I’ve always gone my own way, for better or for worse. I don’t take too well to rules, unless I agree with those rules. You might say, I’m a woman of principle, and unfortunately, principles that I’ve cobbled together from my own experience. I stick around with a philosophy just long enough to take what I want, and once I start to get that One True Way feeling, I go back on the road and keep looking. There are great ideas out in the world. Useful, pragmatic ideas and principles can be found worldwide, along with a fair amount of bullshit. Even good ideas can have their zealots, and ruin it for everyone else. I am a pragmatist with anarchistic tendencies.
I’ve never had a guru. There have been a handful of people that have ended up as quasi-mentors or actual mentors, but the last one I recall having was in high school, and she was fired for being a bitchy badass (or so I remember.) I chucked organized religion when I failed to find a group that suited me, or could give actual answers to my questions. I’m not always proud of my stubbornness. You see, I’d like to have a guru, teacher, or some person or ideal that I could trust to not be full if it. I’m sure there are people out there that fit the bill at least 85% of the time, which may be good enough for me. The fact is, I just haven’t found them yet.
This tendency to reject teachers extends to child-rearing philosophies. I’ve rejected pretty much every mommyblog I’ve come across because so many of them are full of self-absorbed, self-righteous, insecure ramblings that I wonder what this person was like before they had kids. I’ll admit, to engage in blogging is to engage in a certain amount of those things, but I find it particularly abrasive when the topic is children, and the million things you could possibly be getting wrong.
My parenting style has become much like my personal philosophy. I’ve listened to a lot of opinions, and as time has worn on, I’ve started rejecting more and more. I admit, it leaves me a little more blind than I’d like, because in the absence of local maternal figures, commercial TV, parenting magazines and mommyblogs, I’m just kind of going with it from what I’ve accumulated through cursory reads of books and blogs, doctors visits, and some gleanings from our parents’ group. What I’m finding is that I do want peers, or perhaps even mentors/helpers, but there’s so much bullshit that especially as a full-time awesome (aka mom) I don’t have the energy to find them.
The peers I long for are my philosophical peers. They are people who are pragmatists that walk the middle path. They are people that probably wouldn’t want to join a club that would have them as a member. And, I would like to say they have an aversion to anxiety, but I would like to make it clear that it would not be immunity to anxiety. Just an aversion, as in the case of reading a mommyblog that provokes anxiety, they immediately go BULLSHIT and close the page. And finally, my peers are those who have maintained their own structural integrity, but have started to integrate their child into their lives, versus integrating themselves into their child’s life. My life has definitely changed since having my kid, but I’m much the same as I was before, I just have another variable. It’s sometimes challenging, but for the most part, not more than I would have anticipated. (Especially after the rude awakening of motherhood after the first six months.)
The hardest part is to find focus to move forward, but that’s been a problem of mine with or without a kid. Let’s face it, I’ve got some ADHD tendencies, and unstructured time is not my friend. I’ve put some books on hold at the library, and I’ll be trying to take advantage of more community programs. As always, it’s a start – maybe I can find a
9 thoughts on “Mom in Search of Peers”
Cerri Dwenn liked this on Facebook.
I’ve just survived the first 6 months of being a mom. It’s been interesting. I’m with you that it seems like people want patenting to be anxiety provoking. Everything could be horrible without providing information about the probability of the bad thing happening, which is often very very small.
We joined PEPs. Which was nice because it provided some parents to talk with. We don’t all parent the same way but it gives a good cross section of styles. Mines sort of a whatever seems right at the time for all concerned.
But hey I’ve been up since 3 because Franklyn’s diaper leaked and he woke up. He just got back to sleep in time for me to need to get up for work.
I’m working down by the space needle if you want to have lunch sometime.
Sarah Coons liked this on Facebook.
Toni Hitchcock liked this on Facebook.
I empathize with you, having worked both officially and unofficially with other people’s kids for many years. Though I wish I had actual advice or knew moms in your area, what I’d say is that sometimes even having a few mismatched peers around is better than having no support network.
Everyone has a different relationship with their kids, even people who may have the same philosophy of life as you (we?) do.
In the end what makes it difficult is that, other parents and teachers are always making judgements about our charges because it’s part of the job. And sometimes, we other responsible parties, don’t like to be judged, or see something that bothers us. The best thing that I’ve learned is to just keep doing what I do as an educator with flexibility, try not to judge others, and try not to be offended when they judge me, because they will.
Yes, Allida. I have resigned myself that having some mismatched peers is better than none, but I still feel a bit lonely sometimes.
Hey, Heather. If you don’t mind me bringing my kid to lunch, I’m game. I live in Ballard.
Of course kiddo is welcome 🙂
Just let me know what day is good for you.
When searching for your peers, remember not only is every parent different, every baby is different. Alex hits all 12 of the “High Needs Baby” characteristics ( http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/12-features-high-need-baby) and if I tried to live middle-of-the-road and gracefully incorporating Alex into my life instead of me into his, he would be miserable (and by extension so would I).
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