Monday, February 25, 2008

Cultural Independence

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 8:43 PM
We live in a very independent culture today that makes it more difficult for families to really join together in raising families. One issue is our mobility. We generally don’t live close to extended family and nor do we live close to the people we grew up with. Although there are plenty of exceptions, most people, either through geographical moves or emotional moves, we don’t live interdependently with each other. At least not after we have children. Singles, whom don’t need the same type of support as parents, tend to rely on each other more. When we had no major responsibilities or commitment to take care of a family most of us wouldn’t think twice about calling a friend for a ride or to help out with something. But when we start a family most of us adopt a philosophy of needing to do it all by ourselves. Countless articles in parenting magazines advise new moms to ask for help when they need it and accept help when it’s offered. Recently an expectant mom asked me what advice I’d give her, and those two things were on the top of my list.
Why do we find it so hard to ask for and accept help? Part of the answer is the “I can do all, be all, and have all” myth. The culture that grew out of a desire for women to have more lifestyle choices has ended up putting huge pressure on women and especially moms. We have a feeling of needing to be supermom. We were made to bear and raise children (I don’t care what you say, look at our bodies – even if you choose not to or are unable to have children, it is one thing that women are uniquely equipped to do) and naturally have strong instincts to care for our children. If we didn’t have this instinct, children wouldn’t survive. How we are to raise our children according to our culture, however, is where a lot of unnecessary pressure comes in. Women used to have babies, take care of them, strap them on their backs or hand them over to an older female family member and keep on living life, which was of course a lot simpler than it is now.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Cultural Independence

We live in a very independent culture today that makes it more difficult for families to really join together in raising families. One issue is our mobility. We generally don’t live close to extended family and nor do we live close to the people we grew up with. Although there are plenty of exceptions, most people, either through geographical moves or emotional moves, we don’t live interdependently with each other. At least not after we have children. Singles, whom don’t need the same type of support as parents, tend to rely on each other more. When we had no major responsibilities or commitment to take care of a family most of us wouldn’t think twice about calling a friend for a ride or to help out with something. But when we start a family most of us adopt a philosophy of needing to do it all by ourselves. Countless articles in parenting magazines advise new moms to ask for help when they need it and accept help when it’s offered. Recently an expectant mom asked me what advice I’d give her, and those two things were on the top of my list.
Why do we find it so hard to ask for and accept help? Part of the answer is the “I can do all, be all, and have all” myth. The culture that grew out of a desire for women to have more lifestyle choices has ended up putting huge pressure on women and especially moms. We have a feeling of needing to be supermom. We were made to bear and raise children (I don’t care what you say, look at our bodies – even if you choose not to or are unable to have children, it is one thing that women are uniquely equipped to do) and naturally have strong instincts to care for our children. If we didn’t have this instinct, children wouldn’t survive. How we are to raise our children according to our culture, however, is where a lot of unnecessary pressure comes in. Women used to have babies, take care of them, strap them on their backs or hand them over to an older female family member and keep on living life, which was of course a lot simpler than it is now.

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