I’ve been pretty MIA lately. Mostly because I’ve been taking care of my constantly sick family. When you have 4 young children, one of them is always sick at a time. Meaning, Child A gets sick for 2 days starting Monday, while everyone tries not to. Wednesday comes along and Child C starts vomiting in their bed and Child B is extra fussy. By Friday Child D has another diaper blow out and now you have zero clean pajamas for this kid. Also, Child A is finally eating again, although its only plain toast and a banana (if your lucky), and Child B’s bed sheets needs to get changed again, and Child C hasn’t eaten solid food since Monday.
This is just a glimpse into my life recently. *This isn’t my actual family, just an idea of what a typical family goes through with illnesses*
At the end of the day I nearly pass out from exhaustion and am often caught sleeping on the couch unaware that I’m probably drooling on the couch cushions. This happens at 9pm when I usually don’t go to bed until 11 or 12. Needless to say, I’m a pretty tired momma.
And the few times that I have the desire to sit down and blog? My brain turns from mush to liquid and I can’t keep a thought in my head, let alone type it out in a blog post.
But rather than focus on all the negative, I thought I’d share another one of my passions. READING. I love love love to read. Like I say in my bio, I am having an ongoing love affair with my Kindle. I finally was in the mood for a book that has been on my list for a couple of years.
This is an American momma author who is raising her children in Paris France.
I was blown away by some of her observations and thought for the first time in my life that perhaps I do like the French after all!
Here is a brief summary of differences between modern, LA based, middle class American parenting and modern day, middle class, Paris, France parents.
- They are very strict on how much weight they gain during pregnancy (actually I wasn’t so keen on this point at all)
- They have high expectations of their little ones. Not so much a “seen and not heard” mentality, but rather, they see their children and little people who are fully capable of acting in a manner that is pleasing to the adults in the room.
- The evenings are for adults and their time.
- They don’t make it a habit to play with their kids, allowing for their kids to have independent play
- They bake every chance they get with their kids and encourages 4-5 year olds to fully master a recipe without any adult help.
- They talk to their kids like little adults (a bit more of an equal relationship) rather than viewing them as beneath them.
- Mommas were not into making new friends.
- They expected their children to eat a wide variety of foods and enjoy their vegetables. They make their palate a high priority
- They take the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” perhaps a bit more seriously than we do here, what with their esteemed day care system that takes more finesse to get into than Harvard.
Granted, I do not at all consider myself a regular average LA mommy. Not in the least. Mostly because I take my parenting advice straight from the bible and most of my mommy friends do too. But for an entire city (and the author made it sound like the entire country), to have a few key similar values struck me as quite interesting.
Kids do not have to be catered to to reach their full potential. In fact, the more catering you do, the less potential they have. I strongly feel like my generation of fellow parents are too hands on in catering to the whims of their little bosses, aka children. Something Pamela mentioned several times was the perception of the American Child King. We idolize our children to an unhealthy degree. We no longer see ourselves as the person in charge, therefore unable to successfully put down ground rules that our children will follow. We discourage our children from overcoming challenges and just simply do it for them thinking that it is helping them, when in fact it is hurting them. Our playgrounds are actually too safe. Kids don’t know how to get hurt and then pick themselves back up again.
And on the flip side, parents don’t know how to prioritize their lives, and often times have their children right smack in the middle and center of their lives. The kids are the sun and parents are the earth simply rotating our axis around them. This is obviously unhealthy for parents and their union, but it’s also highly unhealthy for kids as well. At my house, we have the phrase “every night is date night!” as our couple mantra. The kids go to bed and it is our time, and unless Music Man is working, it is designated time meant for one another. On big date nights, we will often grab take out and watch a favorite tv show together. Doesn’t matter what it is, it matters that it’s just us.
The Child King also gives rise to other neighborhood issues. The face of bullying is no longer the pimply mean kid who has no friends. Today’s bully is sophisticated, popular, and Eddie Haskel-like. They are used to the world bowing at their feet and when people don’t do that, they retaliate. They had to learn that they were the center of the universe at some point and it must have been early on in their short lives.
At the very least, this book opened my eyes to the fact that I and parents across the globe can agree on certain ideas about family. I’m just sad that I and many of my counter parts right in my own backyard don’t agree.
This has inspired me to randomly have a Book Club posting. Are you reading anything interesting? Want me to read it and discuss it here? Have you read Bringing Up Bebe and have a few things to say? Agree with me? Disagree vehemently? I’d love to hear it all!