Humblebragging, Proud Parenting, and Dressing Your Daughter

Me as I’m writing this post.

— 1 —

As of last week, the one New Year’s resolution I had progressed at was the one that simply involved buying stuff.  I wanted to replace our plastic leftover containers with glass.  I went and bought some Pyrex.  Big whoop.  But still, progress.

And then, wouldn’t you know:

IMG_5306

Pat and I both heard a *crash* from the cabinet, all of a sudden, with no apparent cause.  I can only guess that they dishes were stacked precariously and gravity happened.

I mean, sheesh, can’t I just have one little resolution be easy?

But it reminded me that in the currently-trendy backlash against plastic that maybe some of us (myself included) have forgotten that there was a reason people were so enthusiastic about Tupperware back in the day.  Glass breaks, yo?

— 2 —

I read this article on “humblebragging.”  I’ve been thinking about it so much and there’s so much I want to say.  For now, though, I observe “humble bragging” a lot from people–mostly women–who aren’t actually being prideful.  There’s just so perfectionist that they seem to feel it’s inaccurate to say anything positive about themselves without mentioning something negative as well.

— 3 —

Speaking of perfectionism, it was bothering me to have my Goodreads lists cluttered with books I read to my girls.  Not cluttered in the sense that children’s books aren’t important.  But cluttered in the sense that the two categories were all jumbled up together.  So I created a Goodreads account just for the books I read to my kids, or plan to read to them someday.

— 5 —

Speaking of little girls, I loved Ellen’s post here: Little dolls, about the subtle dangers of dressing little girls the way we like to dress ourselves, even if there’s nothing blatantly inappropriate about the outfit.

— 6 —

I thought this article was really interesting.  It’s by a father of 12 who could afford to raise in children in luxury but instead raised them to be so self-sufficient and hard-working that they all could pay for college by themselves.

A lot of it appeals to me.  (Like giving each kid a computer, but only in pieces they had to put together themselves: how cool is that?)  But on the other hand, there’s a slight whiff of pride about it: “ALL my kids were raised to be exactly the way  I wanted them to be, no exceptions.”  Can twelve individuals all fit into the same mold that easily?  Some people really couldn’t put a computer together to save their lives (like, um, me).

But on the other hand, it would be hard to include all the nuances in a short article.  And it seems more like a dad to look at the big picture; the mom probably could detail the different ways the overall system changed depending on the kid.

But on the other hand . . . .

“No, there is no other hand!”

Those are his index fingers, btw.

Can you name that quote?

(Random!)

— 7 —

I was nominated for three Sheenazing Awards!  Thank you to whomever nominated me!  I am honored.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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28 thoughts on “Humblebragging, Proud Parenting, and Dressing Your Daughter

  1. Fiddler!!! Hey, thanks for the shout-out, Laura 🙂 I read that article by the dad with the 12 kids and it was a little fishy to me too. I mean, what if one of your kids suffers from anxiety or a severe learning disability? And heck, I could NOT put a car or a computer together to save myself. My husband could and he would have loved the challenge at that age, but he’s a freak of nature.

  2. I only got halfway through the article by the dad of 12 kids before I was so put off by his tone that I clicked away (is it lame of me to have an opinion of something I only halfway read?–there’s only so much time in the day to read good things!). I like the idea of raising self sufficient kids but I’m not sure if it’s good to deprive them of all things just for the sake of a lesson. My husband and I are more in the Dave Ramsey camp on this one I think. I want to raise my boys to be unspoiled and to know how to make things and fix things or at least know how to learn to do those things when the need arises, but if we could afford to pay for their college or first home so they didn’t have to start out their lives handicapped by so much debt we definitely would! Assuming of course that we had taught them how to be responsible with money first so that our gifts to them wouldn’t turn into curses. Not that we will be able to pay for all that, but you know….wishful thinking 🙂

    • I’m with you. . . . My impression was the 12 kids actually _paid_ for college, without taking loans. But it wasn’t very clear; I’m not sure. . . . I agree. I’d pay for as much as I could rather than having them take out loans. I’d want them to work for their spending money . . . which is how my parents did it, come to think of it. Certain relatives were shocked that my parents didn’t give me a spending money allowance when I was in college!

      • Oh my… I can’t even imagine getting an allowance in college. Some of my friends had mom or dad’s credit card for “emergencies” that they’d fall back on for trips to the mall. I usually went back each semester with a few hundred dollars from working my whole break and spent the majority of it on books and the rest of the semester I lived with a shockingly small balance. It can be done and I’m glad I have that memory now when we have to be tight with our budget.

      • I had scholarships and had to take out loans in college and I had to pay for all my own spending money too–and the last year that included my rent/utilities. I went to a fancy private university and for the most part, I was the only one among my friends who had to pay their own way. Even if they had jobs they could still get whatever they wanted from their parents. I think it was definitely character building for me, and also really hard. A lot of semesters I was working 40 hour weeks. I do feel like I missed out on having that free time that you really only get in college to just sit around and think and really process what I was learning and build relationships. I was just so busy! I felt like I was on a treadmill and once it was all over and I had time to look back I thought to myself, wow…I would have done that a lot differently if I had a do-over. There’s got to be a balance of making sure your kids are turning into mature young adults and also knowing that they aren’t quite there yet!

        Of course I can’t imagine being in college and having to ask my mom for gas money either 🙂

  3. That article about the 12 kids is crazy! I think if my parents would have raised me with all of those restrictions and requirements (all AP classes even if they didn’t qualify for placement? no snacks? etc.) that I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful academically. His tone did sound kind of arrogant too…

    It’s a good thing that we aren’t having a little girl yet because I would definitely have needed Ellen’s blog post (guilty of pinning that same pin in her post haha).

    • You come from a big family, right? I’d love to hear how your parents did it. … And id be “guilty” of everything in that post except that my girls are soooo opinionated about what they wear. Definitely a blessing in disguise!

  4. Congrats on the nomination! 😉
    We recently started to switch over from plastic to glass, also. I’m a huge klutz so I’m sure there will be casualties. If you’re still looking for storage options, Williams Sonoma has a sale on their clip-top Kilner Jars. They look so pretty in the pantry. I’m in love with them!

  5. I’d seen that Father-of-twelve article, too. In his defense, I suspect that the family needed greater regimentation and more rule systems than a homeschooling family would. If you have kids who spend a huge proportion of time outside the home, and who need to be places on time, more overarching rules make sense, right?

    • Hmm, I’ll have to think about that one. I think every family benefits from a good set of ground rules, and a routine for homework, and curfews. I didn’t really have a problem with all that. It’s more the rigidness of “every kid takes all AP classes” etc. that turned me off.

      • Also, I really want to make it clear that I don’t mean to criticize the way these specific parents raised their own kids. . . . (As I mentioned, I’d bet the mom would tell a much more nuanced story.) Though I guess I did say he sounded prideful. . . . If his kids are all happy and well-adjusted, then no criticism here. But by writing the article he’s at least implying that others should follow his example, and it’s in that sense that I question it.

      • I do see how his message could come across as, “Hey, I did it right, because I was tough and had high standards… unlike all those other parents.” I guess I liked the piece because it reminded me of the book Cheaper by the Dozen (that dad insisted that his children skip various grades, etc.).

    • It is similar to Esolen with the emphasis on self-reliance and ingenuity. But this family seems to have a lot more structured time and, of course, school, which Esolen hates in its current form…. You know, I haven’t read the article in over a week. When I first included the link in a draft of this post, it was just to say, “hey isn’t this cool?” It’s just in thinking it over that I got more skepticAl. I really should read it again before I say anything else and totally mischaracterize it.

      • Haha! Ben and I talked about the article today and while I still haven’t read it (there it went – all credibility out the window) I find the dad’s One-Size-Fits-All approach a bit much. Where’s the tenderness? The understanding? And I myself tend to side with Esolen regarding structure and schedules for kids. OK, time to bite the bullet and just read this thing!

      • Aaaaaand read it! As I hoped there is a tenderness and love that is evident in the way that he describes how they parented. While there are many laudable elements, I still find it a bit too extreme for our family’s implementation. Because everyone here needed to know that.

  6. Haha, well-done reference! I had a nod to Fiddler in my five favs this week–that movie’s a goldmine. 🙂 Love your thoughts on the “humblebragging.” There’s so much of it in women-blog-world, and I find myself trying to emulate it, thinking that since everyone does it, then I should too. Stupidest reason ever, eh. Thanks for bringing it up; I had never put a name to it, and humblebragging sounds exactly right.

  7. Glad I wasn’t the only one bothered by the father of 12 article. I just found his whole tone to be really off-putting and arragant, as though he is utterly convinced that it was his “good parenting” that made his kids that way I ‘m sure his parenting was a part of it, but I’m sure some of it was their genetics and their personalities etc. Plus, my snarky side noticed the photo that said they were all photoshopped in because they hadn’t all been in one place since 1998 which made me wonder. I realize that getting 12 adults and their families together is no piece of cake, but one would think there would have been weddings or other events, so it just made me wonder about their relationship (which I consider my relationship with my kids and with each other and with God to be the most important thing I want to teach them). But that could just be me, being mean.

    • It reminds me of that point in Jen Fulwiler’s post from yesterday. Something about “if your kid is nothing but trouble, it probably has less to do with your parenting than you think; if your kid is an angel, it still has less to do with your parenting than you think.”

      • I LOVED that post of Jen’s!! Especially those lines!

        I think my kids are going to pay for their own weddings simply because of the sheer number of them who are going to be marriageable ages at the same time as those who are college ages. Ack. Besides, I already have at least two opinionated daughters and I think it would save us all a good deal of grief if we only minimally pay for Princess’ wedding. :)- All in good fun, folks.

        Regarding #5–what about the flip side: when you’re pushing 40 and dressing like your teenager? I mean, it’s great if you have the figure for it but why dress exactly like your 13-15yr old? Random thought of mine while people-watching from the drive-thru lane.

  8. Right now I am relaxing while Earl watches G and thought of an old post of yours about your favorite introvert things. I love the time when Earl comes home to take over so I can do
    I enjoyed the humblebragging article. I don’t think you humblebrag, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy reading here so much. Your blog gets an A+!!
    Also liked the Little Dolls post. It gives me good food for thought.

  9. Yes…even harder than accepting a compliment is being willing to compliment yourself.
    “I kept our child alive today…but all he ate for dinner was crackers!” 🙂 Can’t do it.

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