Yesterday Tiya Cunningham-Sumter published a great post on Black and Married with Kids discussing a common plight for marriage after kids: statistically, a couples’ overall happiness plummets after having children, as does the health of our relationships.
Society puts a lot of pressure on raising kids, especially for women. We are told that focusing on any thing but your children is selfish. There is so much shame on not being a “good enough” parent, or in doing things wrong (although the guidelines on what is “right” changes every other day). In addition to the simple raw amount of time it takes to care for a child, and it’s easy to see why marriage after kids suffer. Continue reading ‘Struggling with marriage after kids? Treat your husband like a baby.’
Although divorce levels have been high and rising for decades, it certainly seems like a milestone that beloved children’s program Sesame Street has finally tackled the issue of divorce and children. In a series of videos available online, character Abby Cadabby discusses her “big feelings” about her parents’ separation and receives support from Gordon and other cast members. Two other segments interview real kids–an 11 and 10-year-old–who are children of divorce.
“We’ve always had a social component where we try to address issues in kids’ lives,” Susan Scheiner of Sesame Workshop told TODAY.com. Divorce is one of the most common major life transitions children experience, with 40% of children living in a divorced household. It is impossible to address the major experiences of growing up without covering it, whether to help children through their parents divorce, or help them develop empathy for their peers. Continue reading ‘Sesame Street debuts special program to help children of divorce’
It was a very long four months for both my husband and I. Which four months? The last month of my pregnancy and the first three of my sons life.
The last month of pregnancy was long because I was huge, cranky and not sleeping. The first three months of our baby’s life were harder because on top of the exhaustion and pain of recovering from a c-section, I, the expert, got blind-sided by a serious dose of postpatrum depression.
I share this to emphasize that prepartum and postpartum depression can sneak up on anyone. Physical discomfort, lack of sleep, and all those hormones certainly are contributing factors. So too are less tangible experiences of feeling out of control–out of control of your body, of your baby’s schedule (or lack thereof!), or of your ability to get your feet back under you in general. Continue reading ‘How I beat postpartum depression’
Here’s a sweet letter sent out from our head coach, Dr. Abigail Hirsch, about how her new baby inspired a strengthen marriage tip. Dr. Hirsch gave birth to her fourth child five months ago. At the end of August we’ll be featuring a post from her about her experiences with postpartum depression. Enjoy!
Hello Power of Two Member,
Today was a big day in our house. Our five month old baby just got big enough to sit in a high chair at the table with the
Our children can teach us skills to strengthen marriage.rest of us. This new perspective was transformative. All of a sudden his three big brothers noticed him. For pretty much the first time they started chatting away with the little guy. And, he in turn found their stories so funny he couldn’t stop chortling.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to tell Dad you love him. I’ve scourged the web for the best funny, touching and wise Fathers Day quotes. Enjoy, and have a great Fathers Day tomorrow!
1. “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’ ’We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’” ~ Harmon Killebrew
2. “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.” ~ Bill Cosby
3. “It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.” ~ Johann Schiller
4. “A father is a man who carries pictures where his money used to be.” ~ Anonymous fathers day quotes
5. “Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher’s mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.” ~ Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968
6. “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” ~ Clarence Budington Kelland
7. “A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.” ~ Unknown
8. “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” ~ Charles Wadsworth
9. “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ~ Mark Twain
10. “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher
11. “Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys.” ~ Anonymous fathers day quotes
12. “I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week.” ~ Mario Cuomo
13. “A father is someone that holds your hand at the fair makes sure you do what your mother says holds back your hair when you are sick brushes that hair when it is tangled because mother is too busy lets you eat ice cream for breakfast but only when mother is away he walks you down the aisle and tells you everythings gonna be OK.” ~ Anonymous fathers day quotes
14. “There are three stages of a man’s life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus.” ~ Anonymous fathers day quotes
15. “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” ~ Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum
Ok, so this fathers day video is only from 2010. I’m sure you’ve seen it before–at the same time, every time I watch I find it equally hilarious. This video by Church on the Move (who also made a great Mothers Day video) pokes fun at and celebrates dads in all their suburban glory: changing diapers, taking care of the house, and bringing home the bacon. And their rapping isn’t half bad….! Those rhymes definitely make it into my list of best parenting quotes.
My favorite part of the video is when dad #1 starts watching videos with this kids and cries during Aladdin. Watching children’s entertainment can be both mind numbing and eye-opening. I know many parents who quite openly enjoy movies aimed at kids. They can be funny, poignant, and clever without all the violence and darkness of adult movies–which, frankly, we all need a break from once and a while.
As this fathers day video shows, the dads in our lives deserve a big shout out for what they do for their families…and they totally have the bragging rights to rap about it. It also made me think: since being a dad takes up so much of a dad’s life, maybe this year we encourage our dads and husbands to pursue their own interests and take a break from the job. Give him the day to do what ever he wants…without the kids. This sounds like exactly the opposite of how fathers day should be celebrated–it’s all about the fact that this wonderful man has kids, right? It should be celebrated with the family! At the same time, he’s a father 365 days a year, so maybe today is the day he should get the day off!
Enjoy this fathers day video and have fun this weekend–whatever you end up doing!
While reading through some great parenting quotes for this post, I noticed that quotes from the 1800s through yesterday had two common themes. Despite so many changes in society, people throughout time seem to have found essential truths about raising children.
The first theme of parenting quotes deals with setting an example for your children. They learn more from what you don’t explicitly teach them. You are their reference for how the world is supposed to work. They learn this by watching and interacting with you, consciously and subconsciously absorbing your behavior and reactions.This is especially true for knowledge of relationships. While each of us has our own unique personality and genetic dispositions, much of how we learn to interact with others is determined by how our parents act. Are you patient or quick tempered? Do you tend to argue loudly or avoid confrontation? Do you consider divorce a normal outcome of marriage? Think back to how your family acted, what behaviors were valued and modeled, and which were ignored or admonished. Knowing where your idea of “normal” comes from can empower you to change negative patterns.
Of course, the notion that your children’s futures are being shaped by every move you make is terribly nerve wracking. We have to be perfect all the time! Actually, this leads to the second common theme in the parenting quotes: just do your best. No one knows how to be the perfect parent–there really is no such thing, anyway. For every theory on parenting there is a counter theory in vogue two years later. All you can do is your best–nothing more, nothing less. In fact, when you make mistakes, admit them to your children. Use the moment to engage and teach them. When the day comes that they point out your own errors and give you advice, you’ll know that you have taught them well.
20 awesome parenting quotes
We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than they listen to preaching – Roy L. Smith
My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it
- Clarence Budinton Kelland
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother, and the most important thing a mother can do for her children is to love their father – Anonymous, parenting quotes
There is no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes – Dr. Who
A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be – Lion
Your children need your presence more than your presents – Jesse Jackson
Stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him – Dr. Henker
To understand your parents’ love you must raise children yourself – Chinese Proverb
Creativity, flexibility, tolerance and love are natural states of mind and our purpose is to nurture them to full blossom – Ronit Baras
There is no such thing as a perfect parent so just be a real one. – Sue Atkins
It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place – Colette
Parents make mistakes too, don’t try to hide from them or cover them up. Admit them and teach your kids from the mistakes you make – K. Heath
Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot
Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. ~Robert Fulghum
Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn’t have anything to do with it. ~Haim Ginott
Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve. ~Roger Lewin
Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly. ~P.J. O’Rourke
No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. ~Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, 1986
You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back. ~William D. Tammeus
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. – Richard David Bach
May is mental health awareness month, and I’m excited announce a series of guest posts from marriage experts. Each week will feature a new guest post on a certain subject of mental health in marriage.
I’m kicking off the campaign by talking about the importance of talking about mental health–specifically when it comes to child rearing. I’m using a great TED talk lecture given by Babble.com co-founders Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman.
Americans are strong, independent, creative and adventurous. At the same time, we’re not very good when it comes to talking about our feelings, our challenges, and our struggles. Child rearing is one of those areas. As any parent knows, raising kids is hard. It takes its tole on our bodies and our minds. Yet when it comes to talking about our mental health challenges as parents, there are still taboos that hold us back. This lack of communication makes us doubt our ourselves…if it seems so easy for everyone else, why is it so hard for me? What’s wrong with me? Am I a bad parent? Am I a bad person? These doubts and anxieties whirl around inside us, growing on themselves and eating away at our self esteem and happiness.
It takes a lot of guts to get up and talk about your own difficulties with child rearing. Luckily, we’re seeing more and more of this as mental health taboos are broken and the “strong and silent” expectations of our culture shift towards one of sharing and mutual support. Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman are two brave pioneers. In December 2010, the couple gave a TED talk about the parenting-discussion taboos they’ve faced versus the realities of child rearing. They break the silence and tell us why it is so important to talk about these things with each other.
Taboo #1: You can’t say you didn’t fall in love with your baby the moment you saw him.
While this may be true for some parents, it should not be the expectation. Rufus points out he felt deep affection and awe for the little newborn in his arms, but not deep, enduring love like the love he felt for his wife at that moment. Love is what has grown over time and is the way he feels about his son now. The problem, Rufus says, is that we tend to think about love in binary: we are either in love or not in love. The truth is, love is a process; it grows and fluctuates constantly. This is as true for your spouse as for your children. You are not going to feel blissful, all-encompassing love at all times.
Taboo #2: You can’t talk about how lonely having a baby can be.
Alisa loved being pregnant. During this time, she notes, women are doted over with visits and wishes and love. Same for the moments in the hospital and right after the birth of the new baby. Then, all of a sudden, it’s just you and the infant. No one had mentioned that she would feel isolated and lonely. Why didn’t her sister–who had three children of her own–warn her? “I’ll never forget this–she said: ‘It’s just not something you want to say to a woman who’s having a baby for the first time.’” Postpartum depression and general loneliness is a huge and common burden for new moms. And it’s not “weakness”: it’s because what you are going through is hard! Knowing this can help mothers prepare and safeguard their mental health. After all, the baby is important, and so are you.
Taboo #3: You can’t talk about your miscarriage.
Having a miscarriage can be a devastating experience. During the talk, Alisa bravely shares the story of her miscarriage. Miscarriage is an invisible loss, she observes, there’s not much community support or closure that comes from any other kind of death. In addition to depression, she felt shame and embarrassment at “failing to do what she was genetically engineered to do,” and worried about the future of her marriage. After talking a bit with other women, she found that miscarriages were amazingly common in her community. Stories from friends and co-workers came out of the woodwork. In reality, miscarriage is not uncommon at all: 15-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Tragically, 74% of women believe that the miscarriage was “partly their fault.” This silent suffering and sense of shame prevents women from reaching out and receiving the mental health support they need.
Taboo #4: You can’t say your “average happiness” has declined since having a child.
Child rearing is amazing and magical and every bit of it is an utter joy. My children are my greatest joy. They are bundles of joy. Yet studies interviewing parents show that average happiness does indeed plummet with the birth of a child. Somehow, it’s not OK for us to admit that. Alisa and Rufus give a possible compromise explanation: before having children–in our late 20s–we settle into a nice, comfortable way of life with little that jars us our of our routine. At this point our average happiness is mellow and steady. After children, it runs up and down like a roller coaster. Yes, child rearing brings some of the most difficult and challenging times of your life–at moments, you will certainly be less happy that you were without children. And it’s OK to admit that! At the same time, parenting also rockets you into amazing moments of pure bliss and joy that you also wouldn’t have experienced without children. It’s just…different than pre-baby. It’s up and down and all over the place. It’s life.
As they conclude “Candor and brutal honesty is important for making us all better parents.” Sharing your difficulties as well as joys is key to airing out and addressing problems before they take a toll on your mental health (and marriage). This week, I challenge you to share a secret about your child rearing experience with a friend–something you feel you are alone in or slightly ashamed of as a parent. You might be surprised to hear that he/she feels the exact same way…
My mom’s favorite of mothers day quotes was, “Why one day? Every day should be mothers day.” I have to agree. It’s not until you’ve had your own children that you can really appreciate how amazing your mother is. And once you realize that…wow. Thanks, Mom. I should tell you that every. single. day.
While I love and appreciate all my mother has done for me so much, sometimes I don’t know how to communicate it with words. Maybe you’re just as stuck as me! To help with that, I’ve researched some wonderful sayings to use as Mothers Day quotes. Whether you just want to write them on a card, on a cake, or make up an awesome rap, I hope they can give you inspiration to tell you mother just how awesome she is.
“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he created mothers.” ~ Jewish proverb
“It was my mother who gave me my voice. She did this, I know now, by clearing a space where my words could fall, grow, then find their way to others.” ~ Paula Giddings
“She is my first, great love. She was a wonderful, rare woman – you do not know; as strong, and steadfast, and generous as the sun.” ~ D.H. Lawrence
“She could be as swift as a white whiplash, and as kind and gentle as warm rain, and as steadfast as the irreducible earth beneath us.” ~ D.H. Lawrence
“There never was a woman like her. She was gentle as a dove and brave as a lioness.” ~ Andrew Jackson
“It was my mother who taught us to stand up to our problems, not only in the world around us but in ourselves.” ~ Dorothy Pitman Hughes
“A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” ~ Dorothy Canfield Fisher
“There’s a lot more to being a woman than being a mother, but there’s a hell a lot more to being a mother than most people suspect” ~ Roseanne Barr
“An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.” ~ Spanish proverb
“Only mothers can think of the future–because they give birth to it in their children.” ~ Maxim Gorsky
“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” ~ Mark Twain
“You couldn’t fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine.” ~ Homer Simpson
“One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.” ~ Margaret Mead
Use this day to appreciate all the strong mamas in your life.
“To a child’s ear, “mother” is magic in any language.” ~ Arlene Benedict
“I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine – she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights.” ~ Terri Guillemets
“Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.” ~ Lisa Alther
“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” ~ Milton Berle
“A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” ~ Author Unknown, Mothers Day Quotes
“I cannot forget my mother. [S]he is my bridge. When I needed to get across, she steadied herself long enough for me to run across safely.” ~ Renita Weems
“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” ~ From the television show The Golden Girls
I hope you enjoyed these mothers day quotes. Which are your favorites? Help me add to the list!