Ok, so as I’ve mentioned or titled my blog – I’m a homeschooling mommy. Now, I’m absolutely proud of what I do and as much as I freelance on the side (which isn’t often) what I do requires constant supervision, observation, correction and emotional energy. The reason why I’m opening this post with this, is because yesterday I was caught off guard by a statement a working mom said to me.
Now, before I have my little bit to say – working mommies, you are champions and I honestly admire your ability to do what you do. So take my post in the right way – ok? It’s all about the statement.
I was caught off guard because I’ve had many conversations with school parents, working parents, grand parents and a like. None of which have ever left me feeling belittled in any way. They’ve always been positive exchanges about our various lifestyles and admiration for both parties.
But this time, when I was in a conversation with three other women (one of which is also a homeschool mommy) The older party (a grandmother) asked if I was at home or working – I shared that I homeschool my kids and am at home full time. The “working mom” in the conversation immediately proceeded to say, “I could never do that, what you guys do is hectic. I feel I’m a better mommy because I work……” (pause – now this is all great, and very true for many mothers – but it’s what comes next that grated my goose) “….. I feel that I need the intellectual stimulation of work for myself to thrive.”
Breathe……….. come again?
Ok, so I’m all for doing things that you feel help you thrive, but to say that she needed the “intellectual stimulation” to thrive. What the peanuts people? I was left speechless but at the same time I needed to respond without losing my cool.
I responded politely and said, “I haven’t been forced to do what I do – I’ve chosen this lifestyle and just because I do it – doesn’t mean that it’s easy for me or that I’m gifted at what I do. I lose my cool, I shout, I stress out and so on. But like you’ve chosen to work – I’ve chosen to school my children and be at home.”
I said this all nicely and quite firmly because all too often there’s a misconception that only if you have a gift to teach can you school your kids at home. Get it right people – What I would have loved to say to her is this. “So what you’re saying is that your children aren’t stimulating enough for you? That educating them isn’t challenging? That what I do is a walk in the park to what you do? Hmmmmm, lady – I could do what you do any day, I’d like to see you take on my 3 kids for even 4 hours and come out of the other side ‘un-stimulated’ or unchallenged. Being with adults is so much easier than being with kids because…… well just because”
I didn’t say that, but I did vent it all out on my hubby later that evening. He completely agreed – because he’s tried and has always returned with a greater appreciation for what us homeschool mommies do. He felt that her perception might be that I just sit around watching TV all day and have the kids fend for themselves. Which I don’t think she thought. LOL. Now, I’m sure she was meaning that she needs the adult stimulation and not the intellectual – but her words were wrong and made me feel quite defensive.
So there it is people, my very first conversation that had me come away thinking twice about talking to executive mommies and how our conversations will go down in the future. I’m definitely going to have a lot more to say in my response, next time. I don’t need to be reminded of how hard it is to be at home with my kids. I don’t need to be patted on my back for, “doing what others find so much more challenging”.
If I were a teacher, at a school – would I be getting the same response? It’s always about the fact that they are my kids and I’m teaching them. What I do isn’t any better or any less than what any other mother does to live her life.
We are moms, and mom shaming is a challenge all the way up to Grandmother level. It’s funny because from cesarean or natural, breastfed or bottle, private-public or homeschool, cellphone or no cellphone, sleepovers or none, boyfriends/girlfriends or not, parties or not, university – technical college –gap year or straight to work, married or single, grandchildren or none – It never ends guys and it’s not on. Stop it!