Welcome! I'm your friendly moderator, Ms_anthropy. Please start by reading the rules, and then posting an introduction telling us a little bit about yourself. We also love pictures, the more the better - for instructions on how to add pictures to your posts, scroll down.
Warning: This website may contain extensive swearing, rude humor, potty jokes and god only knows what else. Mature visitors with a good sense of humor ONLY, please. While we are about and for parents, we are also supposed to be a place for parents to relax and chat, and my definition of "off-topic" or "too crude" is extremely broad.
RULES (Please read): No flaming. Period. Minor incidents will be politely warned, chronic unrepentant offenders will be bounced off the curb so hard their teeth rattle. Major attacks will be banned with extreme prejudice, after being publicly humiliated to the full extent of the law. Definition of "minor," "major" and "attack" is purely at the moderator's discretion. If you can't help or encourage, or at least provide us all with a good laugh to break the tension, then keep your mouth shut. If you truly feel someone is completely full of crap and/or endangering their child, then find a polite, loving and hopefully humerous way to approach the subject. You'll find you get much better results that way anyhow.
Anyone criticizing another poster because of spelling/grammar will not be banned. Instead I will personally come to your house and slap you. I really, really hate when people do that. Seriously. (Notice I did not say "teasing," as in "Ms_anthropy, you do realize you wrote "laundry deterrent yet again? Where, please, can I buy some?" I said "criticizing." As in the following actual quote from another board: "Breast feeding is two words, you moron, you are too stupid to raise a child." And if that doesn't tell you why I'm starting my own board...)
Trolls will be eaten.
This forum is primarily for mamas, but daddies are welcome, as are grandparents, uncles, aunts, anybody involved with the raising and care of a child. Discrimination on the basis of a parent's sexual orientation/choice of co-parent will not be tolerated, period.
Humor, silliness and swearing like an injured pirate is highly encouraged, the more outrageous the better, because let's face it, our sense of humor and our ability to swear creatively where our kids can't hear us is what keeps us from selling our little darlings on eBay some days. 8-)
About me: I am a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom, doing part-time freelance writing and database design. I am fairly solidly in the granola-mom camp, personally - I am a big advocate of breast-feeding, co-sleeping, etc. I am anti-circumcision, but after careful consideration and research we went ahead and did vaccinations, something I still feel vaguely guilty about. I bought cloth diapers with good intentions but never used them. My son is five years old, and just about to start his first year of "official" (i.e. "registered") homeschooling, although we've been doing it unofficially since forever and he's already working out of the first-grade books. Our homeschooling follows a fairly laid-back plan, kind of a mixture of open schooling and curriculum-based, with a little Montessori tossed in for flavor. I love children and genuinely enjoy their company, and I think that parenting is one of the toughest and most rewarding things a human being can choose to do.
While I have strong feelings about my own parenting choices - and who doesn't? - I feel that we have to respect choices that are different from our own. We can provide information and advice, but ultimately each parent has to decide for themselves. I would like to simply provide a safe forum where people will be encouraged (and hopefully amused) by others who have been through the same experiences rather than attacked for their choices.
Why I started this community:I chose to start this community after some bad experiences with another parenting forum. There were a lot of posts from new parents seeking help and support, but any deviation from what many of the members considered the "right" way to parent was met with vicious verbal abuse. Parenting can make you insecure enough, especially when it's a new thing. I thought it was incredibly cruel, and I spoke out. I was first mailbombed, then banned altogether. C'est la vie. The nice thing about the internet is that if you don't get along with someone, a few button clicks removes them from your immediate world.
But the experience, and some of the good emails I received, got me thinking. And although I was assured by several of my "fans" on the former parenting forum - especially the one who wrote repeatedly to tell me I was a "douce" bag - that people storm off in a huff and start their own boards all the time, and I, too, was destined to fail, I thought I'd run this up the flagpole anyhow and see if anyone saluted.
I also received a number of emails from other moms who had been attacked for deviating from the Holy Writ of parenting, as interpreted by this forum or that. It occurred to me that it would be nice to have a place to chat, let our hair down, not have to watch our mouths for a while, and actually try to support and encourage each other. And so, this.
How to post pictures:If you don't have a paid Live Journal account, you will have to use an outside source to post pictures. I recomend Flickr. Just follow the instructions for setting up an account and loading pictures. An account is free and they give a generous amount of space, and you also can set up photo albums on their site. I ask that you make your pictures of a reasonable size and as low-resolution as you can get away with, so they don't take forever to load and out of deference to people using dial-up connections. On Flickr, to get the code for your picture, click on the picture and then choose the size at the top of that picture's page. On the next page you will see a box with the code for the picture's location. Simply cut-and-paste it into your LJ post in the format described here.
Resources, Links and Other Useful Crap: (suggestions/referrals welcome - I'm adding stuff steadily as I have time!)
I've recently become hooked on Flylady's website and mailing list. If you're like me, disorganized, drowning in too much junk and unable to find enough hours in the day, this can really help out. It's very non-judgemental and encouraging, you are urged to take "baby steps" and do only as much as you are able/willing to, and she has some really cool and extremely easy techniques for getting organized. The mailing list sends fun little suggestions throughout the day - like "Quick! Stop what you're doing, set a timer for five minutes and find 10 things to throw away!" or "Spend 15 minutes doing something you've been putting off. Go!" Silly, but it works for me. (Thanks, Erce!)