Wednesday, November 04, 2009

parenting in the dark

okay, so you've heard me talk a lot about 'home schooling' my kids. i say this to everyone. in any given social situation the question arises: where do your kids go to school?

- oh, we homeschool.
- um.. my kids are homeschooled.
- well... they don't really go to school, we ...homeschool.

these are the sentences i use to tell people that i haven't chosen the same thing as them. that i might possibly be weird. (possibly?? come ON, we know that i'm weird!) that at least on some level, i do not agree with "everybody else".
i always hesitate. i always have a pause - from a nano second to a few beats - before i answer the question which is Exactly the way i answer when people ask me how long i nursed my children.

- err, umm. well... two and a half years ...??? (almost a question). then i shrink into my space as a way of apologizing for doing what i wholeheartedly believe to be Good and Right and True and Normal and Natural for my children and my family.

i'm sorry that i didn't accept the status quo. accept my apologies for asking questions about doing things because 'that's the way they've always been done' and a bunch of random not-so-fine people merrily confess to having had/done all this stuff and 'turned out just fine'.

i apologize because:

my son has an Intact penis.
my children have not been vaccinated
they slept in bed us.
yes, we actually still all sleep in the same Room (grimace.)
i not only gave my children my own human milk but we also practiced 'extended' nursing.
reading and math? jeez no, sorry i am letting them play ... a lot! as much as they want. (kinda all the time really - double grimace)

and yes, sorry i homeschool.

no. that's a lie. i unschool. (holding my breath waiting for the attack...)

so. why so apologetic? i Do Not Know. is i that i feel bad for people who might be offended that i appear to be judging their choices because i made different ones?

why yes. yes, actually. that's it!

and while it's true that there was a time when i did judge people who didn't breastfeed (sorry!), or people who seemed to me to be making uninformed choices, or people who i thought were 'torturing' their children by sending them to a school they children obviously hate, or whatever. it's true. i did.

thankfully, however, i have let go of my need for rightness, superiority, better-than-you-ness. (bye-bye, complex!) (c'mon. cut me some slack here, i am admitting to some horrible things and admitting to letting them go!) .... (well, for the most part anyway)

processing this out loud now i am realising that i don't want people to think that my decision to do The Other; the strange; the completely un-thought-of, the rarely witnessed is not a way for me to say that i think their choices are bad. so who says it's that much about Me, anyway? you want to know what's Actually about me? stuff that's has to do with me. (NO!!!!) if people are walking away wondering what kind of commentary on their life my life is - that's about Them - Not Me. and they may need to wave goodbye to their complex too.

this means that i don't have to keep parenting in the closet. being sheepish about doing what i deeply believe to be good and right and true for my family. i can Unapologetically carry on staying home (rather, going OUT) with my children, having a blast, witnessing them grow into and out of their beings every day. maybe they won't be "normal" adults.

but neither am i. and i really like that about myself.

what's so great about 'normal' anyway (whatever the hell that is)?

actually, i know that i am equipping them to find their own way and to decide what is good for them. what kind of reality they will weave for themselves. what kind of normal or weird works best for them. even This is not about me. ...ultimately, anyway.

i'm turning the lights on and i'm saying out loud:

i am Different and i'm Proud!

(ahem... now i just gotta tell my parents what i really mean when i say i'm "home schooling").

No comments: