Why would a nice, cooking and gardening-style mom have a manifesto? Why not? As a matter of fact, let me toss that back at you. Shouldn't every mother out there have a manifesto?
Maybe, in response to the crushing pressures of today's life, a manifesto is just what a parent needs.
The Anachronistic Mom's Parenting Manifesto
Be passionate about your interests and your life Expose your children to people who are passionate about what they do. Probably the most compelling and defining moments of your child's life will involve exposure to people who are living a passion -- be it teaching, fly-fishing, painting, or being a rock hound.
Educate yourself about your child's development, how they will act and what they will need. That way you won't freak out and think that your child will be a felon just because they throw the occasional fit. Context is very healthy.
Let your kid get dirty. Studies are showing that Americans' fixation with cleanliness and our over-use of antibiotics are causing sickly kids with a preponderance of asthma.
Educate yourself about how your child can be taught. Read some basic books and realize that your child learns as much from you and from every-day life as they do from school.
Trust your judgment. (After educating yourself, that is.) Even if you work all the time and let a nanny take care of your kid, you're still the mom or dad. Don't let "children's professionals" intimidate you into doing things that don't feel right.
Don't project your adult feelings and preferences onto your kid. Duh. Basic parenting 101. If you didn't like crusts on bread as a kid, you are not doing your kid a favor by starting them out without crusts. Sheesh. Let your kid decide for him or herself.
Make your parenting be about opening doors, not closing them. For cultures, experiences, food, knowedge, and other kids. Tip: Go into new experiences assuming that your children will like them. Simple, but it's powerful.
Parent with joy. Actively give and receive it. Wallow in it. It's here, and life doesn't get any better.
Throw out the competitive fear. Teach respect for learning situations instead, and change schools if they're terrorizing your kid.
Treat people well. Be a friendly and helpful member of society. Your child will watch and emulate.
Make art, music, and dancing an integral part of your family life. A little classical music is good for you. So is some zydeco, some country, some Dylan, some Woody Guthrie, some jazz, and so forth. Put on music and dance with your kid. Look at art. Respect and honor culture.
Avoid the TV. People who tell you that television is good for your kid are either deluded or trying to sell you something. Instead of teaching your 6 month old to watch a Baby Einstein video (give me a break), let her deal with real people.
Eat real food. Even if you go out to eat all the time, eat at a local place, not a giant fake-food chain. And if you eat at home, consider simple foods. Homemade vegetable soup with some bones thrown into it is one of the simplest and most fulfilling meals around.
Don't hyperstimulate your kid. I once read an email from a woman who complained that her 7 month old was bored. What? That's insane. If your child is bored at an early age, you have taught them to be bored. Parent defensively. Do not raise your child to expect constant stimulation. This is not good for their brains, not good for their creativity, and it's ridiculous as well. Talk about setting yourself up for misery. Teach your child to entertain him or herself from a young age. What an invaluable tool for life!
So...what's your manifesto? Email it to me and I'll share it.