The Mama Syllabus

Building on the post earlier this month where I both wrote about the importance of building a motherhood syllabus that works for you, as well expounded the virtues of Facebook and Pinterest as link-savers, here are some articles, sites, and posts that have helped shape the way I think about my parenting practice. Read one; read all; read none!


Can Attachment Theory Explain All Our Relationships?
New York magazine

This one was a real doozy. The author delves into the mechanisms of attachment formation, discussing Sears, the Strange Situation tests, reading your child’s cues, and a host of other scientific relational research. This article helped me feel waaaaay more relaxed about my attachment with NS, especially as I had envisioned myself being a really awesome attachment-style parent and then got stymied by the fact that I hated co-sleeping and NS hated being worn. I was worried that I fucked it up, but this reassured me that babies want to be attached, that the goal isn’t perfection but connection, and that being able to tell the difference between “hold me tight” and “put me down” is a valuable skill.


In the Absence of the Village, Mothers Struggle Most
Revolution from Home blog

This really resonated with me. In the earliest days of parenting, I felt so freaked out and alone. I yearned for friends who knew what I was experiencing, but I was also too tired to cultivate new friendships. I wanted my parents, but I wanted to show that I was independent, too. I was checking social media constantly, but I didn’t want to put up the energy to see people face-to-face. While I had strong and solid lifelines, I didn’t have a net: a comprehensive and seamless network that could offer an off-hand hand. So much had to be arranged and invited and traveled to and discussed, and I felt burned out. This article helped me contextualize and validate those feelings.


Global Parenting Habits That Haven’t Caught On In The U.S.
NPR Blog

Just for fun! But I loved reading about the Scandinavian babies who are left outside to nap while their parents huddle in coffee shops. Living in Canada is often just an exercise in dressing and undressing for the weather, and anyone who has attempted to wrangle a baby into a snowsuit onesie would view leaving them (warm and well-dressed) outside as the reasonable alternative to bringing them into a geothermally heated cafe. Be reasonable. Be like Norway.


Decolonizing Babywearing
Tumblr

I like wearing NS, and after a while, he started to like being worn. But babywearing is a notoriously Columbused activity, and I fully support and admire these women of colour as they challenge the modern babywearing culture: why are wraps that might be financially accessible in poor countries rejected in favour of wildly expensive wraps? Why are wraps made by European companies seen as preferable or more desirable than wraps made in Global South countries? Why are traditional carriers or babywearing clothes renamed? Why are babywearing groups routinely made up solely of white parents? And so on, and so on, down the rabbit hole, into discussions about class and race and money and parenting.


Everybody in dresses: Why does gender neutral clothing always mean ‘boy’ clothes for girls?
National Post

Before NS was born, I thought a lot about how we might dress him. M and I both love our limited palettes: open either of our closets and you will be overwhelmed by colour choices ranging from black to gray. When shopping for the baby, I leaned heavily towards white and gray, black and red, navy and orange, but the dirty secret about kids’ clothing is that even when it’s not “for boys” or “for girls,” it actually totally is. And the default no-gender clothes usually echo design elements we associate with male clothing: a lack of frills, a neutral or muted colour scheme, a distinct lack of texture. There is nary a fuzzy purple jacket or a lime-green boot to be seen in the boy’s section, even if there’s nothing inherently girlish about those things. This article is a reminder that we can, and should, value femininity and things associated with femmes and girls: sparkles, sequins, bright colours, prints and patterns, fancy fabrics, and so much more.

 

These are just some of the things I’ve read that have started my synapses firing. I’ll post updates and more interesting links as I find them!

About the Author

Kaitlyn Kochany
Author with 77 posts
More about Kaitlyn Kochany

Kaitlyn Kochany is a Toronto-area freelance writer and editor. She had her son, NS, in January 2016, and has been trying to sleep and write since then.

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