consideration? Here's why:

  • Mother's Day creates expectations
  • Opens a window to judge one's child
  • It is consumerism-driven
  • It's another form of coercion
  • It is higly unnatural and breaks family dynamics



Expectations
Can you tell me you didn't expect some form of consideration on mother's day (if you are a mom, that is), a kind word, a congratulations, maybe a gift if your child is old enough. What happens if those expectations aren't met? Do you feel sad? Angry maybe, but certainly frustrated. Maybe you did get some consideration, but you were hopng for something specific.

Judgement
Mother's day is an open invitation to judging ones child. If your child forgot, isn't he a good child? Maybe the pressure to 'perform' makes him feel like rebelling it, does that make you think your child does not love you any more.
Does the time and effort your children put in making you a card, a gift, a special day... make you compare them?

Consumerism
Like Valentine's day, there is a serious lure-to-buy with mother's day. Maybe you should get some special mother's day pie, or breakfast or your kids should buy a card, your husband might have to run to the florist...

Coercion
One cannot deny that Mother's Day forces children to do something for their mom, albeit psychological. The feeling of being forced does not sit well with human beings. And while a small child might not grasp the mental submission he is set up to, an older child might rebel this feeling of force, which in turn might make mother question his behavior.

Any 'special' day that creates these emotions are unhealthy, because they destroy family dynamics, even if only for one day. Tey create hopes an expectations an woe on thou if these aren't met.


Side note: you are not a bad person if you like or celebrated Mother's ay, nor if it raises expectations. Of course we like being given presents and attention, but 'feeling special' and loved does not come from a one day gesture, it lies in the small unprompted daily considerations.



photo © Adrian van Leen
for openphoto.net CC:PublicDomain


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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Quote of the day

Woman in the home has not yet lost her dignity, in spite of Mother's Day, with it's offensive implication that our love needs an annual nudging, like our enthousiasm for the battle of Bunker Hill.
- John Erskine


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Sunday Surf


Theta Mom and JennyMac joined up to write a very straightforward posts on SAH and working mothers, on ambition and aspirations, which reminded me again we shouldn't be fighting each other, we should be changing the system.

ABM's post "Why we still need to watch our language" is a must read for all you lactivists. It explains clearly what's wrong with the 'breast is best'-way of thinking.

"If breastfeeding is extra credit, then it’s up to mom to over-achieve. The rest of us are off the hook." 
Another, totally different aspect of our language we should control, is its inherent violence, says Arwyn from Raising My Boychick in a very truthful and though provoking post. Since we're focusing so much on word's I thought I'd throw in this one on API speaks about saying no.

API speaks had a lovely post about shopping with toddlers. I believe we've all had the horrid shopping-with-kids experience, so maybe this is worth your attention.

On the topic of birth, I found this oldie on Birthwares about The Good Patient Syndrome that was certainly worth sharing.
She writes:
Sometimes I feel a bout of "Good Patient" Syndrome coming on, myself. Luckily, over time, I have developed a chronic case of "Informed Consent" which generally presents with my caregivers having a sharp pain in the rear.


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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Quote of the day

People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. 
- Plato


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Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Call For Entries

I'll be hosting the first ever Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival at the end of the month (if I get any entries, that is). This month's theme is 'radical parenting' and from there, anything goes.

You don't have to be/consider yourself a radical parent to enter. What is radical parentng anyway? Did someone over call you a radical parent?
The etymological meaning of radical is to reach back to the roots of something.
Here's something I wrote about radical parenting a while ago.

Still unsure about what to write: this top ten of 'radical parenting techniques' that might inspire you. (Or shock you, we're doing four of them, and with the next baby we might go up to five). Maybe you just want to make your own top ten.

Submissions are due on the 17th of this month! I am looking forward to reading them and hope this takes off.


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Friday, May 7, 2010

Quote of the day

To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, is more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons. 
- Marilyn French


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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quote of the day

A man should not swallow poison because he is afraid to spit and offend others.
- African proverb


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African Customs (rerun)

It's all wonderful to glorify traditional societies and the way in which children are parented therein. Sure, they do maintain a much closer relationship to their child, and parent closer to nature. Their children hardly cry and become responsible and confident very early on (they walk home alone as early as three years of age).
But, we shouldn't get overboard on this, because where they do often have a more natural approach, some traditional societies hand down serious misconceptions about parenting and birth, or follow obscure, inhumain traditions, cling to irrational beliefs etc.


A little Ivorian example
Babies here in Ivory Coast tend to be really in advance developmentary, at least when motor skills are concerned. They often walk as soon as six or seven months of age.
I can see you raise an eyebrow, I did not believe that when I was told, but after living here for over a year, I have seen it over and over again.
So, intrigued, I started asking around. Turns use traditional medicine to have their babies walk, so they shouldn't fall behind (see, even here that notion exists). On further investigation, it is some sort of tree bark they use, which gives the little one itching and cramping of the buttox, so badly, they do not want to sit down any more. Eventually, out of sheer misery, they push themselves up so much until they stand.

There is no One True Parenting Culture, so we needen't glorify traditional cultures, it's sufficient to learn from them. And then pick and choose, to find the path that is right for us.


Image:


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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quote of the day

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.
- William Arthur Ward


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Monday, May 3, 2010

Baby Envy

I have a confession to make. It is something I am not proud of, so if you want to get out your rotten eggs and tomatoes, go ahead, I'll just hide behind my screen here, in utter shame.

I have serious baby envy.

No matter how hard I try, when someone announces me that they are about to have a baby, I cringe. I think "Why not me?". My first thoughts are always envious, jealous ones... and then maybe after that, I can bring myself to feel a little bit happy for them... But most often I cannot.
It's even harder when it's not an attached parent that had a baby or got pregnant. When they announce proudly that they're not going to breastfeed, or they're already planning day care for when the baby is three months old, as soon as they have a positive pregnancy test... I really get angry, desperate, frustrated, confused...

I feel like my intestines get ripped out through my throat and are tied around my neck. All I can do is smile and say "How lovely for you", but all I really want to do is cry... Or hit something... Or kill them and snatch their baby. Ok, maybe not that last one... just yet.

My husband asked me this week why we're being punished. That it seems so totally unfair that downright abusive parents get a baby in the blink of an eye and we have to moan and sweat (lol) to get one.
I told him he cannot think such a thing because he's an atheist - which kind of leaves you with noone to blame. Nor does it give you happy positive thoughts. Being religion-free can suck sometimes.

It makes me wonder why... Why do they have it so easy to conceive, and we just have to wait and wait?

We have wanted a second baby for one year and three and a half months - not that I'm counting. I had some kick-ass breastfeeding hormones that made my periods stay out for 20 months, and I suspect my first two periods to have been false.

But ever since there's the waiting and anticipating and the hope... to only get shattered as I bleed.

On top of all that, I've got this freakishly long cycle, between 35 and 40 days, which make the odds even smaller. (And have led to the wonderful comment "Oh, then you have even less chances of getting pregnant any given year" - thank you, that was just what I needed).

And just so the circle is round, I feel guilty. Guilty because Iknow in time there will be a baby. we've made one, we'll have another, we just have to wait. So I feel guilty that I feel like this while there are people who know that having their won baby is not even a possibility.

But doesn't it seem just a little unfair that women who don't breastfeed, or stop really early on can conceive earlier?


Picture:


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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Surf


API speaks had a great post on baby training and its negative effects on breastfeeding.

Following the Gentle Discipline Carnival, I found a great post on Christianism and spanking at Love The Child. The Carnival of Gentle Discipline supplied many a great post on peaceful parenting; Dionna from Code Name:Mama had a wonderful post on gentle discipline, written from the child's perspective. And I absolutely adored Arwyn's post on Choosing Joy over sorrow and frustration... If there were any reason to not spank, this might be it.

If you haven't followed the Carnival Of Gentle Discipline, I suggest you check it out, there are really some great posts. While you are over there, please vote for your favourite post. The winner gets a 25$ gift certificate. You don't even have to vote for me :), just follow your heart.

An article that really opened my eyes, again by Dionna, but this time on API Speaks (note to Dionna, you can only write one great article a week, otherwise people will think I'm prejudiced), about how tickling can be a form of coercion.

Find a wonderful post on the umbilical cord on Bellies and Babies.

Chronicles Of A Nursing Mom had a very cute compilation of breastfeeding quotes.

I recently discovered "Just A Bald Man", written by a daddy, for once, had a great post about unschooling and unparenting.

Happy surfing!


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Saturday, May 1, 2010

What's May Got In Store For You?

May promises to be another exiting month, with a lot of carnivals coming up. Some are becoming regulars, some are new ones I'm trying out.

There's a lot of Carnivalling going on for mother's day, what else can you expect from mommy blogs ;)

May 7th About.com is hosting a Blog Carnival on Motherhood, for which I have submitted this post.

On May 9th, Birth Activist is asking about the influence of birth on parenting, for which I have written a post a while ago.

Carnival Of Natural Parenting on May 11th is all about being a role model.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

The16th of May, we'll be having the Carnival of Feminist Parenting, an exiting first for me, but given my inspiration on the subject, this might become a regular. I have written something about epidurals for the occasion.


May 18 is the Teach Learn Blog Carnival, which is rather new too, you can find information on it here.

The 21St of May, API speaks will be hosting a carnival on nurturing touch. I have been working on something special for this one, but I'm having some trouble with my internet connexion lately, so I'll have to wait until the Internet Gods are kind to get this up.




And Last but not Least, I will be hosting a little carnival of my own - if anyone is willing to participate, that is. The first edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival will take place on the May 24th, submissions are due on the 17th. The theme is 'Radical Parenting'.




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