Friday, April 20, 2007

A Natural Instinct Gone Berzerk

That's my take on the whole "Mother Guilt" discussion that has been circling the Momosphere. This morning was a case in point...

I was driving along with all the children in the van and an interview came on the radio with Richard Louv, author of the new book, The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder. Essentially this book is about the over urbanization of children and the decreasing amount of time children spend playing outdoors.

I'm not recommending this book (The author seemed much more concerned about our "ongoing evolution" than I could ever be) and I'm not, not recommending it either (The premise that children need an abundance of time outdoors to thrive emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually seems true and well worth thinking about).

But my point here is none of these things-- the point here is that this man and his new book got my "Mother Guilt" going:

I've been letting the boys spend too much time on the computer.

We really, really need to move to a more rural place. Now.

I'm not doing enough to help the boys connect with the natural world. I need to do more.

Then, coming out from underneath the guilt cloud, I remembered where we were going. We were on our very way to a FOUR THOUSAND acre Memorial Park where Simeon would attend a three hour class-- out on the trails-- studying birds of prey. The four younger ones and I were going to explore the grounds or, if it got too chilly, head in to the park's (state of the art) children's natural science museum.

That's probably enough for one day.

Then tonight, after a wonderfully full but exhausting day outdoors (sun up to sun down) I wondered to myself...

Should I have required some book work today?

Do I spend enough time cleaning the house?


Mother Guilt: Me against myself... and I still can't win.

Perhaps, one day, I will have "evolved" completely beyond it.


Johane said...

We moms are easy to guilt. I like the title of the new book "Good enough mother". I haven't read it, I don't know what it's about. I just like the title of it, because it gives me permission to not be a perfectionist.

At some point we have to be able to say to ourselves "It is done." all the while recognizing the fact that we are human. At some point we need to stop feeling guilty.

Yeah... I have a feeling that this will be a tall order for moms. Especially me. Thank God that we can release and rely on Him!

Thanks Suzanne. You have a great way of putting things in perspective, and your humour helps us find the humour in our lives.

Devra said...

most of us are doing a better job at being parents and what your post illustrates is that during the day to day busy-ness of our lives, we sometimes get so wrapped up in guilt, that we get distracted from the great stuff we ARE doing with our families.

Sometimes absolving our mommy guilt can happen by just pulling our reigns back and saying "Whoa there!" Great post!

Suzanne Temple said...

Well devra, I guess you would know. I see you wrote a book on the subject!

mopsy said...

The longer I've been a mother, the less guilty I feel. Oh, there is still plenty of guilt. Time has taught me what is and isn't worth the furrowed brow and sleepless night, however.

For example, time has shown me my kids turned out to be great readers, despite not going to the library on a regular basis or reading to them nightly. "The Read Aloud Handbook" had me hyperventilating with worry when they were still toddlers.

What's that saying? If evolution were true, mothers would have eight arms (and I bet we'd still find ways to feel guilty/worry)

Suzanne Temple said...

I agree, mopsy! Love the eight arms, thing.

Goslyn said...

I'm actually reading Louv's book right now, and so far it is very interesting. And not at all about evolution - more about societal changes and how that is causing a drastic reduction in the appreciation, enjoyment and preservation of the natural world.

But yeah, I had mother guilt after reading just a few paragraphs. Tom's main introduction to nature is our teeny, tiny, city back yard.

Oh well.