Tuesday 18 September 2007

And yet I wonder...

What sort of mother will I be? What sort of mother am I really?

What sort of mother will I be during the difficult times?

And what if I've just got it all wrong??

I asked my husband recently whether he thought people were a product of their raising or their birth (nurture or nature). He said nurture.

Scares me shitless!

That's some ginormous responsibility there.

My poor son - what if I royally mess him up??

Especially since my parenting philosophies seem to be so different from the norm.

It seems like all the moms are into training their babies. Train them to sleep through the night. Train them to entertain themselves. Train them to be quiet in public. Train them to roll first, to sit first, to crawl first, to talk first, to walk first, to potty train first, to be independent first.

I swear, some of them must have them enrolling in Harvard already.



When my son wakes up at night, I tend to him. When he wants to hang out with me, I wrap him on my front or my back and go about our day. I'm in no rush to make him achieve things he's not ready for yet. And I'm certainly not about to flick my baby's mouth to teach him not to make baby babbles in church.

Babble away, kid.

And it's not that I am/intend to be permissive either! I think that's awful - it's cruel to the child, to the parents, and to anyone who has to deal with that child.

But I'm all for recognizing age-appropriate behaviours.

Including night wakings for five month olds! I am a parent even when it's "inconvenient", when I'm tired, when the house needs to be cleaned, whenever, always.

But man...to be wholly responsible for how that little boy will turn out...

That's some scary stuff.

What do I think about the whole nurture vs. nature?

I think I'm with my husband. Nurture plays a much bigger role than nature does.

The way I see it, everyone is born with a particular temperment. Which means that two children can be raised in the exact same way and turn out entirely different. Sounds like I'm saying it's nature, doesn't it? But I disagree. These children would have reacted by nature to the way they were nurtured. So although their nature determines their reactions, it is their nurture that steers the path they will take. You can have nature 1 and nature 2, raise them with nurture a, and have them be completely different adults. Or you can have nature 1 with nurture a, and nature 2 with nurture b, and have them turn out to be fairly similar. Which is not to say that a "good" nurture will produce a good adult, or a "bad" nurture will produce a bad one. Just that whatever the nurture is, it will react with their nature in a particular way and eventually produce a character.

Basically, the way I see it, nature is a constant. It can't be helped. It can't be changed. Nurture is the variable. And it's the variable that determines the outcome. The constant just determines one's reactions. To affect the outcome, you have to adjust the variable.

I hope I don't mess it all up with my children. I have a general idea of how I want to raise them, but the specifics will depend on their individual selves - their nature. I hope I can adjust their nurture appropriately.

But to think, the way I raise them will determine what sort of person they become...yikes.


  1. I'm totally enjoying your blog! Sing it, sister! :)

  2. You are raising your son by listening to him as well as to your heart...you're making conscious decisions based on what feels right to you but there is a whole world of research that shows you are on the right track. Stay strong! Your son is very lucky to have you for a mother.