Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Difficult Question

I have a question. A legitimate, sincere question. But with the way I think, it will be phrased as paragraphs and asked as like 12 mini-questions with an overall theme about what we are raising children to BE.

Now, first let me say that I'm a pretty opinionated person in general in my life. I tend to over-think and over-analyze everything - especially the things I care a lot about. So if you happen to spark a conversation about something that I really care about, my response or opinion may be longer than you would have anticipated simply because I give a lot of thought to the concepts I care about. Since I am pregnant and hormonal and opinionated and observant, I've been taking in a lot of different parenting styles and decisions around me. And no, I am not yet an official member of the "Mommy Club." So you can still throw out the "you'll understand when..." statement, but I wish that you wouldn't. I wish that in response to this, you would offer a sincere, thoughtful response because what I'm doing now is gathering information. This is something I am still in the process of thinking about. It's not something I have come to a full-on concrete decision about yet. I'm still building my opinion, weeding through my thoughts and praying through my uncertainties. So with all of that in mind, I offer this general thought/opinion/question:

There are 2 parts to my question. The first part has to do with parenting and mothers in general. I have a couple of friends who are parents and young like me. I think that it is a wonderful gift to being a young mother. I personally believe that it is important that young mothers maintain their youth and don't forget that they are still in their 20's or early 30's. (Not that late 30's isn't still young - don't read into this too much.) But I think there is something that is really offered and modeled for your children when you maintain that spark that makes you who you are. This does NOT mean that a 24-year-old mother who used to go out and party every weekend with her friends should continue to party and come home drunk to her baby at night. This is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a young mother maintaining the essence of who they are and not giving up everything and every activity that made them who they were before they were a mother. Most of the friends I have who are young mothers do this wonderfully and I feel like I have had some excellent examples in this area. I know that it can really be a struggle and a point of difficulty when a young mother realizes that she has given up something that made her who she was before she was a mother. It can be difficult to get that back. I hope that I am able to maintain those things that make me me.

For one, I plan on continuing my Ingenue Perspective blog. I love that blog. I am not always consistent - as in the last few weeks when I've been still coming to terms with the news that I'm preggo and then working 30+ hours per week and taking a summer class everyday from 8 - 12. I definitely have slacked in the blogging department, which I'm sure will mirror a lot of the ways I will have some lulls in my blogging after the baby comes. But I don't want to give up on it completely. It is "me time" when I'm blogging and it represents who I am and it gives me an outlet. I think it is important that I keep it up. Also, I watch a lot of tv shows and movies. Now, I will obviously have to rearrange my schedule of this and probably cut out some of my regular shows, but I still plan on watching these things. Mainly because this is my outlet for stress. Some people play sports, some people exercise, some people read - I watch tv & movies. It's just my thing. It calms me down, it gets me out of my head and it helps. Seriously.

It is hard for me to relate to the mothers I know who completely lost themselves in parenting. I do believe that being a mother is going to be the most important job of my life. It will be forever, for the rest of my life. And it will not be something I take lightly. BUT, I believe that one of the things that will make me a good mother is remembering who I am, why I am that way and what made me that way. God has given me passions and abilities and opinions and desires that are there for a reason. I believe those things will contribute to my mothering, not detract from them. Also, a lot of people put the children first in their family. I believe that Lewis and I come first. If our marriage isn't working, then our parenting will not work. It is important that the marriage is first and then the parenting is a natural reflection of that relationship. This doesn't mean that the children are less important.

The next part of my question has to do with the fact that I believe that we are raising children to be functional adults. I will appreciate every step of the process, but my ultimate goal is a fully functional adult who doesn't NEED me. I believe that in the transition from childhood to adulthood, one of the main differences when it comes to your parents is it goes from a relationship that you NEED to a relationship that you WANT. I want to make my decisions based on this goal for the future. Obviously this doesn't mean that I expect a 5-year-old to act like an adult, but it does mean that the reason why I will discipline in certain ways is because I want them to grow up to be someone with goals, boundaries, decision-making skills and personal discipline. I believe threatening a punishment and then not following through with it is more detrimental than helpful.

When it comes to some of the different aspects of having more than one child, I've been disturbed - to say the least - by some of the decisions I've seen made in relation to this topic. It seems that a lot of parents find it important to treat their children EQUALLY. I believe it is more important to treat your children FAIRLY. These are not the same thing. This applies to discipline, college and payment help and various other aspects that come up as children grow. I want to treat each of my children as individual people - part of a pair or set of siblings, but separate entirely. We are all individuals and should be treated as such.

There are obviously various ways that I could expound on these topics and maybe I will in the future, but this is just a general overview of what I've been thinking about lately. Honestly I really want the opinions of other mothers. I know of 2 mothers who actually read this blog and both of them have opinions and experiences that I really value and I look forward to seeing what your thoughts are on these topics. I do understand that there are many opinions or viewpoints that will change in me as I become a mother, but there are also values and beliefs that I am trying to set up BEFORE I have children so that I have a groundwork with which to make my other decisions.


Mama Smors said...

Oh Cameron~ you of course know I have been checking your mommy blog like crazy!! I am so excited to read this more personal side of you and get to chat about mommyhood.

a. You need to be you. You will change when you become a mom but you will still be Cameron. You will have an unexplainable love for you child but you will still love TV, movies, books, blogging, etc. You will be a better parent if you have time seperate from your child. I like to blog, read, and exercise. If I don't get this time away then I get more easily frusterated with Ivy. Also, think about the amazing conversations you and your child will have as they grow up and you all will possibly have similar interests.

b. Husbands are first. Kids feel secure when they know their parents love each other. I believe having 2 parents who love each other is worth more than ANY OTHER THING you can give your child. I see this in my classroom every single year. The further you get in your career your opinion to put your marriage first will grow even deeper.

c. We all want to raise self sufficient children. Consistent discipline is KEY! I think disciplining your child at age 1 starts to teach them boundaries and self discipline at a VERY young age.

d. YOU ARE GOING TO BE A SUPER MOMMY!!!! I can't wait to read more on your mommy blog :)

e. Sorry this is wordy- feel free to tell me I am no longer aloud to respond to your blog! hahaha

Cameron said...

i love that your comment is wordy!!! i feel a lot better after reading your response!! i think that in some ways it's a generational thing where we are a new generation of mothers who just have a different opinion about how to do everything. it's interesting.

anyway, thank you!!!! i will post again soon!!

Maria said...

OK, I am so obviously not a mom yet, but I've already put a great deal of thought into how I want to raise my children. It's so funny because when I was reading your blog, you touched on so many things that were discussed at church a couple weeks ago. Griff spoke about parenting and actually interviewed my parents (their story was about Daniel's transformation). I would really recommend listening to it (I think you can get the audio for your ipod if you wanna listen while you work or while you're out), but it really made me think a lot about how to raise our kids one day and it gave great advice on how to live a "balanced" lifestyle. That's the key. Again, go listen because I REALLY think you'll like it. Griff did a great job!

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