[Parentsgroup-list] Older parents/Parents of older children

Kara Swanson kswanson at fas.harvard.edu
Wed Dec 6 09:56:00 EST 2006

Dear All,

First all, as has been said before, any Harvard student controls their 
own list subscriptions.  Follow the link at the end of any listserv 
message to manage your account and take yourself off.  Also, you get a 
monthly reminder of your list memberships, which also tells you how to 
unsubscribe.  No other student can take you off, and emailing the whole 
list doesn't help.

It is of course, very appropriate and useful to let the list know how it 
isn't meeting your needs.  So I did want to address Huazhang's message 
and advocate for the value of this organization for all sorts of parents. 

I've been a member of this group since its inception (although not a 
founding organizer).  I have two girls, who are now 6 and 9.  As a 
mother of school age children, I am well aware that I am outside not 
only the general demographic of Harvard grad students, but the majority 
of Harvard student parents, who tend to have kids in the 0-5 range.  
(Although those kids do have a way of growing up.  When I started, and 
there was no grad student parent group, I was the mother of  a 3 year 
old and a 6 year old).  That said, one of the founders of this group is 
the mother of a middle school student, and I know there are other 
parents out there with kids the age of mine and older -- including 
college age.  The questions of time allocation, financial strains, and 
quality childcare are something we all have experience with and can 
advocate for in common, even if, for example, my issue is after-school 
sitting, and vacation day camps, rather than a nanny.  The issue of 
being an older student in a sea of seemingly endless 22 year olds is 
also a common link for us, no matter how old our children are.  We all 
probably struggle with making friends, juggling work and home life, and 
attending evening and weekend events when we have both different family 
obligations that the childless, and feel a little too old and/or too 
partnered to join grad student bashes or Dudley House parties.

And even as our needs are different, this group is what we make of it -- 
I hope we will all work to shape it to support parents of all ages, 
types, schools, partner-status, etc.  I may not be struggling with 
breastfeeding any more or looking for ways to entertain a toddler, but I 
do have experience with Cambridge-based day cares I can share, plus a 
few  boxes of nursing gear I should probably pass along some day.  And I 
can benefit by the research some of the new parents among us are doing 
on local pediatricians, and let others know that in a few years, when 
they are kindergarteners, your toddlers might enjoy the (cheap!) milk 
and cookies matinees the Harvard/Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan players 
hold once each semester.  Those of you who have high school and college 
age kids -- I would love to draw on your experience with parenting 
adolescents as my kids grow.  The issues of sleep away camp, cell phone 
usage, text messaging are are lurking my not-too-distant parenting future.

So as I am sorry that Huazhang and Xiajuan are giving up on us (and I 
fully support the decision to let some organizations/listserves go as we 
all struggle to do too much), I wanted to shout out to those parents of 
older kids who remain and express my hope that we will continue to make 
this group useful to parents of all stripes.



Kara W. Swanson, B.S., M.A., J.D.
Ph.D. Candidate
History of Science 
Harvard University 
Science Center 371
Cambridge, MA 02138
kswanson at fas.harvard.edu

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