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The Idle Parent.... - Page 3

post #41 of 101
I think my problem is forgetting that he's writing to the mainstream and not to unschoolers. It makes more sense when I think about it like that. Thanks ladies
post #42 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by granolapunk View Post
I just don't like how he sounds like he wants nothing to do with them. I get not hovering over them and feeling like entertaining them every minute but not so far as to want them to leave me alone kwim? I enjoy them.
This brings up a depressing point for me. Maybe it's semantics, but now that I think about it, I don't really enjoy my kids. That's pretty horrible to put in print. I love my kids. I wanted my kids. I like them pretty well. I think they're awesome and brilliant and adorable and all that... but pretty much most of the time we're together they're annoying me in some fashion unless they're leaving me alone. Maybe I'm just totally self-absorbed. But I know it's hard for me to look up and realize when we're having a good moment, when I feel happy and they're happy. It's difficult for me to take a moment and see them and feel the love. Those moments are ones I have to struggle for.

Now, maybe it's just that I have little kids and a lot of the time it's hard, it is a struggle, and so it's like waking up and rubbing my eyes when I realize that we're in a moment where I'm happy and they're happy and nobody's screaming or whining and we're genuinely enjoying that we're alive and okay and doing stuff we love. But for the most part, they do kid stuff and I do grown-up stuff and it's not like never the twain shall meet, but it is generally just a struggle everyday to get it all in and all done. I'm a hyper uptight control freak type anyway, so maybe I'm just never happy and that's really my problem...

now i've really depressed myself.
post #43 of 101
Anna I feel like that a lot when I'm not able to get out and away for a long period of time. If I regularly go take a class, go hang out a the cafe in the evening, go to the bookstore or *gasp* go on a date with my husband, I'm able to really enjoy them. If I go for a long stretch without any regular time away I start to feel like I can't enjoy anything because even if I'm just reading or browsing the net, they are always needing something so my needs are being met. If I have an hour to myself at least every couple of days it helps a lot. It helps a lot now that Nic is older too. We can really just talk and hangout and calmly enjoy each others company, while with the younger one is running around like a maniac.
post #44 of 101
Huh. Lots of food for thought on my personal life here... I get out a lot, actually, but have been doing things that require work, not relaxing. Plus my husband has been stressed out in addition to my intense amounts of stress. I used to get out to just hang out a lot more and was far less destructive to myself. Nowadays, I'm swamped. Can't do anything about right now, though, as my husband is in Mexico for eleven days decompressing. But good to be reminded. I need to cut some stuff out.
post #45 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
Can't do anything about right now, though, as my husband is in Mexico for eleven days decompressing.
woah! where are you going when he gets home? i know from your family history post thing that you guys have had such a whirlwind life full of lots of high stress things, so maybe that has to do with it as well.

i've had to cut a lot of things from our schedule, and have had to be a lot more discerning about what things we plan and say yes to. i've learned in the last 6 months that I simply cannot function as a wife/mother happily if we have more than 2 or 3 commitments a week. i didn't sign Nic up for any summer session classes, so that eliminated 2 outings a week. and instead of planning a field trip every week and going to 2 playgroup days, plus playdates at friends houses, plus visits with my mom, my sister, my MIL, plus running errands etc. oh my gosh we all got so burned out. when it was like that, i definitely felt like i needed to be left alone a lot more.
post #46 of 101
Well, it's not like the kids have so much going on, though I do try to get them out regularly. It's more that I started my own business, am volunteering on the co-op board (amongst other things for them), have a doula client due in july, have been doing a small book tour thing, have several monthly/weekly meetings and groups I attend, and say yes to every event someone wants me to attend/volunteer for (most recently pregnant mama photography, an art show, and a mother blessing). Mainly because I do want to do it. But...it's becoming a bit much because I do everything by myself. I'm gonna have an aneurysm any day now.
post #47 of 101
Yeah, his style is a strange mixture of serious and tongue-in-cheek. I mean I don't really think he's suggesting that we ought to be putting five-year-old kids back to work in the factories, you know? I was thinking as I read that that he's probably losing a lot of people due to his tendency to blur the line between those things in his writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anna kiss
Now, maybe it's just that I have little kids and a lot of the time it's hard, it is a struggle,
Oh, it is, it is! The whining stage kills me. I've got one right now coming out of it, and one right in the thick of it. But it's not as hard as it was with the first two, because their very existence as older children makes it easier to deal with, just by virtue of taking some of the work load (and therefore stress) off of me. For instance, I have my hands deep in dish muck, and the 3-year-old needs a glass of juice right now or she is going to die. Or you would think so by the way she is wailing about it. And I understand her frustration at not being able to do things for herself, heck, maybe that feeling of being constantly dependent would be a crisis to me too if I were in her shoes. But I'm not going to drop everything to dash off to serve her every whim at the second she needs it served, and the result is that she becomes distressed in a very loud way. The answer? 11-year-old strolling through the kitchen who happens to have his hands free. I am a much better mother than I was when my first were little, and it's not because I've evolved so much. It's just a different situation. When it's not all on me, it's a lot easier to be nice. Which makes it easier to let myself have fun. Which makes it more enjoyable to be with them. Hold on, Anna, your time is coming.
post #48 of 101
hahaha, that's awesome. I really feel this way about my own childhood. Being one of six, my parents couldn't be nearly as controlling as they would have liked to be, because they couldn't keep track of us! We had 18 acres and more fun than anyone else I know. All we had to do was escape outside, and we were free. We liked our parents just fine...when they weren't trying to control us.
post #49 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetpeppers View Post
hahaha, that's awesome. I really feel this way about my own childhood. Being one of six, my parents couldn't be nearly as controlling as they would have liked to be, because they couldn't keep track of us! We had 18 acres and more fun than anyone else I know. All we had to do was escape outside, and we were free. We liked our parents just fine...when they weren't trying to control us.
that sounds divine!
post #50 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
Oh, it is, it is! The whining stage kills me. I've got one right now coming out of it, and one right in the thick of it. But it's not as hard as it was with the first two, because their very existence as older children makes it easier to deal with, just by virtue of taking some of the work load (and therefore stress) off of me. For instance, I have my hands deep in dish muck, and the 3-year-old needs a glass of juice right now or she is going to die. Or you would think so by the way she is wailing about it. And I understand her frustration at not being able to do things for herself, heck, maybe that feeling of being constantly dependent would be a crisis to me too if I were in her shoes. But I'm not going to drop everything to dash off to serve her every whim at the second she needs it served, and the result is that she becomes distressed in a very loud way. The answer? 11-year-old strolling through the kitchen who happens to have his hands free. I am a much better mother than I was when my first were little, and it's not because I've evolved so much. It's just a different situation. When it's not all on me, it's a lot easier to be nice. Which makes it easier to let myself have fun. Which makes it more enjoyable to be with them. Hold on, Anna, your time is coming.
It's so reassuring to hear that, especially the not evolving bit! There are people whose ability to be gentle I admire, but I find that IRL at least, they're sort of more easy-going than I am as part of their personality, by a lot. Which is not to say that I shouldn't work on being more gentle nor that those who are gentle by nature don't have to work on it. Just that trying to imagine that somehow I should get all this right, or even as seemingly right as others, is insurmountable.

Right now, Aleks is 5.5 and Bastian will be 3 in a matter of days. And 3 is soooo hard. And he is so starting to act it too. What sucks too is that Bastian does all this horribly destructive stuff and then his older brother thinks it's hysterical and joins in!

I am not a toddler person. From about 15 months to 4 years-ish, I find it really hard to like my children sometimes. Aleks is getting far more interesting these days, but having the younger one puts restrictions on what he can do in many ways, and on how I can join in.

These are long, hard days right now and the writer made fun of me and touched on what I really believe in a way that my sarcastic heart could appreciate.
post #51 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
Yeah, his style is a strange mixture of serious and tongue-in-cheek. I mean I don't really think he's suggesting that we ought to be putting five-year-old kids back to work in the factories, you know? I was thinking as I read that that he's probably losing a lot of people due to his tendency to blur the line between those things in his writing.
Its a very English style; if you are English you aren't lost at all as we do this all the time. I think it is why UK humour and comedy has been hard to send over to you guys

Annakiss I just spent the weekend with a friend I hadn't seen for about 7 years. I went with some trepidation because much as I like her she was always very edgy, not relaxed with her children and sometimes a bit spiky. We met because she was my neighbour and she saw me walk past her window 8 times a day as she was sat on her sofa breastfeeding her little one then she spoke to me in the street and I had no idea who she was! We lived close for 3 years then I moved and she moved and we've only been in touch sporadically since.

Anyhow now her children are 11, 9 and 7 and she is like a different person: everything good about her is out on display and the edginess has totally gone. I remember her telling me that she really didn't like babies and toddlers but I didn't really believe her because babies seemed so easy to me with a 4 year old at my side! . Now that I have seen her with her children being older I can see that she knew herself very well.

All relationships change and evolve and our relationship with our children is no different. Hang on in there and do what you can to survive. Sometimes that is all you can do.
post #52 of 101
Orangefoot, I get it, really that was meant as a defense to earlier "I think he's a jerk" comments. I think he's a hoot, and I agree with him about 98% of the time.

All this talk about 3-year-olds and edginess made me think of picures of my mom when my brother was that age. I just have to laugh, because my! does she have a sour look on her face in just about every one of those photographs.

Anna, you remind me so much of me. I really just want to sit and think and read and write all day and do my projects and have things stay exactly the way I left them. I don't appreciate having to sweep the floor eight times a day. I don't like to read books to children or play with them. I don't like to prepare food for them and I don't like to drive them to their enriching activities. (Which is one reason I really want to move into our small town, so when they are old enough they can ride their bikes places, as a lot of the older kids in our community do.)

I'm good in my own way. I kiss them and hug them and tell them they are brilliant. I'm the reason they haven't been subjected to a wide variety of the crap that society doesn't think will hurt them or is even good for them. I'm the reason their love of learning hasn't atrophied. I do the comforting, I give them my body. I stick up for them and protect their emotional health. They sleep with me still because that is where they feel most secure. I do their laundry and run their baths and clean their wounds and make sure they have good things to eat. There's a lot of other good things that I do. But no, I'm not Soule Mama, from what I can tell. Not even close. (I'm not even sure Amanda Soule is Soule Mama, but I won't get off on that tangent.)

I love so many things about infants and young children -- their sweetness, innocence, the depth of their love, how funny they can be, the feeling as a mother of being two-yet-one. I deeply dislike the work involved in actually taking care of them, and the more independent they are in that sense, the better. I don't think of it as being lazy, though I'm sure others would call it that. The way I look at it is that the things that I'm not making myself do out of some misguided sense of duty, are things that really don't need to be done. I think it's very nice if parents enjoy reading the entire adventures of Winnie the Pooh or what-have-you to their children, but it's not necessary for their intellectual growth and well-being. Ditto for things like doing craft projects with them, taking them on nature walks, etc. If someone enjoys all those things, by all means they should do them. But I'd guess that if there's at all a sense of duty about it, it's not going to have the positive effect intended. Much better to give them the opportunity to discover the things on their own, which isn't a situation of deprivation. It's a valuable thing in its own right. Win-win, as far as I'm concerned.
post #53 of 101
fourlittlebirds OK

We have had an idle day in a literal sense and I was so antsy by 5pm that I had to go for a ride on my bike to get away from them all. Dh was home all day but slept for a lot of it, one son had gone out on his bike to hang with friends (we live in a small town and you can do that all day), one was reading - all day, the girls 'helped' me make 19 scones almost all of which disappeared within half an hour. I tried to finish The Red Tent between seeing to other peoples wants. Yes I had thrown them out into the garden several times and each time the coming in had resulted in more mess.

I long for the kind of Idle when you feel like you have done something you wanted to do and are satisfied.
post #54 of 101
Oh man fourlittlebirds! You just said that I remind you of you! Wow. you just made my day.
post #55 of 101
Thread Starter 
Oh! Can I have hope then? Does this mean I will like my kids (at least one of them) soon? I say that sort of tongue-in-cheek....sort of. years 2 and 3 were HARD for me, and now 4 is starting our pretty much the same way! It's nice to hear there's hope Seriously.

Whew.
post #56 of 101
I've been thinking a lot about "The Idle Parent" ideals and how they line up with/overlap with unschooling. Not to offend those who hate labels or anything -- but just because it's interesting to compare "Idle Parent" ideals with what I've read in places like Sandra Dodd's radical unschooling site.

I'm thinking that maybe "The Idle Parent" philosophy is kind of like a very radical form of non-radical unschooling, if that makes sense. For instance, on Dodd's website I read about how John Holt was very interested in children, such that all the observations he made about what children are capable of, were observations of children in the presence of an interested adult (Holt himself).

Of course, I don't think "interested" means "in-your-face." But I do think it means that we choose to be accessible to our kids, to the point that we're willing to set aside what we're doing/thinking about, and hear the wonderful discovery they're wanting to share, or see the cool thing they've just created, or be the sounding-board when they need a little help to get over a difficult place or out of a rut, or to join them in a game or project when they want our companionship.

And, actually, the dry English humor may be obscuring what this dad is really like: he's probably more interested in his kids than he sounds in his articles.

When I read his article against competitive sports, I felt kind of sad for his son who seems to be leaning in a direction that he doesn't want him to lean in. I'm not into competitive sports myself, but I have an 8yo who just loves playing soccer with the boys next door.

She's already talking about wanting to join some sort of sports team soon. It may be that this need will be met by getting involved with more spontaneous games in the neighborhood, but we'll see. The spontaneous games are somewhat sporadic, depending on weather and people's schedules. I wouldn't feel right about gently steering her away from sports, if it's something she really wants to do.

And I wouldn't make my kids go play in the garden so I could clean house. When there are things I feel a need to do, I'm willing to accommodate them if they want to help -- or they may choose to play in another part of the house, or to watch TV or play computer games, or to go outside. They have a wide range of choices, and "pushing them out the door" (literally or figuratively) sounds like me making the choice for them. It's patronizing.

I still think his articles are a fun read -- but I think I learn more from Sandra Dodd's site.
post #57 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
Orangefoot, I get it, really that was meant as a defense to earlier "I think he's a jerk" comments. I think he's a hoot, and I agree with him about 98% of the time.

All this talk about 3-year-olds and edginess made me think of picures of my mom when my brother was that age. I just have to laugh, because my! does she have a sour look on her face in just about every one of those photographs.

Anna, you remind me so much of me. I really just want to sit and think and read and write all day and do my projects and have things stay exactly the way I left them. I don't appreciate having to sweep the floor eight times a day. I don't like to read books to children or play with them. I don't like to prepare food for them and I don't like to drive them to their enriching activities. (Which is one reason I really want to move into our small town, so when they are old enough they can ride their bikes places, as a lot of the older kids in our community do.)

I'm good in my own way. I kiss them and hug them and tell them they are brilliant. I'm the reason they haven't been subjected to a wide variety of the crap that society doesn't think will hurt them or is even good for them. I'm the reason their love of learning hasn't atrophied. I do the comforting, I give them my body. I stick up for them and protect their emotional health. They sleep with me still because that is where they feel most secure. I do their laundry and run their baths and clean their wounds and make sure they have good things to eat. There's a lot of other good things that I do. But no, I'm not Soule Mama, from what I can tell. Not even close. (I'm not even sure Amanda Soule is Soule Mama, but I won't get off on that tangent.)

I love so many things about infants and young children -- their sweetness, innocence, the depth of their love, how funny they can be, the feeling as a mother of being two-yet-one. I deeply dislike the work involved in actually taking care of them, and the more independent they are in that sense, the better. I don't think of it as being lazy, though I'm sure others would call it that. The way I look at it is that the things that I'm not making myself do out of some misguided sense of duty, are things that really don't need to be done. I think it's very nice if parents enjoy reading the entire adventures of Winnie the Pooh or what-have-you to their children, but it's not necessary for their intellectual growth and well-being. Ditto for things like doing craft projects with them, taking them on nature walks, etc. If someone enjoys all those things, by all means they should do them. But I'd guess that if there's at all a sense of duty about it, it's not going to have the positive effect intended. Much better to give them the opportunity to discover the things on their own, which isn't a situation of deprivation. It's a valuable thing in its own right. Win-win, as far as I'm concerned.
your honesty is SO refreshing! thanks for that
post #58 of 101
Thread Starter 
Well, love him or hate him.....here's his latest installment of The Idle Parent! I hadn't noticed it until today, but maybe some of you have already seen it?

Enjoy (or not)
R
post #59 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbeaufoy View Post
Well, love him or hate him.....here's his latest installment of The Idle Parent! I hadn't noticed it until today, but maybe some of you have already seen it?

Enjoy (or not)
R
I enjoyed it! Only, my children's illnesses are usually so short-lived, and they tend to not need much, if any, extra sleep. More often than not, one child or the other has a feverish night which keeps me rather more wakeful, then the child wakes up recovered, full of energy and bounce. I'm the one that needs extra sleep when they're ill, not them!
post #60 of 101
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I'm the one that needs extra sleep when they're ill, not them!
Seriously.

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