Something You Should Read

I don’t often do this, but I think it’s warranted.

Read this.

Nicole should, but won’t. And even if she did, she wouldn’t understand it. But maybe somebody will.

James Fell is one of my favorite bloggers. He’s an exercise guy who doesn’t make me feel guilty all the time, and who doesn’t make me want to hide someplace because I’m old and out of shape.

He’s smart and he’s funny and in this case, he’s right.

Being a mom does not make you special.

21 thoughts on “Something You Should Read”

  1. I’m going to pretend that Joe or Nicole read this blog and would take any advice contained herein.

    Read up on resentment. Here are several snippets to get them started.

    “The human emotion of resentment is one of the most futile and destructive emotions, more a reflection of inner needs than outer circumstance. Many people spend more time dwelling on the wrongs supposedly done to them than on the wrongs they have done to others.

    Resentment is a great rationalizer: it presents us with selected versions of our own past, so that we do not recognize our own mistakes and avoid the necessity to make painful choices.

    … it is clear that this emotion fulfills an important function: to disguise from themselves the extent to which their own decisions and conduct have been responsible for their unhappiness. People prefer the role of immaculate victim of circumstance to that of principal author of their own misery.”

  2. I should have included this. Would you mind adding it to my earlier post? It can stand alone too, of course.

    “So what exactly are the rewards of resentment. It is always a relief to know that the reason we have failed in life is not because we lack the talent, energy, or determination to succeed, but because of a factor that is beyond our control and that has loaded the dice decisively against us. Likewise with moral failings. Blame does not attach to us, therefore, and we are able to preserve our image of ourselves as essentially and fundamentally good, whatever our actual behavior. Any good that we do is a true reflection of our character; any ill a reflection of our upbringing.

    To be the victim of injustice allows us to despise others while others despise us. They may look down upon us for our failure, but to be a failure in an unjust world is surely no failing. On the contrary, it is a sign of moral superiority. For to be a success in such a world requires a degree of insensitivity and indifference to the fate of others: in short, a kind of sociopathy.

    Moreover, if the world is unjustly stacked against us, any effort on our part to improve our situation is futile. This is upsetting in a way, but at least it absolves us from the painful necessity to change. It insulates us from the possibility of a failure that we must unequivocally ascribe to ourselves. We can remain exactly the same while calling down anathema on a cruel world. And such denunciation has always been highly enjoyable.”

  3. I loved reading this. One of my pet peeves is that as the mother of a medically complex and special needs kid, I often get told things like, “I couldn’t do what you do….” Or “god must have had a special plan for you, I bet you have learned so many lessons bring his mom”. And my personal favorite and most relevant to the blog post, “You are a such a special parent. What do you think of ‘insert random medical or parenting question’?

    FFS. First of all, don’t get me wrong, I love my kid to the moon and back. However, is not like dropping him off at a bus stop was an option. Any sky fairy god who would intentionally inflict pain and suffering on a child so that I could learn a lesson is one too sociopathic for me to worship. Having a child with my son’s condition has meant that I have learned a vocabulary that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I have learned a miniscule amount about metabolics and about the same about molecular genetics. And while I know a lot about my particular kid, Giving birth to him did not give me a medical degree. I haven’t completed a residency, I know enough to know just how much I don’t know…. So I rely on experts. People who have dedicated their entire lives to understanding kids like mine, because of that he is thriving.

    When I had my first son, about thirty years ago, I don’t think “parenting” was quite the ego driven extreme sport that some have turned it into. Being a parent isn’t about validating me, the burden of my identity is too big for any kid…..hell it’s too much even divided between my five living kids. I really wonder what the long term impact will be on children raised by people whose seem to see their primary purpose as being part of a brand identity rather than being a member of a family.

  4. I found it on Psychology Today. It’s watered down so pretty much everyone can get a decent overview of what it is. No doubt almost everyone has someone in their lives who wear their resentment like a red badge of courage or something.

    I even worked a book recommendation into that post! Let’s see if it’s added to the reading list in the future.

    Here’s another way of looking at it: “Resentment is a negative emotional state that combines annoyance, anger, dislike or hatred, and other negative feelings that interferes with a person’s ability to relate to another person or situation. This emotional state is often hidden or repressed to allow a person to continue to function as needed. Resentment is an emotion that is aimed at persons of higher status or power at whom person is not able to safely express anger.”

    Note that it involves people of higher status or power. It’s common in children and adolescents and their most common targets are their parents or teachers. Naturally. Obviously some people get stuck on it. It’s a seductive, even addictive, feeling and way of being.

  5. “There are a helluva of a lot of people on this planet who have years of education and expertise in what is best for your child, and you should listen to them.”

    I disagree. No so-called expert can know my kid as well as I do. No one but me and her dad can know best what she responds to, or how she learns. Even the so-called experts often disagree with each other. The only people with years of education in my child are me and her dad, and that gives us the most expertise on her. Since we know her best, we are in the best position to know what’s best for her. Before we started homeschooling, we had so-called experts through the public school system say that what’s best for her is for her to remain in public school, and others who said what’s best is to go ahead and homeschool since I was already so involved in her education and was able to give her the one-on-one that the district couldn’t afford but tat she needs, and not because I was an asshole parent they wanted to get rid of. Every teacher she’s had to date and I are still in close contact, and a couple have become personal friends. Anyway, which experts so we listen to? If there’s one best, why can’t they agree?

  6. “There are a helluva of a lot of people on this planet who have years of education and expertise in what is best for your child, and you should listen to them.”

    Nobody, including James Fell, was saying that you absolutely should accept the advice of every expert out there. Oddly, you get all defensive about expert advice and then go on to say that every teacher she’s had to date remains in close contact with you and that some are personal friends. If they were so terrible, why would that be?

    I hope you don’t feel the same way about neurosurgeons, and if you do, that you never need brain surgery.

    I worked for many years with doctors, lots of doctors. Some of them are great. Most of them are very, very good. A few are assholes. And a tiny number were incompetent. That’s the way it is with flawed human beings.

    What James Fell was saying is that you should listen to experts. Hear them out. Just your use of the expression “so-called” tells me that you go into the whole thing with an attitude. They are not “so-called” (unless you’re talking about Food Babe or some other quack). They have spent years specializing in something that you have done part-time (teaching). If, after you listen with an open mind, you come to the conclusion that you don’t want to follow their advice, well, that’s certainly your right.

    Fell even gave the example of how his mother refused to accept the first doctor’s advice and sought another opinion.

    No one but me and her dad can know best what she responds to, or how she learns.

    Maybe. Maybe not. I have known parents that didn’t know shit about their own kids. Not every parent is competent.

    Anyway, which experts so we listen to? If there’s one best, why can’t they agree?

    Nobody said there was “one best.” They don’t always agree because science evolves. It’s not religion. But the consensus is usually pretty easy to figure out.

  7. This is brilliant:

    “I really wonder what the long term impact will be on children raised by people whose seem to see their primary purpose as being part of a brand identity rather than being a member of a family.”

  8. Having worked with doctors, lawyers and others in highly specialized fields, the fact that a few are assholes doesn’t actually mean they don’t know their stuff. A complete lack of people skills does not negate technical skill and knowledge. It just makes them a high skilled asshole.

  9. It just makes them a high skilled asshole.

    Yep. That describes the OB who delivered Nathan perfectly. He was such a jerk. I hated him.

    In the years that followed, I took care of his patients in large numbers, though. One day, I needed to see an OB for a real problem and talked about it with my very good friend (who was an anesthesiologist). He recommended that same doc and I made a face.

    He said, “Do you want a good doctor who can keep his cool and save your life if something goes wrong in surgery, or do you want somebody who holds your hand and says nice things?” I said, “Well, both.” He laughed and said, “Make a choice, but make it a good one.”

    I went to see the asshole.

    And I was pleasantly surprised. He pulled up a chair, acted like he had no other patients waiting, talked to me at length and cured what ailed me with a prescription that cost a whopping $2 without insurance. The visit was free.

    You never know.

  10. “Anyway, which experts so we listen to? If there’s one best, why can’t they agree?”

    As a MSN ( sorry, I worked really hard for my education and I love typing those letters) RN I have had variations of this question presented to me from patients, family members and colleagues.
    It’s like cooking. If four cooks whip up your favorite meal chances are that these four meals will be great. The four great meals will be slightly different but equally good. These great meals will also equally succeed at satisfying your hunger.
    Four great “experts” can have slightly different ideas, knowledge and opinions, all of them will be equally successful in meeting your needs.
    Oh, and the education I worked so hard for..it has given me freedom and security. My ability to learn from my mistakes, admit when I’m wrong, treat others with kindness and to continually challenge myself to be a better version of who I am… that has brought me peace and love. I have a great life and I earned everything I have by hard work and determination. I’ve never taken a nickel from anyone and never will. I am nothing special, very ordinary actually. Pathetic that NN cannot realize that people can be happy, loving, successful and kind. No one will hand you that life NN you must create it.

  11. Sally, I don’t think teachers are bad people. Common Core is the problem, not the teachers. I’m sick and tired of people telling us parents we’re doing it wrong if we don’t stop and let every expert say whatever they want to say about how to raise kids they don’t know. If I have questions, I’ll ask for info. No parent should be expected to shut up and “hear out” what every so-called expert says. Neurosurgery is based in scientific fact with fewer variables. Parenting, even in the same house, even with multiples, has many variables, and what works for one kid doesn’t always work for another, yet the so-called experts on all kids speak in generalities. No, I don’t believe for a second that there really is such a thing as an expert in children. Children are far too diverse in every way possible for there to truly be any real expert on them. And I don’t have the time nor desire to sit here and let any expert who wants to speak say whatever they wan while I “listen.” I’m too busy raising my kid, who I know.

    I guarantee you, NO ONE knows my child better than me and her father, and just because some parents don’t bother getting to know their kids doesn’t mean all parents should be treated like idiots. The majority of parents to know their kids, and know better than so-called experts who are trained to see kids as homogenous beings.

  12. No parent should be expected to shut up and “hear out” what every so-called expert says.

    You’re generalizing. No parent is expected to do that.

    No, I don’t believe for a second that there really is such a thing as an expert in children.

    And there is the whole problem. You have tuned people out before you even start. I assure you, there really are people who have devoted their entire lives to the subject and really do know what they are talking about.

    And the rest of what you wrote is homeschool propaganda. Evil, inept statists and pure, wonderful homeschool parents. Remember, I was a homeschooling parent. I’ve lived it. I know where you are coming from. I understand your frustration. However, you took the article personally, and it was never intended that way.

    The point James Fell was making is that the fact that any of us were able to procreate does not automatically impart great wisdom to us, nor entitle us to some sort of medal.

    And I have known plenty of homeschool families that were seriously and horribly dysfunctional. Not just the Nauglers. Many homeschooled children are woefully uneducated.

  13. Oh, and one other thing. What little I know about Common Core is just fine. The right wing hates it but they hate everything.

  14. Interesting discussion.

    Well spoken HarperLee, “Pathetic that NN cannot realize that people can be happy, loving, successful and kind. No one will hand you that life NN you must create it.”

    On parenting. Most everyone is equipped with nature skills, in being a mother. Most, not all, are adapted with the nurturing ability to care as a mother. Being a parent is mostly a learned skill. By that I mean the essence of parenting in that you will guide and lay foundations for the child to become self sustaining, happy and productive adults. A parent is self limiting, if they don’t look beyond their own self, to learn from educated experts and others’ experiences. And don’t feel a sense of grace, for having given the opportunity to be a parent. The greatest blessing in one’s life, is surely getting to parent.

    I agree, being a mom does not make you special.

  15. “…know better than so-called experts who are trained to see kids as homogenous beings.”

    With that, your credibility is shot. Because that is NOT what they are trained to see.

    Black/white thinking, all or nothing statements, those are the bailiwick of the willfully ignorant.

  16. I’ve never known an actual expert (as opposed to a self-proclaimed one) who doesn’t acknowledge variation in children. However, they also don’t claim that every child is so unique that you can’t group them along a continuum and make certain judgements based on that grouping.

  17. “Parenting, even in the same house, even with multiples, has many variables, and what works for one kid doesn’t always work for another, yet the so-called experts on all kids speak in generalities.”

    Wow. I taught for 7 years and spent 5 years learning the ins and outs of dealing with children. I can tell you that no teacher, or child psychologist, or speech-language pathologist ever spoke in generalities about all children. Maybe about groups of children, for example, experts agree that girls are generally easier to potty train because the statistics (the science) shows us that girls are generally potty trained earlier than boys.

    As a teacher, I might say kids with ADHD need body breaks. That’s a generalization, true, but for MOST kids with ADHD, it is most certainly a truth.

    Because experts aren’t allowed to speak about specific cases (usually they are bound by confidentiality) it is up to you as a critical thinker to look at which generalizations fit your subset. Its like a giant Venn Diagram. I fit into many groups:

    1) Child of a single parent
    2) Latch key kid
    3) ADHD
    4) Dyslexia
    5) Gifted

    Because of #5, there were interventions for dyslexia that MOST dyslexics need, that I did not. My teachers, my mom, even myself, figured out ways to make it work, based not only one what the experts said, but also what I needed, and that is what any well rounded evaluation of your child’s needs will tell you.

  18. Sad Spiral, I followed the link. It’s literally pretty wild parenting! I found the Facebook website. It comes as no surprise, this family has, 2 types of Fund Raisers going. One so the whole family can leave the UK, relocate to Costa Rica and homestead. The second is for hubby to start up a natural health related Web based company. He is a yoga instructor that will lead people to wellness. Their brand of unschooling is called, “off grid parenting”. However, when questioned they are not off grid yet. The relocation fund stated a desire to fulfill the dream of living off the land and achieving self sustainability. I experienced a heavy dose of deja vue, when reading about this family. Luckily they currently only have 2 children. I can only hope they don’t continue to procreate!

  19. Memere4, I didn’t look at the blog or facebook at first and when the article said they were saving for their Costa Rica homestead, I took that at face value. Silly me. Of course they’re running multiple fundraisers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.