I’m a self-proclaimed nerd. This should be nothing new to those of you who know me…I was always much more likely to sit inside than head out for recess. I always loved studying and genuinely enjoyed going to class. Although I’m glad to be done with school, my inner nerd comes out every once in awhile.

I was in a training session for work the other day and we took a learning styles assessment. I love personal assessments, because they teach me to think about my own style in new ways. I don’t think I learned anything groundbreaking from this particular assessment, but there was a section about learning styles and parenting that I thought was interesting. Also, for other nerds out there, you can read more about learning styles and experiential learning here.

We all learn and make sense of the world in different ways. There are four learning styles (learning by doing, learning by experiencing, learning by reflecting, and learning by thinking). You can probably think of your preferred learning style just from the descriptions. When we parent, we will most often teach in the style that we prefer. But are we being sensitive to how our children would like to learn? Or should we try to strengthen weaker styles with our kids? Here is a brief description of the styles for kids:

Learning Styles

After reading through the styles, do you have any inclinations about your kids? Of course, the best approach with your kids is using a blend of styles. Interesting stuff, huh? Told you I was a nerd.

Naomi sent me this article to post on our Facebook page which I will do… but first I have some things that I would like to say on this topic.  I wasn’t planning on writing a post today so this might be a little ranty.

Working Mom (WM) vs Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)

I work.  Darby goes to day care that is about a half-mile from my office and maybe 2 miles from my house.  Before I had Darby I was 100% certain that I wanted to work after she was born.

Mama and BabyMy maternity leave was three months long.  When Darby turned two-months old it hit me that I’d be going back to work and would not be with her all day.  The thought of sending her to daycare made me cry — just, like, out of the blue I would think about it and cry. (You know you did the same…) I think there is often the assumption that moms who work want someone else to care for their baby for part of the day.  They want to be free of the responsibility and burden of caring for their baby 24/7.  Or they need the money.  For me that was not the case.  I loved having that time with Darby during the day.  Like any mom, I needed a break and having my husband come home from work gave me that.  Working had nothing to do with whether or not I wanted to be with Darby.   I love my job, I work for a very family-friendly organization, but mostly I wanted time in my day to be me.  And FOR ME, working was the best way for me to do that.

***Emphasis on FOR ME***  

I think a lot about how being a WM impacts my family and our future.  My salary is decent and is more than the cost of daycare but that may not be the case once we have two kids.  Should I keep working?  Is it about the money?  Is it about how much I love my job?  What’s best for my kid(s)?

Here’s the big picture FOR ME: I want Darby to be proud of me.  In seventh grade when she has to write a paper on the person she most looks up to, I want it to be me and for good reason… not just because I’m her mom and because that is easier than researching Abraham Lincoln.  I want her to recognize that part of being a good mom to her meant being good to myself.  FOR ME, being good to myself means feeding my brain and challenging myself by working.  I want her to know that being a good wife doesn’t have to mean being Donna Reed, but it can mean being a breadwinner while also being the bread-maker.

I sit around and think about what I want for Darby and it all comes back to one thing: I want her to be herself.  How can I give her the tools to always be herself if I’m not giving myself the tools to do the same?  FOR ME being myself means working.

Then there’s the whole Dad issue… this isn’t only about working/stay-at-home MOMS anymore.  My husband has a higher earning potential than me so he most likely won’t ever be a SAHD.  But… he also has a higher earning potential than where he is now.  We — together — chose a certain lifestyle in favor of money at least for right now.  He could go earn the big bucks but it would mean long hours which would likely mean missing dinner time and bath time and play time… FOR US, this was the right choice.  It has never been and most likely will not ever be an easy choice.

I did say that money isn’t the reason that I work.  But if money were the issue, rather than sending my husband off to earn lots of money and lose time at home, I would continue to work to pay for daycare so that my husband didn’t have to miss out on family time.  No question.

Now… I’ve stayed pretty cool through this whole post.  (Hooray, Me!) But I need to lose my cool for one second.  Few things make me more angry than hearing one parent judge another parent for making a decision that they think is best for their kid(s).  To the judgey WMs and SAHMs (both are guilty): You. Have. No. Right. SHUT YOUR FACE.

Ok.  I’m cool.

FOR YOU the best thing for your family might mean being a SAHM.  Everyone is different.  I would never say that being a WM is better or being a SAHM is better.  I know what was best FOR ME. It is a personal choice and, you know what?  Babies in BOTH situations turn out just fine… and if your kid turns out to be crazy, most likely your being a WM or a SAHM had nothing to do with it.  It may have to do with how you spend the time you DO have with your kid(s).

How do you feel about your choice to be a WM or a SAHM?

Susie has a meltdown in the supermarket and ruins your planned outing for the day.

Johnnie wakes up during the night, throws up all over the bed and transforms your upcoming day at the office into a day at home cleaning up and coaxing ginger ale into his stomach.

You are tired, frustrated, annoyed, believing you are trapped in a world of small people whose only aim is to drive you up a wall.

At some point during all this, most every parent wishes or says, “Can’t they grow up faster?? Please!!”

A word to the wise, from the other side of parenthood:  DON’T EVER SAY THIS, BECAUSE YOU NEVER WANT IT TO COME TRUE!!

You see, having adult children is a bittersweet experience.  Oh, they are still your children. But only sort of.  You are no longer the epicenter of their life.  You are not the expert, the fixer, the adventure planner and generally the grand poohbah of the world as you once were.  You have morphed, through no wish of your own, into a bit player in a soap opera.

Soap opera?  Well, the drama certainly is occasionally there.   After all, the issue is no longer whom to call about a playdate.  The questions are more like: Whom will they marry?  Is this the one?  When will they have children?  Do they know enough to pull it off?  What about their careers?  Do they have enough money?  And so on…

And there you are, standing off to the side, an occasional walk-on in the grand play called your children’s lives.

Being a grandparent offers a possibly bigger part, as you have played the role of young parent before… and actually remember some of the scenes from that earlier play.  But the cast sometimes gets cranky about letting you have too much of a part to play this time.  So, back to waiting in the wings.

You love your adult children without question.  You worry about them, their place in the world, their ability to move ahead.  You are there to give comfort, encouragement, praise and whatever help they ask of you.  Instantly.  Without hesitation.  You are the parents.  That is your job.

But how do you retain the ties of love as you and your children now walk separately through life?

Our belief is the link is kept through the shared experience called memories that holds us together as families and that keeps the strong bonds of love alive.

As soon as the most favorite story comes rolling out around the Thanksgiving table and everyone has a laugh or smile about the old days when the kids were small, that is the moment.

Your kids are once again, for just an instant, small and you are once again young and important in that special way in their lives.  Just for the moment, they are drawn again to you and you to them, because of that time so long ago.

You retell the time the Halloween lipstick ruined your corduroy coat because the little witch became shy and wrapped herself in your legs…

Or the times Buster and his friends would sit with the Halloween candy, trading it between them and dreaming of treats to enjoy for days to come…

These memories and a million more….

So, you have a critical job as a parent!  You must create, retain, sharpen, hone and preserve the memories between you and your children.

You have to make the moment, see it as somehow special, that it is somehow representative of the time.

You then have to repeat it to your children, make them remember it, tell it often to your family, smile about it warmly as you all relive it.    Many times over…

The diapers will fade, the tantrums will give way…it all changes… but the memories stay.

And when time flees by, as it will, when your children are adults long on their own way, it is these shared memories you will have between you that will keep you close, that will keep the bonds strong and keep them always unbroken.

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