Thursday, October 24, 2013

Raising Kids

   There is a lot of judgement out there about how a person should raise kids. I say 'judgement' instead of 'opinion' because this is what I am talking about -- there are a lot of people out there who like to point fingers and tout their methods above other people's methods; basically claiming that their method is better and anyone who doesn't use this method is a sub-par parent.
   I want to be clear on one thing -- I have a lot of opinions, and I am vocal in this blog about the way I raise my daughter, but I hope I never come across as judgmental, because that has never been my intention. If you do something differently than me, I don't think you are doing things 'wrong'. I just think you are different. But God forbid that we all be different; aren't we supposed to be cookie-cutter images of each other? This can't be! We can't be different! (Cue the dramatic music here please.)
    Seems to be the prevalent opinion these days. I know that as parents, your methods have been attacked, your decisions have been second guessed, and all I am saying is that if you are anything like me, you are getting a little tired of having to defend yourself to people who are not an integral part of your life -- as if these people had business butting into your business.
    Some of the many things I have been attacked about: well as always there is the working mom bit. I have absolutely nothing against stay-at-home moms. Many of my best friends, whom I have had friendships with since childhood, are stay-at-home moms, and I have the deepest respect for them. But I can't do this. Besides the whole 'I'm the sole income' bit; I have suffered from very severe economic abuse from my ex-significant other. Try not working when at one time, you have had to beg and plead for even sanitary items. I have panic attacks when I have no income. I NEED to be able to buy my own things; I am never gonna be able to be a stay-at-home mom again; I don't think I would stay sane. But of course, other people have other reasons and other influences, other needs, and I don't look at these people with any kind of judgment; diversity is a beautiful thing. But no -- my child is NOT suffering because I work. She knows that I love and support her 100%; I volunteer at her school; I talk to her every day about her day and help with homework; we have quality time together.
   Another thing I often get attacked about is her education. Yes -- I send my daughter to a public school. A lot of people expect me to say this with shame, which I refuse to do. My daughter is doing very well in school; she in in advanced classes. Yes, there has been problems with bullying in schools; and my daughter is in self defense classes; I have taught her that she should stand up for herself and that I will always stand up for her. Last year, a girl was picking on her and she told me about the incidents. Outraged, I wanted to call the school; I wanted this to never happen again. My itchy trigger finger was on the call button of the phone, but my daughter stopped me and insisted I let her handle this. After a few days, she informed me that the girl and herself were now friends. Seems she handled bullying better than I would have.
    Furthermore, in no way am I what I would consider a good teacher. Yes, of morals and ethics and beliefs, no to text book math. I had to get help from my daughter's teacher so that I could help my daughter with her homework, an amusing experience, but one that firmly illustrated that I should not be trying to teach pre-algebra, much less the higher maths. Nor would I make a good science teacher. I take an integral role in my daughter's education, but they say it takes a village to raise a child. Public education is my way of using the village.  You may home school; I have never attacked a homeschooling mom. Again, I have friends who home school, and they often complain about they way they are attacked for their choices. Is it fair to attack me in turn, and claim that I am forcing my child to 'conform to society' and allowing her to be bullied and receive a substandard education? Not true in any case; learning to exist with people who are different than you is not conforming. I don't teach my child to change the ideals, morals, and beliefs that I have worked to instill in her; I teach her to accept that other people are different, and that she can exist with these differences and that these differences cannot change her beliefs unless she wants them to. She has proven that she can handle someone picking on her in a very mature way -- by talking it out and working through their differences -- and if she meets the person she can't handle, I will be right there. I work with her teachers as well, and know what my child is being taught, and she is not receiving anything substandard. I shouldn't have to defend my choices any more than a homeschooling or privately schooled parent should. Worry about your kid and let me worry about mine.
   And of course, the single parent. How dare I leave an abusive partner and work my ass off to make a better life for myself and my child. I am the wreck of the family, and things should be like they were back when women didn't even have the right to vote, were considered property, and there was no such thing as marital rape because women weren't allowed to say no.
  Of course that is a sweeping generalization of people who value the traditional family, and doesn't being forced into a generalization that has nothing to do with what you believe suck? I never wanted to be a single mom, but I'll be damned if I am going to raise my child in a harmful environment. I shouldn't have to defend that, and the fact that I am raising my child as a single parent should not affect your family in any way. If my being a single mom does threaten your family structure, than you have some pretty big problems, and you can stop misdirecting your anger, because regardless of what your problem is -- it's not caused by me or the choices I have made.
   So again I write another post defending my choices. But the message that I want to get across here is not really the defense of my choices, although I do feel better after that vent, but to say that we would do better as a society if we stopped being so judgmental. I have gotten along with my many diverse friends for years and years, and they have gotten along with me. So why can't we all? Why do we insist on bringing each other down, on belittling other's lives? We really have to stop judging each other. I really hope that nothing I have written comes across as anything other than defending my choices; I am not against home school or private school, nor am I against stay-at-home moms, and I am certainly not against marriage and having both parents involved in their child. But there are reasons for all of my choices, just as you have reasons for all of your choices, and I think that instead of sitting down and judging each other, we should accept that we are different and do things differently, and really, why is that so wrong? The answer is, there's nothing wrong. We make the best life choices we can, and do the best we can for our families. That is what we should focus on, not nitpicking another person's choices. 

No comments:

Post a Comment