I’m really disappointed in my gender. Overnight, like a plague of locusts, the new wave of judging, comparing, and soapbox lecturing has spread across America like the Coronavirus. It’s infecting thousands and the damage it’s causing is truly terrifying. This time, instead of the subject of breastfeeding, natural birth or disciplining, it’s over something I don’t think any of us saw coming—homeschooling.
It happened overnight. Suddenly, mothers all over the country were thrown into the world of homeschooling. I don’t know about you, but this is something I never ever wanted to take on. Unfortunately, I no longer had a choice. It was as simple as an email on a Sunday evening. Dear parent, it’s over until the 13th and chances are, they won’t be coming back even then. There’s a bundle of supplies and tools we’ve put together for you that you can pick up (use gloves) at school. Good luck and God’s speed.
I didn’t ask to be thrown into this. None of us did. But we had no choice so, most of us leaned in—pivoted and made a plan. It would’ve been great if it ended there. All of us mamas just swam in our own lanes. That we shared value and ideas openly and with love to anyone out there who might want to adopt some of the things working for us. No strings. No judgement. True community mama tribe mentality that we’ve got each others backs.
But, as usual, it didn’t go that way. Suddenly, current homeschooling parents who were gracious enough to pass along sample schedules to us novices were being attacked for their methods. I mean, some of these women may have spent hours on Pinterest and in their excitement of potentially offering value to someone, passed it along to anyone maybe looking for an outline. Random moms were critiquing them for trying to be teachers—telling them that they read articles saying kids don’t need their mom as a teacher. That school setups in the house would ruin the kids. That kids just need to be outside playing.
It gets better.
In retaliation, the more laid back moms, who were enjoying making homemade cookies, coloring contests and letting the kids sleep in, were getting told that it was actually them ruining their kids because children need routine and a schedule. That now more than ever they needed that feeling of normal that a school routine gives them. That if their children weren’t given educational information they would lose what they had learned and be behind when they finally got back to school. That their lack of scheduling was laziness.
Moms somewhere in between felt like the rope being used in tug-of-war—pulled this way and then that—then this way and than that on what was “right” for them to do. Moms who upped their wine intake were told they were alcoholics. Moms who didn’t drink were prudes. Moms who didn’t change out of their pajamas were ugly. Moms who dressed up for the day were vain. Moms who taught were in the wrong. Moms who didn’t teach were in the wrong. Every. Single. Thing. WRONG…and not just wrong, so wrong that it was causing permanent damage to their child (or so we are being told).
Stop for a moment. Feel the weight of that statement. You’re stressed out over what’s going on right now. Maybe you aren’t working or maybe you’re working from home. Maybe your spouse lost a job. Maybe he’s home and in your way. There is a virus running rampant that could potentially kill people you love—kill you. You have your kids home and they don’t have school. They have no clue what just happened. Remember that plate I’ve talked about in past blogs—it just fell onto the floor and shattered by the weight on what’s been put on it. You try to do what’s best and you are being told daily by social media, articles, media, “experts,” that what you’ve chosen is wrong and that in your incorrect choice you’ve failed as a mother. Just the lovely little cherry on top of our sundae isn’t it?
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen or experienced this. We always thought that mean girls were brutal but those mean girls have nothing on mean women. And what hurts the most—what legitimately rips apart at my heart most is that it comes from the hands of other mothers. When we will we ever learn? You could no more parent my kids than I could parent yours. The only thing that we need to focus on in this moment is doing the best we can with our own children. We need to swim in our own lanes. Our family needs us in our own lanes now more than ever giving it our all.
I will also say this, our insecurities and judgments are all just mirrors of our own fears of inadequacy. Those moms slamming structured moms feel like they are failing because they aren’t structured. It feels good to read an article from Dr. Fran, telling us they’re the ones in the wrong. Those structured moms slamming go with the flow moms are insecure that they can’t be more laid back. Hearing Debbie in Denver say so makes us feel better. It’s all a big coverup for insecurity. Can we all just agree that we are freaking insecure about this whole motherhood thing? None of us has it figured out. None of us is perfect. But I truly believe that in our hearts we all just want to do and be our best for our children. Can’t we all just bond over that fact instead of slashing at each other until our spirits are broken?
So you do you. I’d like to invite you to a safe space with me. I can’t protect you from everyone, but I promise you that in this incredibly uncertain time, you can be certain that I have nothing to say about whatever decision you’ve made for your family—because it’s your family not mine. If you want to go roll in the mud all day—go for it. If you want the most beautiful color-coordinated schedule—go for it. If you want to drink a bottle of wine—invite me (virtually). I hope you keep sharing anything of value (not judgement) that you come across. I love seeing schedules or recommended books and activities. I love new ideas for games and scavenger hunts. I love pictures of you hiking outside or inside making slime. I get a chuckle out of you in your jammies all day or in bed until ten. I relate to all of it. Quite frankly, I just love connecting with moms. I love how different and unique we all are and I find joy in watching you in your element as a parent. Don’t fall in with the vultures—they can drag us down so easily. God gave us mamas a unique light to shine upon all the people we come in contact with—please be a mama of light for us all in such a dark time. We need you.