Parenting like it’s 1985

This post has been a few months in the making.  I’ve been trying to get it juuuust right.  And then I decided, screw it.  I have two toddlers and a full time job.  I don’t have time to get it just right!  Plus, my new favorite blogger at Renegade Mothering is a big fan of just writing…just getting it out.  Not worrying about perfection, being PC, or sounding ‘good’.  “Just write.” she says.  “Do it.  Do it now”.

So I am.

Anyway.

Parenting like it’s 1985.  I’ve been reading a lot of parenting things online lately, most of them found via clinking on various facebook shares.  The two topics that have struck me lately are ‘Slow parenting‘, and  the importance of self-care.  Slow parenting is this idea that we should stop hurrying our children along.  Stop scheduling so much, so that we are not always in a rush.  Take 86 minutes to walk around the block.  Spend the time to look at that caterpillar, and then dig in the dirt.  Stop saying “hurry up”, “we’ll be late” and “let’s GO!”

The importance of self-care is…well…important.  For so many reasons.

I’m trying harder to go slower.  I’m doing a good job at taking care of myself.  But, sometimes they are in direct conflict with one another.  On a weekend morning, I could color pictures and make pretend eggs in the play kitchen.  Or I could go for a run {alone}.  On Saturday, I was torn between the two.  I needed to run, to clear my head and be more ready to parent.  But I’d also spent the entire work week rushing around, and just wanted to say “YES” when Charlotte asked me to play.  I found myself debating which to do, in the middle of the living room.  “What would the article say?” I actually thought to myself.

Woah.  Hold on.  I don’t need to read something online to make every.single.decision.  In fact, I read so much online, that it actually takes up a ridiculous amount of my time.  And mothers people everywhere have been making sound decisions long before the internet and our smart phones.

So I got to thinking.

I spend a lot of time on facebook.  I click on a lot of articles that well-meaning friends share.  How to do this, Why you should do X,Y,Z with your kids, What your 2-year old should know and be doing.  Honestly, you can find any type of ‘research’ to back up any parenting decision you want (or don’t want) to make.  We’re living in this crazy digital culture that makes us over-analyze and over-research.  So I decided to take a break.  I’m going back to parenting like it’s 1985.  That is, before the internet.

Why?

1) I know my kids, and I know my own and Fred’s values and our wishes for them.  I think we can figure out how, why, and what issues to parent.  My kids are pretty awesome, and I am damn near obsessed with them.  So why not just go with our gut?

2) Without facebook time, I’ll have time for things I always say I don’t have time for!  Like: writing!  Stretching after a run.  Making real-life phone calls to friends.  Reading an actual book.  Making those curtains for the playroom that I’ve been thinking about.

(Disclaimer: I will not quit my boobie group.  You guys are my rock.  My peeps.  I NEED you.)

So, farewell to the land of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ of this article and that study, the cute pictures of other peoples’ babies (gasp!) …along with pictures of Friday night drinks, the view from a vacation balcony, and a Wednesday morning latte. It’s not you, it’s me.  I got some things I gotta do.  If you’re curious what they are, you can find out about it here.  We’ll be busy, but doing it all slowly (of course).

Mommy & Daddy daycare

Charlotte did not attend day care this summer, so we had LOTS of time to explore southern Maine and do a lot of fun things as a family.  Our last few weeks as a family of three have been very busy…soon to get busier with the arrival of Baby ‘Bee #2 any day now!  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Friday fun

I just couldn’t help but share this gem.  It kills me to drop Charlotte off at daycare each morning, knowing that I’ll miss her and would rather spend the day with her, but there is a silver lining: she gets to spend her day with other kids, and with someone who engages her and plays with her all day… instead of struggling to get the laundry done/living room vacuumed/dinner on the table while still playing at the same time.

And yes, she most certainly is a literacy teacher’s daughter.  Proud teacher mama here 🙂

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Readers are Leaders!

This week we celebrated baby shower #2, at school with my teacher friends!  Erin and Kelsey did a phenomenal job planning the perfect shower for a literacy specialist: a children’s literature themed shower, complete with snacks that matched the themes of the books!  Everything was so neat, and creative, and perfectly lettered on patterned paper…you can tell we are a group of pinterest-ing elementary school teachers 🙂

Here are a few snapshots.

Dear Baby ‘Bee

Dear Baby ‘Bee,

Image

Last night, your Dad read the book The Story of Ferdinand to you in bed.  He scooted up really close to my 8 month-big-belly, with our cats Pippa and Leroy by our feet.  I had never heard this childhood favorite before, and now you have it in your library from our dear friend Katie all the way in New York City!

Anyway, as he got about four or five pages into the book, you started to roll around in my belly.  You’re big enough now that we can tell what’s a foot and what’s your head, and feel your hard back and your powerful kicks.  You moved your whole body over to the right side of my belly, as if you were trying to get closer to Dad’s voice.

As I listened to Dad’s deep voice tell the story of Ferdinand, I was the most relaxed I’d felt all day.  When I closed my eyes, all I could picture was my own Dad (your Grampie) reading to me when I was a kid.  I used to love snuggling in close, and feeling the vibrations of his deep voice against my pillow as he read to me.  Sometimes he got sneaky with the longer books, and tried to skip a page to speed the routine along.  But I always persisted, because I loved that time of night before bed.  I loved the stories, but I also loved hearing my Dad’s voices and comments about the characters.  Being read to was so much better than reading by myself.

baby books

The wonderful collection of books from your baby shower!

Yes, we read to you even though you can’t see the books yet.  We’ll continue to read to you in my belly, and finally in person when you join us in eight weeks.  Our family and friends have given us so many beautiful books with heartfelt notes to you on the inside cover–the ingenious idea of your Aunt Julia at our baby shower.  With each book, you’ll get to hear and learn a little about this group of people that love you so much.

And yes, I hope that you grow to love reading and books like we both do.  But even more, I hope that you love these special moments you can share with Dad in the evenings.  And don’t forget to ask Grampie for lots of stories too  🙂

Love,

Mom