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Moms on strike

Today I checked out an amazing blog post by Holly Robinson, a freelance writer who works from home. A mom of three, ages 6 -16, she went on strike to show her family what it is, exactly, that she does around the house.

It’s a long, detailed description of how the seven days she spent on strike went, and it got me thinking. I would love to go on strike, so my husband could see how much housework and what not I do around the house.

Sure, he’s pretty good at keeping up with dishes, he cooks (more than me, usually), he mows the lawn and keeps up our car maintenance. Outside of those things, though, he doesn’t really DO anything around the house. He plays with Hannah (age 2) and our pets, but mostly he plays video games or whatever. I just had to explain to him why you can’t let Hannah stay up in her room for 30 minutes after she wakes up from a nap because she trashes her bedroom. She’s two, and she’s bored, for Pete’s sake! What else is she going to do?

I am usually the one to clean the kitchen, sweep, vacuum (though he’s been better about that since being home on summer vacation), and I’m the only one that does laundry. In his defense, he did fix the washer when it was broken, and he’s kind of a “d0-it-yourself-er,” because he’s tiled two floors in our house, and has the ambition to remodel our bathroom soon. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great. But sometimes it makes me want to go on strike too.

He claims he “doesn’t see”  the clutter that’s in our house. I would be the first one to believe that. I can’t tell you the number of times he’s walked by piles of clothes and not done anything about it. But I’d love to not do anything for a week and see what happens.

Oh sure, I’d still go to my job, but I mean not do anything around the house. No cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no feeding the pets, no shopping. I’ll play with my daughter, but the discipline and everything? That would be all him. I would get to be the one to go out two or three nights a week, instead of him going to a rehearsal, I would just go out with a friend or something and let him do everything at home.

I don’t think I’d have the conviction to stick to it though. I guess this just means that we should talk about some of that stuff. Who knows, maybe I’ll get home today, and the new storm windows will be installed on my upstairs windows and the broken screen in the front of the house will be fixed. All without prompting. Maybe.

Many, many people said I should read this book. They’ve been telling me this for years, and now I know why. I suspected that I would feel sad when I reached the end of this book, which is why I put it off for so long.

I’ve learned, though that it really isn’t the case at all. Let me tell you why.

Morrie Schwarz, a Brandeis University sociology professor has an extraordinary personality, and a debilitating, life ending, disease. Mitch Albom, the author, had developed a friendship with Morrie while attending the school, but after graduation, despite his promise to keep in touch, moves on with life, always reaching for the next big thing.

He happened to be channel surfing one night when he saw his old professor being interviewed by Ted Koppel on Nightline about what it was like to be dying of ALS (also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease). This leads him to get in touch with his old professor, and they strike up their friendship again. Albom visits Morrie every Tuesday (“We’re Tuesday people,” Morrie had once told him, p. 52), always coming armed with food, and each week, Morrie manages to impart some facet of wisdom that seems to be so common sense.

Morrie spent his life listening to his heart and doing what was right for him, rather than playing by societies rules. When all is said and done, we will be remembered not by our bank accounts or stock portfolios, by by the time we spent listening to a friend or helping a family member.

There are some amazing quotes to be pulled from Alboms book, some of which I plan to use as personal mantras: “The truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives satisfaction? … Offering others what you have to give.” (p. 126)

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” (p. 52)

This book is a must read for anyone, young or old, male or female. I don’t think this book will necessarily appeal to any one group in particular. But it’s definitely worth every minute of the short time it will take to read it.

I realized after I wrote my post last night about Free Range Kids that I needed to make some clarifications on my exact thoughts.

I agree in the idea of free range parenting, but obviously it has to be within reason. The age of reason is around 7 years old. It would be stupid to expect that my 2 year old, right now, would understand the “rules of the road” to ride a tricycle down our street. She doesn’t have that capability yet. By the same token, if she’s playing in the sandbox here at home, I’m not going to stand right next to her, I might hang out laundry or read nearby. That way, I can make sure she’s not eating sand, or something that will make her sick, but she doesn’t have to play a certain way either.

I agree that the way she advocates for free range does seem a little extreme. I don’t think I’d let a 9 year old ride the NYC subway alone, but maybe an 11 or 12 year old. I think that staying within earshot is reasonable. I also think that it’s definitely a highway/road safety thing, at least for me, than being afraid that my kid gets a scrape on their knee. It’s a good way for them to learn how to cope.

I hope that explains my position a little better!

Free Range Kids

So, the other day in the car, I’m listening to NPR. (I know, I’m boring. My daughter actually asks me to turn on the news in the radio now, and she’s only 2.) They have a woman by the name of Lenore Skenazy on there talking during the show I’m listening to. Now, at this point, I’ve never heard of this woman, nor the concept of which she is speaking. But I decide to listen.

Skenazy is discussing this idea of Free Range Kids. And the more I listen, the more I realize that thats the type of parenting I want to do for my daughter. It’s the idea that parents need to allow kids the freedom to “explore” the world we live in – ride the subway alone, walk to the neighbors house, play outside, get dirty, all without the parent hovering (think: opposite of helicopter parenting).

She isn’t saying that parents should be passive and not pay attention. By all means, supervise your kid. Don’t let them bike down the road if they don’t know the proper rules to do so safely. Don’t let your 2 year old wander into someone else’s yard to play with an unfamiliar dog.

In Skenazy’s own words, copied from the Free Range Kids blog: “We are not daredevils. We believe in life jackets and bike helmets and air bags. But we also believe in independence. Children, like chickens, deserve a life outside the cage. The overprotected life is stunting and stifling, not to mention boring for all concerned.”

It’s common to find parents that feel that our world has become less safe, but statistically, Skenazy finds, that just isn’t true.  “Over at the think tank STATS.org, where they examine the way the media use statistics, researchers have found that the number of kids getting abducted by strangers actually holds very steady over the years. In 2006, that number was 115, and 40% of them were killed.”

I grew up in an extremely small town, with a population of about 1,500 people. My parents never locked the door when we left the house, never locked the car when running to the store, and didn’t worry about leaving me home alone when I entered 5th grade. Now I live in a city with a population of 30,000 people, and we don’t go anywhere without locking our house and our cars (as of recently, we can’t even leave the cars parked in our driveway for the night without someone ransacking them, apparently, but that’s for another post.) However, we also know that we are confidant enough in where we live that we can let our 2 year old play outside while we sit on the deck with a book. We aren’t afraid to let her toddle off a little ways ahead of us while visiting the beach so that she can check out some rocks before we tell her that she’s climbing too high.

I, personally, believe that Free Range Parenting is a good thing, and I am not afraid to admit it. I think our society has become so over-informed because of our constant access to information, that we just aren’t willing to think that maybe, just maybe, our kids are safe.

“Not that facts make any difference. Somehow, a whole lot of parents are just convinced that nothing outside the home is safe. At the same time, they’re also convinced that their children are helpless to fend for themselves. While most of these parents walked to school as kids, or hiked the woods — or even took public transportation — they can’t imagine their own offspring doing the same thing.” Skenazy makes some exceptionally valid points in her blog.

I would strongly encourage ALL parents to look at her blog, read it, absorb it, and then decide what works for you and what doesn’t. Take a good, hard look at the statistics about crime in our country. Children are far more likely to be abused or otherwise mistreated in their own homes than by a stranger. Keep that in mind, the next time you decide to let your child ride their bike to the neighbors house, one block away.

Test post

This was just a test post to see if I could get the feature working on my phone.

This picture was taken at the fireworks in Hancock.

I’ve finally gotten my blog to a point where I am happy with it, and I’ve finally figure out the direction my blogs are going. Mama Luna’s will be a blog devoted to my crafting, and other craft related things that I either find online, or people share with me, or what have you.

One Mom’s Thoughts will be everything else. This will be my musings on parenting, family, life, politics, tv, books, video games, you name it.

I’m happy with the way my blogs are coming together at this point, and I think I’m finally at a usable point with them. I’m anxious to see where this leads me, and I’m hoping it begins to point me in a good direction!

Mama Luna

Hello friends and followers!

Well, here I am on WordPress! Good of you to find me here! I’m still adjusting to what this blog, and my other blog are going to turn into, so bear with me as I do this, okay?

Thanks a million!