The motherhood series continues. Click here to see the full stats on the panelists.
dp In your opinion, how has child rearing through the years changed?
Mommy A There’s a lot that has changed. Spanking is controversial. If you spank your children, it’s because you’ve lost control and are an ineffective parent. There’s too much coddling and not enough discipline. I read a book by Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture, and he wrote of the way parents and teachers are afraid to give honest feedback to their children and students. Everyone is great at everything. This leads to an inability to accurately assess one’s self and ultimately stunts the growth, development, and learning of an individual. Children today are getting away with so much more than I did as a child.
Mommy B Children in this age are giving so much more and experiencing so much more to be able to keep up with their friends. Television is too much a part of their life and also telephones take over their life too much. Both parents working leaves children on their own in someone else’s care too often.
Mommy C My best guess is that child rearing history has an ebb and flow to it intra-culturally, inter-culturally, and temporally. The trend that surrounds me at the moment centers on establishing relationships of mutual respect and consideration through methods like attachment parenting and baby sign.
Mommy D I think fewer moms are able to stay home with their children, and I think fathers are more involved in the childcare tasks.
Mommy E Definitely the women’s movement changed it all, no longer is it women’s work to only stay home and mind the house – its now a balancing act for moms and dads, and single parents too. Our time has become so fragmented that we try to find a balance before we miss it all and life passes us by. Also the age range of mothers is a longer span than in years past, which makes for many wise parents.
Mommy F A lot. Parents are much tighter with their kids in their play and in their schooling. I think it’s frightening to be a kid today, they are totally lost in the system – kids can’t even go out and play in a neighborhood because parents are afraid to let them out. When I raised my children, we all knew if the kids were at our house we could discipline someone else’s child…it was very communal. None of us resented what went down. Now you drive to playgroups get in the car, it’s not just the walk outside like it once was.
Mommy I There’s a big change in how people discipline. I didn’t know anything about time outs. I would spank and I don’t think a lot do that now. I’d give them a swat, send them to their room. I wouldn’t hurt them. I see men playing a bigger role in child-care than when I raised kids. My husband was involved, but fathers today take more nurturing care, maybe even staying at home as the primary daytime caregiver which they wouldn’t have done before.
dp Giving birth – I gotta know, does anything prepare you for the pain? Was your birth process and pregnancy anything like you planned? Drugs or no drugs? What did you crave the most while pregnant?
Mommy A With my first child, I was determined to “try out” natural labor. I’m not sure what I was thinking! By the time I reached 4 cm dilated, I was in uncontrollable pain. My husband tells me that I was cursing like a dirty sailor. I have no recollection of this! With my second child, I was induced. The epidural was awful (probably because I wasn’t in active labor so I felt the pain of it). I don’t think anything can really prepare you for labor. I mean, you can read books and have a plan and maybe it will all work out…but, probably not. You just have to get through it.
Mommy B In my time of having my children one did not talk about the pain and etcetera.
Mommy C I was planning a home birth attended by a midwife friend who lived a few states away. I came up with several backup plans in case baby came early and my midwife was still a state or two away. If I couldn’t be in control of my body then dammit, I was going to give myself the sense of control by making a lot of plans that were not going to manifest.
In the end, I labored long hours at home, not liking the pain (actually mild discomfort compared to what was to come). My vomiting tendency resurfaced during labor and before long we transferred to the hospital to put me on IV fluids. After I had been at the hospital for a while, everyone left except my partner. Shifts in labor started coming closer together and soon my daughter arrived, a little manhandled by the doctor and nurses, but soon in my arms and at my breast.
Mommy D No (nothing can prepare you for the pain). It is like a giant Charlie Horse in the stomach. It can be very frightening, and I remember wondering if I would be able to handle it. I had hoped to go natural – but that was a crazy idea for me. I had an epidural with each birth, and it was wonderful! Once the pain went away, I was able to relax and the deliveries were easy. I craved tomatoes and ice chips.
Mommy E Can’t comment on this yet, but I am craving cheese things – cheese crackers, cheese fries, cheese anything!
Mommy G I craved lemons! While pregnant I chugged lemonade, ate lemon sorbet and lemon bars. Definitely had drugs, which was always in the plan. The pregnancy was easier than I expected, no morning sickness and delivery was easy because I was induced. A bit of advice – take the epidural when they offer it to you. I waited too long to get the epidural. The hard part was the IV had to clear out and I was making noises and it hurts like nothing you could ever understand. My husband was scared shitless – he knew I was in pain there was nothing he could do about it – the minute you get it (the epidural) you feel better. I think I only pushed for 20 minutes.
dp Were your pregnancies planned? Did you have trouble conceiving? If so, what did you do? Did you ever envision your life without children in it?
Mommy A Both of my children were planned pregnancies. I did not have any trouble conceiving, but did have one miscarriage in between my children. I always wanted children.
Mommy D Yes – mostly. My second was a little earlier than expected.
Mommy E Planned in the sense of my husband and I said we will start trying for our first baby at 30, thinking it would take a year, and then boom it took just a few months. Definitely a blessing as we have had so many friends struggle with pregnancies and we feel very lucky.
Mommy F We expected to have children and it didn’t happen after trying for a while. It definitely affects the woman much sooner than the man. Men just don’t have that maternal instinct, obviously. We had tests done and I seemed to be fine, but my husband had a low sperm count. We went through artificial insemination – which was totally against the Catholic Church. And it didn’t take. Adoption was a very difficult thing to do in those days. You’d be in a room with 50 other couples and the social worker would come out and say “only one of you will go home with a Gerber baby” and it was obviously devastating. So, we talked about adopting older kids. We said we’d go back and put in for an older child. Our son was born in June they placed him in August. They called and said – you might want to sit down. We have a child to place with you on Friday (this was a Monday). We were so intimated and afraid to ask questions…I finally said, “am I allowed to ask what the child is?” That’s when they told me it was a boy. The same thing happened with our daughter, we put in to adopt an older child and we got her when she was just 3 months old.
Mommy G Yes it was planned. It took about 20 minutes, one time (laughing). And I feel guilty about that to be honest because I know so many people who have struggled. I said (to my husband) okay, I’m ready and really that was it. I remember looking at him afterwards saying if it is not a girl I’m going to be so mad at you (laughing) – I remember exactly when I got pregnant.
Mommy H Yes (we had trouble conceiving). My husband and I went through a lot of tests and they didn’t know what was causing us not to conceive. We had 5 IUIs and we’re about to do invetro when we got pregnant on our own.
Tomorrow – Gender differences and fitting in alone time.