What’s normal?

Check out this confession post and all of the confession comments over at Mormon Mommy Wars. Sometimes in the mom-stepmom world, I think we get super careful about doing a good enough job because we know another woman is going to be seeing and hearing all kinds of intimate details about what we’re doing and that she’s not likely to be a very sympathetic observer. And sometimes, sometimes, I think it’s easy to look down on the other woman when she’s parenting in a way that’s … well … pretty normal, actually. I think the things people are confessing to in the comments to this post are just that: pretty normal. If kids are getting love, there’s such a range of things parents can do or not do and still have the kids turn out okay. That’s my theory anyway.

(And yes, I have a crush on Mormons. I lurk in their blogs. I read their books. I’m an atheist, but Mormon culture hits me where I live. And I’m linking to a “mommy confessions” post on a Mormon mommy blog because Mormons have some of the strongest family values I’ve ever heard of. These are folks who clearly love their families, they’re devoted parents and spouses, and they sacrifice a lot for their families. And they still struggle and compromise and maybe occasionally let a kid eat Cheetos for breakfast. That’s why I think this is such a good comment thread to read when trying to figure out what’s normal in parenting.)

(Originally posted on The DHX.)

The sick bell

The sick bell

When I was little and I got sick, my mom would tuck me into my bed or under blankets on the couch and give me a bell so I could ring for her when I needed her. My mom’s bell had a stained glass handle and lived on the bookcase when everyone was healthy. Mine is this brass apple (and it also lives on one of our bookshelves when we’re all healthy).

A bell is nice for sick people because they don’t have to yell from their beds, and it’s nice for me because I can hear it all through the house. I give it to Gavin and to the kids when they come down with something that keeps them home from work or school, and they half smile like they’re not going to use it because it’s funny to ring a bell for help. Believe me, they don’t abuse it. They always ring it a little shyly. I like coming to see what they need right away, because it’s a way of showing them that I love them. When I was little and miserably sick, it felt comforting and special to know that I could ring a bell for love and attention and Seven-up and Saltines and help rearranging my blankets. I like being able to do the same thing for Gavin and the kids.

Originally posted on The DHX.