No Shame

 

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I think we all begin our motherhood journey with an idea of what will define our parenting. At least I did. Either that, or something snatches your attention and your heart along the way and you think to yourself, “yes! I like that!” This absolutely happened for me, and it happened though a beautiful book called Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. When I became a mother I knew that I wanted the kind of childhood for my babies that I had. Lots of outdoor time, family trips to the beach and to Eastern Oregon, siblings to play with, and slow easy summers. And Disneyland! Let us never forget Disneyland. But somewhere along the way I started to read about an old, intentional, slow kind of child-rearing. About not beginning formal education until a child is seven, starting every day with at least an hour of outdoor play time, singing and crafting your way through the day, and fairy tale magic. I got turned on to Waldorf education. And immediately I was mesmerized by the images of these woolen clad, rosy cheeked children playing peacefully with wooden toys and prancing with play silks through meadows. “That!” I thought. “That is how I want my children to grow up”. So I bought the play silks. And then when my daughter was old enough I bought white silks so we could dye them ourselves. And I bought her a wooden doll cradle and a little stuffed Waldorf doll and went for the wooden play kitchen instead of the plastic one. We read sweet, gentle stories and picked apples and made jam. And some of that…SOME of that…was absolutely wonderful. We still do a lot of those things. But time and time again I felt like a phony mom trying to live some lifestyle that wasn’t really me.  When I was pregnant with our son I started off the baby registry with only the most simply wooden toys, all organic clothing and linens, and none of the extra “stuff”. And then I started remembering back four years prior to having my daughter as an infant…and things like pacifiers and musical mobiles and a vibrating bouncy chair snuck their way in. And before I knew it, we were ready for baby boy with a lot of natural, organic, beautiful baby items in his nursery…and some really convenient plastic things too.  And this is how I have tried to parent, with each hand in a seemingly opposing stream of parenting not feeling like I was genuinely anything.

Fast forward to last week. The beginning of my four days long turmoil that ended in an epiphany about 2.5 seconds before I started writing this post. Thursday of last week I was 99% certain that we would be sending our daughter to a local kindergarten through 6th grade Waldorf School. The “day in the kindergarten” experience that we had attended was absolutely wonderful and my daughter had not stopped talking about how excited she was to go to that school. Despite the relatively long drive and private school tuition, the whole thing felt good. Not perfect, but good. And then I had our intake interview. I knew all the questions to expect. What was our daughter’s birth like? How is her temperament? Has she been exposed to media? Does she participate in any extracurricular activities? I can tell you that the last two questions are posed with a specific answer in mind. The Waldorf way is specific and intentional and doesn’t just involve the child’s life at school. This sweet kindergarten teacher wanted me to say “no, our daughter does not watch tv or movies”. But I didn’t say “no”. I answered honestly. Yes, we have parented our children with exposure to tv and movies and the occasional game on a tablet or laptop. We have all been to Disneyland as a family and we don’t think that Disney is the equivalent of The Devil. And yes, our 5 year old has taken swim lessons, dance, and gymnastics. She does not live the perfect Waldorf home life, and up until that very moment I had been very comfortable with that. But as I said “yes” to the media question, I watched the woman visibly cringe and I simultaneously felt myself shrink. Yep. You heard that right. I allowed her to shame me. The rest of the interview was rushed and blurred because a certain 1 year old had just about had it with not having Mama’s undivided attention, so we scheduled a time for me to come back with fill out paperwork with the admonition that “there is a media free policy at the school as long as she is in attendance”. I drove home stewing. I cleaned the house and did my workout and put my babies to bed and did all of my normal stuff….stewing. Here’s the thing. If I was convicted that watching a little tv here and there was seriously detrimental to my daughter I would have taken it away already. But that’s just not my conviction. It might be yours, and I embrace and applaud that. You might also think that cloth diapering is a complete waste of time, or that Popcicles are going to rot your kids’ teeth. (They might…we just brush really well after.) The point is, my husband and I have been very sure to parent based on education and conviction about what is best for our children as individuals. So if we had decided together that our daughter attending this school was absolutely worth some sacrifices, the one thing that I could not sacrifice was my dignity. Because I am a good mom. And nothing is worth me sending my little girl to a school that will be expecting our family to fit a perfect mold so that every time we walk through that gate I have to pretend to be something that I’m not. You and I are all products of our choices and our convictions, but chances are there are too many things that you care deeply enough about to make it all work the way you want it. I’m right there with you. There are a lot of things that I want for my kids that don’t get to happen because other priorities are greater. Like this school. I adore Waldorf pedagogy. I think it is beautiful and artistic and brilliantly aligned with childhood development. But I don’t agree with all of its other tenants. And more than I love the idea of my kids going to Waldorf school, I love the idea of them going to a fantastic public school where the message will be that everyone belongs and everyone is accepted.

God didn’t give my children to a mom who loves to bake. He didn’t send their beautiful souls to a seamstress, a mathematician, or to a morning person. He did send them to a woman who is learning to be brave but will fight tooth and nail to make sure that they feel honored and accepted. He sent them to a mom who loves toys more than they do, adores Disney, and despite being an otherwise horrible baker can actually produce a perfect chocolate chip cookie… and then run it off later with joy. When I texted my husband earlier that I had stumbled upon this “ah ha” moment, I simply said “If God wanted the kids to go to Waldorf school and be raised in the way that entails, then He would have sent them to a Waldorf family”. His response was absolutely perfect. “Yep, and we’re the best parents that we can be. And I’m damn proud of the parents that we are.” I am too, My Love.

The shame that I allowed that teacher to put on me is gone. I’m just a normal mom, doing the best I can with the greatest job I’ll ever do. So are you. And we’re doing a pretty damn good job.

 

353,443 thoughts on “No Shame”

  1. I do realize the “concentrate on core values” business theme wherein a casino concentrates its resources on a casino, not on a hip, trendy nightclub, but by outsourcing too much the Casino will eventually see the drop decline and might not even know thats its due to disgruntled clubbers who didn’t like being reemed for tips all the time.

  2. Your words never cease to amaze me Aidan. You are brave every day. Real every day. Strong every day. You know who you are better than anyone I know. And knowing who you are and who you want to be is more important than anything. I think it’s what I struggle with most. i have this fight inside of me of who I am, who I want to be and who I think I should be. I grapple with it far too often. But you’ve got a strong hold on it. Don’t let it go.xo

  3. « Le problème est que Zemmour hatise les haines »Ca ne serait pas un probleme si c’etait faux, il suffirait de lui montrer, chiffres a l’appui, qu’il a tort et hop. Fini.Le probleme est que ce qu’il dit est vrai et que la réalité de la délinquance attise la haine toute seule, et face a ce fait embarrassant, on est tenté de tuer le messager.

  4. quiero su ayuda!! mi bebe de 18meses no habla, claro dice sus garabatos y muy pocas palabras ‘papa, agua, mama’ pero me preocupa mucho. ya hable con su pedriatra y solo me dijo que esperara hasta que cumpiera sus 24 meses. Ustedes que me recomiendan? unos consejitos no me caeran mal.. Saludos!

  5. きりんさん、こんにちは相談を読んでみた印象は、息子さんはパワーを持て余しているように感じました。その発散の方向が残念なほうにいっていると感じました。私の同級生(次男)で、それはもうやんちゃで、手の付けられない男の子がいて親も困っていましたが、柔道を習い始めてから少し変わりました。熱中できることを見つけたのもありますが、相手を敬う事や礼儀を身に着けたのもあるかと思います。また体を動かすことで、パワーが発散されたようです。その同級生はお兄さんに劣等感を抱いていたのが、原因だと思います。親も長男に期待してましたから。息子さんは、悪がきグループの筆頭と思われているようですが、方向性を変えればリーダーシップを取れるしっかり者になれると思いますし、お母さんの隙をついてお金を大胆に持って行くところも、他の人には思い浮かばないようなアイディアで世の中をあっと言わせる方向に変えれればと思います。環境を整えてあげるのが親のつとめかと思いますから、本人がコレというものを見つけるまで、いろんなスポーツを習わせたり(ダンスも流行ってますね)、サマープログラムに参加させてはどうでしょうか。あと、息子さんが「俺のこと信じてくれないんや」について。実際にモノを盗んでいるわけですからね。「一度失った信頼は、なかなか取り戻せない」「信頼を自分からなくすことをした」ということを重々教えてみてください。オオカミ少年の童話もありますよね。それがどんなけ自分に不幸を招くか、将来の為にもここで言っておくことをおすすめします。また、同時にご両親もそのことは失望したけれど、息子さんを愛していること、これからに期待していることをお話ししておくといいと思います。日頃から、スキンシップってとられてますか?どこかで、言葉にしなくとも、それだけで愛情が伝わるし、心が落ち着くということを聞いたことがあります。反抗期でしょうし、年齢も微妙なので「触るなババァ」とか言われてしまうかもしれないですけど(笑。そっと背中を撫でたりとかね、疲れたときは耳を揉むといいらしいとか言って触ったりね、そういう触れ合いも大切かなと思いました。子育ては大変ですよね。正解はないものですし。息子さんが立派な青年になるといいですね!

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  7. Ach ja Irland….. Die fish ´n chips in einem Hafen in Mayo waren köstlich, wenn auch ein klein wenig fett und etwas viel, wir schafften zu dritt keine 2 Portionen. Manches koche ich zu Hause nie, zB. Pommes, gelingen im Gasthaus des Vertrauens einfach besser. Wenn schon, würd ich sie zuhause im Backrohr machen.

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