Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Know A Good Mom Who Spanks


I admit, I titled this blog that just to make you think.

Do you remember back when there were no perfect parents? Way back, you know, before Facebook and all the ensuing arguments about attachment parenting, circumcision, spanking, breastfeeding and the like with a bunch of people who we have never met or actually seen parent their children? (I guess there were perfect parents, they were just called in-laws back then. And we knew they were not perfect because we were married to their kids.)

I remember those days with fondness. Sometimes, on special occasions I still actually get the opportunity to see real women parent their real kids. Amazingly enough none of them seem to perfectly fit any parenting mold or style. They are just real mothers mothering their real and unique kids. In public- and well but imperfectly.

And in fact, I will admit that some of them circumcise, some of them bottle feed, some of them even (gasp!) give a little spank on occasion. And yet, they are all good mothers. (I am not talking about constant, threatening, bully moms who spank as their only way of parenting, but instead the occasional swat.) They also have good kids. Some of them have even raised good kids to adulthood- and they are fantastic adults!

Maybe you are thinking, "Well, just because their kids turned out well doesn't mean that they did anything right." There may be some truth to that, but I don't think it just applies to mothers who give the occasional swat, it applies to all of us, even those of us who hate circumcision and co-sleep. Anybody who has kids is blessed if they turn out well, whether they are attachment parenting or not. Children, like adults have free will, and how they turn out, no matter how we parent, is partly up to them.

Let's look at the other side of this. Even those who think they are doing everything right in the parenting department are still screwing up their kids! Yeah. I really think that. Because I genuinely believe we all make mistakes with our kids. The vast majority of which are ACCIDENTAL. We all screw our kids up. (Just an aside, I am talking about regular, everyday hardworking moms who try. Hot sauce mom and other freak shows who end up on talk shows don't apply.)

Maybe I only believe this because I am so very sure that I am making so many mistakes. I hope and pray on a regular basis that I will not screw up my children beyond belief and that they will be able to become awesome adults despite me. I hope that they use some of their free will to be great even though their mother was imperfect. I don't happen to be a fan of spanking, but I can still see that it doesn't necessarily a bad mother make nor does it make me a good mother just because I don't spank.

Maybe we spend too little time with each other these days as mothers in person. We forget that most other moms are trying too even if they do things we disagree with. We are also forgetting that we are doing things wrong too. What we have in common with those other mamas is that we too are blind to our imperfections as parents.

But back to spanking. Does the occasional swat actually make a mom a bad mom? Does it truly ruin her kids? Is it a mistake? I don't know the answers to all of those questions, except for the first one. I don't think that alone makes a woman a bad mother. I say that because in real life I know real women who do that and they have fantastic kids. And they are not just kids that are obedient out of fear. They are kids who love their mother and trust her and they are not afraid of her. AND she loves them and she doesn't abuse them. You can see it in their eyes how wonderful their relationship is.

Good moms sometimes spank. Bad moms sometimes co-sleep. Some good moms are bad moms on occasion. And the world keeps spinning round and round. The ironic part for me- The best moms probably spend less time arguing on Facebook, and more time actually being a mom.

27 comments:

The Atlas of Life Chiropractic said...

I love this!!!!!

Madeline said...

Love it, love it, love it! Thank you!!

Hannah Joy said...

LOVE it! Thanks.

madasaspoon said...

Mostly true, but I hate how RIC is lumped in there. Genital reduction surgery is not in the same league as the occasional spank, or raised voice, one too many sweets or too much telly time.... It's not another parenting choice, because it should never be the parent's choice in the first place. You don't get to CHOOSE to cut a finger or a toe or a nipple or an eyelid off your kids. If it's not diseased, you don't get to choose whether your kid keeps it or not. It just stays on, end of subject. It's pretty black and white. In fact, sub ANY body part and it's still true. Trouble is, people ignore this simple fact when it comes to the penis. And even "Peaceful" parents, even pro-intact parents, even "attachment" parents.... If they are American, they STILL see it as a "choice" that the parent can make and say "Oh well, they think differently to me, I don't want to rock the boat, or be judgemental or harsh....." And so the cutting continues.....

Ashley said...

Thanks for the encouraging words!

FX said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa said...

Very well said. I think the majority of us are doing our best, the best way we know how. =]

Melissa
http://www.08melissab.blogspot.com

Amber A said...

This is great! We are all doing what we think is right for our kids, and what does work. If it doesn't work we try something else. As a mom of 7 my parenting style has changed over the years and with each individual child. While I did spank a lot more with my first child, who by the way is a great 13yr old boy now, I have found I do spank less now. The occasional swat is about it. But when I get together with other parents, even my own husband, we do things differently, not wrong, just different. It comes with being different ourselves, being raised in different households, by people who where (gasp) different themselves. We pick up things from each other and through trial and err we raise kids to be good adults, we hope. In the end when my kids, all of them, climb into our bed and we laugh and tickle or just snuggle that is what matters.

Andrea Davis - Cloth Diaper Consultant said...

You are wonderful for posting this. The heart of most of the mom's I've met in life is to love and do what (they believe) is best for their babies. We should love, support and respect each other regardless of our different choices.

You blessed me today Mama Birth, thank you....none of us are perfect, but we sure do all share the same hearts towards our babies.

Andrea Davis - Cloth Diaper Consultant said...

You blessed me today Mama Birth, thank you.

I've learned in life one very important thing being a mom...that is we may not all make the same parenting choices, but our hearts are all the same. We ALL want to do what we believe is best for our babies. We all love our babies. And we ALL need encouragement and support from our mama friends...because mothering is not easy! I pray that this softens hearts....and grows us in our relationships. <3

sharalyns said...

Amen! I've always said that we always screw up our kids. It's just to what level of therapy they'll need later...

Andrea Davis - Cloth Diaper Consultant said...

OOPS! Thought my post got lost...well, now you get to read my thoughts twice! ha!! Sorry!

chewymama said...

Great post, thank you! It is good to step back from the things we believe so passionately and realize none of us are perfect and there are good and bad moms on all sides of all issues. Its hard to see this sometimes as a new mom but once you've made a ton of mistakes and done a ton of things you though you never would, you gain a lot more grace for other moms. A wise friend who has raised godly, sweet children once told me, "You will be part of why your children need a savior". Shocking and hard but so true. Even the best parents are part of the reasons we do things differently with our own kids and why we all need help and need eachother. Great, great post!

Gombojav Tribe said...

Love this, especially that last paragraph!

thoughtfulbirth said...

Thank you for this post. I would go one step further and say that our children don't need anything near perfection to avoid being "screwed up." They just need to know consistently that we care, and see that we are trying to help, encourage, and protect them.
I would also rather a spanking done with love and logic than "non-violent" methods done unkindly or arbitrarily, which makes them more psychologically violent in the long run than a simple, honest swat.

Viatrix said...

Just a typo/spelling FYI, "weather" should read "whether." :)

Also, madasaspoon's comment is fantastic. While I agree with the blog post in principle and in general, as madasaspoon comments, physical mutilation is not another parenting choice as with most cases.

Mama Birth said...

changed the spelling- thanks V-And ladies- we all have our hot button issue for which there is "no excuse" - Doesn't mean we should ream people at playgroup because they did that thing. OR does it? Not in my world. IT is just easier to ream people who we don't know online- is it not?

Karen Joy said...

I loved this, and -- me, too! -- especially the last paragraph.

AND, I appreciate your comment above, Mamabirth. There are some hills on which I fight, and I will not back down. YET... I'm careful with my speech and how and when and with whom it's appropriate to voice my "hot button issues" because I just don't think that my friend having an epidural (or whatever) is worth losing that friendship over. The woman who has made poor decisions (in my opinion) is still a woman in need of love and friendship, and if we "click", I'm not going to quiz her on her parenting style or some other thing that may be really important to me.

By the way, I have five gloriously fabulous children, and I work hard to foster a caring, intentionally kind environment around them... I want our home to be a place of peace and blessing for everyone, especially its residents. And I, too, occasionally spank. :)

Macha said...

Great post! Yes, I know a mother who co-sleeps, breastfed for almost 2 years, and did a lot of gentle parenting with her youngest child. But, she's still also physically and emotionally abusive to all her children, especially the older ones, because of her own severe emotional instability and mental health issues. Just because you do some good things doesn't make you a good parent, and just because you do some unrecommended things doesn't make you a bad parent either.

Kelly Lancaster said...

I think we all need to be kinder on ourselves and others about our parenting because it takes more than one imperfect person to raise well-rounded children. I think we need to invite other imperfect people in to be part of raising our children.

On the swatting thing, I've always been confused how women can both hold a strong stance on family violence between adults and still justify swatting their children. If your best friend said "On the whole my boyfriend is good to me and looks after me so well, but when he sees me misbehaving he sometimes gives me a little wack", you wouldn't be OK with that, right? Maybe I'm too black and white on this one, but I don't understand the difference.

And I am doing better at holding my tongue when I hear and see parents doing things I wouldn't do, and that makes me feel more like a grown up all the time. Phew!

Mandy said...

My motto in parenting (and life, because I don't separate the two) is "Now that I know better, I do better!" If I can keep my eye on that prize, then being imperfect doesn't have to mean a guilt-fest or looking on stages of their childhood with regret. As for "lumping" circumcision into it, I have one that is and one that isn't. No regrets, because that's futile, but - as I said - once I knew better, I tried to do better. I trust that what my boys will take from that in love, will make them compassionate men who look on others' failing with humanity!

Amber A said...

I wish blogs had "like" buttons like FB! there are so many things I would like to "like" ha ha

Mama Black Bear said...

Thank you for this! I am sure I will get nasty comments for what I am about to say but I am going to say it anyway...I am a mom who truly believe we need to put some kind of corporal punishment/discipline back in schools, suspensions and expostulations are not working, I don't think raising a kid should be left to just the child's parents, as I truly believe in the phrase it takes a community to raise a child! I believe these things because of life experience and my own observations of nature, every other community in nature raises their children as a unit from my observations, and not just the Parent/s, everyone contributes. I also believe in spanking as a viable punishment due to my observations of nature, in my observations I have learned that other animals do indeed use physical discipline to teach their children and also to let other adults know when they are misbehaving or are out of place. Yes animals also use love and attachment parenting to teach their children I have seen that too but its a balance of both they use. Again thank you for the article.

A spanking mother who doesn't fit anywhere

Holly said...

I am happy to see people have strong opinions and respect others' opinions too. I agree that parenting is hard and there are no perfect parents either. I liked the previous comment, and even though most experts discourage spanking, a mother may choose to use this form of discipline and still be an excellent mother. Sometimes getting too heated about your personal "hot button" drives people away and diminishes your ability to learn through your relationships with others. There does need to be tolerance among the entire group of women who are doing their best to raise their children.

Motherhood rocks.

Michelle said...

I appreciate mama bear's comment above. I always look to other species to try and get an idea of how we might also have done things before we had so much "knowledge". I think there is something to that.

I've also heard someone explain to me that we wouldn't have so many suicides if kids felt allowed to fight back when bullied. Back in the day when someone was bullied for being "gay" or for any reason, eventually the bully would have received a pop in the nose and the issue would have probably resolved itself. I think it's a valid point worth considering.

lifescholar said...

I don't think that spanking makes you a bad mom, but I couldn't be friends with someone who intentionally was using spanking as a "discipline tool" and wasn't looking for alternatives. Our values would just be SO fundamentally different that I can't see it working.

I have friends who have circ'd, bottle fed, done CIO, etc., but spanking is just too big of an issue for me. Sorry.

Angela said...

I will never spank my children or co-sleep. There may be some benefits, but the risks are too great. Spanking makes the child obey out of fear and doesn't instill in them an understanding of the real reason they should do something, among a host of other problems studies report all the time. I know somebody will say "I was spanked and I turned out fine." I can say that too, but I also know that it was harder and I probably would have been less rebellious and shy if I had been taught why I should act a certain way and helped when I messed up instead of punished. Co-sleeping is dangerous, so if you do it, do it with those attached sleeper things.

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