Archive for the ‘parenting’ Tag

How did you get dad so involved?   2 comments

So, mini update. I get this one a lot with mums (who see my baby in a carrier on dad’s chest cooing away). How does one help get dad (This also goes for second mum, step parents, and so on) involved? A lot of the time fathers really don’t know where they stand with the tiny baby and mothers have very strong ideas about how they want things done.

The most important factor here is trust – trust that dad will figure it out. The relationship between babies and their caregivers is unique to each care giver. The key is to provide for the baby quickly and with affection; as they get older giving them time and love and responding to their needs. There are many different ways to do this and the best way to find out what they are is abandonment – leave dad and baby to it. Be there if he wants help, but he is on his own. Settling the baby is between them, and your confidence and trust bolsters theirs.

Another factor is keeping the relationship unique. Having something that each of you does between you and the baby – something that reinforces the relationship’s unique nature. Something that says ‘I am important as more than just ‘a person’. Often dads feel shut out of baby rearing because they just do the same things everyone else does. Sometimes people get a bottle so daddy can feed the baby too – the truth is that that falls short of what is needed here. Daddy needs to be ‘the one who reads at night’ or ‘the one who takes baby for adventures in the kitchen’. Daddy needs something unique. It can change, but there always has to be something that says ‘daddy’ to baby. As they get older there can be games and stories between them – but having something unique between them (just as you will have unique things between you) cements a stronger bond.

I have found a few books for dads to read that help with young children. I personally recommend “My Love Will Be with You” by Laura Krauss Melmed, and “Daddy Cuddles”/”Daddy Kisses” by Anne Gutman. These are books which paint fathers as figures of affection, something which is difficult to find in children’s books which often relegate fathers to figures of activity. It can help fathers be more comfortable in an affectionate paternal role.

Push for the time now, and let them have it. All children need face-time, dedicated time, with their individual care givers to be at their best. And this can really help.

How does a SAHM SAH?   Leave a comment

So this question came up. How does a stay at home mum stay at home?

There’s lots of reasons for a stay at home parent (Yep, stay a home dads count, too!) to stay at home. Most of them relating to wanting the best possible carer for your children – which is you. Preschools and Schools are not bad choices, but your children will never get the one on one attention,  customised classes, or the emotional security (which only leads to a more successful children) that comes from you. Not every family can do it – not everyone wants to. If you do, this one is for you.

There’s lots of money saving tips out there. This entry isn’t about that. I’ll be adding to that body with my own collection next week. Before that, though, here is some advice that has nothing to do with money, but everything to do with success: Be good to each other.

The world has not become a better place for the worker in recent years. A lot of places which previously had excellent rights and a least a reasonable minimum wage no longer have. I live in the USA, so we have never had the former and it’s been a very, very long time since the latter.
Well, of course you know this. The thing is that this matters not just to your wallet, but to your relationship. Financial worry is stressful. It is also all but inevitable in your relationship as a working parent, child-rearing parent partnership.

So be good to each other.

Stay-at-home parent, remember that working parent is working a job that 40 years ago would have paid all the bills and still gotten you a holiday once a year. These days, they’re lucky if you can eat out (which you absolutely should not do… but that is for next week). There will be times when even though they work so very hard they feel they are failing when they can’t provide things you want. Please be understanding of this. Be understanding of their hard days, be appreciative of all the days. Acknowledge their contributions – even the small ones.

So be good to each other.

Working parent, remember that stay-at-home parent works as hard as you do. They don’t get lunch breaks, they don’t get days off. Even when you’ve been working a 14 hour shift and just want to get your footwear off, remember that stay-at-home parent has been working it, too. Your time off is their time off – share it. Help out. A good parent gives the child or children all the attention they need, and children need a LOT of attention for a secure attachment (basically the key to a life of success). That isn’t easy. You’re part of it, too. You need to be a part of your kid’s life (lives) as more than a breadwinner. Caring for them and fulfilling their needs does this. It also lets your stay at home partner spend 20 minutes playing Halo, napping, or knitting. That means a lot when one spends the rest of one’s day attending to the needs of others.

So be good to each other.

Remember that your partner is not a mind reader. No one is. If your needs are not being met, talk about it. Tell your partner how you feel. Even for the little things. Lots of little silences build up in to one big silence before too long. Remember to listen, too. You don’t always talk when you should, either, so even if it is something that’s been going on for a while, give it serious thought. Break downs in communication are a huge problem, and they start by saying yes when you mean no or worse, saying nothing at all when you want to speak.

So be good to each other, respect each partner’s contribution and talk to each other. Be the equal partners you are supposed to be. Sometimes you will disagree, but you are partners in this adventure. THAT is how stay at home parents stay at home.

Why do you care..?   Leave a comment

So this came up a while ago, but I felt like it deserves to be said again.

A conversation occurred way back in May wherein I was criticized for judging “Cry it outas wrong while there are a great many worse things like rape, or murder, that occur. Besides the obvious flaw here, as I was drifting off that night, it was still going through my head. So why do I think CIO is so important? When I find my motivations questioned, I like to ask myself why I feel the way I do. Well, I think I figured it out. It has to do with something else I see as terribly, terribly wrong despite worse evils – slut shaming.

The two are not, on the surface, related. Where I see parallels is how they function in society. You see, lots of things make it easier, psychologically, to rape or murder a woman. One of these things is removal of person-hood and making women a thing (“I need a woman”) and all women as ‘women’ (“Why do women…”/”That’s women’s work”). Another way to make it easier is to make the crimes the victim’s fault in the mind of the perpetrator. This is achieved by creating circumstances which the victim should have acted a different way to avoid their assault, thereby making it their fault.

Slut shaming does all of this. Women must behave, act, and look a certain way or they are sluts. Sluts are women who lose their person-hood and become objects. Often in the common perception, ‘They deserve bad things because _________’. ‘It’s terrible, but it wouldn’t have happened if she had…’ ‘She was asking for it’. ‘Doesn’t she know she’s ruining his life?’. She is a slut. She is less than a person. Throughout a lot of history and in the minds of many today, woman must protect herself against being seen as s slut less some poor man be overcome when he looks at her. If this happens then she’ll bring shame on herself and her family. While the implications for this as a victim of an assault are terrible, it goes further than that. Slut shaming creates circumstances for permitting or excusing rape, and sometimes even murder… and the worse the shaming in a society, the more common rapes and murders are. I know ending all slut shaming wouldn’t end rape and murder, but if we remove slut shaming (and with it victim blaming) it makes crossing that line harder. Right now excuses like failing to understand the severity of one’s actions and failure to understand consent are common… including in bystanders.

So, how does this relate to CIO? I find CIO dehumanizes babies. In the same way slut shaming removes the person-hood of a woman, so to do CIO and other similar practices deprive babies and children of their person-hood. Their wants and needs are set aside as unimportant. Their means of communicating distress are treated as an annoyance, and their need for closeness as an inconvenience. Their needs are secondary to their parent’s desires – they are not persons. Parent are feel as though they know the needs of the infant better than the infant themself, and the infant as though they are  creating difficulty by communicating their needs and seeking closeness. They are treated as though they need to be trained, like a pet. They are dehumanized. Their parents conditioned to be desensitized to their distress; to not respond. Their emotions, and developmentally appropriate (indeed, immensely biologically important) needs marginalized and set aside.

We make this OK as a society. We make it OK to ignore children’s distress as infants, desensitizing ourselves. Then as they grow older, we make it OK to commit physical violence against them, for the same reasons. To train them. Using the same ways of thinking. Further removing their humanity and marginalizing them as persons. We treat children as property, objectifying them. As a society. I feel that this creates an atmosphere where some people can excuse their actions in the same way some people excuse their actions against sluts. It may seem a little thing, unimportant when compared to everything else that could happen – but nothing happens in a vacuum. Small things can and do contribute to larger ones. That is why, my friends, I feel so strongly about CIO (and other child related socially acceptable neglect and violence).