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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Coolest Birth Photo Ever

Need I say more?

(Photo by Kali Park at www.mamamatters.com and used with permission)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Childless Me vs. Mama Me

If you met me 10 years ago, you would not recognize me as Zen Mama. No, ma'am. Having fertility problems, choosing homebirth, and becoming a mother to my amazing son who is my best teacher have all morphed me into this person most of my family members and long-time friends no longer recognize.

Childless Me: Baby in crib. I need my space and I don't want him in bed until he is 17 and bringing make out partners in with us.
Mama Me: Family bed that is over 11 feet wide and full of warmth, love, and healing properties for as long as he wants.

CM: Spanking is necessary if a child is about to do something screwy like touch the stove or run into the street.
MM: Lady, are you high??? Hit, humiliate, and hurt a child as a means of getting your message across? You were clearly hit one too many times and had something jostled around in your teeny-tiny little brain. This makes absolutely NO sense to me and even less sense to your son.

CM: I will breastfeed, but that child will be on a schedule, boobs shall be covered at all times, and nobody is lactating past 12 months.
MM: Pah! Anytime, anywhere; out and proud; for as long as he needs and wants. (Sometimes I wish I could go back and slap CM upside the head.)

CM: Homebirth-schmomebirth! I want to be in a hospital where there are doctors and medicines and machines in case something goes wrong.
MM: Hospital-schmospital! I want to be in at home where there are no doctors or medicines or machines, because nothing is going to go wrong.

CM: Cloth diapers are from the stone ages. Why would I choose to make more work for myself when we have modern conveniences? That's crazy-talk.
MM: Let's see, less waste, less impact on the environment, safer and healthier for my son, and cheaper. Uh, why wouldn't we go cloth? Why doesn't everyone? Oh ya, because they're like CM. Oh dear...

CM: I teach in the public school system and am also the product of it. I turned out fine. I enjoyed it. Plus, I don't want my babe to turn out to be all weird and hermit-like.
MM: I taught in the public school system. I loved it. I also don't wish to send my son there if I can help it. I want to teach him far more than he could ever learn sitting at a desk for 13 years. We will learn and teach together. The world is his classroom.

CM: Crying it out teaches babies to soothe themselves. That's life. That's reality in our world. Mama's not always going to be there to soothe you and wipe your nose and the sooner you learn that, the better.
MM: What a tool. CM disgusts MM. Ya, why not teach a child that they can count on absolutely no one in this cold, hard world...even their parent. Tool.

CM: Attachment parenting is just plain kooky. A friend of mine does it and I just think it's nutty. I mean, how is a kid supposed to learn to stand on his own two feet if his mommy is always there? That's ridiculous. (Sorry, C, I totally and ridiculously judged you.)
MM: First, what a lesson in "judge not, lest ye be judged." Second, I was an ignorant buttmunch. I mean, that pretty much covers it.

CM: Everyone I know is circumcised. That's just what is done. And they certainly don't remember it.
MM: Let's talk human rights, sexual function, illness prevention, and autonomy. If you still are pro-cutting, let's talk some more.

CM to CH (Childless Husband): "If both babe and I are hanging off a cliff, who would you save?" After much discussion, CM and CH both came to the conclusion that we would save the other and not the babe, because we could always make another babe, but could never get another one of us.
MM: This is true and it just goes to show how very far I have come as a person and mom. I am ashamed of my previous thought process, but I would not be honest (and you know my feelings about honesty) if I didn't include this. Suffice it to say, DH (Dada Husband) is also ashamed and saddened by how little we understood about what it is to be a parent and the depth and breadth of a parents love for their babe. The moment he was born, we both looked at each other and said without qualm or shame, "I love him more than you." And that's the way it's supposed to be in our estimation.

Stuff changes. Thank goodness it does. I will tell you, though, nothing would've changed for me if I had been met with judgment and aggression as childless me. People will come to our community with ideas just as crazy as mine were. I get it. I was there. I think it's important to meet them where they are and work toward guiding them toward a place where both they and their babes will be happier, healthier, and safer. Guiding them, not shoving them.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tear or Cut?

This is going to be a short post. There really isn't much that needs to be discussed. It's all pretty simple.

When I discussed my fears about episiotomies with my midwife, she explained things this way:
Imagine trying to tear a shirt in half. Now, imagine cutting it with scissors a little and trying again. Which one will rip more?


Bottom line: don't let them cut you. Tearing will result in far less damage to the area and will heal faster and better.

See. It's as simple as that. The end.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Very Un-Zen Middle Finger to You, Facebook and "Friends" Who Report Us

Far too many of us have had pictures reported by our "friends" and removed by the Facebook gods in their illustrious wisdom. (And by "far too many" I mean one or more, because even a single removal is asinine, hypocritical, and discriminatory.)

That being the case, I've compiled a collection of lovely moments of nurturing and comfort that cannot be removed by anyone. So there! Neener-neener, naysayers!

With that, I present to you these amazing photos of mothers and babes that have been reported and removed. You can take the pictures down, but you cannot remove the memories that are forever etched in our hearts!

Anires says: "I cant believe there are really people that are offended by this. I do not feel exposed at all here, and I've never seen a picture of a child nursing that offended me in any way."

This deliciousness was actually removed from my Facebook page. I felt so bad for the mama who just wanted to share this beautiful moment with us.

What in the world could have been the problem with this?

You have got to be kidding me, Ashley! They deleted this? Wow.

Oh, well, of course they deleted this one. Eating...that's so offensive! I mean, it's practically pornographic! (If you can't hear the thick sarcasm, you're probably in the wrong spot...)

One of my first to be deleted from the page. Still one of my favorites.

Thank you to all the Zen Mamas who shared these lovely moments with us and to all who support them and the rest of us who breastfeed anytime, anywhere!


We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to make this special announcement:

As of last week, I am no longer director of Intact Arizona or PPN West Valley AZ. Many of you know that I was once very active in those chapters, but for myriad reasons have now chosen to remove myself.

Of course, I still fully support the missions and purposes of The Intact Network and the Peaceful Parenting Network.

No salacious back story. No need to read anything further into the separation. All is right with them and with me.

And now back to your regularly scheduled Zenning. Ohm

Let the Babes Be Babes

Why is everyone in such a hurry to grow their babes up? Rush them into their forward-facing car or booster seat, allow them to sit in the front seat of the car, potty train, teach them to walk sooner via kiddie yoga, send them off to preschool at 3 and have them skip kindergarten in favor of first grade, feed them caviar and oysters, dress them like little adults, wean from the breast, sleep in their own beds in their own rooms, put "play" makeup on daughters and tell boys that men don't cry... The list is endless and, quite frankly, upsetting. Our babes are babes but for a minute. Why rush it? Why rob them of the little time they have to be young, to be just the age they are? Why rob ourselves of the opportunity we have been given to slow down and relive our own childhoods by seeing the world through their eyes?

Everyone just relax. Rest assured, they will grow. They will reach milestones, they will attain skills, they will get to the next phase. Already the children of modern society are far more mature than those of the past. There are myriad reasons for this, of course, which are for another, more scientific post. This post's message is far more simple: slow down, relax, and let the babes be babes.
If you do, I guarantee you and your babes will all be a lot happier, closer, and more fulfilled. Right now may seem like it is dragging on, you may feel the need to move more quickly to just get through, but in the grand scheme of things, this precious, wonderful, most amazing time for them as babes and us as parents is just a drop in the bucket. Slow down and savor every last moment, because those moments will be gone before you know it.

Just let the babes be babes...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grounded by the Facebook Gods...Again

Zen Parenting's Facebook page has been up less than nine months. In that time, I cannot even count how many times I have had content reported and removed and consequently been blocked from my primary personal account. Let's chat, shall we?

For those who don't know how it all works, here's the rundown:

- Facebook does not monitor and block content on its own. People report the content to Facebook and Facebook acts. I don't agree with Facebook not checking the report out first to make sure the content actually does violate their policies, but they are not solely to blame.

- It is almost never reported by a Zen Parent. What you, as a Zen Parenting fan, do on a public page, though, is shown on your ticker and every friend of yours can see that. Often, friends will see what you like or comment on and will click to further investigate. That's where trolls come in. And that's where reports come from. That's right, it's friends of yours and friends of theirs and so on.

- The first time content is reported and removed is just a warning. The next time is a blocking from my personal account for a day (or something like that...it's been a while since that time, so I can't exactly remember), then a few days, then a week, and now I'm up to thirty days. Thirty-flipping-days.

- As things progress, so does the progressive discipline plan. Eventually, I will lose my primary account, all my contacts, all my statuses about my son, all my photos I've posted over the years. Good times, no?

- And yes, Zen Parenting will also close down at that time. We will lose our community. It would, of course, be restarted, but never the same. And it won't be long until we progress to this step.

To address the solutions that some have offered:

- Yes, I could choose an option that does not allow for a thumbnail to be posted along with an article. That will do nothing to help anyone, however. First, that blames the victim. I have done nothing wrong and will not accept the responsibility for those who cannot handle the cold, hard truth. Second, posts without thumbnails get significantly fewer readers. If I am trying to reach and educate the largest group, the thumbnail is essential. Third, it really has nothing to do with one little thumbnail. Most people can't even see those on their mobile devices. They see them there, are enticed to look further, open the article (or photo or whatever other content there is) and are then shocked and appalled that something goes against their steadfast and misguided beliefs. People report breastfeeding photos that show NO breast, breastfeeding photos that show less skin than a low-cut top, statuses that say "Hey, I don't like you," and articles that offend their delicate sensibilities. It's about changing mindsets, educating the uneducated, changing the world one little blurb at a time. I won't stop doing that. I won't. My son inherits this world after I am gone and I intend to do my best to leave him a world that is better than it was when he got here.

(Below is a photo that caused quite a stir on the page and was, indeed, reported. See what I mean?)

- Yes, I could post more mild-mannered photos, articles, and statuses. I'm not going to, but I could. I'm not here to please everyone. That's not even possible. I have a set of goals. I am striving to meet them. Those goals cannot be met by having a milquetoast page. Even if they could (but they can't), that kind of page would skeeve me out. That's just not me. As Desmond Tutu once said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." I refuse to remain neutral or run a page that is neutral just to appease the masses.

- I do have another account, which is how I am able to post on the Facebook page while blocked on my primary account. I have no friends, no photos, no nothin'.

- Everyone always asks, "Who are these people who are reporting you?" Well, like I said, they're your friends and their friends and so on. I once had a friend who stated he "understood" why people report breastfeeding photos and I just shouldn't post them. He was immediately deleted. You know who is doing it. They're the same people who are reporting your stuff, too.

- No, it's not just a "bummer" as some seem to think. It is just Facebook, I understand fully, but I believe wholeheartedly in our community, what we're doing here, the assistance and education we provide, and our mission. Take that away and it's way more than a "bummer." Furthermore, I do have a life outside of Zen Parenting and family members and friends spread far and wide and it's nice to be able to keep them up on my son's life with just the click of a button.

- Finally, the reasons people report material are the exact reasons I feel so passionately about our little page. That there are so many appalled and embarrassed by the normal and natural is the very reason I do what I do. I'm not here to preach to the converted. I'm here to effect change in the rest of the world. The very people who are offended by the truth are the ones I seek to enlighten. Maybe I don't reach all or even many of them, but maybe, just maybe, I reach one or two and that's enough for me. I will keep posting what I post for those few people who need and want the information provided.

Update: My husband is also an admin on the page just as an extra account for me to use in such cases as these. He doesn't post. I just logged onto his account to do something else and found this:

The account from which I am posting now, my tertiary, received its first warning, as well.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Post-Show Ponderings

I finished watching the show about an hour and a half ago. Before it was over, my son was ready for bed, so we cut out early. I've been here in bed thinking ever since.

Here are some of my thoughts in a kind of stream-of-consciousness type rambling:

- How poorly must I have done that the only thing the majority of people had to say was about how I looked?

- Phew, I'm glad everyone thought I looked OK! (Contradictory? Yes. True? Yes.)

- I loathe the sound of my own voice.

- I'm a little irked that they cut the shot of my son. He was the best part!

- Our interview was two full segments and about 20 minutes long. Our aired spot was about a quarter of that. What the heck, man?

- They either edited so much, because:
a) we weren't extreme or weird enough like they thought we would be (They cut the part out where Steve repeated on camera what he said to us during the break, which was that he thought we were going to be weird, but we turned out to be really cool people.), or
b) we weren't interesting enough.

- I cannot control what others do, folks. Just like here on the blog and the FB page, I just provide the information. What others do with said information is up to them. Editors chose to edit the information. That's OK. Maybe it didn't reach you all the way you wanted it to, maybe it offended and bugged you, but maybe I reached a person in the audience. And maybe that's a positive that can be seen rather than focusing on the negatives.

- I didn't go in with high expectations of changing the world. I feel like a lot of pressure was put on me to do just that by my own community given some of the comments of disappointment.

- Dr. Lisa was a turd-burglar. Someone commented that I looked like I was agreeing with her. I was to some degree. What she said about cosleeping was correct. If done incorrectly, it can cause problems. If done correctly, as we do and as was shown, things are fine. Her breastfeeding information and opinions, however, were asinine and I essentially said so, but my response to her was cut.

- Based on some comments, some people in our community clearly went into this viewing with chips on their shoulders. I see no point to this. Raising your defenses preemptively does nothing but cause you to see things that need to be defended. If you go in looking for negatives, you'll see them. If you go in looking for positives, you'll see them, too. Funny how that works out...

- Of course, he joked. Of course, he asked mainstream questions. Why does that bother so many people? He's a comedian and he's mainstream on a mainstream show on mainstream network TV. There was nothing wrong with him asking questions. I answered them and I answered them well. He gets to ask questions. So does anybody who wants to know. How will they know and learn and grow if they don't ever ask or if we attack them or judge them for asking? They're the questions the whole world outside of our circles want to ask. I'm glad he asked. I don't know what else would've been expected.

- Yes, the show was billed as "extreme" parenting. I don't see that as such a big deal. We all know that to the vast majority of America, we are extreme. Does that mean it's true? No. Is that their reality? Yes. It's OK. That's why we educate rather than just get mad, stomp our feet, and walk away huffy.

- No, we didn't get a whole show just for us and our method of parenting. What we got was an opportunity, a glimpse. It won't change everything. That's OK. I never meant to. But maybe, just maybe, it'll change a little bit for a few and that's something. That's a big something. Maybe someone who is pregnant will drop by the blog or the page and decide to stick around a while. I like to think of the big picture. And who knows what other opportunities and glimpses are on the horizon?

- To demonstrate just how heavily edited things are on the show: we were actually the first guests. We were there for two segments. Then baby-led weaning came up. After that was the Poi and the dating. What you see isn't always how it went. Keep that in mind.

- A couple of things that were left on the cutting room floor: Steve's inevitable question about where we have sex if we cosleep and my response of "anywhere we want," which garnered a high-five from him; my answer to Steve's worry that he would roll over on and squish a cosleeping child; my explanation of the benefits of normal-term breastfeeding and cosleeping; much of what my husband had to say about both topics; my full response to how self-weaning takes place; and ever-so-much more. Like I said, we had two full segments in reality. There's only so much time and we just weren't weird or "extreme" enough to warrant too much more time than we had.

- I am so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I got from the majority of those in our community. Thank you for your kind and wonderful words of love and support. You make my heart full.

Here's the bottom line. I'm pleased. Am I over-the-moon thrilled? No. Am I satisfied? Yes. Normally I don't subscribe to this philosophy, but every once in a great while good enough really is.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Show Updates, Snippets, and Previews

Here are a couple little bits and pieces before the show airs tomorrow:

Video clip that shows us around the 18 second mark

Written blurb about our segments (that is meshed together with the next segment on baby-led weaning). Warning: Don't read the comments. I refuse, but from what I hear, they'll flame you out.

Many have commented that it's not showing in your area or asked me what channel and time it's on for you. The link on the Steve Harvey TV show website doesn't work for every city. It says the show isn't airing in my area, but I found it on my local listings. Check yours, too.

Can't wait to hear your take on things after you watch it tomorrow, September 6th!