As I evolve so does this blog and its companion page on Facebook. I suppose that is normal and natural - but I'm also a little unsure of what direction I'm going in right now. Is this just a slow spot or a sign to take another break? Or is it something more significant than that (like an end or new beginning?)
I posted Anne Lamott's piece about Mother's Day on Facebook yesterday. Then I was honestly surprised by how controversial it was. I always laugh at myself when that happens. I forget how "out there" I am sometimes. But I actually enjoyed the discussion that took place and I realized a few more things about myself, my writing style, and my "world view."
I re-read her essay and the word "opposed" jumped out at me. She actually said that she "opposes" Mother's Day (oh and I guess she says she "Hates" it too, right in the title! I personally try to avoid using that word, but I guess she feels strongly about it!) Since she took such a strong stance AGAINST Mother's Day, naturally people who enjoy it, like it, maybe even LOVE it, naturally felt a bit defensive. But it didn't bother me even though we've always had Mother's Day celebrations when I was growing up and now as a mother myself.
I think there are a few reasons I wasn't offended. First of all, I looked past the strong feelings she expressed to the REASONS she had for opposing it, and I felt that they had merit. Many people ARE sad on Mother's Day for many good reasons. And I do believe that mothers (parents) are more highly valued in our culture than non-parents AND I don't think that's right.
Second, I've gotten use to people "opposing" many of the things *I* do as a parent. According to some: long-term breastfeeding, co-sleeping, parenting WITHOUT punishment, and homeschooling are all things that could a) kill my kids, b) turn them into serial killers, c) make the world a decidedly WORSE place, and d) lead to the destruction of society as we know it. So I'm no stranger to people being critical of things I do and believe. The thing is, I've gotten to such a good place in *my* life and parenting journey that it doesn't matter if people say all of those incredible things about me and my kids. I know they're not true.
Third, I think Anne was simply expressing her opinion and it is different than the regular "mainstream" opinion. I've gotten so used to "thinking outside the box" that when I hear something different my first response is curiosity, not fear, and usually not defensiveness. Just because she expressed an opinion that I felt had valid points, doesn't mean I need to tell my kids to stop giving my gifts on Mother's day! I can like Mother's Day for the joy in my life AND appreciate what I learned from Anne and use what I learned to have DISCUSSIONS with my kids on those important points later.
But why am I even picking this apart? Well, I also realized that my writing style is such that I always try to be Kind. Because I do this, my "controversial" factor is almost assuredly lowered by a large degree. I'm not trying to offend people, I'm trying to make them think. Also, I don't think I'm really a "debater" - yes I LOVE to think, and I like to discuss things, and I also really like to read other people discussing and debating, but I don't think I'm actually cut out for real nitty, gritty debates. They wear me out. Especially when they get ugly. Because if you haven't noticed yet, my "things" are kinda Peace, Love, and Kindness. Debates are often the opposite of these ideals (although in an ideal world a great debate will remain respectful!)
So where do I go from here? What do I write about (if I continue to write at all)? So many of the issues I felt so passionate about when my kids were babies aren't super-relevant to my life anymore. I still think they are extremely important, but I no longer spend lots of time thinking about: breastfeeding, cosleeping, how to parent toddlers, or even what my guiding principles are for parenting.
I thought it might be useful to break down some of my dearly held beliefs, for myself and inspiration, and also to get input from YOU!
I believe in:
A human/baby/child's right to genital integrity (First: Do No Harm).
Supporting moms and babies to breastfeed as long as mutually desirable.
Finding ways to support families to safely, respectfully, and lovingly (to all family members) get enough sleep and rest.
Listening to children.
Our innate desire to feel good and BE good.
Promoting healthy, respectful relationships through communication and self-knowledge. (Hint: Punishment is not necessary nor desirable.)
WAITING when I don't know what to do.
Saying "I don't know" when... I don't know.
Apologizing when I screw up.
Always striving to be better.
Our children's desire to fit into our family and the world while maintaining their unique identity.
Our ability as humans to learn from the world.
The power of time and experience and perspective.
But above all - even though I believe in all of the above things - I believe in the power of Love and Kindness. I believe I can Love someone who doesn't agree with me on all of the above things. In fact, I DO love people who disagree with me about many of those things.
It makes me laugh that after all that time and thinking it comes down to Kindness. All that and the answer is almost always, "What is the Kindest thing I can do right now?" So simple! Good thing I like to laugh at myself (sometimes because I am silly, and sometimes because I think I am a little funny!) But I don't regret one minute of having a whirling cyclone in my head, because I wouldn't be where I am today without all that struggle. And right here and now is pretty darn good. Turns out Kindess is a really good guide for leading you to Peace. And Peaceful is where I spend a large portion of my time these days. I'm probably the happiest I've ever been in my life (and the tears flow more freely than ever too!) and I wouldn't change one step of the path.
But where is this blog headed now? I'm feeling so Peaceful that it is challenging to finish a post! And while the world continues to rage and burn with fiery passion and debates, my home life is flowing like a gentle stream, sunlight sparkling through the green leaves of a forest and warming my skin while my kids laugh and play.
So I'm turning things over to you - if you are still with me here. Is there anything you want to know more about? Are any of my beliefs very strange to you and make you curious to know more? Maybe you want to know more about this "parenting without punishment" thing, or this "unschooling" business? Or maybe you're wondering how your baby will every fall asleep without the boob or sleep through the night? Perhaps you even wonder if they'll ever stop doing _______!
In any case, I have a feeling I'd be much more inspired if I knew I was answering even just one person's question. So if you are curious - please ask away! I'll be waiting to hear from you.
Good night and Thank you for reading as always. <3