We are happy to announce heartmama
is MDC's Moderator of the Month
She is our long-time Gentle Discipline moderator and has been moderating for MDC since 2006.How did you first find Mothering? MDC?
The magazine—I was a nanny for a family who subscribed to Mothering
. When my son was born 13 years ago they gifted me a subscription.
The website: When my son was three the magazine ran an ad for their new website, Mothering Dot Commune. The first time I visited the site, it was still under construction! Can you believe that? However, from the beginning, I had a feeling MDC would become a massive web community.What’s your favorite MDC forum? What keeps you coming back to MDC after all this time?
Gentle Discipline is still my favorite. I think GD embodies the heart and spirit of MDC.As a long time moderator of the Gentle Discipline forum, can you tell us how GD has impacted your life and family? If you had to nutshell it, what advice would you give first-time parents and those new to gentle discipline?
We spend most of our life as adults. Your child is going to grow up very soon. What will your relationship be like when you are both adults? Do you want them to enjoy talking to you? Do you want them to be happy when you are visiting? Do you want to be welcomed as a friend and look forward to time together? If so, then you need to practice understanding each other right now. The relationship you have in the future will grow from your experiences today.
I think the ideal discipline dynamic is one which results in meaningful understanding and mutual respect between parent and child—that is more important to me than following a particular ideology. I practice GD because I trust it will never feel right to hit or berate a child. At the same time it is important to understand why violence is a common substitute for gentle discipline. When people say spanking works, they are saying it works to get a child’s attention. You can accomplish that without hitting and screaming. A lot of the anger and frustration in discipline can be avoided by making sure your expectations are developmentally realistic, and also, by putting yourself in the child’s place. When you take a moment to do this, you create a space to experience insights about your child, and I think effective discipline is based upon those insights.
The best advice I’ve had is not to be afraid to step back, rather than rush ahead, when a discipline situation has pushed my buttons and left me feeling angry, hurt or upset. These moments are so powerful, they are almost magic. When my son has surprised me with a sudden harsh word or action, sometimes I physically step back, stop talking, and wait. I don’t mean ignoring the situation—far from it; I mean waiting until I know how I want to respond. Most of the time, there is no reason to rush. Are you likely to see a situation clearly when you are upset and hurt? No. If you practice this pause, your kids will pick up on it over time. It calms them down to see you staying calm.Is there something that you do now that you probably never would have done if it weren’t for MDC?
Type 70 words per minute!Tell us something most don’t know about you.
I can juggle and write backwards really fast...but not at the same time *lol*Can you tell us about your family?
I've been with my husband Tony for almost fifteen years, and he still surprises me. He is a fascinating and complex person, which is the first thing I noticed about him and still attracts me to him. He’s an outstanding father—we almost always agree on any issue related to parenting, which I think is both rare and wonderful. Our son James is 13. He is genuinely funny, sincerely kind, and very bright. We have two miscarried spirit babies as well.What has been your greatest joy as a parent?
Parenting! I was born to be a mom. James is the center of our universe. I've loved every single stage of his childhood more than the last. He is truly a joy to be around. My username comes from the experience we had with James’ complex heart defects. He has had three open heart surgeries.What are you most proud of?
My familyAre you a night owl or an early-bird-gets-the-worm?
Night owl!Can you tell us about your studies? As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I returned to school last year and am earning my degree in International Affairs, and then possibly law school.
When I was a child I wanted to be a mom when I grew up!
All time favorite movie? Book? Song? What's the last book you've read?
Movie: Candleshoe, The Princess Bride, Strictly Ballroom
Song: I like older stuff—Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, and Jim Croce.
Books: I read a ton for school right now. When I read for fun it’s super light fare, usually the same favorites over and over, like Anne of Green Gables, James Herriot, and the Little House books.Do you like to cook? What is your ideal meal?
I don’t like to cook, but I do like to bake.
My ideal meal is one that somebody else made!What do you consider your worst vice?
Speaking before I think….If we were to film your life story, who would you like to see portray you? What would the movie be called?
Definitely Jenna Fischer (Pam Beasley) from The Office. The movie would be called “Mapquest” because we are never happier than when we are on the road. Our family LOVES to travel.What’s sitting on your dining room table right now?
I don’t have a dining room table. We don’t believe in “sit down meals” as a daily institution. We eat when we are hungry, and we sit where we are comfortable. If we had a dining room table it would have our laptop, textbooks, and cats on it.Do you have any particular goals for 2010?
This will be an in-between year. I plan to finish my junior year at college, and start my senior year in the fall. My husband has returned to school as well. Our son has always been homeschooled. He will start his first year as a part time student this fall. All in all, 2010 will be The Year of Living Studiously.