Friday, April 18, 2008

Mama's Mojo

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 methods bordered on child abuse.

What was missing from 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 or 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.

Cross posted on DMZ


Tharini said...

sounds good Dottie. Will check it out.

dipali said...

Sounds terrific:)

Mystic Margarita said...

Will definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing, Dottie.

Sapna Anu B.George said...

Dear Dottie,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,i have barged into you blog with out an invite,as i have been doing so like chain action from one to another ,like jumping jac.Great writing and great to see you here.

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

I will check it out!

Mira's mom said...

Sounds good Dotmom. I infact have just read two books till now - both from the "What to expect?" series. Loved them to the core! Just bought the toddler one yesterday - hoping that too would be nice and helpful!

Sue said...

Sounds interesting.

You know, I only ever read Spock and mostly I find him so comfortingly practical. "This should happen, but if it doesn't? Don't worry, he'll get there sooner or later. He's not planning to stay in diapers/be spoon-fed/wake up nights all his life." It helps that Spock speaks of his own experience, both as a parent and a child.

I wonder if I'll ever get my hands on this book of yours, though. Will read if I do.

Poppins said...

Sounds very good, I don't know if I will lay my hands on it here, but shall try.

I like Sears as well for the same reasons. Spock's not bad either, although nothing ever works for me from Spock.

B o o said...

Poppins - Pray tell me which book works! I have stopped reading parenting books after the first year. Nothing works after that. Period. ;)

Orchid said...

Alright, I need mojo, a book and maybe a few blessings and then some to raise an extremely (these days) difficult 5 yr said older than 3 yr old...lemme go get it dotmom and thanks!

Something to Say said...

Hubby always rolls his eyes when he sees me with a child rearing book - only Dr.Spock is tolerated (and that too coz his mom read it and reared him - hmmmpfff) and I love Chris Rock - will defi give this one a try....
BTW was reading an older post and my sonny is going thru something similar to what you described happening with chip - clingy, demanding only mom, pushing dad away..... has chip gotten over it yet? Any tips?

DotMom said...

tharini: it's a good read

dipali: I think you should write a book (or atleast a series of parenting stories on your blog.. will help us new mamas a lot :)

mystic: enjoy :)

sapna: welcome. and you don't need an invite :) its free for all! thanks for the kind comments.

gnd: you can borrow mine!

mira's mom: for some reason i didn't wuite like the what to expect book.

sue: i have never read spock.. think its too late to read him now? I'll bring you my copy and ship it to you when I visit India.

poppins: never read spock. love sears.

boo: hahahaha.

orchid: its not so much advice as it is wisdom!

sts: chip is a lil better but still prefers mommy :(

Sue said...

Thanks Dot, I'll take you up on that offer.

You should definitely check Spock out. Whether you follow his tips or not, it's worthwhile reading.

K 3 said...

Requested the book at the library! Hopefully having it around for a month should make me read some bits at least! ;)