The lessons of parenthood in the network culture

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014
Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

2014 Winter Edition of Banana Moments: Family Business Quarterly

In a recent Newsweek article contributing editor at New York Magazine, Jennifer Senior, traveled the country to observe why parents make themselves unhappy and drive themselves crazy to raise smart, happy kids.  According to the report, her book, All Joy and No Fun, chronicles why mothers can’t relax and why neuroscience offers better child-rearing advice than any parenting manual.

The article frames the modern circumstances of parenting as complicated by careers competing for time and attention, i.e.,  more women in the workforce since the 1980’s and the “office in the pocket” where we are connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week to matters of the workplace.

While it can be said that the parents of previous generations would recognize some of the parenting concerns of our time (power and control issues), there remains the fact that every generation is faced with a different set of circumstances involving innovation (for example, what would parenting be like today without the automobile?) and that a reasonably happy parenthood remains a challenge that requires individuals to engage with a heart and mind willing to learn how to express discipline as love language for you and your child.

And yet common parenting thought leadership does not consider the parent to be the one who is learning.

Jenny Sulpizio, author of Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe (2013)

Jenny Sulpizio, author of Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe (2013) – Photo: Courtesy

In this regard, Jenny Lee Sulpizio, a mom of three young children wrote a book, Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time (2013), because she felt incredible pressure to be the perfect modern mother – involving multi-tasking and over demanding schedules, and she knew she was not alone. This book is a confession of her “wonder woman wannabe” desires, and the realization that responding to the influences and expectations for the “perfect mom” requires most of all taming expectations and emotions around the pursuit of perfection, so that you can be patient and present with your children.

It also requires the mom to recognize where her role models come from. “Remember, girls: God didn’t create Wonder Woman; our culture did,” she writes (p. 18).

Knowing that moms are facing a tsunami of pressure to conform to the “wonder woman” image (think Whirlpool commercials with Kelly Ripa in the video below), Sulpizio’s book offers many tips and insights gained from her personal struggle to let go of unrealistic “wonder woman” expectations of herself.  After all, her children see her as “super mom” even if the toilets are not cleaned or the dinner is not perfectly prepared.

“I wrote this book because we [modern moms] need to extend grace for ourselves,” she said. “There has to be that grace to give yourself a break, otherwise when I fail it makes it that much more difficult.”

One of the major strategies that Sulpizio uses to check her perfectionist tendencies that stir anxiety is prayer. “I have found that it is so important to step back, out of the crazed moment and go to prayer. Be present in the moment with God and not let the emotions be in control,” she said.

I appreciated Sulpizio’s book because it expresses how she has applied her faith to experience and explore her motherhood with some measure of peace and grace. To assure the struggling parent they are not alone, Sulpizio shares her least proud mama moments, which include:  spending more money at the grocery store with coupons than without them; taking a photo of her son’s bruised face after a spill in a compulsive shutterbug act to capture every moment for posterity; consulting the internet about her child’s ailment causing more worry about diseases he didn’t have;  and disclosing the over-stuffed contents of her “wonder woman” handbag filled with kids toys, a worn out wallet, cheap sunglasses, tampons and pads, half eaten granola bars, sand and crumpled receipts from the grocery store – but mostly it was full of kids toys (Spiderman, slinky, stickers, old, partially eaten lollipops, etc.).

And so it goes. We are all learning executives in a free society, and I have come to appreciate parenthood as lessons about God’s love for us and our children.

Accordingly, this 2014 winter edition of Banana Moments Family Business Quarterly features the practical value of virtues that enable us to be trustworthy as parents and children; the importance of mentors for parents as well as youth; how confusing worry with caring is a dangerous thing;  a simple way to help very young children cope with anxiety; and some thoughts about how taking charge of your own mind makes it possible to behold your own beauty and set aside the unjust criticism of the world.


 2014 Winter Edition of Family Business Quarterly


 Banana Moments is now Banana Moments Foundation (BMF)

 On January 10, 2014, Banana Moments became incorporated as a non-profit charity devoted to mentoring and training parents to govern cyber-powered homes.  We are in the application process for tax exemption at the federal and state levels, and expect to be ready to receive donations and sponsorships in the spring or summer.

Check out the Banana Moments Foundation YouTube Channel


BMF introduces: Fresh Start training for parents to build a “cyber-secure” family culture rooted in good faith. The first classes are sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, Wednesday evenings March 12 through April 16.

Fresh Start Mock UpWhether you are just starting family life with infants and small children, or you are a seasoned parent with teenagers and young adults, or a blend of the two, it is never too early or late to get a fresh start. So we all know that the internet and mobile phones are a game changer for parenting and family life. And sometimes we just need to hit the “reset button” in order to clear out all of the corrupting messages of the untruth in the network culture, and transform our family life into a liberating experience that reaps the benefits of technology. There is an opportunity to form deep, rich parent-child bonds in this environment that conditions youth for authority as a relational experience, rather than a matter of structure or position.

  • Week 1— Wednesday March, 12, 2014—6:30 to 7:30pm – The impact of the network culture on the parent-child relationship
  • Week 2—Wedenesday March, 19, 2014—6:30 to 7:30pm – Family culture and the security of your child (includes a cyber safety plan)
  • Week 3—Wednesday March, 26, 2014—6:30 to 7:30pm –  Parental control and child empowerment: Are they compatible?
  • Week 4—Wednesday , April 2, 2014—6:30 to 7:30pm – How to foster open communication with the cyber-powered child
  • Week 5—Wednesday, April 9, 2014—6:30 to 7:30pm – Anatomy of a parent’s heart and motivating your child
  • Week 6—Wednesday, April 16, 2014—6:30 to 7:30pm – Final products: family motto, family creed, house rules and family-approved app list



Introducing a parenting ministry for the modern family

In February, a new ministry for the modern parent was launched at St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church in Granite Bay, California. The ministry is founded with the primary objective to encourage and inspire parents of all faiths to govern their cyber-powered homes with peace of mind and confidence that comes from our God-given authority to worship as we please. Accordingly this ministry will help parents understand how technology conditions children for authority differently, and the new demands to govern the home with certain authority and address the risky ideas, activities and connections that lead to anxiety, addiction, exploitation, and distracted living. While this ministry is ecumenical, inter-faith friendly and open to the public, it will also offer events that support for parents to apply their Catholic faith in ways that strengthen the relationship with God and their children.

Read more about this ministry: Redefining the parent-child relationship _ The Press Tribune Newspaper


 Joanna recommends


Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show 103.9FM  started a blog called, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens

Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show 103.9FM started a blog called, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens

The universal blessings of living a life in recovery 

Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show, launched new blog about addiction-free living called “Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens”.  This blog is beautifully written and passionate about the value of personal accountability to God and self as a path for restoring and nurturing relationships. The life lessons Jodie shares resonate for parents and children alike.

What most people do not realize is that individuals “in recovery” from chemical or other addiction (such as video games and porn), are living the honesty and trustworthiness we all seek in relationships at home, in the community and at work.

Jodie paints a magnificent, practical portrait of this honesty which can prove helpful for parents who may not yet realize where they lack the authenticity our children seek now more than ever. If you are having challenges connecting with family members, check out Jodie’s blog. You may find inspiration to close the gap with your teen and/or your spouse.


January 2014 Round Up

Cyber Safety for Kids and Families with Jodie and Joanna on The Fish Family Morning Show 103.9FM

Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner




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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.