Friday, April 18, 2008

Mama's Mojo

Cross posted by DotMom of Karma Calling
When I was pregnant, I poured over parenting books. How to put your babies in a feeding schedule, how to discipline them, how to encourage them to sleep on their own. Books that pigeon holed babies and children into neat categories and then gave advice on how to “deal” with them. Deal with them? Like they are some sort of a problem that got in our way? These books I felt, did not really acknowledge me as a parent who had feelings and instincts and did not acknowledge my child as one with a distinct and a unique personality. No, my child did not fall into Tracy Hogg’s six categories. And I thought the Ferber and the Brazelton method bordered on child abuse. What was missing in this advice? I asked myself. It was only later, many months later, I realized that the books had been written by nannies and pediatricians. Eminent, capable professionals. Not parents. That was the problem. You can be the world’s greatest nanny or the pediatrician, but you can’t remotely come close to becoming a parent. Parents are not only responsible for health and safety and education of their children, they are responsible in imparting values, a sense of moral code, ethics and a sense of spirituality. And I found the parenting books that I most identified with were on the ones written by parents. Like Dr.Sears and Marguerite Kelly. Who did not chastise you or brand you as a bad parent if your child did not sleep through out the night at six weeks of age. Who had been where I was right now, and they imparted parenting wisdom, not just advice.

Adding to this line of brilliant parenting wisdom is a book I read a few days ago. Mama Rock's Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising a Houseful of Successful Children. This is written by the star comedian Chris Rock’s mother, Rose Rock. She raised 10 children of her own and 17 foster children. She would know a thing or two about parenting now. Mama Rose, in a charmingly old-fashioned way, gives it to you as it is. She is not the kind who minces words. You know that kind, don’t you? And I like that. Too many too politically correct parenting books out there. Too many parenting books not quite in touch with reality. This one is refreshing. Written in an easy conversational style, Mama Rose narrates incidents from her children’s childhood and the lessons she learnt as a mother and the strategies that worked for her. She says she wanted to raise successful children. How does she define successful children? Those that turn into kind, responsible people. Not star basketball players or actors of surgeons. Everyday people that leave behind a trail of goodness. Although the book is aimed for parents of slightly older children than the almost-three year old Chip, I enjoyed it. It’s best to dig a well way before you are thirsty, no? The Rock family was not privileged. Money was tight, the family large. Living in a neighborhood where education was not quite a priority, teenage pregnancies and drugs a norm, all 10 of Mama Rose’s kid became successful. They stayed out of trouble, had successful careers and became good responsible adults. That says for something.

So all you moms out there, read the book, it’s an easy read. Peppered with tales and snippets of this mama’s wisdom you will be smile and marvel how this woman did it all. After all, we could all use a bit of her mojo.

1 comment:

Sheela said...

loved this post, dotmom! you reflected my sentiments on those "advice" books that drove me crazy with worry when Ana was little - wondering if i am doing something wrong and worrying that my baby is not "normal"... i mean, there is no such thing as "normal" when it comes to newborns, right?

i am adding this to my list of books-to-read - hopefully i can get to it once Baby Oggie stabilizes in a few months...