Thursday, September 13, 2012

Let's Play Society Says

I recently discovered this article online about parenting, and it's so calmly aggressive and honest. 

I admit, I'm the kind of parent who likes my time.  I like predictability.     I like control.     I love my children dearly, but I really struggle with just sitting and playing with them.  My mind is always going (I think many of you can relate).  I have chores to complete, papers to grade, dinner to make, errands to run.    I always have a project lingering, a table that needs wiping, a load of towels that need to be washed.   

I'm reading a great book right now that talks about how we need to look at these minuscule and ever-necessary tasks as privileges in serving our family, not as interruptions to come unglued over. 

Yep, easier said than done. 

But deep down, I get it.   

You know, older people always say to us younger parents:   the kids grow up so fast; enjoy your time with them.  We nod, smile, and then dismiss their comments, moving on to the next task.

But these people are SO right, aren't they?

Look back at the photos of your preschooler when he or she was an infant or toddler.    It's heartbreaking, really.   

What I'm learning is that just because something is challenging for you as a parent (sitting down to play with your kids, cuddling them instead of letting them cry it out, breastfeeding when bottle feeding would be more convenient for you), it doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do for your child. 

Just because society says you should follow a certain group of rules in order when it comes to parenting, doesn't mean they are right.  As the author of the article stated, "Although our babies begin by letting us know by the clearest signals what they need, if we ignore them they will eventually give up. At what cost did we get a compliant baby? As this is what contemporary Western civilization relies upon, it is little wonder why the relationship between parent and child has remained steadfastly adversarial."

I wonder how many of us will have adult children one day, children-turned-adults that love their parents but never really attached to them.   We will moan and groan that the kids NEVER come visit us, never call, leave us feeling lonely.   And I wonder how many of us will realize our kids are only doing to us what we did to them.   We teach our kids how to treat us.

It's scary to think about, isn't it? 

I hope that each of us can take some time to reflect upon our mothering practices and make improvements in whatever ways we feel convicted to do so.       I hope we learn to do what is best for our child, not society.     

Personally, I'll continue to fight the "to do" list and instead, spend time with my children.  It's all they really want and need.   It's free, I'm able to give it to them, and the memories we create are priceless.


  1. Hey, Rachel. I understand the point the author of the article is making and to a certain degree I agree. But the way she's articles like that one that create insurmountable guilt and anxiety on certain groups like adoptive mothers who have to use formula because they cannot breastfeed or biological mothers who simply were not able to do so for many physical or emotional reasons. Or single moms who have to go to work and have no choice but to leave their children with "strangers". The author is assuming we make those choices out of selfish motives rather than out of necessity, as many have to, and leaves you feeling as if there is no future for a healthy attachment unless you follow her formula. She does not present it as an option but rather as the only way and that is never a good thing because we all know perfectly well-attached children whose parents did all the things she says we are not to do.
    Anyway, always interesting to read another's perspective and thank you for sharing.

  2. I struggle with this same thing!! I so need to just relax and play with my little guy way more!!


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