Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paternal and Maternal Love: Necessities

Back on Labor Day weekend, we and Chanel's sisters had a wonderful time visiting her father in Cincinnati. It's always a blast when we all get together and occasionally, as with this trip, there's a little gem that comes out of it.

Chanel and I have always handled the kids a little differently. She'd often find my eyes rolling from how she responds to the kids' falling down, getting bumped and bruised, etc. Conversely, with the exception of one time where I successfully used her strategies, I'd often get evil eyes shot at me from her when I'm more cold after one of the kids has something not go his way. I always struggled with justification against her adamant stance of redirection for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I saw it as largely ineffective in some circumstances.

Redirection is basically this: kid has something happen to him that he didn't expect and starts crying about it, you encourage behavior that is good. When his tower falls over, you get excited about a different toy to entice him over to play with it. When he's crying hysterically about...well...anything, you ask him questions or make a joke.

The gem from this family gathering is not that the two points of view we work from are competitive--at least not directly. We don't need to get into arguments--ahem, I mean, discussions over which way is better or which is a waste of time because each has a proper role in child rearing.

I've heard of plenty of studies done about the differences between boys and girls in school: they differ in the way they learn, play, socialize, pretty much everything. You still hear, too, differences between men and women. The Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus books changed society in ways only historians will be able to discuss with any level of seriousness. What is rare to hear is the differences between mothers and fathers, and therein was the gem: the difference between maternal and paternal love. Finally, words to overlay the ideas I had but was unable to express!

Essentially, as it was explained (and further researched with this article), maternal love is unconditional with images of a nurturing, caring warmth. Little Timmy doesn't make the sports team and his mom tells him, "It's ok. You did your best and I love you. You can try again next year...or not. Maybe you'll want to try something else. We'll see. You want to go for some ice cream?" He then goes to his dad and hears, "Too bad, son. Let's work on some of your skills for next season/year. We can practice together on the weekends. We'll get your [insert skill here] to where they'd be fools to not put you on the team." You could look at fathering as being cold, but more accurately it is just a different kind of caring; it's as different from mothering as boys from girls and men from women.

Is it a perfect system? Probably not. Neither of us uses our tactics exclusively, either, somewhat complicating the comparison. For the most part, though, Chanel follows the roll of the unconditionally-loving, redirecting mother and I toe the results-seeking, problem-solving father line. Having both, the kids will know that there are limits to acceptable behavior, rewards for hard work, and that we love them more than they'll know...until we have grandkids.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Never Fear, Grammy's Here!

Children tucked in bed, dishes put away, laundry folded, counters wiped down, cats fed, litter scooped, floors swept, toys put away, curtains drawn, plants watered, carpets vacuumed, jackets hung, pantry restocked, and lunches packed. Peace and calmness fill the air.

Ahhhh.....all is right in the world when Grammy visits. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In Conclusion...?

I heard this song on the radio coming home from work recently. I am so glad I didn't have to hear it during my own job search.

Chanel has been writing about our new life out here in Kentucky and it truly has taken the form of a renewal. Dare I say, we've walked through that valley of our life and emerged on the other side intact. It has been quite the learning experience.

Living here, away from what most of our friends accept as "civilization," has given us a chance to reflect on our previous life and see the northeast through a strange prism that must be hovering over the Appalachians somewhere. What were people saying about moving away? It all seems so trivial at this point.

"What's there to *do* there? I mean, besides cow tipping" All sorts of community activities, fairs, parks, playgrounds for the kids, bars and restaurants for the adults. Bingo is no more or less exciting to my mind than sitting at a slot machine or roulette wheel for hours, but if you'd prefer such entertainment, Metropolis has casinos about an hour away. Need a beach? Head to the lakes. Want to hike? Go to the land between them.

"You don't make the same amount of money when you live outside the urban areas." Right. Personally, I make more. The operators I work with make more than operators I've worked with in the past. People who don't work at my company typically have a house, a boat, and seemingly want for little. I look around and I see people living, as opposed to being trapped with a mortgage too large and a paycheck too small like back east.

It just seems to me that there are a lot of people hurting in this country and it seems like everyone is expecting a job to come back locally. It may not be the case, and if it does, being in a populated area means plenty of competition. As we put this chapter of our life behind us and start the next one, I look back on this blog and the posts over the last several months and hope that we have been helpful to other people in making for their family a similar decision with which they may have been pressed.