As a Bangladeshi feminist working wife and mother, I have more than my share of explaining why I am raising my daughter to be an independent young woman instead of one who studies Bollywood movies for moral direction. Being a brown feminist mom is a daily battle, but more so with others than myself.
When the daughter you've been driving to ballet class every Saturday for 12 years tells you she wants to focus on the history of dance as her $20,000 a year university major, you might pause and point out the successful engineers you know. Most parents push academic over athletic when push comes to shove.
Dolphin parents are not authoritarian pushing parents or hovering Tiger parents (who stifle internal motivation) nor are we permissive spineless Jellyfish (who fail to cultivate impulse control), we recognize we are authority figures and use guidance, role modelling, and a balanced lifestyle to ensure the development of internal motivation, impulse control, and independence.
I could have been there. My son could have giggled for/at David. I don't know. I was yet another harried/perfect professional mum, holding it all together. Prioritizing naps over adult conversation, breastfeeding over tantrums, parenting over intellectual rigour. It would have been fine -- my kids would have been fine -- had I stayed that day.
At a time when research suggests that the average girl's self-esteem peaks at the age of nine and then plummets, '9 Ways' uncovers the root causes of the self-esteem crisis, the ways we are unknowingly contributing to it, and what we can do to ensure that every girl (and future woman) is empowered to reach her full potential.
Many moms are wakened on Mother's Day by an ominous clattering in the kitchen: your loving-hearted children preparing to surprise you with coffee or hot chocolate in bed. There's also that cinnamon toast or oatmeal positively doused with sugar. What many moms don't realize is that such meals usually come courtesy of a whole crew of children.
My mom was not an over-controlling, overbearing tiger mom. Nor was she a permissive, directionless jellyfish mom. My mom was the balance of these extremes and was firm yet flexible. She had rules and expectations -- including clearly expecting us to do well in academics with respectful behaviour. Yet, she also valued our freedom to be kids, individual passions, and independent choices.
While the fantasy surrounding Santa can be a magical experience for a child, how to deal with the consequences of explaining "how a man with infinite resources has left you with less than your peers" can become complicated and send out the wrong message about the child's worth if Santa's yearly rewards don't add up to those of their elementary counterparts.
Many moms and dads dive into research and read everything they come across. There is no right way to handle news of this nature. The moment illness strikes, life becomes split into two sections: before and after. And it's normal to yearn to get back to before. Before was a time of blissful unawareness.
As the nicotine leached out of his system, the emotional outbursts started. Think of the terrible twos except with a terrible two-year-old that could bench press you. He was like someone suffering from Tourettes Syndrome. He would just started swearing and freaking out for no reason. No, I don't want to do the dishes. No, I don't want to go to bed. No. No. No.
I am all for moms who don't take themselves too seriously -- who don't try too hard to be perfect and who accept themselves for who they are, warts and all. I am all for mothers who are 'people' first. Who love who they are and are proud to chase their dreams. Because sometimes we mamas just get lost in this parenting gig, and we wake up 25 years later and wonder who we are.
When my arms were elbow-deep in the toilet this morning, I realized something. The kids called: "Momma, can you please get me a snack?" "Mommy, find my soother!" I kept saying, "You can do it! I'll help you in a second!" After a few minutes of this, they stopped asking. It got very, very quiet. I peeked out of the bathroom.
It's already begun! School has started, so kids are getting sick. We might as well face the inevitable: at some point or other, a virus will strike at the least convenient moment. The question is, how will we handle it? Here are some suggestions for opportunities to bond with your little ones on the days you are 'stuck' at home.
Parenthood is rife with exasperating platitudes, but I've found none quite so off base as this whole "time flies" business. My son, Emile, will not be out of the house before I know it. Those first three months of his life might as well have been millennia. I could not be more grateful to find out that rather than flying away, Emile has kept my perception of time stuck in slow motion.
Parenting is tiring, and fighting your kids' natural tendencies can be exhausting. Growth and change hurt, and there's risk of lasting resentment or shut down if you push kids too hard. But learning and greatness only come with tolerance for pain, and fear, and as parents we need to use the experience our kids don't have to help them push their limits. It's our job.