Monday, January 28, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. School

Psst...hey, Readers, you bored? Wanna rock the boat and got a nasty sense of humor? OK, figured as much. Here is what you do; go find a Mom's baby playgroup. Just walk on in and say the following, "co-sleeping." Or "cloth diapers." Or even (brace yourself for this one), "Breastfeeding." No, there is no need to say anything else, that will do it. Do what? Oh, nothing much, just cause a tsunami of judgement to rival any reality show ever.  It won't matter if that room is full of the most level-headed, gentle, kind, un-Perfect Moms in creation, there will be tension unparalleled. Wanna know why? Because you have just invoked the Infant Trifecta, a terrible trio of parenting choices that sow derision and hostility among mothers. It is kinda like saying the name Voldemort out loud.

I thought that this part of my life was over. I thought I was confident and strong in my motherhood, safe in my mom friend net. I naively assumed that no villain could match the sheer power of separation and superiority of the 3-that-must-not-be-named. I was wrong. I had yet to think about School.

When my mother was growing up, there were public school kids and Catholic school kids. I think my father might have walked 20 miles uphill in the snow to a one-room school house somewhere, but they do things different in Iowa. (Go Hawkeyes!) Now, when I went to school, there were publics, catholics, and the montessori kids. Simple enough, eh?

Wanna know what is going on now? You can send your child to private school (catholic, christian, prep, Waldorf, Friends, independent, or other), public school (traditional or charter), or good old Montessori (Gotta shout out to Awkward Dad's mom, who runs a Montessori school!).  Not doing it for you? Well, you could homeschool; using a cooperative, a traditional curriculum-based approach, or an unschooling method. You could deschool, but schooling of some sort is required before this approach is apropos. And then, there is always an "autonomous learning" approach, which my extensive research (a brief trip to Wikipedia) revealed to be unclaimed by any schooling camp.

Is anyone else tired? I am tired. If you aren't tired, you are probably mad at me or formulating responses to me about the need for structure or how different children learn or how uniforms are lame. Notice that I didn't say a word about what schooling I think is best and yet I can already feel the tension racing along the Wi-Fi. This is the power of parenting-issues-that-must-not-be-named. Wait, I am getting another vibe; you might like me a ton, but you think I should stay the heck away from this total bomb of a topic. And you might be right, but I have always lived dangerously. School. There, I said it. School. School. School. Does Beetlejuice show up now?

My parents are ridiculously intelligent and diverse people who are, at this present moment, most likely reading 11 books between them. (And I mean, right now. While they are also reading this blog post and bemoaning my sentence structure.) They have a knowledge about a variety of issues, from animal husbandry to World War II battle strategy to the wedding customs of the Assyrians. They speak well, write well, and, well, are well. I can not touch them and won't even try. Seriously, sometimes I am sitting here writing and I misspell something so bad that spell check doesn't even come up with anything. So, I open another window and start typing it in Google until Google figures it out or I use another word entirely to avoid the whole mess.

Needless to say, I did not inherit their intellect, but what I hope I did inherit was their ability to talk about anything without starting a fight. Nothing was off limits in my parents' house, conversationally speaking. Here is a partial list of things I have discussed (without a fight) with my parents: abortion, the Irish Civil War, my socialist phase, women's rights, Iran, every U.S. election ever, Nazis, adoption, religion, the American Civil War, majoring in fine arts, the Spanish Civil War, animal rights, climate control, and whether or not eggnog is appropriate to drink outside of December. My parents hold to the rule that nothing is so dangerous that it can't be talked about, and to further illustrate this point, I am currently drinking egg nog out of a mug with 20 banned books listed on it, which was a Christmas gift from my mother.

I am not sure about my plans for Super Preschooler's Kindergarten. We are majorly leaning toward Catholic school, but we are still exploring options. I do know that I will not be homeschooling because I am, at heart, deeply lazy. Other than that, I am fairly open. I welcome comment and thoughts, especially from Wonderful Mom, because she could be superintendent tomorrow with her school knowledge. I am not afraid to talk about school with you guys. Let's take the power out of parenting-issues-that-must-not-be-named; we are all friends here. Well, unless you are a Perfect Mom who accidentally got here and read this far along. Not sure how you got here, you might want to click here instead. OK, are we all back to being friends? Good. Readers, we are all just trying to do what is best for our kids. Sometimes that is public school and sometimes that is homeschooling and sometimes that is leaving Mommy alone while she is eating chocolate in the bathroom because it is the only room in this whole house with a lock. Wish they taught that in school.....

Seriously, did she summon Beetlejuice? Because daylight come and I wan' go home.

Tee-hee, never gets old....


  1. LOLOLOLOLOL I love how the Nazis got in there.

    1. Not a party until the Nazis show up....

  2. Oh, LOOK at those cuties all snuggled together! Sigh, so precious.

    I went to a seminar last week about "Choosing the Right Preschool" and was totally overwhelmed by all the choices. I can only imagine it gets worse as the kids approach school age. Luckily there didn't seem to be any judgment going on in the seminar, but that's probably because nobody has made any decisions to be smug about yet. LOL!

    I would love to homeschool but I happen to be, at heart, deeply disorganized. (And lazy too, but I choose to name it "tired" instead.)

    P.S. Eggnog isn't my bag, but I fully support its consumption all year long. Anthony would agree 100%, he loves the stuff.

    1. It is an old picture, but a good one.

      Smug will happen, but I am thrilled that you went to a seminar! Way to parent! I picked the cheapest one that was closest, but it worked out well, luck was on my side.

      I am with Anthony, eggnog is tasty year round. Yum!

  3. OK, this picture is absolutely adorable! And you had a socialist phase, huh? :) As for schooling, I'm not much help. My Kid goes to a very public school. We do hope to move to a better area before he goes to High school.

    1. Well, in my defense it was in college. :)

      As long as he is happy and learning, I think a very public school is just fine! Yes, and where you live can shape the decision too. We are probably moving in about a year or two, so that will be something else for me to freak out about! :)

  4. I think you live in too cool a city! I've been to Ann Arbor (over and over, as you know) and I can see that a mother there would feel bombarded by Too. Many. Choices. When my kids were just starting school, we lived in the tiny town of Brighton, Colorado. It had public school for 5-and-over kids, and -- what a shock! -- a really nice Montessori school that, I will admit, I used, at least in part, as a way to get the kids out of the house for a few hours a day. But my daughter learned to read there (or rather, she got to demonstrate that she'd already figured it out at home) and my son, well, I think it's better for kids who like to pay attention and do small-finger things. But he had fun! He was good at that.

    The one thing I might do differently, had I to do it over (ack!) would be to hold my son back a year, because his birthday was in July and he ended up bonding with the younger kids all through his school career. But really, you have to make your decision based on your own child. And also, of course, on what's important to you and your husband. (And no, Henry, I do not mean seeking out a magnet school dedicated to All Things Star Wars.)

    My 2 cents -- and bear in mind, I was NOT a math major.


  5. In the end, you will choose what feels right for your family. Most likely, you will love it and never look back. I'm a bit partial, but I think 95% of teachers, no matter where they teach, are wonderful human beings. And whoever has the pleasure of being Will's teacher is in for a treat! :)

    That photo is the best advertisement for co-sleeping ever!

    1. It is so hard to remember when she was that small and wrapable. :)

      I think teachers are amazing; I have the honor of having multiple teachers in my family and within my friends. I just have to decide on a school and stick with it, loud and proud! :)