Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy, Crispy, Children, Please!

I used to think I was a natural chef, with a distinct eye for the culinary arts. Some personal favorite recipes I had developed over the years as a single woman on my own, were waffles, lasagna, oatmeal cookies, and bean soups.Mmmmmmmm!
So when we first got married I would try making all sorts of delightful goodies for my new husband. However, over the course of several months, I noticed that he would turn up his nose at my cooking, or even worse, offer to cook every meal!

I realized one day that I had been living a substandard lifestyle when it came to cooking. Somehow I had trained my taste buds to like dry and crusty waffles, runny and tasteless lasagna, brick-hard oatmeal cookies, and undercooked beans! (To name a few.) I was a horrible cook! My pans were always burned with black charcoal, caked to the bottom, I never followed the recipes correctly, or payed attention to the time, so my food was never quite done right, I let my noodles overcook until they were mush, and I didn't know I was supposed to drain the grease from the browned meat...and on and on. Poor Micah!

It's funny to look back on the past and see how much you've changed. I am a much better cook these days, and realized that all it took was some knowledge, some practice, and the right inspiration to want to do it right. Even though my foods had been edible, they just weren't the best they could be.

Maybe this is a far stretch for an analogy, but I've been feeling like a rotten parent lately, and was wondering if I am living a substandard ideal in my parenting, without knowing it.
When I became a Mother it was natural for me. I immediately fell in love with my babies and wanted to nurture them and care for them. I really want to be with these little guys every day, and help them discover their world. They are amazing!
However, sometimes I feel like I am doing a tremendous job, then I get into a situation where I have no idea what I am doing! Like I am confidently cooking a delicious sauce, only to discover it's burnt on the bottom! I don't want to feel like Super Mom, only to find out my kids are doing pretty good, but are slightly burnt on the bottom. I don't want to keep doing what I'm doing, only to look back on my past to discover how
much better I could have been. (even though I know this will happen regardless, I still want to be better now, darnit!)
I have been struggling with my 3 year old lately, trying to figure out his changing behavior, and how I can handle things the best. I guess I am on a personal crusade to have yummy, happy, crispy children who grow up to be happy adults, rather than crusty, burnt ones who hate their lives and despise their Mother.

I got online last night and ordered some books that I think will help immensely. I've read every Dr. Sears baby book about sleeping, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, and mending boo-boos, but I realized I haven't read much about the development of independent, and obstinate 3 year olds.
I got Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Discipline Solution", "Raising your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy, and "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence J. Cohen.

These books I trust because they are approved by the La Leche League International board, whose leaders are big on being gentle and loving in all we do. And that's the direction I want to go. I've been feeling angry, frustrated, and often mad, and all because of my lack of understanding in how to handle certain situations that come up.

Some good books, some great talks with my husband, some natural-born instincts, some love, and lots of prayers....this is the recipe I am following right now.

What tools do you recommend for becoming the parent you want to be?
Any good books you've been inspired by and would suggest?


Alice said...

Sally, blog-stalker here! ;) I feel compelled to leave a comment to recommend books by John Holt. Although he writes about education and is a big proponent of unschooling, I have found that his writing style and observations of children force me to look at situations from a child's perspective and encourage calm and thoughtful responses. I feel as though his books are really parenting books because they help me to be the kind of mother I want to be. Whenever I am having a rough period with my own boys (5,3 and 6 mos), I reach for John Holt first. Another author you might want to try is Alfie Kohn ("Unconditional Parenting" and "Punished by Rewards"). I feel a little strange commenting on your blog since you don't know me, but these books really help me so if I can pass that on to help another mama, I'm happy to do it.

Sally Jackson said...

Thank you! I appreciate the comments----that's what the world wide web is for--sharing information.
You reminded me that I need to pick up John Holts books again. I started reading "how children learn" about a year ago but only got through the first chapter. I think I was busy at the time. I agree that his work would probably help immensely in understanding their worlds perspective. So thanks! And I will add the others to the list and look them up, too!
Most appreciated--you can stalk my blog anytime!

Laughing Anne said...

I'm reading (and loving) "Connection Parenting" by Pam Leo, and also "Magical Parent Magical Child: The Art of Joyful Parenting" by Michael Mendizza and Joseph Chilton Pearce. I love their perspectives on children! I, of course, am not yet dealing with a 3 year old yet. :)


carlyluckyx2 said...

Sally you are so funny! I feel the same about being a mom. It's just hard and some days you are just trying to dog paddle as fast as you can to keep your head above water! You are doing great and cannot be good at everything. I am not much of a cook either. I can make only simple stuff like hamburger helper, mac and cheese, spaghetti. I am gonna have to send you some easyyyyyyy soup recipes. I love to make soup especially if it is fast and easy! Hang in there honey...we are all in the same boat! Oh I once read....I Was a Really Good Mom (before I had kids!) and it made me laugh because it is pretty true!

ashley said...

i have no suggestion, so let us all know how those book are, they look great! your boys are so good lookin, love that pic of the three of you!

and, we head back to hawaii mid-december. we are on oahu, cause that is where the military is and that is where luke will most likely always work. so, maui? how exciting. that would be great for you guys, i will come visit if you do it!

Sally Jackson said...

I know I can't be good at everything, but there are certain things I'm going to try my hardest to be good at, because I want to. One of them being a gentle, understanding Mom, and another being a good cook for my family. I can't keep my house clean for the life of me, and I'm totally fine with that. :)

arianne said...

I think we all feel like you do.

I also recommend John Holt. And I loved Everyday Blessings. It's a book on mindful parenting. Review these titles when you're done. I'm curious about them. Hugs!

Hilary-Dilary-Dock said...

First of all, Sally, when I feel stupid at being a mom, I almost always ask myself, "what would Sally do now?" I'm totally serious. You teach me how to be a good mom, so don't worry about it. Second of all, my little nephew (4 yrs. old) is a "spirited child", and my brother and sister-in-law have relied heavily on that book. Good news. . . my nephew is INCREDIBLE! They've discovered how to channel his energy, and he is such a productive boy! I think he will be a very successful adult. So, I know that's a helpful book. You're so amazing Sally! Don't worry!

Sarah said...

Awesome, Sally. Those books are really great. I've aquired a new parenting bible that I just adore in every way. It's called 'Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves.' It's by Naomi Aldort. Go to Youtube and search for Naomi Aldort and watch her videos for a preview. That woman is so awesome I can't even begin. The information in the book is wonderful because it's not just about how to treat your kids wonderfully, but it's also about how to get through our own issues as parents so we can get to the fun part of parenting. It's awesome! (And her kids are amazing, too, if you get a chance to check them out - unschooled boys, one is a child prodigy cellist/pianist, and the other is a prodigy piano composer - search Oliver Aldort and Lennon Aldort on Youtube to see). You're doing awesome, Sally!!!

chelsea mckell said...

There's a part in the Book of Mormon where Nephi is lamenting his unrighteousness and "natural man." Yeah, Nephi - strong, prophetic, stalwart man... questioning himself and his standing before the Lord.

This post reminds me of that. Mother-of-the-century, questioning herself. It makes me want to rid myself of my typical all-is-well-in-zion mentality.

And...I want to read those books. I've heard of them. The only parenting book that I've read and can whole-heartedly recommend is the Love and Logic series. There's one specifically for early childhood. I've been through their program and consider it inspired. And really, really humorous.