How Being an Older Sibling in a Big Duggar-Like Family Is Like Being a Polygamous Sister Wife


I was talking recently to a friend about inter-sibling relations in a large Duggar-like family. After listening, she said this: It sounds almost like sister wives or something. Wow. I had never thought of it that way before, but, yes.I grew up in a family very like the Duggars, except that we had half a dozen fewer children. We older children were expected to help raise the younger children. My parents followed the same parenting manuals as the Duggars, and those manuals advised placing … [Read more...]

The Tomboy in Skirts


My six-year-old daughter Sally wears dresses, well, basically, all the time. If she's not wearing dresses, she's wearing skirts. I can't think of the last time I saw her in shorts, and she swore off pants last year. Too uncomfortable, she said. When it's cold, she wears leggings under her dresses. Dresses, dresses, always dresses.  This is weird to me. I grew up in a conservative evangelical homeschool culture that valued female domesticity. When I was 13, I swore off pants. I believed women … [Read more...]

Parenting Positively Means Much More than Not Hitting


Yesterday as Sally climbed into the car, she knocked over a can with flowers in it, something she'd brought home from school, and in the process spilled water on the seat. Sally began to fret about the water, but I didn't have a towel or other rag in the car. Since we were about to head home home, I suggested that she sit on the wet spot, soaking up some of the water with her dress, and that she could change when we get home. Sally responded that the water was in a corner of the seat, so she c … [Read more...]

Gamergate Comes Home


I am not and never have been a gamer. My interest in various fandoms (I'm a Whovian) and my friendship with progressive feminist women who do identify as gamers has given me a window into the community, but it has always been as an outsider looking in. As I've followed Gamergate and various controversies over sex and gender in video games and in the wider cosplay community, it has always been with a certain feeling of detachment.And now, here I am.My six-year-old daughter hangs with the … [Read more...]

The Real Travesty of the “Hero Mom” Story


I don't have a lot of time at the moment, but I did want to drop a quick note to say how disgusting I find white America's reaction to video footage of a black mother, Toya Graham, beating her teenage son as she drags him away from the violence between protesters and police in Baltimore. This mom has been dubbed "Hero Mom" "Mom of the Year" on media networks and twitter, trending from coast to coast.I want to be clear that I'm not angry so much with Toya Graham as I am with white A … [Read more...]

Condescending Self-Righteous Parents Make Parenting Sound Terrible


I recently came upon a screed I found rather horrifying. It is titled "10 Things I Hate So Much It Destroys My Happiness." First of all, if you hate something so much it literally destroys your happiness, you may want to see a therapist. You should be able to hate things and still be happy. But honestly that's completely beside the point. I get that the title is hyperbole. I think I'm just feeling a bit nitpicky because . . . well. You shall see.I'm not going to cover each of the ten items. … [Read more...]

Why We Should Teach Children to Say “No”


I recently came upon an a post by blogger MaryEllen titled Six Things My Kids Are Not Allowed to Say to Adults. With some trepidation, I clicked through. This is what I found: One of the most important things I want my children to learn is to respect authority. They will never learn to be obedient to God if they cannot first learn to be obedient to the adults God has placed over them.For that reason, we are very careful to enforce respectful speech when speaking to adults.This is not a … [Read more...]