Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nature vs. Nurture

I have a friend who is struggling right now. Like me, she is adopted and recently was contacted by a bio-relative she never knew existed. Information was exchanged and her world was rocked. We all have ideas in our heads about who we are and where we came from. For an adopted child, it can be very layered and complex. As products of a private adoption, we are on shaky ground right from the start and often have very little information with which to build a picture of who we are and where we come from.

Sure, as a Mom through the gift of adoption, I like to think my kids will base their own self-image almost solely on what I teach them and present to them as a parental role model. But as a product of a family formed through adoption, I know what I hope for doesn't always happen. Biology is always in the mix. I have no control over what my boys take away from their childhood experiences and the way their minds work. Some day they will be men with complete control over their own destiny and decisions. I pray that their lives will be good ones. It's what all mothers hope. But will they look at their first families and let those stories influence who they are? I pray their first mom's lives are also good ones because I want my boys to be proud of where they came from. Every part.

We try to be as positive as we can about who they are and where they come from. I want them to be confident and feel like they have a complete picture of themselves. Not feel...incomplete, like I always did as a child. This is one of the main reasons why I believe so strongly in open adoption.

I gave my friend some advice that I thought was worth sharing with the wider world. If you are adopted and searching for missing pieces of your life, this applies to you.

It's the age old question...nature vs. nurture. As an adoptive Mom, I like to think nurture always wins out. But really we are a blending of both. As individuals, however, we have the ultimate control. We make the choices that determine how our lives will unfold. The past may have influence, biology may have influence, but we prove, over and over, that we have the power to shape our own destiny. Shed the baggage and live your life the way YOU want to live it. The rest doesn't really matter anyway.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tropes in Advertising

I've been noticing a disturbing pattern in ads directed at "mothers" in the last couple years. Today I found myself thinking about a class I took in college that covered the modern definition of trope. A common or even cliche theme running through a story. The good girl/boy falling under a band influence, finding redemption and ending up a hero or the seeming unredeemable bad guy who finds love and overcomes his limitations to become a force for good. There are a lot of them. Threads that run through books and films and some how strike a cord in our global consciousness. We know who to root for and who to boo at.

Now back to those pesky commercials. Lately I have noticed the smug mom. She finds the bargains no one else can, buys the foods that are super healthy that no one else knows about, or keeps her house clean with ease because she knows the secret weapons of sanitary living. And the look on her face says it all. Lumped in with smug mom is hero mom - she does all of the above but is less condescending about it. Then there is the clueless mom - she is confused by everyday life. She buys the wrongs things, shops in the wrong places, messes up but oh isn't she adorable and her kids still love her. Finally, we have harried mom. She is about to snap! Her kids drive her crazy. She can't function without coffee and/or yogurt that helps her poop. She is a mess and her kids are suffering because she is stressed out ALL THE TIME. I'm sure there are more. If you have a favorite, add it to the comments.

My question to all my fellow moms is you identify with any of these motherly tropes? Do they speak to you? Do you find yourself saying "Yeah! I should buy that so I can act all smug and superior with MY friends too!"

Didn't think so. I think more women who are moms need to go into advertising. Those mad men need help. ;)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Status Updates

I have something important on my Facebook status right now, so I feel like I can't make any new updates. Here are things that have crossed my mind over the last couple of hours:

  • I could have kissed my cardiologist yesterday. He hasn't seen me in 6 months and told me I look YEARS YOUNGER. *squee* Go me!
  • Max says, "Mom, remember when I told you that Peter doesn't believe in Santa? That's just really sad. Even Sean believes in Santa! I mean, who else put those Angry Birds plushies in my stocking? Seriously..." I adore my baby. He makes me grin daily.
  • I up'd my street cred with Tyler yesterday. He came to me asking if he could get a new cover piece for his iPad. The barely 1 month old plastic shock-proof cover with build-in screen shield was all dirty and scratched up. I asked if he tried cleaning it. Yup. "Plus there is all this crap trapped BETWEEN the layers! How do I get that crud out of there?!" He handed over the cover and I scrutinized it for a couple seconds then peeled off the easily removable protective film still adhered to the screen, wiped the cover down with my LCD cleaner and handed it back. Good as new. He blinked a couple times, jaw slack, and said "You can take that OFF?!" Yup. 
  • "The frosting on this donut is the best part." Better than the donut itself?? "Yes. Next time, can you just get me the frosting part?" just want a tub of frosting. No donut? "Yes." OK Max.
  • I've been taking a Biotin supplement in the hopes it would help my hair and nails. After a month my hair doesn't seem much better, but my fingernails are super strong! They don't bend and split into layers anymore. The new problem? They break. *snap* Now I know how those women on TV feel when they yell "Aww! I broke a nail!" But they aren't just snapping off at the tip. No. They crack on the sides half-way down. Ouch. So I am stopping the Biotin. I'd rather my nails be weak and bendy than crack painfully in a place where I have to wait until they grow out before I can clip them. Unless someone has an idea of how to repair a cracked fingernail? 
  • Is it wrong that I told my kids that my precious low-carb ice cream bars are actually sugar free chocolate covered frozen meat on a stick? It's the only way to get them left alone. Honest.
  • I find myself wondering how I can explain to my kids how much they mean to me and how much better my life is with them in it. I don't think they comprehend the depth of my love for them.