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...]

Another Day in the Life…

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 I get home from my job at midnight. After being on my feet for 7 hours, it felt really good to sit in the car for the short ride home and I stumble a little on the way to the kitchen door.  Mr. Punk is asleep on the living room floor with his little butt in the air, face smashed into his favorite soft blanket. I plunk into a chair and peel off my boots.  Haley gives me a mug of orange juice with pulp (my favorite) and we sit down to eat a snack together.  We talk softly about how my shift went; I made cereal bars and cookie dough and lasagna and had some fun conversations with my co-worker. We laugh when I realize that this is basically the first social interaction I’ve ever had other than c … [Read more...]

What the kids have been up to

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Ms Action 5 1/2: "Mom, when I get big someday I am going to go to the dealership and get a Dodge Ram. They have really sweet engines, you should check them out. Then we could use it to haul stuff to the dump."Other cars on her list of vehicles to acquire include: GMC Sierra, Mini Cooper, Honda Civic, a snow plough attachment for her pick-ups, a Toyota Camry, and an Orange Chrysler Sebring Convertible. I had to look some of these up to figure out what she was talking about. I was moping around on the computer and heard a suspicious clunk-splash noise coming from the bathroom, where Mr Punk is in the habit of flushing toys.  So instead of getting up I yelled “Hey! Did someone leave the ba … [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...]


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