Tag Archives: attachment parenting

Homeschooling and Thomas Moore

I sat in the Pleasanton library with my dad and was annoyed; I couldn’t enjoy his company because of some high school boys loudly talking. So I immediately thought of homeschooling and Thomas Moore who wrote: “and if I don’t listen to my friends and neighbors, I’ll be stuck in the labyrinth of what I think I want.”

It’s overly simplistic to say that the boys’ noise was “keeping me in the moment.” However, Moore might argue that I could potentially learn as much from their disturbance as I could a hushed conversation with my dad, or quiet time spent reading.

This year I am homeschooling my girls and grateful for the opportunity. I can teach them more of what I want them to learn than in a traditional setting. The idea of Unschooling, particularly the “Taking Children Seriously” (TCS) movement appeals to me because the underlying idea is that learning is a continual process and questioning truths and authority is a good thing.

Instead of trying to compare Sofia to those rowdy boys, I should see her (and my) limitations in them. I believe this is is the same concept of TCS–assumptions and truths should be questioned as the quest for truth is a continual process. No one person (or institution like a traditional school model) can hold all the answers. Rather than calling myself her teacher, I’m trying to see myself as her facilitator to the world.

I love reading the following quote through a secular lens:

“God himself is born!
And so we see, God is not
until he is born.

And also we see
there is no end to the birth of God.”

D.H. Lawrence

I hope homeschooling Sofia doesn’t just take place on a schedule and that we can strive to be continuously learning and re-learning our truths.

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Consumption

I am consumed by stuff.

Literally, I feel myself being eaten away by this desire for cooking gadgets, new sheets for Sofia’s bed, dog toys…things, things things. Initially, I thought my post-pregnancy body could benefit from dieting but I’ve realized my crisis is more existential: my life is being spent acquiring stuff, consuming away my time alive.

I’ve always loved things.

Luckily, growing up I had the means to buy what I wanted–however my dad, having grown up a Jewish anarchist in the Great Depression, was well acquainted with thrift. Instead of wasting money at Saks Fifth Ave we’d waste it at the Saks outlet and he donated the remainder to charity.

I grew up being much thriftier than I had to but suddenly I’m realizing I have a long way to go. Lately, I’ve been buying flour containers and books at thrift stores, getting flowers to decorate the house from Freecycle: spending less money yet, I still know, over consuming.

Being a practitioner of Attachment Parenting, I choose to surround our daughters with an abundance of love–that’s the goal, at least. However, I’m starting to fear Sofia’s need for more toys/dresses/stuffed animals is not just gluttony but potentially harmful.

Even as I spend less I still feel this want for stuff…a void that things never fill.

Saturday we spent the day in Muir Woods. I feel so contented walking through the calm of giant redwoods with sleeping Olivia in my baby carrier; learning about how redwoods grow in families, seeing the symmetry between my little ones and the trees felt good. I still have a long way to go in my journey of less consumption but being in nature together feels good.

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Eating for Power

As a stay-at-home mom I don’t always feel like I have power outside my household. Frankly, I don’t even feel like I have power to take a shower when I want or sit down and relax. The problem is sometimes I don’t like feeling powerless, even when the lack of power is my doing–me saying I want to put my kids first–and I turn to food.

I am powerless, half of the time, to culinary temptation.

I can’t always DO what I want or get my family to behave accordingly to plan so I eat. At least I can choose what food goes in my mouth.

Of course, this power is the kind that ultimately makes me feel like a failure. I look at myself and feel like a sub-par wife/mom/friend/daughter because I’m overweight so when I go out in the world I feel even more powerless.

But I am not a victim: I’m guilty too.

Guilty of not treating my kids and husband with the respect they deserve all the time. I feel powerless so I make them feel powerless too by not listening fully. Certainly, not doing justice to the ideals of attachment parenting. Sometimes I feel like I’m 85% great at fully supporting my children’s needs but that other 15% potential gets wasted. I’m too in my head and not present enough to always parent fully.

Do other moms feel this way too? Because for me the problem isn’t just about eating too much food–that’s more of a symptom–and if I can somehow work out this issue with my weight I truly think I’ll improve as a mom.

Power, it’s what we have as consumers of food and also what we have as parents. I love the idea of attachment parenting because it has to do with not making kids feel powerless. I don’t want my daughters to feel any more powerless then the world already does. As a person so entirely grateful for the gift that is my children not making them feel powerless seems like the least I should do.