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

Andrei Octavian Pop apop at fas.harvard.edu
Wed Dec 6 13:36:25 EST 2006

Dear Kara,

I and my wife are hopeful future Harvard parents; though we have no 
practical information to share at this point, I have found the list both 
informative and emotionally reassuring, and wanted to add a voice in 
testament to the list's value for 'non-normative parents' in the 
community. To everyone: keep up the good work, and the sense of solidarity 
(and practical planning/advice) is much appreciated.

Andrei Pop
graduate student in FAS

On Wed, 6 Dec 2006, Kara Swanson wrote:

> 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.
> Cheers,
> Kara
> **********************************
> 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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