Our car was in the shop last week so I walked to the library story time near our house. On our walk, I did some reflecting, and wanted to share these four (random) thoughts.
1. The library is awesome
On a day we otherwise would have been stuck at home, we were able to walk to the library for a great storytime with other babies. I love that these story times offer a free opportunity for James to interact with other babies. I don’t really want to pay for a baby gym class or anything at this point, but I do think it’s beneficial for him to practice interacting with other little ones.
Plus, on the walk there, I was listening to a free audiobook from the library website (Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, I liked it). Did you know that this was a thing? I just recently realized they offered free audiobook downloads and I think it’s kind of amazing!
2. Gender biases start young
A little boy brought over a ball to someone else’s mom and she said “Thank you. Boys love balls” Why??? I’m not trying to judge her because I’ve said about a million things that I later think I shouldn’t have. I do think it’s interesting though. Sure little boys love balls…and so do little girls. Why put these stereotypes on one year old children?
It just made me realize how soon this stuff starts and I know it will only get worse when he’s out of the house and away from us more as he grows. Do you have any tips for combating this at home?
3. I need to start filtering
On the walk home, I was waiting, along with two other pedestrians, for the crosswalk to turn. Right after the walk sign came on and we started going, this guy pulled up right across the crosswalk, looking the other way to see if there were any cars, and never even saw us, even though he almost hit us. I called him an idiot (he couldn’t hear me).
I realized that I really need to start filtering what I say more. I don’t use terrible language, but I definitely curse when I stub my toe or something. For some reason, I never once had a problem with this when I was teaching, but I think it’s because I’m obviously more myself and unfiltered at home than at work. I’m not sure how to go about doing this, but I know at some point James’s vocabulary is going to explode and I’d rather it didn’t explode with f-bombs….
4. It’s hard to balance your own beliefs with others’ expectations
This was definitely the biggest one and something I thought about most of the way home. I believe pretty strongly that adults should interfere as little as possible in children’s conflicts (I wrote about Montessori conflict resolution here if you’re interested).
However, I realized this is going to be hard for me when I’m around other non-Montessori parents. I don’t want them to think I don’t see James doing something or that I don’t care. I also don’t want to lecture these almost strangers about my parenting philosophy.
So my solution was to interfere when James did something (took a toy from someone) and not interfere when someone did something to him (more stealing of toys). This was obviously a poor solution and I felt pretty terrible about it, though he didn’t seem to care.
I don’t know the answer though. I’m going to ask my friend Natalie when I see her because she always has the answers!
Do you ever have trouble maintaining your parenting philosophy in groups with other parents?