On Parenthood

Learning How to Stop

| On Parenthood

Getting Things Done

 

How can I sit and write a blog post when there is so much to do?

In any given moment, I feel a pull to be productive and creative at the same time.  I want to pamper myself (mostly, because this is what older, more experienced woman are telling me to do) but I also want to organize. Should I do a load of laundry or work on my collage? Should I journal or rearrange my kitchen pantry? Or maybe I should put my feet up…is it considered relaxing if I make a list at the same time? (more…)

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Just Have Fun

| On Parenthood

Just Have Fun!It seems the universe is sending me a very clear message: take the stick out of your butt and relax, already. It’s time to have fun.

For months I have been reading childbirth books, asking experts and moms for advice, and watching the best of what YouTube has to offer. I’ve been collecting data and anecdotal experience. I’ve taken classes, watched DVDs, and listened to books on tape. All this in hopes of creating the perfect birth experience for myself and my baby.

Of all the experts who have weighed in, no one has ever said to me what my doctor said to me today. (more…)

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Raising a Good Man

| On Parenthood

Raising a Good Man

 

I’m having a boy.

When I found out I was about 12 weeks pregnant. As soon as I heard the news, I was giddy. I was stupid, can’t-smack-that-smile-off-my-face happy. I was more happy than when I found out I was pregnant. I could barely think straight. I left my office and paced the sidewalks outside, thinking a boy, a boy, oh my freaking gosh, a boy.

It actually had nothing to do with his gender. I felt pure joy just because. Because the little sea monkey in my belly suddenly had a gender, and with it an identity. A gender made him a person in my mind. It made me a mother in a way simply being pregnant hadn’t.

So, yeah. A boy. Not long after I learned of his gender, I began to think about all the things that exist in a boy’s world: circumcision, peeing standing up, hiding gross things in pockets, farting, etc. Then my mind shot ahead to a teenage boy’s world: penis, penis, penis, etc. His life path would be unique to his experience as a boy-man – an experience completely foreign to me and not just a little bit scary.

Riding this mental wave, I thought of all the shitty boys I’ve ever known, and all the shitty things I’ve ever witnessed boys do, and all the shitty things boys have said (to me). It got me real nervous about having a boy. I mean, there are a lot of boys (and men) out there doing shitty things.

I am mystified by the world of boy. I’ve spent my life tip-toeing in, making surprise entrances, or allowing myself to be seduced into the world of boy. I’m fine hanging out there but I don’t want to stay there for very long. Don’t get me wrong, I adore boys, but I can’t pretend to get them. And sometimes (and I know I’m not alone when I say this) I just don’t feel safe around them.

It got me thinking, if I could avoid gendering my child, I may be able to raise the kind of man I do feel safe around – the kind of man who is respectful of women and not afraid to call himself a feminist. The kind of man who doesn’t exist solely in boy world, but glides between genders with aplomb. Like Prince.

So, I let my family know I would not dress my baby in overtly boyish clothes. No footballs, no soccer balls, and nothing that says “All Star.” He will have an array of toys to choose from. Sure, he can have cars and trucks, but he will also have dolls and kitchenware to play with.

On these things I am still firm. Yet, since telling my family all about this gender neutralish fantasy I hoped to raise my kid in, I realized a gender-neutral world does not guarantee he will grow up to be a good man who wields his powers to help others.

Does giving him a doll to play with make him more sensitive? Maybe, but maybe not. His life experience will be defined by his gender (whether he identifies with it or not). For sure. But when I think of all the good men out there – and I have been blessed to know a few really good ones – I realize that raising a good man goes beyond gender.

 

Raising a Good Man

 

I think it boils down to this: compassion, empathy, and vulnerability.

Embracing these three qualities is not reserved for one gender or another. These are things I would aim to instill in my child, girl or boy. The traits I admire in a man are the same things I admire in a woman. The people I look up to most in the world show strength of character, the ability to show kindness to a stranger, and the confidence to own their flaws while taking healthy risks.

I think raising a good man is really raising a good person. Because good people don’t objectify others. They don’t want to hurt, dominate, or belittle others. Good people see strength in differences and seek unification instead of opposition. Good people stand up for what is right in the world and become a part of the solution. Good people is what I hope our son becomes.

While I still intend to raise him in a somewhat gender neutral world, I don’t think this is what will make him a good person. It may help. But I think the most powerful thing I can do for him is lead by example and be the kind of good person I hope he becomes.

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Big Bellies and Bikinis

| On Parenthood, Uncategorized

Pema Body QuoteLast weekend, at 35 weeks pregnant I pranced around a public pool in a bikini and it was grand. But sharing bare skin with the sun hasn’t always been top on my list of things I love. This has been a journey 25 years in the making.

When I was in middle school my family got a pool.  I’m sure my parents imagined that my sister and I would splash around from sunrise to sunset, that our summers would be filled with pool parties and sun-kissed adventures. My sister’s childhood movie may be filled with such wonderful water memories. But not mine. (more…)

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To All the Cynics, I Call Bullshit

| On Parenthood

To All the Cynics, I Call Bullshit

 

Back before I got knocked up, I’d sometimes feel a little reserved about expressing how much I wanted children when in mixed company. With all the pressure our elder generations have placed on us, the subject of kids has become a loaded one. When you tell people you hope to have a family someday, you don’t always get the most supportive or positive response. My peers are pushing back against expectations with force.

But every so often you get the wildcard response, (more…)

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Sphincters & Moans (or the Power of Om)

| On Parenthood, On Yoga

OmI have a confession to make – I’m om shy.  Oh, I can om with the best of them in a classroom setting but when it comes to leading others in the chant or vocalizing a mantra in my own meditation practice, well, I’d prefer not to.

My husband loves the om and used to pester me about adding it to my classes when I was teaching yoga regularly.  Ok, I’d say, then conveniently run out of time at the end of class.

I actually quite like the om.  There is something really great about feeling it surround you from all sides, ripple up your spine, and fill your chest. The collective om is an energy I feel comfortable tapping into.  There’s strength in numbers.  But the solo om has never been my thing. (more…)

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