25 April 2014

Uncensored Mama

I will not censor myself in the name of motherhood.

For me, motherhood was the addition of newer levels of love, responsibility, knowledge, confusion, hope and fear. It added a new perspective to my past experiences and future goals. It added a life other than my own that I was required to care for with as much attention (if not more) than I gave myself. So many things were added to my life.

But I don't want to remove parts of me. I don't want to censor who I am in the name of motherhood. I don't want to force myself into a Rashida that doesn't fit so that I eventually regret being slowly smothered.

Like cursing! Ugh! I curse a lot, I really do. As a kid I spent a lot of time around adults, either the adult family and friends of my parents or their adult co-workers and colleagues, many of whom were politicians and celebrities. I heard A LOT of cursing! I heard a great deal of refined, articulate, proper English but I heard just as much foul-mouthed CUSSING!

Because of this I learned an understanding of it. Who uses it, who doesn't, when people use it and when they try not to. I heard my dad converse using his extensive vocabulary minus any curse words and get his point across and I heard him put drunken sailors to shame and get his point across. I learned that all words have power and value and should be used accordingly.

So I don't teach my son that there are 'bad' words just 'inappropriate' words. There are words that he isn't allowed to use just yet until he has a better understanding of how to use them appropriately because using them in the wrong time and place could hurt someone's feelings or make someone angry. He's a very sensitive kid and hates to see someone upset  or angry so that's important to him.

"The Very Inappropriate Word" by Jim Tobin
But teaching him this understanding of language makes it easier for me to include words that we often hate to hear kids say but never take the time to explain to them why they shouldn't. For example, my son knows I get more upset hearing him say someone is stupid that hearing him say 'shit'. 'Stupid' is a personal insult, it's an attempt to cause emotional injury and it's mean, I'm not raising a mean kid. But when he says 'shit' he says it like I say it, as a show of emotion, usually out of frustration and directed inwardly. To him it's just an interjection like Yikes! or Rats! I'll drop a book and say 'Shit!' or realize we're running late and say 'Oh shit!' I don't use it in a hurtful way so neither does he. Intention is just as important as language, as far as I'm concerned and having a firm and unabashed perspective of language makes that clear.

But more importantly he learns through my example. This is the beauty and terror of being a homeschooling family, he spends the majority of his day with us, me in particular since Mar works out of the home. So he learns by what he sees me do. Oh the POWER! It's terrifying!! Until I actually paid attention and realized my kid doesn't curse! He occasionally says curse words which his father and I completely ignore, then he doesn't say it again. We don't scold him, we don't laugh, we don't give anymore attention to Fuck! than Oh bother! (He's a Pooh fan.) He has no 'shock value' associated with these words but he has an understanding of which one's are inappropriate and why. He sees me around him and other kids all day every day and I don't curse. Not at all. I especially don't use words like 'dumb' or 'stupid' or 'shut up', which to me are so much more harmful to the actual emotional growth and health of a child than 'shit' could ever be. And guess what, my son has never cursed around other kids or called another kid 'dumb' or 'stupid' or told a kid to 'shut up' and in fact gets uncomfortable seeing other's do so. He says, "They don't know those words hurt your feelings?"

But when his dad and I talk or when other grown ups come around the language changes. We allow him the same freedom (while explaining to the adults our causal policy) and he has learned to easily adapt. He might ask his favorite auntie "Why did you say 'Damn? but if he hears someone curse in public he quietly whispers the question in my ear.

So instead of censoring myself I am forced to learn because I have to teach. I have to be able to explain my actions in the most basic terms. I have to pay attention to my actions. I don't see that as censorship but self love and self growth. I'm not doing anything different, I'm just more aware of what I'm doing. I think this applies to every part of my parenting, I don't censor just act in a conscious fashion. How I eat, how I work, how I behave in front of my child. This way I'm true to my authentic self so my child learns to be true to himself. That's more important than a little shit, dontcha think?

25 March 2014

Imperfect Thoughts - Pencilling Myself In

I keep making plans with myself; plans to exercise daily, plans to write daily, plans to paint my finger and toe nails, plans to sit on the patio and watch the sunrise while sipping coffee and listening to my favorite songs, plans to become a morning person in general.

I suck at keeping all of these plans.

Isn't the first step admitting the problem? I have a big problem with personal accountability. In an office or other work environment I'm great, I will have your office running like water off a duck's back. I will beat your deadlines and you will be thrilled with my results. I'm great at doing this for other people but I have never been able to do this for myself. Not well enough to progress at certain things the way I know I'm capable of. Not nearly as well as I do it for others.


I'm thinking about this a lot right now as I contemplate the true value of returning to school to finish my degree. To what end. What will it contribute or take away from my life? What--? Just what!

I was taught to follow rules, get a degree, get a good job to move forward and all that jazz but I don't want a job, I want to create my own life and prosper and teach my son to do that. I want what my dad did by building his empire. I don't want an empire but I have a voice and I want to use it. I want to write my story in the way that suits me. I have a story and a life that has so much purpose and I see it and I want to share that and I know it's my bliss so it will be how I prosper with my family, in whatever shape that takes for us.

I want to teach Kendi the lesson of building his own life and creating his own dreams and fulfilling them and my degree would have been that for me 10 years ago but now I would rather put that sort of hard work and dedication into the dream that I've had since childhood.

So I will. That's it. That's my motivation. No more tentative plans with myself because I'm the most permanent thing in my life. I need to be my most important obligation. Shit. Ok, let me do this.

24 March 2014

One Day After Science Class...

(Super long proud mama post, bear with me.) 

So this weekend, after the science workshop, Ian (the instructor) came over to have a conversation with Kendi.

Ian: Kendi I want you to know that I'm very proud of you! You're the youngest kid in the class and you keep up every week. And you have an excellent vocabulary (the boys in our group kept comparing things to poop and Kendi asked if they could stop talking about 'defecation') and reading skills (he read the background information for the project out loud to the class). Plus I love your hair this week! (Cornrows.)

Kendi: THANKS! 

Ian: Since you're a motivated scientist, I have a homework assignment for you. Ready?

Kendi: OK!

Ian: I want you to find out who Roy G. Biv is.

Kendi: (very slowly) Roy? G? Biv?

Ian: Exactly! Do you need me to spell it?

Kendi: (still slowly) Not yet. (He stares out the window frowning.)

Another kid was there waiting for his mom and asked "Is he a super scientist?"

Ian: No but it does relate to next week's science project. Kendi do you know how to look it up?

Kendi: I can Google it. I'll check but it sounds like the colors of the rainbow.

Ian: (silent, then holds up his hand for a high five) My man!

Other kid: There's no roygeebiv color!

Kendi: It's the initials! Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet!!

Ian: You are one smart little brother!

Kendi: And I did my homework before I even left class!

I'm just amazed that he even knew that since I know I didn't teach it to him. I asked him later and he shrugged and said he read it or saw it on a video.

Then later, when I asked the kiddo to tell Mar what awesome things the teacher said about him, me still rejoicing in our great #homeschool review AND excellent praise from his instructor. 

He happily turned to his father and with a proud grin said "He said he liked my hair!!"

How's that for #perspective!!

Urban Hippie Love - Staying In Touch

Hi there!

I've been filtering and sorting through the messages I've gotten over the past year or so and I've realized I get a lot of parenting, relationship and homeschooling questions. Way too many of these messages have gone unanswered either directly or through some sort of post so I'm tackling that task now.

One question I get asked a lot in various ways is if my husband, son and I are as 'touchy feely' in person as we appear to be in public and on the web. I guess we are big on the PDA's, huh? (I love you, babe!!) Well I pulled our family blog Urban Hippie Love out of retirement and posted my answer there! Click on over and check it out...

Keep the questions coming and I promise to be better about keeping the answers coming! :)

25 February 2014

Imperfect Thoughts

Today I'm giving myself permission to share my imperfect thoughts. My random, passing thoughts that I, way too often, allow to sit in the editing booth of my brain so long that the whole thought ends up on the cutting room floor before the thought ever has a chance to see the light of day. 

These thoughts could manifest into blog posts or advice or recipes or lesson plans or any number of things but my fear of sharing thoughts or ideas that haven't been fully researched, thought out, talked through (usually with my husband) and then properly edited on the big, bad, scary, permanent internet is stifling my ability to share.

But if I can acknowledge that even that first imperfect thought, that idea or question or motivation, is also part of the process of learning and evolving and being vulnerable and changing and being open to receiving new information then I can allow myself to share these imperfect thoughts just as they are, and whatever develops from them. 

^^Starting right there!^^ ;-)