Don’t worry, there’s more

I’ve been pondering what else I have to say about The Mommy Myth, and I have yet to come up with a clear vision for the rest of what I have to say. The book explores the way that commercialism has crept into motherhood, it explores how governmental institutions have failed mothers (including welfare and a lack of outside the home childcare), and it has something to say about individualism, though, I think that’s not as explicit. Maybe part of the reason I’m struggling is because I know that other books I want to read cover the same ideas much more in depth, or maybe I’m not ready to address them yet.

I’m also a tad bit distracted because I’m preparing for National Novel Writing Month. I’m going to be writing a young-adult sci-fi novel, that also happens to be a political thriller. It’s going to be set 100 years in the future, and I’m aiming for a future world that’s realistic, but ultimately hopeful, which you can probably guess by now fits into my world view. As always, there will be a little bit of feminism in the work-in-progress, so I think I’ll definitely include some state-run free daycare for caregivers.

But in amongst the books that I’ve been reading to prepare for my post-peak-oil, post-climate change world, I’ve been thinking pretty deeply about children, and how children are and should be treated in public spaces.

Children are a vulnerable and exploited class in our society. They require the protection and guidance of adults to grow into adulthood. However, the amount of protection and guidance changes as children grow older, as they develop their moral and cognitive skills. They have a right to maintain bodily integrity, and to explore gender play, and to figure out how to world works (within reason) through out the process, though.

I think one of the most interesting things I’ve read is that parents are not responsible for their children. Being responsible for something implies that in the end, whatever happens, it is your fault. Parents however, are responsible to their children — responsible to kids to provide them with safety, with space to grow, with autonomy and privacy as they grow older.  Parents are not responsible for their children’s choices. Because as parents, we cannot control our children’s choices — but we can provide them with ones that we deem appropriate.

So, just so you know, I missed posting last Friday because I was deep in thought on this issue. And just to refresh my list of questions, so you know what I’m investigating, it includes the following:

  • What is the context of motherhood and fatherhood in the United States in 2010?
  • What “clubs” or “tribes” will we be joining? What are the societal rules for parents?
  • How will becoming parents effect our social circles, our community?
  • While we are still childless, or childfree, how can we be an allies to parents?
  • How do parents balance their lives? Their careers, interests, souls with parenting?

On top of that, just a little blogging detail announcement. I’ve been posting on Fridays, but I’m going to change that to Mondays. There tends to be a little bit more traffic that day anyway, and hopefully it’ll help me use the weekend to get awesome blog posts written.

Thoughts on parenting? On my questions? What questions are you dealing with, Empathizers?


One thought on “Don’t worry, there’s more

  1. The questions you ask are big and important; almost too big to admit to brief answers in a blog. That’s a good thing. Let me just offer a thought or two on your fourth question: how can those who aren’t parents be allies to those who are?

    Unfortunately, many parts of the subcultures through which I move tend to unfairly separate parents and non-parents. Even more unfortunately, those groups tend to perpetuate the separation. (“You just don’t understand what it’s like … wait until *you* have kids.” “Why do they have to talk about their kids all the time? Don’t they have outside lives?”)

    So … back to the question. Do your part to bridge the gap. Look for needs that parents around you have, and think about ways that you’re uniquely positioned and gifted to help meet those needs.

    Every person’s needs are different, but here’s some ideas. Offer a non-judgmental ear when a parent needs to vent about their kids. Use your more flexible schedule to cover for them at work when a kid gets sick, or in a fight at school, or any of the innumerable events that happen outside the schedule. Give the parents a night (or an afternoon, or a weekend) out and watch the kids for free. Invite the whole family over for a meal (even if it’s a simple one) and give everyone a chance to relax for a bit. Heck, just ask about how the kids are doing … or how the parents are doing.

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