This week I had some errands to run and to reward the kiddos for being so good during my errands we got milkshakes and went to the playground. Sophia, ever the social butterfly, met a girl that quickly became her newest BFF, and so I was obligated to then become BFF’s with the girl’s mom. (How I ever managed to make friends before Sophia is beyond me.)
Anyway, as my new BFF and I were chatting, the topic of school came up.
She asked, “Do you homeschool?”
I was immediately thinking about the many blog posts, Facebook posts, and articles about negative reactions to homeschooling. Would my new BFF approve? Or would she have snarky, passive-aggressive comments condemning my choice? Or would she be the type to have a full-on tirade about this choice I’ve made for my family? I mean, it’s not like it’s a big secret that we homeschool, but this particular day I didn’t happen to be wearing my “Proud Homeschooling Mom” badge or my “Homeschool Club” t-shirt or my “Super Homeschool Mom” mask and cape.
Because, well… you know, I’m all smooth and low key about it.
I had an initial holding of breath, then with a certain amount of uncertainty as to what to expect I answered:
“Well, yes. Yes, we do.”
She looked at me cautiously, and then, with a frown said, “We kinda homeschool over summer.” Then she proceeded to tell me every reason she couldn’t homeschool; how it just didn’t work for her or family, right now.
It dawned on me that she was afraid I was judging her for not homeschooling. She was trying to justify to me why she had made the choice of the public school system. She wanted me to not think less of her for sending her kids to school every day.
So, here’s the thing. Homeschooling is just one of many, many choices in life. It’s not for everyone. You don’t need to justify to me- or anyone for that matter- why your kids go to school every day. Even if it is GASP! public school. Because guess what? It’s ok.
I mean I graduated from public school and look how awesome I turned out!
Ya know what else?
I wasn’t breastfed, I had 2 working parents and went to daycare, my parents were divorced, most of my meals growing up came out of a box, I watched a ton of TV- almost exclusively crap TV, and I rarely played outside exploring nature.
But I get it.
We are all fighting the Mommy Wars. Breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, homeschooling, organic foods, natural living… there is so much pressure to be some kind of perfect parent.
My question is not “Why do we judge?” My question is “WHY DO WE CARE?”
Why do we care what others think about how we are educating our child(ren)? Why do we care what anyone thinks about anything we’re doing as a parent?
We have to do what is right in our hearts, in our minds, and in our souls. If it feels right to let that baby cry it out, then do it. If you want to breastfeed your child until they’re old enough to stand up on a stool and nurse then do it. If you want to go back to work 1 week after that baby pops out because you love your job or just need the money then do it.
Stop worrying about what these other mommies are doing, thinking, or saying and do what feels right to you. Stop reading these stupid blog posts that tell us how inadequate we are because we don’t feed our children organic kale smoothies and seaweed every day (who touches that stuff anyway?) Stop listening to that mom on the bench behind you who brags to her mommy-friend about working out every day and losing all of her baby weight within 6 weeks of giving birth! (I hate that lady anyway.)
Just be a mom. Be the best damn mom you can be.
Oh, but here’s the kicker: when you’re not being your best, that’s ok too!
Our kids need to see us at our best, but they need to know we have a “worst” too. We are human. We have flaws and bad days and we make mistakes. When our kids see us being human, they know it’s ok for them to be human too. And don’t we want our kids to know it’s ok to be human?
Ultimately, there is already so much unrealistic pressure on us, as moms, to be certain people, do certain things, and pull it all together with amazing style and panache. Why we feel the need to take on the responsibility of others’ opinions of us, is beyond me.
I didn’t say it to my new BFF mom. Despite her title as “BFF”, we’re not really that close. Not close enough for me to say:
Look. It’s ok that you don’t homeschool. I get it. No justification needed. Five children, 2 that are special needs… Girl, you just do your Mom thing. Because you’re awesome.