Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hands-On Moms

A quick scan of any celebrity-following magazine will quickly turn up the phrase “hands-on mom”.  It is written next to photos of the beautiful and famous taking their children out for ice cream, shuttling them to ballet lessons, and cheering in the stands.  Perhaps it is because we assume that those who can have full-time nannies do, and we are pleasantly surprised to see the children with their parents. Yet being a “hands-on mom” may not be the ultimate compliment (because, really, isn’t behaving like a mother an integral part of being a mother?), yet woe to one who a accuses a mom of “not being very hands on.”  Those are fighting words!
But we hear them.  They are spoken by kindergarten teachers who are surprised to meet a student who can’t write his own name.  They are spoken by preschool directors, astounded by how many children are still struggling with potty training well past their third birthday. “Where are the parents?” we hear them say with exasperation. 
We hear this because Amy and I are “them”—those people who deal with other people’s children on a regular basis.  As a speech-language pathologist specializing in language-based learning disabilities I often get two sides of the story as I attempt to forge links between home and school.  I straddle that line myself as a parent, not always sure how much or how little to intervene in my child’s life.  But if anyone even so much as hinted that I’m not “hands on” they would soon meet my hands in the shape of a fist (only in my fantasies, of course). 
Our over-saturated media is brimming with advice and contradictions. I know my parents weren’t Googling “soothe a colicky baby” at 2 in the morning, getting 2.1 million results in 0.23 seconds.  Yet our generation is bombarded by suggestions, both those we seek and those we are given.  We’ve been told to avoid being helicopter parents—the kind who take a road trip to their child’s college each semester to supervise the ritual of registering for classes.  We’ve also been warned of the danger of raising latchkey kids who come home to an empty house, skip doing their homework, make prank phone calls, and engage in other Denis the Menace debauchery.  There’s a big middle ground there, and we’re ready to plow it.
Our answer to this problem?  More parenting advice, of course (didn’t see that coming, did you?).   But not of the breast vs. bottle, co-sleeping debate sort.  This is a place where we invite you to the inner sanctum of conversations had by “us”-those people who deal with other people’s children.  We’ll let you in on a few secrets on how to build relationships with the other people in your child’s life, partnering with the village that is raising your child, and exploring what being a hands-on parent really means for today’s families.

We'll do our best to post Monday through Friday, with tweets @ahandsonmom and posts at  And be sure to let us know what developmental topics you'd like to hear more about--we want to responsive to the needs that are out there!

See the sidebar for info on our upcoming (free!) workshops in Brentwood, TN on Wednesday nights in the coming weeks.  We call these "Hands on Workshops" because we'll be showing you "HOW" to be your child's first and best teacher, through play, in more depth and detail. We'd love to see you there!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments!