Philly Mom Blog posts


June 21, 2010

When I Write About My Children

IMG_4167a I've been asked over the years, by non-bloggers mostly, if I ever worry about how much I write about my children on the internet. Or even why I do it at all. There are certainly people that would not take this road, and I understand that.

Five years ago I started my personal blog, in part, as a way to record some of the funny things my older son said and did. It quickly turned into a way for me to document the fun and not so fun parts of parenting him, a child that we were discovering had special needs.

My older son knows that I am a blogger, although I won't even pretend that at seven he really understands what that is. He knows that I write and people read what I write. He knows that some of my words are in a book. I tell him when I write about him, and I show him the pictures that I post of him. Right now he thinks that is "cool" and he even asks sometimes when I'm sitting down at my computer, if I'm writing about him again. If I tell him no, he wants to know why not.  Someday he may not think my writing about him is "cool." And if that time comes and he asks me to stop, I will. If he asks me to remove what I have written about him in the past from the public domain, I will seriously consider that as well.

I won't have secrets from either of my children. I don't like secrets. Secrets hurt people. While there are things I would never talk with my kids about now, when they are older and ready for it, and can understand, there will be no secrets. I have put considerable thought into it over the years, as to why I write about my personal life and my family, and what I might be risking. I assume that some day my children will read my blog. I hope I will be there with them when they do read it. I hope they will find no surprises.  I hope that our relationship is such that they will know they can question anything that I have written. I also hope that as I've documented the good and the bad of our journey, especially the difficulties of parenting my older son, that when reading it they will never doubt how much their dad and I have tried, and will continue to try, to do for them. Or how much we love them both! Because in spite of everything, or perhaps because of everything, I love both of them beyond what mere words can express. In some ways, the difficult times just help us appreciate the easier times more. 

I've often referred to my youngest son as my sunshine when talking with friends. He balances out our life so nicely. There are times when I think if it wasn't for him my husband and I really would fall off the deep end. But if my youngest is my sunshine, my eldest is most definitely my lightening. My power, my strength. Because of him I have learned things, become things, worked harder, than I ever thought possible. So someday, if they ever do read my words, they will know how much they gave me. And I hope they will see that while the journey was long, especially for my oldest son, as in his painting above, their Dad and I provided them the covered bridge to keep them safe along the way.

This is an original Philly Moms Blog post. Kristine also writes on her personal blog, Mommy Needs Therapy or a Bottle of Wine, where she chronicles the good, the bad, and the crazy of her life as a mother, wife and woman. You can also find her on Twitter as momneedstherapy


June 14, 2010

Is Inner Drive on your kids map to Success?

Trophy I've been mulling over the story of Abby Sunderland since first hearing she was lost at sea earlier this week. As a mother I am especially relieved to hear she has been rescued and is safe. As a mother I can also imagine the confusing combination of feelings her parents have experienced, not only the last few days, but for the past several months since Abby first set sail. I have no interest in judging the parents. I know that has been done, and will continue to be done. But as I've written before if you don't know the entire story, if you haven't walked that specific journey, perhaps you should withhold judgment. I don't know the entire story and I don't have teenage children. And, while I had a certain level of ambition when I myself was 16, heading off on my own on a journey around the world would never have crossed my mind.
So what is it that motivates a sixteen year old to attempt a solo journey around the world? I can speculate that in Abby's case it was a combination of a passion for sailing, a need for recognition, perhaps a need to best her brother, or maybe just the desire to be the best at what she loves. Abby clearly has an "inner drive" to accomplish something amazing. And that has had me thinking, what drives some children to do the amazing? Why do some children push themselves harder to achieve than others?
I myself was one of those children that early on set goals and wanted to "be the best." My drive was in academics and somewhat less so in music. I distinctly remember in eighth grade deciding that I was going to graduate from high school with a 4.0 grade point and give the valedictory speech at commencement. And I did. While I haven't reached every goal I have set since then, I have always set them for myself, often without even realizing that was what I was doing. Over the years I've come to understand that my inner drive is as much about personal satisfaction as it is my need for recognition. 

I was never pressured by my parents to succeed in any of my endeavors. If anything, they tried so hard not to push me that I worked even harder to be the best to try and gain their attention and make them proud of me. So while I have a fairly good understanding of my own drive to excel, why did I have that drive at all when other kids seemed quite content just enjoying their youth.
There is a seven year old in my son's karate class that already shows this "inner drive." He was born prematurely and still has coordination issues and problems with his fine motor skills. Yet every time I see him in class he is focused and powerful and pushing to do his best. You can see the determination on his face. This is a child that even at the young age of seven I know is going to accomplish great things.
So I wonder about "inner drive." Is it something you can teach a child? Personally, I don't think so. I think you can be a role model for them. You can encourage them to succeed. And you can teach them skills. But I think that "drive," that extra inner push to excel, to be the absolute best, is either there or it isn't. And while I hope my own children don't decide they want to sail around the world alone, I do hope they find something they are equally as passionate about and that within themselves they find their own "inner drive" to do their best at something they love. 

This is an original Philly Moms Blog post. Kristine also writes on her personal blog, Mommy Needs Therapy or a Bottle of Wine, where, when she isn't hoping her son will find the "inner drive" to wipe his own butt, she chronicles the good, the bad, and the crazy of her life as a mother, wife and woman. You can also find her on Twitter as momneedstherapy.