Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

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Thinking aloud: reclaiming identity and beauty

September 2, 2010

Is it possible to become simultaneously less judgemental yet more shallow?

I ask the question because I realise, as I look around the shopping centre, that these days I am far less likely to judge other people based on their outwards appearance; yet more likely to spend an effort on my own appearance.

Is paying attention to personal grooming actually shallow, anyway?

As I hit my late 20s, I reflexively observe that I am starting to claim and reclaim aspects of my personal identity that were not a high priority for me in my teens.

I am a mother, and I claim that as part of my identity. I also stand firm in my belief that to be a mother is not equivalent to losing all sense of self-esteem, nor is it an excuse to pay less attention to my outwards appearance. I have often thought this in my just-over 8 years of parenthood (9 years, if you count pregnancy as parenthood). It was once again highlighted for me recently when I noticed that at least a few mums (moms, for the North American readers!) spend a lot of money and effort on clothes for their children, but dress themselves extremely casually (not that I particularly care if a mum wants to dress in trackie dacks and ugg boots, but be assured, that’s not for me!).

I have Anglo-Celtic heritage – more Celtic than Anglo – with a bit of French somewhere in the background. I claim that as a significant aspect of my ethno-cultural identity, as an  Anglo-Celtic Australian. It is a package deal: don’t pick on me for my super pale white skin, and don’t pick on my many immediate family members with their red hair – it’s nothing but poorly disguised racism. I would never dare to attack someone because they’re “not tanned enough”, and thus I make a stand. I don’t wear fake tan, either. It looks stupid on me. I don’t sunbathe – certainly not with the high skin cancer statistics: two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70, according to the SunSmart website (article dated March 2010, accessed 2 September 2010).

However, I digress. I have spent far too long worrying about people not liking me for who I am. I am learning to accept myself and others, at the same time I am learning to spend more effort on “looking good”. My question is, then, are these things mutually exclusive?

On the topic of looking good, I recently read a great book: The Science of Sexy: Dress to fit your unique figure with the style system that works for every shape and size by Bradley Bayou (2006 edition) [Amazon]. I highly recommend it for women like myself who want to do the best they can with the figure they’ve got. I found it light-hearted, practical and realistic, and am now in the process of trying  to implement its advice in my wardrobe and accessories.

The short story is that it dawns upon me that life is far too short to be wasted on picking on other people for their clothing style, haircut, and body shape. Yes, I know that this is elementary Christianity*, and elementary feminism, all rolled into one, but to have a deep down illumination and revelation of this is another matter altogether. It’s one thing to have head knowledge, it’s another thing to live it from the heart. And it’s yet another thing to live in such a way that offers freedom to others. Life also seems far too short to spend living half-hearted – and for me, reclaiming my feminine identity is part of this process of living life to the full.

*It saddens me that very few Christian women authors appear willing to take a stance against the cultural-structural images of womanhood. Most of the Christian women’s texts on beauty that I have read centre more on the theme of “God loves you even if everyone else thinks you’re ugly,” rather than what I believe is the sociologically far more appropriate “Culturally designed notions of beauty are historically, ethnically, socially positioned beliefs that are not foundational to  Biblical interpretations of beauty.”

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Happy person with house, spider, and astronomy

August 20, 2010

Felt tip marker on lined folder paper, A4, circa 2009.

Illustration by N. aged 5 years.

Maybe it’s the biased mother speaking, but I thought this was super cute!

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Article: Churches Adopt Adoption

July 8, 2010

I just read this article in Christianity Today, “Churches Adopt Adoption“. It’s such an exciting thought that people are seeking positive change to impact the lives children. How heartbreaking, then, was the thought of an adoptive mother putting her 8 year old boy on a plane because she, quote, “I no longer wish to parent this child.” As the mother of an 8 year old, I can’t even imagine what hardship a mother would have gone through to feel that the only solution would be to send her little boy on a plane back to his home country. However, at the risk of saying too much on a topic I don’t know enough about, I’ll just leave it at that.

Here’s the link: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/july/11.23.html?start=1

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Female Genital Mutilation – Article

May 7, 2010

http://iinformedparenting.blogspot.com/2010/05/american-academy-of-pediatrics-devolves.html

This article is worth reading.

As an Australian, I am not particularly familiar with circumcision of any form – it’s not common here (on boys and definitely not on girls), and my understanding is that male circumcision is only really practised in specific religious and ethno-cultural contexts.

I find the concept of surgically altering a child’s body in this form distressing and disturbing, and I think it’s really sad that some Westerners would actually demand the “right” to force violence of any form on infants. I certainly hope it doesn’t become accepted in Australia.

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A few websites and books on parenting

April 6, 2010

*Reading this on facebook? Please click on ‘view original post’ to make comments.*

On Parenting, scheduled feeding vs demand feeding, breastfeeding etc.

As a mother, with a preference for finding natural (as possible) “methods” of raising my children, it surprised me that many women head in the opposite direction. The key word is not natural but control. The mother makes the rules. While I agree that parents do need to set a standard of behaviour and self-control for their children, I can’t understand why it seems necessary to punish newborns for their natural behaviours.

In the Christian sense, the Bible in itself does not point to any one method of parenting as being particularly correct. Where oh where did our Lord use the phrase “demand feeding”, because I’ve read the Bible cover-to-cover more than once and I haven’t seen it in there yet. It would seem that some parents ascribe to a fairly rigid set of beliefs when it comes to parenting. I must say that I fully believe that parents should have freedom in raising their kids, but some parenting methods do trouble me.

With that in mind, I wanted to share this link that a friend sent me recently. It explores controversies surrounding a particularly popular “Christian” method of parenting (a method which I do not use). My personal philosophy is that people should have a good overview of the different sides to an argument before settling on a particular position. In this case, I have heard very little in the way of informed critique of this method. Surely everything should be scrutinised.

Here’s the link:

http://www.ezzo.info/babywise.htm

The testimonies of people who have used this method are interesting, and would be useful reading for a Christian parent trying to assess both the pros and cons of this parenting method.

Christian books from which I have personally gleaned a lot of encouragement and positive ideas include Boundaries With Children, Bringing Up Boys, Setting the Stage for your Child’s Faith, and The Five Love Languages. (Look them up at bookstores like Word or Koorong.)

The hospital in which I gave birth promoted demand feeding, long-term breastfeeding and flexible parenting schedules. They spent a lot of time explaining the importance of flexibility in breastfeeding, as a baby’s needs change throughout infancy. Sometimes a baby will need a lot more milk, especially in hot weather and growth spurts, and this will mean more frequent feeds. As I successfully breastfed both my children for almost 2 years each, can personally attest to the effectiveness of demand feeding. When my children were very young, my philosophy was simple: I will sacrifice the time and energy necessary to raise them in a healthy, natural way as far as I am able.

Have a look at websites like the Australian Breastfeeding Association to find out more on breastfeeding.

Is there a parenting website that you use and find helpful? Feel free to mention it here in the comments. Just keep in mind that comments with two or more links will be automatically filtered as spam!

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slightly morbid children’s art

September 16, 2009

Some slightly disturbing but amusing drawings by my son (aged 6 years old at the time).

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Three bananas on a table smiling, while the fourth banana is sad because it is being eaten.

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A house eating people (with the words “munch munch” written below its mouth), while a cloud smiles and watches.


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A tree and a person, both sad for some reason. I can’t remember what the explanation was for this one!

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4 year old handwriting

September 11, 2009

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