Motherhood: Same and Different

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She is seven this month. My heart aches when I think about it. The baby that made me a mother. The first labor, hours of breathing and focusing and stretching until she barreled out of me and peacefully looked into my eyes without even crying.In many ways, I felt so sure of myself then. I had this routine down. I had been changing diapers and doing laundry and bathing babies for as long as I could remember. I nursed her, took her to the grocery store with me, rocked her and sang to her.And I made her sleep by herself in her crib, let her cry herself to sleep, and smacked her hand or her leg when she didn’t listen. It hurts to remember that.She is seven now. Who I am as a person a … [Read more...]

Spanking and Unconditional Love

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I wrote in several of my childhood journals that I would never spank my kids. The shame and frustration I had experienced was enough to convince me it was ineffective and harmful. But somehow by the time I was an adult I had changed my position again. Part of my reason was the major denial of any issues in my childhood. I felt like acknowledging painful things from my past would be a betrayal of my parents, and I loved them and wanted to be loyal to them. So I continued to pretend that nothing had ever been wrong, and tried to prove that to myself.  I was also a very conservative Christian, and every parenting book I read was written from that punitive perspective. One of them was “To Train u … [Read more...]

Gentle Parenting Tools: Communicate

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I’ve talked about mutual respect, and recognizing emotions, and the importance of caring for yourself as a parent and here I want to talk about communication. When I was in the punitive parentingmindset, it was my understanding that you did not communicate with your kids. Kids were selfish and manipulative, only out to get whatever they wanted. No, you did not communicate, you dictate. As in, you tell them what to do, and you make them do it, regardless of what they are feeling or thinking. The child needs to learn that their opinion does not matter, they just need to obey. As I switched from punitive to gentle parenting, I started making an effort to recognize my children’s emotions, and I … [Read more...]

Train up a child, in the way he should go

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I remember a time some months ago, when 2 year old Ms Pooky was getting her leg stuck in the bars on the back of the kitchen chairs over and over. No matter how many times I helped her slide her ankle out from where it was wedged between the bars, a few minutes or hours later she would be standing on a chair singing to herself while she leaned over to color or play with play dough, and her foot would slip in-between the bars and slide to where it was stuck, at which point she would erupt in bloodcurdling screams until I came to coach her on how to get her foot loose. I tried to explain how her foot was getting stuck, demonstrated how she should slide her foot up slowly to get it out, and … [Read more...]

Gentle Parenting Tools: Apology

Early last year we got home after a church service, I was huge and pregnant, and tired, and feeling fried after so much religious talk. The kids were whining, and 4 year old Ms Action and 3 year old Ms Drama started fighting about something. I yelled over my shoulder at them to stop it as I waddled into the bathroom to pee. The fight continued, and as I came out of the bathroom I saw Ms Drama slap her sister. Old instincts kicked in on top of frustration, and without thinking I grabbed her arm and smacked her hand saying “don’t hit your sister!”. Her mouth dropped open in shock and she screamed. I doubt she cognitively remembers being spanked, so it may be the first time in her memory th … [Read more...]

The Decision that Changed my Life

We were at a park with our kids. I watched a young mom play in the sprinkler area with her incredibly chubby baby girl. The mom became engrossed in her conversation with another mom, and baby waddled off by herself and reached for the sprinkler, giggling at the feeling of the water against her hand. After a moment, she wandered away from the sprinkler area and down the hill toward the jungle gym. The mother looked up and called to her baby, but baby didn’t even look back, she was intent on reaching the colourful play structure. Mom laughed and excused herself from the conversation and trotted after her baby, catching up with her easily. I felt myself involuntarily tensing, but there were no b … [Read more...]


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