Navigating The Parent Trap

If it sounds like a rambling rant and looks like a rambling rant, it probably IS a rambling rant.

Now that you’ve been warned…

Chris and I are learning how our kink life and our family life fit together again. In April, he took a new job 350 miles from home, and went off to carve a new niche for us. A new home. Meanwhile, the princess and I stayed behind for awhile. It was crunch time for me professionally. The princess was in school and happy there. We had to get our house ready to put on the real estate market (yes, great timing, huh?). For 3 1/2 months we were together as a family only intermittently, and several of those times were in the midst of family gatherines, while traveling, and in less than optimal or normal circumstances.

In mid-July we packed up my car, the dog, Chris’s truck, two car seats, ten boxes of toys and various other essentials and headed off. Our house is still for sale (surprise, surprise) so Chris had rented a condo for us that was big enough, but with no extra space. We had, like all couples just starting out or just starting over, a lot of catching up to do – and a lot of adjusting to do. All four of us – but especially Chris and I – have had to re-assess how and why we do what we do.

It’s been fantastic – but not necessarily easy.

One of the dichotomies I noticed especially soon after we were together again is that I feel different when I am with Chris and the princess than I do when I am just with Chris. When I’m just with Chris, we are very very good together. We both like a certain amount of space and quiet, sometimes with quiet music, sometimes in chatrooms or gaming or altogether in our own worlds while we read, write, blog, or goof off. We share agreeable – if not identical – taste in food and politics, keep each other updated on the important news of the day, our jobs and the general state of the universe. When the three of us are together, it is easy for me to ‘tune out’ the little voice at my side, drawn to intellectual conversation with my spouse. And as we’ve probably been apart most of the day, Chris is eager, too, to tell his grown-up news and tidbits of his day. The princess severely disapproves of these tendencies on our part and – for good reasons – insists on being the center of not just our world but also of our conversation (with her, not about her), our imagination, our energy and our plans.

When I’m with Chris, my primary (only) role is that of his submissive wife. When I’m with Chris and the princess, I must put aside that natural inclination and be (first and foremost) Mama.

Little things people say or that I read bring it up in my mind, over and over, as well as a gradual realization by both of us that some of the rules and hopes we had at the beginning of our new life in a new house aren’t really going to be practical and have had to be adjusted.

At Under His Hand, kaya wrote recently about the sometimes contradicting roles of parent and wife/slave. Now, I know I’m not in an M/s marriage (and really, Chris and I wouldn’t be suited to it) but the “kink vs. family” issue is definitely relevant. She described it as a pendulum swinging back and forth, and wrote:

"Things were so intense and held at such a high level that "surfacing" in order to function normally was difficult. It was like swimming through mud so it was easier and better and more comfortable to stay where I was inside. But I was failing as a mother. I wasn’t *there*. The kids breezed in and out, not really breaking through the fog I was living in. It had to change. The pendulum had swung too far."

At the other end of the pendulum, she wrote:

"I am not where I was two years ago. I am not foggy or muddled or "sunk" in anything. I am, essentially, playing in traffic. Flapping in the breeze. Standing up. Way the fuck up. The pendulum has swung back the other way… too far the other way. He’s beginning the search for the middle ground …"

Before the princess and I joined Chris here, she had spent three weeks with Grandma & Grandpa, and I (too) had spent a week in the maternally-dominated home of my mother. Being around her always brings out the worst of my manipulative and controlling streak, as it seems perfectly natural in her world. And as might have been expected, after a week or two there I did need to find my own center – my own focal point – again. And by that I mean that I needed to return to a routine and a relationship where I experienced both love and limits – and where I wanted both love and limits.

A couple of days later Chris and I spent two hours texting / instant messaging, and the primary theme was about getting my life back under control (mine or his, at that point any control would have been an improvement) and what we, mutually and individually, needed from our impending reunion as a couple and as a family. I told Chris that all I wanted was for things to be ‘normal’. I wanted to fix dinner in the evenings, have bathtime and bedtime and curl up on the sofa with him and watch a movie. A lot of that has happened. Some of it has not.

Stripping soon after bedtime has definitely been good for me, even if Chris has considerately sent me off to work after an amused smile and a gentle kiss. On the other hand, my mothering instinct will never allow me to remain comfortably in a submissive headspace. The princess would never allow me to remain in such a space for long. Her very-extroverted personality absolutely demands my energy and attention. It’s not a conscious or selfish requirement from her – it just is. Plus, my parenting style and Chris’s are not the same, but I’m protective and strong enough to object when Chris would tend to enforce his opinion.

To be truthful, when Chris and I are alone I would be content if he ordered my dinner at restaurants (no, he doesn’t do that), helped me pick out clothes when shopping, and generally took tender, loving care of me. But it’s hard for me to bite my tongue and let Chris make even small decisions about the princess without deferring to me. I need him to – I want him to – and the princess needs him to as well. But I also need to respect his role as her father and to allow their relationship with each other to develop without me consistently rattling it or directly framing it.

It’s funny… and I think it’s totally a personality type thing … but I’m less interested in making her do the things and follow the procedures instituted by his parents and mine during our childhood, unless they have some reasonable purpose or further a certain goal. As a child I didn’t do what my parents wanted because I was supposed to be obedient – I did them to avoid confrontations with my mother. My dad – he didn’t get mad, just shook his head and started explaining something – never had to be an enforcer. But my mom – well, I just couldn’t emotionally handle the battles so I didn’t bother to wage the war. I imagine this was the case even at something close to 4, since she almost always described me as a stoic child who only rarely showed a temper. (Little did/does she know how opposite from stoic I actually am.)

Chris admits freely to believing in the chain of command. If a superior officer tells you to do something, you do it first and ask questions later. If Daddy says not to run in the parking lot then that’s what you do, period. No questions asked. If Daddy says we’re going to lunch, that means put on your shoes whether you are ready to go or not – he knows (but shouldn’t need to say) that the princess is grumpy because she’s hungry, and the fastest way to get her over the fussiness is to feed the child.

Mama, on the other hand, wants to have the safety conversation enough that you won’t even ask the question because you already know it’s safer to hold hands. And while obedience on the ‘going out’ question would be nice, Mama also wants to know why the princess isn’t ready. “Do you have to go potty?” “Did you want to watch the end of Little Einsteins?” “Are you waiting for the stars to come out?” “Does your head hurt where you bumped it earlier?” “Are you hungry and grumpy?”

Here’s a recent exchange I overheard between Chris and the princess:

"But Daddy, I want my teddy bear to be cold."

"Princess, we do not put stuffed animals in the refrigerator."

"But why not?"

I nearly laughed. Now, I know why she wanted the TB (pseudonym for well-loved security toy to which she is attached at the hip) in the fridge. The apartment was hot, she was hot, the refrigerator was cool.

If TB was cold, then she could cuddle TB and it would feel good. She didn’t tell me this. She didn’t ask me if she could put TB in the fridge. I hadn’t let her do it already. I just know because I know how she thinks because I spend 12 hours a day (at least) following her train of thought.

The funny thing was, even before Chris had finished saying, "We do not put…" I was mentally asking myself, "why not?" What harm would it do to anyone? Would it get TB dirty (dirtier)? Would it get the refrigerator dirty or make the food inedible? I know for sure that my mom would not have allowed such a thing, nor would have Chris’s mother, and a refrigerator is meant for food and not toys, and we’re well acquainted with the slippery slope and how the princess negotiates it to get what she wants.

I started to ask Chris… but he gave me such a look (maybe he didn’t even realize) that I stopped. He said so, I told myself, and we’ll do what he wants. I don’t want to sound as if I am arguing, and she’ll get over it soon enough. (I have a natural propensity to avoid confrontations anyway.) But why? my mind cried inside.

This morning, the princess came into the kitchen with TB under her arm in a fit of being afraid over something on a Curious George cartoon, opened the refrigerator and found this little open space in the door, so she looked at me and said quite plainly, "TB is scared. She’ll be safe here." She stuffed TB in, shut the door and ran back to watch the ‘scary parts’, then rescued TB fifteen minutes later.

So, while I may be submissive in the bedroom or as a spouse, I am not a surrendered wife, by any sense of the word. Someone (I’m sorry, I can’t remember who) blogged about a story "Under the thumb" she had seen in the Australian news media about women living according to the book The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. In the story, one of the mothers says this about how she is raising her daughter:

"We talk a lot about Jesse’s, ‘He’s your daddy and you’re supposed to obey your daddy and we want to honour him and we want to respect him’. And just talking about why we are cleaning. We want to have a clean house so that we can honour Daddy because Daddy likes the house to be clean. Put it right there. Do you know why we’re making the fruit pizza? We’re making it for Daddy. We want to please him. We want to do special things for him. Daddy’s the king of our home, isn’t he? …"

I nearly vomited. The reporter said that the 2-year-old was ‘in training’ for living the same life and it sounds like a good description.

My feminist urges leapt up, alarm bells went off and everything in me went No, no, no. It’s not right to teach girls from the time they are toddlers that someone deserves respect simply because they have a fucking penis (and I do mean, a penis that fucks). That girl’s father should get his fruit pizza because Daddy works hard to take care of her, or because Daddy loves her very much and they do things for him because they love him, too, or because it feels good inside to make Daddy happy. And his daughter should respect him because he has integrity, or because he treats her respectfully, or because he sacrifices for them.

Teaching her that a man – even a father – deserves respect because Mama chooses to make Daddy the ultimate center of her world is absolutely not right.

If Mom wants to be a surrendered wife, so be it and she goes with my complete and utter blessing, of course. If she wants to be a surrendered mother that’s okay, too. She can let Dad make the parenting decisions and she can help enforce them. But it is not okay to teach our children (our daughters) that this way of life is anything beyond our choice as an adult. Taking future choices away from any girl by teaching her that she doesn’t have future choices in education, religion, occupation or parenting devalues her intelligence, belittles her ability to choose with the same considerate thoughtfulness we did, and ignores the basic human rights we advocate for so many other oppressed women througout the world.

We’re making fruit pizza for Daddy because Mama likes Daddy to be happy. We’re cleaning the house because it makes Mommy and Daddy happy when the house is clean. Mommy doesn’t have a job somewhere else because she wants to spend her days with you and Daddy.

When you grow up you can decide if you want to be plumber, a firefighter, a teacher, a writer or a doctor. Or maybe you’ll decide that you want to stay home with a husband and babies. But that’s a grown-up decision. You can think about it right now, and say what you think you might want to do when you’re grown up and you can do it then or you can change your mind… After Mommy was grown up, Mommy decided she wanted most of all to stay home and take care of Daddy and you.

That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the quality of obedience in children, especially mine. It’s easier if they obey. I get my own way. I don’t have to explain, argue, threaten or otherwise bribe. And I like to have my own way. I want to have my own way. I want to do everything the way I want to do it. And so does Daddy. And so does the princess – she either learned it or inherited it from two experts. So when she stomps her foot and says, "You haf to listen to me" I can hardly complain. My impatience has taught her that sentence.

So I need to not say, "Just listen and do what I want because I’m your mother. I don’t want to explain for the 735th time since you learned to talk that you must have your hair brushed after your bath." But what then do I say? Certainly when I was a kid I had my hair brushed against my will nearly freaking every day, and I’m not of the mind to allow hers to tangle for days on end and then have to cut out the knots. She’d probably think it was cute cut up like that anyway.

I say all this with a degree of indignation and with a certain degree of sadness. I have an aunt who married and now has 5 daughters (and 2 sons). She and her husband have adopted a way of life that is definitely their own, and after hearing the repeated loud objections of many members in both of their families as to how these girls were being raised, they moved them to Alaska. These children are being explicitly taught that girls grow up to marry, have babies and husbands and stay at home (and that people who choose otherwise are sinners who shouldn’t be associated with – never mind about evangelism).

They are home-schooled and are not permitted to associate with other children outside of a select few that have parents who have met Daddy’s intolerably high standards. The girls expect Daddy will find them a husband (arranged marriages are not out of fashion, apparently), and even if we could convince my aunt and uncle that this is wrong, they are frankly already brain-washed. One of them said to my grandmother earlier this summer, "Grandma, Daddy says you’re going to hell because you don’t obey the Bible. The Bible says you have to wear long dresses and you wear pants."

[My grandmother managed a household of 4 boys (plus a 5th on the weekends) and 2 girls on her husband’s salary less alimony. She has always been outspoken and taught by example that women were strong, informed, and quite able to make good decisions. Of her children, both girls have college degrees, but of the boys, only my dad has any college education. At this point, her primary goal regarding my cousins is to make certain they have someone and somewhere they believe they can go to safely should they ever come to their own conclusions that Daddy has been wrong all along – even if it takes years and years. Arguing with my aunt and uncle over child-rearing issues or disagreeing with them in front of the little ones endangers the tenuous contact my grandparents are still able to maintain.]

Perhaps if they were part of a Mennonite or Amish or known tradition, where they were being led by a long-standing, well-tested community of others who had made similar choices years ago, I wouldn’t be so worried. But they’re not. These children – these girls – are being raised in a vacuum devoid of a spiritually discerning, aware, faithful community. And Dad, with his high school diploma, a love of old books and a minister’s license he got by completely an online correspondence course on the Bible, tells them he is an expert on the Bible.

What does this have to do with spanking and punishment? Nothing. What does it have to do with feminism, defending human rights, and generally standing up for women? Everything.

If I wondered whether I was the only introverted submissive woman who battled the urge to isolate my children to satisfy my own cravings, then that question has now been answered. I will not – I refuse to – raise my daughter to be a replica of me. I will not seek to pass on my personality or lifestyle because it’s the one that makes me happy. For my cousins, that submissive introversion in my aunt’s personality has been tragically coupled with mis-guided religious practices that identify women as second-class citizens with few to no choices in life. Little Catherine in Australia is being taught that pleasing a man is the most important thing in life. And a princess in California is learning to mop the floor because it’s fun to push a button and watch the Swiffer cleaner spray out over the tile.

In any event, the princess won’t allow me to isolate her too much or too often. She hounded me day and night for a ‘new school’ (it starts after Labor Day). She wants to visit every other day. She wants to talk to children on the playground, adults at the grocery store, and go to child care and Sunday School at church. She lights up like a sunbeam when she perceives an ‘adventure’ to be on the horizon and is bored and depressed – or focused on movies – when we stay home or when I do not directly interact with her on a minute-by-minute basis.

But I can sense the dangerous urge in me. Today, even! The princess wants to go swimming, to go play in the park. I want to stay home and write. Take a nap. Do some work. Play with Play-Doh. But I don’t want to do any of it with other people.

I am submissive to Chris, but add the princess to the equation and all of that seems to hightail it out the window. I make the decisions, the arrangements, organize the routines, enforce a few rules and play the role of primary caretaker. I am the ‘go to’ girl, and the princess usually turns for me to direction when she’s floundering or needs something, even if Daddy is convenient.

But those things push me out of a headspace I like, enjoy, and need to be in. Not constantly, but more often than I can right now.

I am not saying that I want Chris to take a more active role as a parent. He’s fantastic at that, and generous, too. He’d probably do more – especially the bedtime stuff – if the princess would let him. And I am not saying that I can change, or even contemplating change. What I am doing is recognizing that push-and-pull and the differing dynamics between Chris-and-I, and between Chris-princess-I. What happens in one doesn’t necessarily translate to the other, and yet a disruption in one of the relationships does trickle into the other whether we want it to or not.

So it’s something I’m rambling about and still contemplating in my mind – not as a problem, but as part of our everyday reality.

14 thoughts on “Navigating The Parent Trap

  1. Rose

    Excellent post, Sparkle, thank you.
    Though my husband and I don’t have children yet, we still struggle with similar issues that seem to make maintaining my submissive headspace difficult. Coupled with the fact that I’ve never been submissive to ANYONE before I married my husband, although I do very much want to be more submissive to him, I find that I often feel like I’m failing miserably in our relationship.
    Reading other spanking blogs, or similar blogs, you’d think that this managing this kind of relationship is easy. So often, people only seem to write about their successes. It creates the illusion that a couple who want to maintain this type of dynamic should be able to communicate with each other almost telepathically, and always anticipate the needs of the other. It simply doesn’t happen that way.
    Though my husband and I do not have children, we are both self-employed and work from home. And when I say self-employed, do mean self. We were both self-employed before we were married and we’ve continued to both run our separate companies. I find that I often feel like I’m trying to flip a submissive switch on and off thoughout the day. When dealing with my husband, I need and want to be submissive, yet ten steps down the hallway into my home office, and I need to become assertive-dominate-business-woman again. My husband and I work in related, though separate fields, and so my company often consults for his company, which makes for an even more complex dynamic. Under the right conditions, I am able to feel quite naturally submissive. But so often outside factors make submissive difficult to maintain and sometimes completely impossible.
    Also, I can relate somewhat to your story about your aunt. Lately my sister has been becoming more deeply involved in religion, and has started to only wear dresses. She says that she is also “considering headcoverings.” Though she is not so deeply indoctrinated as your aunt seems to be, I have been a bit alarmed by my sister’s behavior. She has made comments about wanting to “remember her place in the home,” and has been reading a book about women being created to be their husbands’ helpmeets, which I find completely alarming. While I feel a bit hypocritical sometimes, because I too am submissive to my husband, the idea that my sister might believe that she was put on earth for the purpose of serving her husband scares the bejesus out of me. What I do, I do as a choice. My husband knows and respects that I am actually his equal, although we operate with an imbalance of power by choice. The balance of power can, and obviously does, shift when necessary. I’ve been keeping a close eye on my sister. If this is what she chooses for herself, then fine, but like you, I am concerned about what she may be teaching my neice about her place in the world.
    So, what I’m trying to say is, thanks! I appreciate your thoughtful post.

  2. Mouse

    Though I am bad at making friends online, and even worse at keeping a blog, I do still read- both here and at Life in Motion- and I want to say, sparkle, thank you for a beautiful and impassioned post.
    Most of the female spankos/submissives whose blogs I read consider themselves feminists, meaning they have the right to make whatever choices they want and they’ve chosen this life. That is, in a nutshell, how I identify as well. But it’s rare that I get to read a post focusing so intensely on what feminism really means in that context, on the difference between chosen submission and forced, dogmatic, illogical, impersonal, oppressive hierarchy. Keep it coming!

  3. Lauren

    Sparkle, Rather than seeing this as a rant, I see it as an extremely relevant commentary on issues that all intelligent women with diverse responsibilities and roles have to sort through in our lives. I do not know whether men face the same challenges we do in trying to find balance between different parts of themselves, They somehow do not seem to have the same complicated conflicts, but then not being a man, I only surmise. We women have that burden of conflicting roles for sure.
    I do know I do well, most of the time at least, as a submissive woman in relation to my husband when it is just the two of us, just like when you are alone with Chris. I know that I take my role as a mother as one of supreme importance too. My personal needs cannot be put above those of my children until they are able to be adults in the world. This does mean at times the role as submissive wife and good mother conflict. Putting the teddy in the fridge or not is an easy enough thing to give in on, out of respect for what Dad says. However, on the life altering issues, things are a lot harder. I know of a woman who knows her child should be evaluated for ADHD and probably on meds, but Dad refuses, and she allows him the final say. I know of another who started her 5 yr old in kindergarten at Dad’s insistence, even though she says she knew it was the wrong thing for the child, and tried to convince Dad of that. She is an educator and she knew. A year later the child had to be held back due to immaturity. These are life altering decisions we make, and I am not sure that it is morally acceptable, at least for me, to say that Dad makes the call, and as the obedient wife I will submit. We have obligations to our HOH, but also to the children we mother.
    And then to further complicate things there is the conflict between whom we are in the outside world, and who we are in our home. In my case I am in a dominant position in the business world. When I take my husband to a business dinner, I am the big boss to the man on my left and the submissive wife to the man on my right, my HOH. There are times when I feel I play a fragile balancing act. Many times I can keep multiple balls in the air. When I get tired or stressed, my juggling is not so good!
    It is a complex world we live in, and made more complex when we assume roles that do not easily mesh. To some extent I think it simply is what it is. As modern women, unless we choose to be a full time housewife and at least reduce, if not eliminate, the potential for conflict, we have to navigate carefully, and allow ourselves the room to make choices that may be stressful, and hope to balance the priorities well.
    I have a daughter almost grown. She is 18 and leaving for college. I am dismayed that anyone living as a submissive wife would, as you describe, offer their daughters a solution, a role in life, based on their gender. I guess I consider myself a feminist and a submissive wife. My daughter knows that my husband is the HOH, and makes final decisions. She also knows I run a company, make big decisions and good money, that her Dad and I want her to have all the choices she can. She can be a rocket scientist and/or a stay at home mom, but mostly that she is respected and valued as a person of high capability first, and as a young woman second. In my world that does not conflict with the HOH or DD model.
    You have asked some significant questions and I appreciate your post very much.

  4. Rob

    Sparkle: I have two thoughts on your post. First of all, my family is older (and bigger) than yours and my husband and I are attempting to incorporate discipline/spanking at a time when we have been married rather a long time. On this basis I offer the following. Separating your inner needs (those times when it is just the two of you) from family time is absolutely critical. This in itself requires a lot of discipline and co-operation between the two of you. Children know nothing of this side of their Mum and don’t want to. Compartmentalization of your life into submissive wife and mother is, I think, the only way it can work. To that end, a weekend away as often as possible or some other way to be together alone is vital. Nothing confuses a child more than their Mum suddenly acting “weird”. I have had to pull myself back lately and take a reality check on this, so believe me I understand your problem. Secondly, different parental styles are inevitable, BUT you must be in unison on your decisions, or else it is the chldren who will suffer, and play you off against one another. One day it won’t be about putting the bear in the fridge, it might be about if she is going to accept the rules about partying/keeping in contact/no drugs etc. By all means talk to Chris alone about your thoughts but I learnt the hard way that expressing your difference of opinion in front of the children is not in their interests. It’s really challenging – but I suspect Chris totally gets the conundrum, as does my husband, and if you keep working together, it’s all achievable. As much as I am loathe to admit it, my husband was right about it all the way along – the need to compartmentalize, the need to maintain certain standards of behaviour. We girls offer more touchy, feely stuff and that’s important, but guys like Chris and my husband have a way of seeing the woods through the trees that will see you all through in the long run. At least that’s my gut feel about him. Stay positive. Good luck.

  5. sparkle

    Chris and I worked out the “TB in the refrigerator” issue that night… We’re well aware of the important of not disagreeing in front of the princess. I know how I felt about being the center of attention during an argument or fight, so I think we are careful about that. On the other hand, I think there is some room for children to see parents disagree – our behavior is a model for them and giving them tools for conflict resolution is important too. Observing disagreements (albeit not loud, angry ones which are not constructive problem-solving anyway, and not ones about the children themselves) and their resolution can help kids apply those tools in their own lives.
    I don’t really feel *conflicted* about my roles as mother and submissive. I thought the thesis of this long, drawn-out essay was that a mother’s submissiveness shouldn’t be taught to her children as a way of life, and that I must put aside my natural inclinations while I’m being an active mother to defer to Chris (who in no way is attempting to teach the princess to be submissive or deferential either). In other words, I suppose I’m recognizing the existing parallel roles, not questioning whether they must exist.
    I do agree that we so often read about the fun things in (innsert-your-term) relationships, whether it be in a BDSM or DD context, that the struggles and limits to it get lost in the equation. For certain, looking at spanking pictures can be fun, and reading stories about scenes and spankings can be inspiring, arousing, or titillating – but there’s more to relationships than the beginning or the finished product, particularly when a couple is part of a wider family.
    Now I have to go get the little one dressed, and the dog outside. Thanks for commenting everyone!

  6. Nelle

    Great post. Thanks for expressing this important aspect of balancing kink and motherhood in favor of whats best for the kids. I’ve always wondered what ‘lifestyle’ or 24/7 Ds couples with kids actually mean by those titles- when in reality, for me it would be more like 1.5/3 in otherwords the hour and a half between kids bedtime and passing out ourselves three times a week, if I’m lucky. 🙂
    Thanks for keeping it real.

  7. Nelle

    thinking more on your topic…:)
    I also am ‘in charge’ of the kids more than my husband, though he would consider this (I think)the normal domain of a mother and not a threat to his dominance over me at all. We’ve got quite a big age difference and pretty tradidtional gender roles which works well for us and makes the D/s dynamic quite natural, though of course not for everyone.
    So he does defer to me in terms of what is allowed for the kids for the most part, though I never would contradict him verbally in front of them. I do sometimes give a little shrug or hold up my hand where they can’t see- meaning something like ‘its no big deal’ and that feels respectful while still getting my opinion in. We do generally agree, however and are pretty gentle parents so I haven’t felt the need to be any more forceful than that. Its good for kids I think to know their paretns as different individuals with somewhat different parenting styles and limits.
    I agree that Daddy/child time sans mom is important to let them really get to know and experience eachother and we’ve always made that a priority, including at bedtime. I want them to know that both paretns are equally available and capable, different as we may be.

  8. Natty

    Hey there! I’m so still in catch-up mode and a bit late to the thread, but had a few thoughts.
    “In other words, I suppose I’m recognizing the existing parallel roles, not questioning whether they must exist.”
    Absolutely and I’m really glad you stated that so explicitly. As I read your post, and even more specifically when I read the comments, I kept thinking back to Angie’s recent post about how her identity doesn’t revolve around *being* a submissive. Being in the headspace of a submissive, as delicious as it may be, cannot keep you from raising a daughter with a strong sense of self (though the Princess doesn’t sound like she’s going to have a lot of problems with that ::grin::). The difficulty comes in that the tasks of being a feminist mother and sexually submissive are both domestic tasks, and therefore, can easily intertwine when *it is vital that they remain separate*.
    Also, I think you’re right on about how it’s important for kids to see adults disagreeing and working out that disagreement in appropriate ways. I didn’t grow up with that, but when I moved in with a family from my church when I was in college, I did get to see adults arguing appropriately — which at first made me want to break out the Maalox — and it helped me understand that it was okay to have disagreements. You can disagree and not scream or hit or (insert inappropriate action of your choice).
    Oh, and also agree with you, Rose, about the illusion of spanking life ease that abounds in the spanking blogosphere. Don’t get me wrong, I like living vicariously through other people’s glorious spankings. But I think the blogs that give you the low down on how it really is are far more interesting. Needless to say, I like to write about the real stuff too, even if it may not be very hot.
    This has spurred a few more thoughts, but it would be a bit of a tangent so I’ll write about it over at my blog (hopefully).

  9. Rob

    The family dinner table is a great place for watching adults and children disagreeing appropriately,or inappropriately as the case may be. Heh, we’re of Scottish descent. Drama comes naturally to us!

  10. blue

    Sparkle- I’ve read your fiction in the past and enjoyed it a lot- thanks for posting your thoughts on how it all fits with parenting too. Integrating feminism, motherhood, sexuality and spanking in a way that honors all our aspects is difficult, and is validated and eased a bit by sharing the journey.

  11. sparkle

    Hi everyone!
    I can’t remember what comments I’ve responded to individually, but just wanted to say thank you for the affirmations here :). They actually do make difficult days better.

  12. Cara

    My god it was like reading an run down on my family dynamic. I too am a submissive wife, but not went it comes to my daughter. I teach her to be strong and equal to any one. And after she goes to sleep (and I’ve checked to make sure) I’ll go curl up and be DH’s little sub.


    Would it be okay if I used part of this for an English essay about feminism? My mom was just like your aunt. She in fact has a blog about it, called she has been taking a stand against this way of raising your children and the whole religious aspect of patriarchy. It’s awesome to read your thoughts on the matter. I love your blog too, by the way.

  14. sparkle

    Of course you can quote and credit this blog entry. However, please be aware that it is not academic writing, by any stretch of the imagination.
    Good luck,


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