Sunday, August 27, 2006

more on parenting...

Ever since attending Internet Librarian in October 2005, I've been trying to get a grip on the concept of Web 2.0 and social networking. As with most things, the best way to understand this phenomenon is to experience it firsthand. As a result, I've been putting myself out there a bit by creating this blog, a account, and posting pictures on flickr. I'd like to experience this more fully, but have been limited in the amount I've been able to participate by the increased demands I've experienced as a parent.

Paradoxically, one of the best discoveries I've made is the vast amount of networking happening between parents of young children. We are all dealing with this major life change, finding ourselves limited in ability or time to get out of our houses, but not yet willing to give up the social nature of our lives. In fact, we're all sort of desperate for the sympathy that we can only find from peers. I can't believe the sheer volume of parents out there in the social networking environment, trying to keep connected to someone-anyone- who shares our experiences.

While I consider this, I think back to a workshop I attended this past spring discussing libraries role in the 2.0 world. A librarian made an offhand comment about how this phenomenon really didn't serve the community, since it mostly served to connect people from disparate locals. Because of this, it really wasn't building a community in the traditional sense-- the community that pays library taxes. I beg to differ. I've been in contact with several other parents in my town of under 30,000, sharing our experiences as we watch our children grow.

What does that mean for the library? I'm not sure yet, but I wouldn't assume that all social networking our patrons engage in is happening beyond our library's borders. How does one stay at home parent find another in a world were moms no longer gather at the playground? How does one stay-at home-dad find another when all the media focus goes to stay-at-home moms? (I'll get into the rant about the proclaimed "death of feminism" implied in articles about stay-at-home moms another time.)

Anyway, some of my favorite places to observe other parents from afar, some of these local and some not:

Finally, if the way I celebrated my daughter's six-month birthday getting my husband to watch her, then running 5 miles, does that make me a bad parent? hee..hee...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Parenting Reference

As some of you know, I became a mom in February So far, my experiences have been all those cliched things people say about being a parent- both about how wonderful and how difficult the experience is.

One of the difficulties that I've been experiencing has had to do with my dependence on information science. I am a born researcher. I look up everything I can. I compulsively check Consumer Reports (now through EBSCO) before purchasing any new appliance. I often research the background for any historical fiction books I read. Once, when a married couple we are friends with got in a disagreement over what type of boat they'd need were looking at and what equipment they'd need to water ski, my husband turned to me and said, "We would never have had that fight. You would've looked up the information and seen what the best options were." No one can always be right, but I'm generally confident I've made the best decision I could've at the time, and that's good enough.

How does this have to do with parenting? Well, it turns out there is no definitive reference on the subject. Or rather, there are so much information about parenting, most of it conflicting, that there is no answer. And that is driving me crazy. So many questions run through my mind every day. Attachment parenting or Ferber? Would it be better to cosleep and create a warm, loving connection to sleep? Would it be better to teach her to use a pacifier so that she can sleep on her own or is it going to cause a problem with nursing? I try to read to find the answer, but it seems any route you take, you can find a book that will back up your particular view in any instance.

So why research parenting info at all? Well, I do occasionally find a nugget of truth. Plus, there's feeding that research addiction.

Well, time to look at reviews of camcorders...