Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Parenting Taboos

An amazing mama friend of mine recommended this TED talk to me. The talk is about parenting taboos. The things parents never feel are okay to talk about. They talk about 4 major taboos in some detail and why they actually should be part of our normal conversations about parenting. Just as a very brief summary, here are the four topics discussed in the talk:

1. It's okay not to fall in love with your baby at first sight. 
Oh the horrors! Imagine telling people you didn't feel an instant connection to your newborn child?! Yet it's okay to not fall in 'love at first sight' with your spouse. Why should it be so different with a child? Relationships take time to form! This is normal!

2. It's okay to feel lonely.
Most first time moms probably think it's going to be great to have a baby around all the time. You'll never be alone - how splendid! Umm... except that the baby can't talk, demands things from you at all hours of the day and night, and is, well, a baby. Remember how important time with friends was when you were a teenager? Why should that be any less important now? Any veteran mom will tell you to make sure you have other mom friends to spend time with!

3. It's okay to talk about miscarriage.
I feel pretty strongly about this one. When we were trying to conceive our child, I became a member of an online forum of women supporting each other through the process. So many of these women experienced miscarriage but never told anyone in their 'real life' about it. It's shocking to me that something so incredibly common is taboo to talk about. Consider how much more support women experiencing miscarriage would feel if they knew other people who had been through it!!

4. It's okay to be less happy overall when you have kids.
I'm pretty sure if you told someone you're less happy now that you have kids, they'd look at you like you're an alien life form or some kind of satanic parent. But it's completely realistic when you think about it! What did you enjoy doing with your free time before you had kids? Did you travel? Read a lot of books? Go skiing every winter? Did you play in a sports league or meet your best friends for coffee once a week? Well, if you suddenly don't have the time or money for those things because your kids needs take priority... wouldn't you say that overall that makes you a little less happy? It doesn't mean you don't love your kids - it just means you have less time for yourself!

Okay, I didn't expect to turn this post into a major rant - oops. But really, I think everyone should listen to this TED talk and start breaking these silly taboos!

Oh, and I should probably mention that the talk is called: Let's talk parenting taboos by Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman.

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