“Umm…no actually I’m not. I work full-time.”
“Oh, well that’s a shame. You must pay like crazy then for the education!”
Jab. Double jab. That is all I could think. This was a conversation between me and Mr. P’s best man for his wedding. For me this was a knife straight to the heart. I’m sure it was not intended that way, but I took it personal. I mean this is MY child. What gives? Just because I work that automatically means that I spend no time with Lil Mister, is that it? Well, listen here condescending, narrow minded; my wife works so my children can slack excuse user! (Okay, actually this guy and his wife are pretty cool and get along great with us :-/ forgive my raging hormones for a minute while I stand proud on my soap box!) I spend every moment I get with my son! And no those hours are not filled with meaningless TV or random play. I put in effort! I know what they are teaching my son at crèche and we incorporate that into our everyday! Oh so Miss Clever School Teacher wants to teach about the color yellow this week…GREAT. Fan-friggintastic! We’re wearing yellow, eating yellow foods, and playing with those dang yellow toys! Not to mention that yes my family is bi-lingual so I have to do everything double! We separate the blocks into red, yellow, and blue and then mix them up again and separate into rooi, geel, and blou!! I make flashcards for my son. Oh yea, they are made on my computer but I did the friggin work! I googled the pictures and placed everything just right! I cut them out and laminated them because chocolate and paper glued to card stock DO NOT MIX! Phew….
In reality, I understood where he was coming from. Yes, I do feel that my 21 month old son is quite clever. I would love to blog the next 20 minutes about his development in two languages and how advanced his physical skills are (I’m big on athletics if you haven’t picked up on that), but that isn’t the point of this particular post. I’ll leave that one for another time when you really want to hear me brag!! ;-)
My focus is about the fact that I DO actually spend time with my son. There are so many debates going on that cling to two extreme sides of parenting. I automatically get grouped into a negative aspect because I work! I work for two reasons. The first reason is my family. We cannot afford only one salary at this time. Yes, many moms and “experts” are screaming right now that I should not have had children! Please refer to My Boys tab to learn about how Lil Mister came into our lives! It is not that we live an extravagant lifestyle, but we need both salaries. The second reason I work is personal. I enjoy working. I enjoy the satisfaction that I get from it. It is something that I need and want as a person. A career is something that helps me feel fulfilled. It is not my everything but I have goals and enjoy meeting those goals.
My point here is that we moms cannot just be lumped together into groups! Especially this “crunchy” group! I’m all for each mom having her own ways and believe that we should NOT be judging each other! We are here to support each other, laugh through the down falls together, smile when one can only see tears, and give advice. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another, right? Well, apparently according to some I am flat WRONG! I will continue to stand by my belief however! And will NOT tolerate being judged by women or men for that matter who obviously have too much time on their hands if they spend it ridiculing others…maybe they’re the ones that need to get a job and a life! RAWR!!
My parenting may not be perfect. Oh who am I trying to fool, I’m a mess at this most of the time but my son loves me! But I put my all into what I do. When I am with Lil Mister, he is my entire focus. I cannot tell you how many meals have been burnt because I was too engrossed in the tower we were building or how many times I’ve been doing laundry in the night because I spent my day time wheeling cars across the tiles. I don’t shove knowledge down my sons throat the whole day, but rather I try to tie things together. Such as a car is not just a car, it is a red or blue or whatever color car. Things are always big or small, in front or behind, on top or under. We don’t sit around doing nothing. We run, swing, ride bikes, and swim. It all seems pretty normal to us. Learning through playing is the number one concept. Those flashcards I made him have pictures of tractors. Why? Because he loves tractors! Counting is fun because we’re counting the pictures of tractors!
Oh sure, we have our issues. Like that my son has learnt the F word! Oh yea nothing like sitting in the grocery store and hearing my toddler say ‘F it’ and daddy covering it up by asking “waars die vouljie?” (where’s the birdie in Afrikaans but vouljie is kind of pronounced foolkey!). We always try to turn that word into something else when he says it. Just a few weeks ago Lil Mister comes home with a bite mark on his arm! When I’m told what happened he got bit by another little boy in whom he had first bit…my perfect angel would never, right? Wrong…we got problems. Do I think we have these because I work or that my parenting style is too loose? No. I think we have a normal toddler. I do know, however, that my son is clever because we make an effort to make learning fun. Learning and exercise are FUN in our house.
Yea, it’s pretty cliché but that is reality. If Lil Mister doesn’t like a method, we try something different. If an approach that worked for months suddenly stops working we change it. But one thing is for sure…I’m not the only working mom facing this dilemma! So my ideal for now is that I’m kind of chewy.
Chewy is not the opposite of crunchy. Chewy is a medium. Kind of like a chewy bar. They have some nutty parts and some hard parts but they’re still soft enough to get stuck in your teeth! I got a list about crunchy parenting from another blog and thought I’d share it and highlight what we are and are not.
• Attachment Parenting (we fit this to an extent….we do feel Lil Mister must explore his world and create some boundaries himself)
• Co-Sleeping (we both co-sleep and have a nursery. Lil Mister has always been put to bed in his own bed but at one point his bed was in our room too. He has had his own room and now sleeps there every night but he still wanders in to cuddle which is fine with us!)
• Baby Wearing (we do own strollers and used them regularly but it was easier to clean the house and/or shop when he was small if I had him in a sling!)
• natural birth (I loved natural birth; my husband would prefer a c-section as opposed to going through it again with me! But I never judge a woman! Both types are there for a reason and I believe that you must do what is best for you and baby!)
• breastfeeding (I tried and was unsuccessful with Lil Mister. I will try again with LJ…again no judgment on formula using moms. I used formula and Lil Mister is the top in his class!)
• extended breastfeeding
• holistic medicine (we still use prescriptions. We however do try alternative methods first!)
• Natural Products (we use if we can otherwise it is whatever is convenient…sorry!)
• Toxin Aware (this I am very careful for and avoid any products that can possibly be truly harmful!
• Peaceful parenting (We aim for this!)
• Free Range Children? (are we talking about chickens here?)
• Child Led learning
• Limited Media (We do try to be strict about what Lil Mister sees and hears!)
• Buy WAHM
• Buy Small Business
• Buy Local
• Organic Gardening
• Buy Organics First
• Poison Free Homes
• No Circumcision
• Human Rights / Animal Right
• Active Parenting
So yea…we don’t always comply 100% with a category, such as eco-friendly home. We are not energy hogs and switching off lights and appliances are important. But no we are not ripping up the 20 year old tiles to put in new ones that are organic. We don’t necessarily strictly organic garden but we garden. I believe in researching my options and making a decision from there.
Can you relate?? Maybe you’re a little chewy as well??