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Get Ready for Rethinking Everything- PARENT!

2012 is upon us!

And so is the release of our very first magazine as Rethinking Everything Publishing.
Rethinking Everything Magazine, after two years of bold, edgy, exciting rethinking, has blossomed into three separate and distinct publications.

But you knew that, right?!

Rethinking Everything- PARENT   ::   publishes January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st
Rethinking Everything- LIFE   ::   publishes February 1st, May 1st, August 1st, and November 1st
Rethinking Everything- SEX   ::   publishes March 1st, June 1st, September 1st, and December 1st

We are excited to offer them all absolutely FREE!

 
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We’re ringing in the New Year with
                 beautiful pages that touch the soul and
                                FOUR stories bound to rock your world.

 
teresaTeresa Graham Brett of Parenting for Social Change brings us her personal story of recognizing the hypocrisy of traditional parenting and forging new relationships with children based in love, respect, and equality in Unlearning Adultism.
daynablogDayna Martin – world reknowned advocate for radical unschooling – shares private and powerful moments of life in a co-sleeping family in The Sacred Flow of the Family Bed.
inok resizeInok Alrutz paints the moment by moment memories of her bold, painful, emotional, empowering, and evocative journey into motherhood in Birth of a Universe.
LauraLaura Grace Weldon – blog maven, writer, farmer, and mom – kicks fear to the curb and hands the power of consequences to her kids in What the French Revolution Taught Me about Parenting.

 

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Subscribe now for FREE.

Have you shared us with your friends? Thank YOU!

Do you have a story? (We know you do.)

Do you know someone whose story inspires? (Yes.)

Let us know what you’re rethinking.  We’d love to work with you.

 

 

Chaos is Bliss

Chaos

Photo credit: Bernard Ward

Barb:

This is unconfirmed, but I heard through the grapevine that that Duggar family is preparing for their twentieth.  I watched their reality show once after hearing so much about it, and they scare me.  All those orderly, well behaved kids and teens that act like parents themselves was just downright spooky.  I suspect abuse of the highest order.  I am not making any accusations here, just raising my haunches in suspicion.  Read more

HAPPY holidays!

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Rethinking Christmas

Barb:

I screwed up Christmas big time when my kids were small and I would probably do it again.  Let me explain.  I have gobs of uncomfortable memories of my own childhood Christmases due to the fact that my parents were both chain smoking alcoholics and it was pretty much impossible to have a holiday that did not involve gross states of drunkenness, burned food and sour outcomes.  When I became a mom I was going to do it all differently.  Right from the start of my son’s first Christmas at age 11 months, I became a Christmas fiend.  I baked for weeks in advance, decorated the whole house to beat the band, threw parties with handmade food galore and, of course, purchased ungodly amounts of gifts, each of which I would hand wrap with extravagant ribbons and tags.  Oh, and the stockings!  Egads, they were filled to brim with antique toys, rare trinkets, old fashioned candies and handmade coupons.  I had no idea at the time what a mistake all this was!

For years I kept this up, and I actually loved it quite a bit.  Needless to say, my kids loved it too, in fact, Christmas rapidly became the biggest day of the year in our house.  As time went on and they became teenagers, it was becoming apparent that all this hoopla was no longer valued or necessary.  The truth about Santa had been discovered years ago, surprise presents were no longer possible, and the lists made it all so boring.  How much fun is it to just buy someone exactly what they are expecting?  We can do that any day.  We all knew we had to make some changes, but we didn’t know what or how.  Christmas had so much fun associated with it and we were mourning the old days.

We consciously decided to give it up, but do it gradually.  Over the course of 4 or 5 years we made changes that allowed us to have the fun, excited feeling we associated with Christmas while weaning ourselves off the weird and increasingly uncomfortable gift giving part.  Why was the gift giving feeling uncomfortable?  The big thing was its robot-like connection to the hype and cultural pressure to give gifts NOW, at this time of year, no matter what.  We were also feeling sensitive to the craziness of buying a gift in August for someone and holding on to it until December 25.  We also disliked the feeling of comparing what we gave or got with what others were getting or giving.

Our final years of weaning had us doing a simple one gift exchange, you know that round robin sort of exchange where each person buys one present and they get put in a pile and one person starts by opening a gift and the second person can either take the first person’s gift or a new one, etc.

It’s now been a glorious handful of years since we have consciously not given any gifts at all.  It feels so great to be able to enjoy this holiday completely differently and it’s immensely liberating!

Sarah:

I’m still rethinking Christmas.  I may rethink it every year until the end of time.  Each year things seem to change a little.  We try out new traditions or resurrect old ones.  This year we’ve decided to drive our little car all the way from Texas to New Hampshire to be warm around the fire with my husband’s family!

That said, I’m still grappling with the stress of it all.  Every year I think I’ve got it under control and every year I get sucked down into the current of the stress of making other people happy.  When will I learn that I can’t (and it is not incumbent upon me to) make anyone else happy… ever?  Years ago, it was everyone – my husband, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, etc.  I wanted to make sure that everyone got that gift that said, “I love you this much” every year.  When we had children I thought it would get easier.  We stopped doing gifts for all the family members.  We pulled a name for a couple of years and then decided that we’d just gift to the children, nieces, and nephews.  Even that started to feel forced (and expensive!) so the kids and I recently started making handmade gifts for anyone we wanted including their cousins (and we still love this!).  And I focused all of my attention on making their holiday season brilliant.  But I have noticed the dysfunction in this intention just this year as I find myself miserable with worry.  What if they’re disappointed?

To stem the risk of turning this post into a therapy session, let me share that I am processing.  My two greatest therapists are my kids.  When I am concerned about their birthdays or Christmas meeting their expectations, I ask them what those expectations are.  And I find that they are so much simpler than I could have imagined.  The worry of disappointment is my baggage- Christmas afternoons spent ritualistically crying in my room as I felt the deflation of the post-Christmas anti-climax.  Then there was the shame of crying after all that I had received, all my parents had worked so hard to give me.  It hit me today.  This stress that I’m feeling?  That’s what creates that anti-climactic Christmas crash.  My kids want to enjoy the season, not just the day.  They aren’t looking forward to a giant stack of presents.  They’ve asked for a few small items and time together- skating, evening rides to view lights, maybe a Christmas play, decorating the RV and talking about the history of each ornament, making candies and cookies, and spending time with family and friends.  And here I was living for the future again.

Barb:

What is feeling dissonant for me this year is the contrast between my fresh, alive rethinking of the Christmas season and my less than comfortable feelings as I tune into my odd love of the old fashioned Christmas carols that take over the airwaves .  I love the melodies of the songs – the notes are easy to reach and I know all the words – but the memories the songs evoke creep me out: they remind me of the childhood stuff I want to let go of and I want to change most of the lyrics!  It feels a bit like being on a roller coaster, an up-down ride of clarity and feel good contrasted with that sucking feeling of moving backward.  Weird!  I suppose I could just say no to the songs, but I like them!  But then I don’t!  Oh well, it will all be over soon, and I imagine I will have evolved just a little bit more… I hope.

Sarah:

Here’s what I love- the awareness.  When something feels odd, dissonant, or wrong, we can analyze it or simply sit with it.  We can choose to make change or not but that awareness allows us to grow.  The holiday season seems particularly difficult because of the expectations, traditions, and memories associated with it.  But it is not unlike any other situation in our lives; there is power in awareness.

Rethinking Everything- PARENT

Rethinking Everything- LIFERethinking Everything- SEX

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Victims Struggle

Barb:
I hear this word so often. People talk about how they struggle toward some accomplishment, struggle to communicate, struggle to improve and so on and on and on. Whenever I hear this word, my brain stops as I try to understand what it means. What do people mean when they say they struggle? I know that it feels difficult, but why are things difficult? I go through difficult times and situations often enough, but I just can’t relate to this word struggle. Help me out here. Read more

Mothering Memories

Barb:

I’ve been having flashbacks lately of some of my treasured mothering moments. I am so grateful to have been a full time mom, so happy to have made a conscious decision to give up my fancy job and immerse myself in the wild and mysterious life of a mom. When my three kids were young we spent a lot of time in bed, not only at night in our family bed but during the day, reading, talking, laughing, eating. My kids used to love to have me crawl onto the bed with them during the day with a few apples, a sharp knife and a stack of books. We’d all cuddle together in a mound while I read and cut slices of apple for each of them in turn. They used to beg me to do this. I think in retrospect a big part of the fun was bringing a sharp knife to bed!

For years we had gnomes living in our back yard. My oldest son has always had a very rich fantasy life, in fact he still does. I even think it is the center of what makes him tick and function now as a full grown adult. Anyway, we got lucky because a nice little clan of gnomes took over our yard and for a long, long time they left us regular signs of their activities: teeny, tiny letters of their adventures that we’d sometimes have to use a magnifying glass to read, little sailboats they’d built to navigate our pool, tiny tools and handbuilt furniture, they even built a little house at the base of a tree. We never did see them but we sure knew they were there and they were a rich part of our lives for sure.

One other very fond memory I recall at this time of year was our regular campfire breakfasts. We built a campfire pit with tree stumps all around and used this for years. Our hands down favorite meal on the campfire was blueberry pancakes with butter and real maple syrup. You just can’t believe how much better a pancake can taste when prepared over an open fire. It doesn’t make any sense that this would be true but it is, I swear it.

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Sarah:

Ooh! I love this! My children are 7 and almost 9 so we’re deep in our memory-making years. In fact, we just now finished up reading Harry Potter aloud together before the kids settled in for bed. We’ve been doing this for a very long time and are on the fifth book of the series. I swear we’ve been reading this same book forever. It has 870 pages! No matter. We’re not in any hurry. For us, it feels like the characters are members of our family and family friends. We talk about them during the day and analyze different aspects of the story. Often, the kids will even speculate on aspects of the characters’ lives that we don’t experience through the words of the books. We will also often read the same books on our own. Because the characters become so real for the children, my husband and I don’t want to miss out on references and discussions. My son is an avid reader and recently read the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. My daughter listened to it on her iPod and my husband and I are trailing behind reading the series ourselves. While traveling this summer, we were all so excited to see the exact replica of the Parthenon and statue of Athena in Nashville, TN. It was so cool for all of us to be giddy over the bust and statue replicas and make connections between the books and Greek Mythology.

In our family, we love mustaches. We share a fascination for them – an appreciation of the different shapes, styles, and colors of mustaches. There’s definitely a lot of mustache-related humor involved in our everyday lives. We decided, though, that we had to come up with a code word so as not to completely embarrass mustache-wearers as we pass. “Look! A mustache!” was embarrassing for everyone. My husband and I threw out several ideas for covert names. The children vetoed them all and went with “banana.” Yes, that makes it even funnier. We even have a sticker on the RV (we live and travel in an RV) that has a curled mustache and says, “This Is What Awesome Looks Like.” I feel like this is a commentary on our connection with each other. We have inside jokes- lots of them.

Fantasy is a major player in our household as well. We’d built fairy houses at the base of every tree, rock, and bush in our suburban home. The fairies would often come to visit the dwellings and would leave evidence of utilizing the ample facilities provided by the children. We’ve also built them on the sides of hiking trails as we travel or out of cardboard boxes with scraps of fabric, shells, and other random finds. When the fairies leave thank-you notes, they are written in tiny gravel or sticks or mulch. Often the only thing left behind is a dusting of glittery fairy dust.

Speaking of fairies, we have a tooth fairy who is, well, a little off. She is sometimes a day or two behind our travel but the children wait patiently for her as they understand it can be difficult to keep up with our adventures. When she leaves the money or trinket, she always leaves a note. I think the kids are more anxious to get the notes than anything else. Our tooth fairy is a phonetic speller. And her letters never go in a straight line. The kids love decoding her messages and keep them safely tucked away with their treasures.

Barb:

I am all warm and fuzzy now from all this tender mother child connection. Let’s share more in future blogs… and for those of you out there who have read this, how about sharing your favorite mothering memories with us?

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