So I just got back from Mom Camp. Yes, there were s'mores. No, there was no singing (that I witnessed, at least). And instead of weaving lanyards, the campers made scrapbooks, knit, and painted wine glasses. Instead of orienteering, we learned about planning for retirement, exploring careers, and - I'll be frank - getting the best fit in a brassiere.
For me, the best part of the three-day camp was meeting Minnesota Parent readers. I got to sit down with half a dozen women at once and talk about what was important to them. One mom, nursing a lively, adorable 7-month-old said, (and I'm paraphrasing here), “You know, I consider myself pretty crunchy. I don't see much of the alternative parenting methods I use reflected in Minnesota Parent.” Blank stares from the rest of the group until someone bravely asked what on earth she meant by “crunchy.”
And, let me tell you, what I witnessed next was amazing: Crunchy Nursing Mom talked patiently, pleasantly, and completely nonjudgmentally and nondogmatically about attachment parenting, baby-wearing, elimination communication, and other parenting philosophies that are important to her. And our circle of women listened and learned patiently, pleasantly, and nonjudgmentally to what she had to say.
Let's be honest: When parenting worlds collide like that, the result is rarely so good.
In last month's “Teens and Tweens” column, Kris Berggren quoted a family therapist as saying, “When you do something different from me, that is a comment about me.” So true for parents as well as for teens. Parenting is the most personal job we'll ever have, a complex stew of the most difficult and personal decisions we'll ever make. And yet so many of those decisions and their outcomes are hung out for public comment, approval, and sneers. Except for one afternoon at Mom Camp.
P.S. Learn more about Mom Camp at http://www.Mom-Camp.com.
On the cover
Was everything simpler then? Minnesota school children in the 1930s.
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society