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.

 

346,141 thoughts on “No Shame”

  1. …männ huvarnénudÃ¥ skö dä vära Zaab ell Boforz…. jeg bli tokÃ¥t dÃ¥ jeg int fo nan riktig´n vägldning tÃ¥ storledarn i stavarseförbättringshärrva??Ã… förrest´n het han int Ztefan nu dÃ¥?

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  5. Diane, FSA was never tied to the Gulen movement – despite how hard they tried.And why you wonder why Turkish folks run so many charters, I wonder how so many incompetent boards and superintendents end up running traditional public schools. Track record in Georgia is abysmal – 67.4% graduation rate.

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  7. It’s always so interesting how the stone world works to help humans. They are very sincere and genuine. It appears the selenite is seeking to assist you as best it knows how. Given the physical change, you might consider helping it out by acquiring a piece of blue kyanite. They work well together in helping to clear and align energy fields, and the blue kyanite would give the selenite an energy boost. You also should be sure to give the stones some r&r – a day’s rest once a week would be good, placing them in the sunlight or moonlight to re-energize them.

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  10.  ( 2012.02.12 19:42 ) : Have you wondered who posts some of this stuff that you come across? Honestly the internet had been like a different position, except that recently it has become better. What are your thoughts?

  11. Valid point. I actually point a lot of my students to Justin’s site, since I think he’s a fantastic teacher, and can reinforce what I’m teaching them, but the downside is that Justin can’t see what you’re doing to correct any faults, or just give you one to one advice and encouragement. There’s room for both. It’s a great thing Justin has been doing for years now, and especially for people who can’t afford lessons, but don’t? discount private lessons, they have their place too.

  12. I feel this way when the subway trains suddenly go express, or the 7 doesn’t run to Queens. Luckily there’s no one on the trains to yell at, usually (no one that I can actually blame that is). So I just yell at the MTA in my mind.Have I become an angry New Yorker?

  13. Anyone got any recommendations for books on bureaucratic politics? I'm working my way through Halperin's Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy at the moment. So far it is pretty inline with the Moldbuggian view of State Dept. vs the Military.

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  15. It is a sad commentary that we cannot control the number of guns on the street. Too many innocent people are losing their lives to homicides and many will go unsolved. I was saddened at the passing of Jamiel Shaw, a 17-year athlete from the Crenshaw area. He was killed by members of a gang who asked him who he was. That is really sad. America is supposed to be the greatest country in the world and we cannot get a handle on crime.www.blackpoliticalthought.com

  16. i would like to here about who you can talk and relate to since you are a pk and noboby could realy understand that you are expected to live a step above the rest and well somtimes i can’t do that , and since [in my case ] everyone comes to you for help and you realy don’t have anyperson that you can talk to. and like if i had a problem in my famliey i could not tell anyone cause they would think bad of my dad or just ….. u know?

  17. I have heard Rasheeda and K.Michele’s mucis before K.Michele can sing her behind off!….I am not looking forward to watching this however….I think I am over the drama and the cliche’s etc…especially with Stevie J blatantly cheating on his wife on the show…like I cant with that…he has his wife and mistress on the show!!!! how rude, I already know what I know about this show and I am done before it started!

  18. January 21, 2010 at 2:24 pmGood post, I thought I read somewhere about writing in five minutes, but I like this one better. I really need to get better at getting my thoughts out at once. .-= Mike Key – Entrepreneurial Ninja´s last blog ..Learning To Get Outside Your Comfort Zone =-. Reply

  19. Lieve Ivania. Ik ben zo blij met jou! De teksten die je schrijft, maar ook de interviews die je doet zijn heel erg fijn. Je laat mensen uitpraten en zorgt voor een interessant gesprek! Het is duidelijk te zien dat je een journalistieke opleiding doet. Ik hoop dat je ooit editor bent voor een mooi tijdschrift als Self Service of Gentlewoman of iets dergelijks, want ik wil graag mooie lange interviews van jou hand lezen! En je blog is ook fantastisch. Een van m'n favorieten!Groetjes!

  20. Dobrý den,v červnu jsem dávala písemnou přihlášku do tanečního kroužku a dodnes nám nikdo nedal vědět.O kroužek máme velký zájem.Dcera se jmenuje Keričová Nela,je jí3.5let.Není možné,že by se přihláška ztratila,jak se stěhujete do nových prostor?Děkuji Martina Jará

  21. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  22. Such a timely reminder that changing times require different approaches. I can’t believe how many people I see who keep doing the same thing over and over again (because it worked once) and not understanding at all why it isn’t working now.Taking the time to assess the situation before jumping into action is always a good move…

  23. Im looking forward to buying the book once its available in print on amazon.co.uk. As a recently qualified clinical psychologist, working in a busy, extremely underresourced mental health team, I read your blog regularly and find it insightful, clearly explained, helpful and very interesting-reading it is quite a treat. Well done on continuing on and acheiving despite past rejection-its something we are always trying to encourage our clients to do but sometimes forget how hard it is to do ourselves.Enjoy your success!!Sarah

  24. If MWP is amnestied do the Lakers get their mid level exception back? Lakers have an unbalanced roster. 4 PG’s, 1 combo guard, 1 SG, 1 SF, 2 Centers. And no one in the current rotation is an athlete. Still think the Lakers need to try and make a move to get a perimeter athlete.

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  26. Hello Trent. Just read The Business of Death Trilogy.had read books one and two. but not book three.for some reason.was glad to pick the trail up again after so long.forgotton who much enjoyed reading your novels.cannot wait for book four. wonder how Lissa will get on.and do doubt will be a tale to tell of Steven.. keep up the good work. only sorry live in bungay suffolk England.so cannot see you at your talks and signings. mike

  27. What if you've previously uploaded a video that was too long at the time but would be fine now? I have one that still shows up in my video list, does that mean it can be enabled now? Or is that just a placeholder?

  28. The famous Grouse only became famous because Margaret Tatcher offered it at her parties.The Black Grouse has only recently appeared on shelves of supermarts and had to be looked for – hardly to be found in an off-licence.Red and Black Labels are not in the same league in taste or price. The Red one gives me a frightful headache.I now do Glenmorangie – Astar, -Ruban and Nectar d’Or in that order of preference.

  29. Oh tiens mes Uggs de mariage !^_^Et oui, je l’ai fait. J’ai gardé mes escarpins jusqu’à 21h. Et là, au moment de passer à table, j’en ENFIN enfilé mes uggs à paillettes argentées. Quelle sensation Mer-veil-leuse! Mes pieds étaient aussi heureux que moi. J’ai pu rester debout jusqu’à 5h30 du mat, danser, danser, courir, sauter, danser, sans que mes pieds ne crient grâce. Si j’avais eu des talons, j’aurai passé mon temps à chercher une chaise. Tout ça pour 6 cm…. pff!! Je ne l’ai pas regretté une seule seconde !

  30. that mortgage servicers may too come knocking on the Fed’s window for financial support, thanks to the housing bill just passed by Congress.Can we start a business that’s window accessible as well.

  31. this is the first time im not satisfied with ur decision for the Valentine Card contest. There are much more deserving entries than the winners, im not talking about my entry only, others were also good, like one of smritikhanna. Anyways its u ppl tat decide winners, no offence intended, just not satisfied.

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  33. con esa edad y esa bokita gus…xD ntc, x dios tatiana (q probablement no c va a volvr a metr a esta pagina):1. jenifer a. es d las actrics mas reconocidas d hollywood,2. si a alguien le gusta algo q a ti no, no es patetico, tu al pensarlo si, BRUJA AMARGADA!!!

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