There are studies, many of them poor, some may be worthwhile, that focus on various aspects of parenting. What I have learned after 20 plus years as a child and family counselor, and as the mother of two teen agers, is that parenting is more about what it’s not. Like romantic love or marriage, there are many ill conceived and misguided stereotypes and myths about parenting and it’s hard to cut that away and see what is what. Parenting isn’t happiness, it’s not pretty and sweet and light. It’s often messy, it can get pretty dark and truly painful physically and emotionally. That makes sense though, because when you open yourself up to someone completely, in a selfless giving way, you are vulnerable to feel all the bad as well as the good. Parenting is not biological, it’s not about sex or gender, families are so much more and they always have. With grandparents raising grandkids, and single parents, and two parents of the same gender. Now there are more positive images of those families of all shapes and sizes out there for people to see. There are many things that parents do for children, there’s nothing in fact that a parent wouldn’t do for a child, that cliche I think is true (when the parent is a real parent). What the parent chooses not to do, that is what people don’t know about and that can be much harder. I’m not going to pick you up this time when you fall. When you step back as a parent to let them fail, or let them make a choice and take a hit, especially when you can see it coming, that is difficult. As parents what you don’t do, where you choose not to insert yourself, what parenting is not is just as hard and sometimes harder than what it is.
It’s been too long since I posted anything, but then since this is a blog that’s focused on parenting and family that can be explained but the acting that I was parenting and focused on my family 🙂 I have been the main supporter of my daughter’s HS Track and Field Booster Club and navigating the transition into an adult relationship with my son in his first year of college (also involved in Track) so this time of year (Track Season) is CRAZED! Both my children are doing well in their respective sports/events, but it’s more than that. They have found people, purpose and belong with Running and Track. As a parent and a child and family counselor I know that any coach/teacher or person directing an activity for young people has an amazing opportunity, and I have seen it either squandered or in some cases really f’ed up. I am SUPER grateful that my kids have mentors and team mates that focus on what’s important and support each other. When organized sports for youth are that way across the board it does have the power to change the world, only slight hyperbole 😉
Stay Strong New Zealand #Christchurch #Loveforall
Happy International Women’s Day and here’s to hopes for greater gender balance in our world. I know I will be working within my own family, my community, and in every way I can to promote and expect a gender balance economically, socially, culturally and in all ways. I will keep those expectations high and take inspiration from my daughter’s generation to get rid of other expectations about gender all together. Especially those preconceived notions that are used to stereotype, devalue or exclude some people. Here’s to a better, balanced world. #BetterforBalance
My beloved father in law Daniel sent this to me today. Jane, my mother in law, Dan and our whole family vacationed in France. It was unquestionably one of the greatest times of my life. Our babies, Sophie turned 3 on the trip, and Sam was just 7 years old. Love and family truly are everything, and that is the Notre Dame my angel.
I try to keep this blog not so political. But the political is surely personal now. Please sign the Petition I started with MoveOn.org at the link below, and share it. I believe families and people in Real Emergencies need help, have been promised help, and as a Nation we can do better.
This week I opened a bank account with my daughter. We got her a checking account with a card. We signed a dozen documents, her and I. 50 years ago that would not have been possible. In 1970 a woman needed a man’s signature, husband or father, to legally get a credit card. We also saw the movie about Justice Ginsburg, “On the Basis of Sex”. This movie highlighted what life was like under these laws that existed in my lifetime, for my mother, not so long ago.
Me: “The 1000’s of laws that existed that discriminated against women based on their sex were supposedly to protect them.”
Sophie: “Protect them from what?”
Me: “How did it feel to open up that bank account, to get that card?”
Sophie: “Like an adult . . . I had control . . . power.”
Me: “Laws supposedly to protect women portrayed women as weaker, in need of protection. If women were weaker and men stronger, who would continue to hold that power and who would be denied that power?”
Sophie: ” I get it.”
Yes my love, you’ve got it now, and don’t you ever give it up!
Trying to keep myself honest, and looking back over the statement I made in 2017 to see if I am keeping promises my first year in office.