Sure, I write a lot about boys. But as a mom of boys, I’m also aware of just how stressful parenting boys can be. And I’ve learned from personal experience that I have to take good care of myself if I want to take good care of my boys. After all, it’s pretty hard to model patience and acceptance when you’re running on four hours of sleep.
Our culture loves to give lip service to self-care for moms, but we tend to trivialize the topic. I know I’m guilty of that myself. Feeling stressed or tired? Seek a little retail therapy; do something nice for yourself, it’s easy to say. Have a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Relax.
But while bubble baths, massages, and manicures are wonderful things, they’re no substitute for taking real care of our health. And that can involve messy, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and un-pampering processes like screenings, blood tests, mole removals and mammograms.
In her post, Self-Care is More Than Bubble Baths and Pedicures, Meagan, a mom of five, reveals that she’s recently been diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer. And while her prognosis is good, her post is a stark wake-up call: To truly take care of our kids, we need to take care of our health.
The conviction of two teenage boys in the Stuebenville rape trial generated a ton of online conversation. I entered the fray myself, with Boys & Rape. (If you click over, be sure to read the comments. My readers added some great points!)
Marie Roker Jones shared some interesting thoughts over at Raising Great Men as well. In “The Real Talk We Need to Have with Our Sons About Rape,” she wrote:
Our first mistake is rushing to tell boys what rape is instead of asking them “What is rape?”
Why did I not think of that? If the Steubenville trial showed us anything (and I’d argue that it showed us many things), it showed us that many boys, men and women are confused as to what, exactly, constitutes rape. And the best way to find out what misconceptions our boys hold is to ask them what they know and understand.
The Good Men Project also ran a great Steubenville-inspired piece. The Healthy Sex Talk: Teaching Kids Consent, Ages 1-21 offers a ton of specific ideas for teaching and talking to boys and girls of all developmental ages and stages. It’s the single best article I’ve ever read about consent.
Like me, Jen Singer of MommaSaid.net is a mom-of-no-longer-little-boys. Maybe that’s why her post, “My Son Turned 16 and I Know Where the Time Went” touched me so deeply.
Or maybe it’s because, in a culture that so often pits parents against one another and parenthood vs. “real work,” it’s nice to see a mom who honors, recognizes and pays tribute to the millions of minute moments that go into making a man.
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Jennifer L.W. Fink is the founder of BuildingBoys.net, a mother of four boys and an award-winning writer. Her work has been published by The Washington Post, Parents, FOX news, Parade and Boys' Life -- & she still spends a significant portion of every day trying to get her boys to put cups in the dishwasher.