Rebel Heart | Parent Shaming | Kids On Boats ~ My Essay on HuffPost

My essay is up today on HuffPost. A piece I wrote in response to Caroline Van Hemert's recent article in The New York Times about sailing Alaska's Inside Passage with toddlers as crew.

During our rescue at sea five years ago, the media and social media had a lot to say about mine and Eric's parenting. It took me five years to write the manuscript for my book about what happened aboard Rebel Heart and I'm ready to share our story and add my own voice to the narrative this time.

Please feel free to share widely and broadly. (Social sharing links below).

"...modern parenting is a lose-lose scenario, where families who choose to raise children in the supposed safety of suburbia face criticism for overprotecting their offspring, and parents like Van Hemert and myself are accused of reckless endangerment. Our culture has decided to judge parents no matter what..

My husband and I are not bad parents, and I am not here to apologize. We also aren’t “good parents who made a bad choice” by sailing with our kids. Like Van Hemert and most sailing families, we were and are deeply engaged in our parenting. We were well-prepared and experienced sailors, who had a vessel full of redundancies, and when a cascading series of events took out all of our options save one, that fail-safe worked...

I am calling for an end to the sanctimonious handwringing about children’s safety when it comes to lifestyles different than our own. Enough with the false proclamations that mainstream American life is the default and safest option for raising families."

Originally posted on my Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charlottekaufman.writer/posts/2356986151024211


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Goodies for the Girls - Handmade gifts for the drive to Mammoth

{ This post was written on August 10, 2016 but is just now being published. }

I had been thinking about some gifts to make for the girls for the long car ride up to Mammoth and as a way for them to be happy and excited about the move. We bought them some new coloring and activity books and I squirreled them away until I could also make some colored pencil rolls to accompany the new books.

My plan was to make just enough for me, the girls, and a few more as gifts for the realtor, lender, and escrow agent that helped us buy the house in Mammoth. As I posted my progress pictures online though, friends inquired about buying some as well. So days before moving, I was also taking orders for Sew, Sew, Sew Your Boat. #ProblemsYouWantToHave

I listen to a lot of   Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me   while I sew.

I listen to a lot of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me while I sew.

So pretty! These hold up to 36 colored pencils, or gel pens, or whatever you want to put in them. I got the girls new gel pens for the drive. 

This fabric turned out two kitty plushies. They were just small enough to fit in the little bags I was making for each girl. I used fabric markers to write their names.

Next up were these Japanese knot bags. The concept is thus: You make one strap of the bag longer than the other in order to knot the longer one under the shorter, effectively closing the bag while you carry it without any hardware.

I had enough fabric from the Out to Sea quilts I'm making the girls to make Cora a pink bag and Lyra a blue one. I definitely wanted one for myself, and I thought my friend Mele Sato might like one as well, so I made two exactly the same for me and her. Ours were made from remaining fabric from the Starlight Quilt and some gorgeous, orange, organic fabric I'd had in my stash for forever.

Mele helped me to photograph and model them. She also painted the girls toenails while I finished up this project. Thank you, Mele. We love you.

This wasn't the first time I've spent sewing last minute before a tremendous move. I asked myself several times why I was spending so much precious moving, packing, and saying-goodbye time on sewing instead. After some reflection, I came up with two answers. The first is that sewing relaxes me. Similar to weight lifting, I find it meditative. In the midst of chaos, I can sit in front of a machine and focus on creating. Making these things for the girls and for clients, actually helped the move be less stressful.

The second reason is probably a bit of residual scarring from the loss of Rebel Heart at sea. I similarly spent a lot of time sewing and creating right before we left. 

There were the cockpit organizers, both for our shoes, and see those awesome canvas bags on either side of the seats in the second photo? So handy. So rad.

There were the sacrificial covers I made for my fave cockpit chair (a Thermarest folded up in a seated position), and the covers for the hydrovane.

I made a beautiful, large bag to hold Lyra's booster seat from some butter yellow Sunbrella I'd been hoarding. And I took one of our laundry bags and converted it into a bag for her little table. The remainder of that laundry bag was turned into a drawstring bag to hold loose toys in their berth.

There was everything I did for their berth. The organizers I hung, the baskets, the sheets and bedding. Oh those glorious sheets. Do you remember them, dear readers? Remember all the little children of the world on them?

Once the colored pencils rolls, the kitty plushies, and the Japanese knot bags were finished, I assembled all the goodies together. There were turtle plushies, coloring & work books, stickers, and blank art books too.

As I prepared everything for them to see I couldn't help but remember how I had meticulously packed little gifts and activities for the long crossing of the Pacific and for the time we had planned to spend in the Pacific. Maybe part of spending so much time on these gifts was a way to assuage the pain of the work and care I had lost at sea.

Tomorrow is our last full day in San Diego. I plan to give the girls their gifts tomorrow so they have something to occupy them as we pack up the house around them. I'll update on how they liked everything. We leave in TWO days!