Wednesday, May 23, 2012

i've decided to be french.

okay, okay. i know i'm doing it again. but i'm just so enchanted by french culture as presented in the book i'm reading... bringing up bebe.

here are some thoughts that are calling to me, "megan, megan. you're secretly french. a little."

"We Americans assign ourselves the job of pushing, stimulating, and carrying our kids from one developmental stage to next. The better we are parenting, we think, the faster our kids will develop. French parents just don't seem so anxious for their kids to get head starts. They don't push them to read, swim, or do math ahead of schedule. They aren't trying to prod them into becoming prodigies. I don't get the feeling that we're all in a race for some unnamed prize. In France the point of enrolling a child in a Saturday-morning music class isn't to activate some neural network. It's to have fun. French parents believe in 'awakening' and 'discovery.'"
"I'm struck by the nearly universal assumption [in France] that even good mothers aren't at the constant service of their children, and that there's no reason to feel bad about that. 'For the American woman, the role of mom is very segmented, very absolute. When they wear the mom 'hat' they wear the mom clothes. When they're sexy, they're totally sexy. And the kids can see only the mom part.' In France the "mom" and "woman" roles ideally are fused. At any given time, you can see both."

(this is megan speaking. for the record I have a neurotic aversion to the word sexy and its implications. but the idea of the quote is what I like.)

"Frenchwomen don't expect men to be their equals. They view men as a separate species, which by nature isn't good at booking babysitters, buying tablecloths, or remembering to schedule checkups with the pediatrician. This outlook creates a virtuous cycle. Frenchwomen don't harp on men about their shortcomings or mistakes. So the men aren't demoralized. They feel more generous toward their wives, whom they praise for their feats of micromanagement and their command of household details. This praise- instead of the tension and resentment that builds in Anglophone households- seems to make the inequality easier to bear." 

it's me again. all those quotes were from the book before mentioned. i could tell you about all of it in great detail (as my husband can attest) but you should just read the thing.

after reading this book...
1. i have a new resolve to be a lovely woman and a mom simultaneously.
2. our kitchen is full of delicious new foods and (after only one day) our kids are substantially less picky.
3. my bebe takes baths.


Rae said...

Hey there, I've been following a while, but don't think that I've commented. I'm currently reading "Mean Moms Rule" which is fantastic, and seems to espouse a lot of the same theories. But this one is definitely on my list to read soon!

I loved this post, and your one on kindergarten- that helped me, as my oldest is heading that way next year, too.

Thanks for having a lovely blog!

joolee said...

ha, i've had this on my "to-read' list for awhile! now i MUST read it!

Vashti said...

I seriously love those quotes you posted so I just put a request in for it at the public library! Thank you for sharing!

Glo said...

Thanks for your blogs. You make me think! I know that my child rearing days are dwindling, but I'll never be too old to learn. Can I borrow the book?

Lisa said...

Wow, maybe I have a little french in me! That's basically how I've tried to raise my kids. I have a deep disdain for overly-scheduled families. (Not the families themselves, but the fact that they're so busy). I always just figured I was just weird, but I was okay with that :) It's nice to know I'm not alone in the world. :-)

Anonymous said...

From what I can tell, having lurked here for about a year, you are already a "lovely woman and a mom." In your posts, you show grace, wit, beauty, talent, intelligence, devotion and integrity. You are clearly an excellent spouse and mother. Your family is blessed by you, I'm sure. So yes, I think you could definitely pass yourself off as French.

Anonymous said...

mmm,well, usually I just read and delight in your words in silence, today I have something to say. Because I m french, and I go there every summer to visit my family. I ve lived in utah for 5 years, took some education classes at BYU, and love to keep reading/discovering what feels right to raise my children. I know this book is raelly popular right now, I ve read diffrent things about it on several blogs, how french mothering is superior. Unfortunately, I have to disagree. I dont know where the author had the great blessing of meeting these mothers in France, I know they are nowhere to be found when I visit for 6 weeks every year. What I see looks more like the things I m trying not to use in mothering. Harsh demeaning comments to the kids, critical tone on everything the kids do, seperating with a great canyon the life of children and the life of adults, not answering their questions...bla blablahhh, I could go on and on. Everything you are quoting seems great to me and I find myself having the same views, I just never felt they came from France. I do feel like you are a dear friend and a kin spirit though, and with so much charm you can claim being french. thank you so much for writing with your heart, it feeds my soul, and need for sisterhood. ( I hope my comment doesnt like I m critical of you!) Lucie

Megan Marie said...

Lucie, I'm so wishing you weren't so anonymous because I bet you write the loveliest blog! All week I've been thinking, "I want to go scope out that awesome French girl who lives in Utah!" But now that I've finally gotten a chance, I can't find you! I doubt you'll come back and read this but if you do, I'd like to say thank-you. As I've tried to implement new ideas from that book I've hit several bumps- just like you'd mentioned- namely a slight withdrawal from my children as I've pushed them into a world of their own. A world where I justify my lack of interest in their comings and goings instead of pushing through selfish feelings to be more emotionally available.

I'm learning that everything has a cost. And the cost of very absolute and strict lines drawn is a stone-set separation.

While the book boasted the success of French mothers, "success" was measured in ways that may not be God's ways. (Does your kid eat their greens? Does your child leave you alone when you're on the phone?) I am left wondering, "Do French children feel close to their parents when they're grown? Do these methods teach true selflessness or just courtesy as a means of obtaining selfish desires?"

Anyway, I've had a lot to think about. And I always come back to following my heart- with Heavenly Father at its center.