Wednesday, April 25, 2007

why do i care so much?

why do i care so much about other people's children? that's the question that gets thrown at people that express concern over another person's parenting when i'm in chat rooms and message boards and someone is feeling attacked. "why do you care?" and "how does it concern you?" ...how can i not care? and how can it not concern me? if all anyone ever cared about were their own children...what kind of world would it be?

someone posted on a homeschooling group i'm on recently that all the children in public schools are her concern as well because they are her children's playmates, friends, future boyfriends/girlfriends and future daughters/sons-in-law. they ARE relevant. and they do matter. and we do need to be concerned. i can't help but be concerned.

i care about all children. not just my own. my own first and foremost, yes, but i care about ALL children because they are children. and if the people that are supposed to be taking care of them appear to me to not be doing the job they are supposed to do, yes, i DO give a damn!

they are children, for pete's sake. they are precious. they are vulnerable. they are the most mistreated and abused members of our sad culture. they need people like me and my friends to care about them.

so, yes, i feel shocked/appalled/sick to my stomach when i see injustices to children in my life. i can't stand to see children being mistreated. and i'm not talking about blatant abuse. nothing criminal. although it should be.

children being circumcised, children being called names and ridiculed, children being slapped for normal child behaviors, children being yanked by their arms and screamed at for misbehaving in public, children being carried in plastic buckets instead of a loving parents' arms, children being treated like property, children being brow-beaten and scared into submission, children being spoken to in such cruel tones that they cower....all of these i see as huge injustices to children's souls and yes i want to protect them. i want to scream at the parents. i want to hurt someone for hurting them.

but i can't save them all. i don't even know if i've saved even one! i don't really know what to do! i don't want to overstep my boundaries and i don't want to cause too many waves because education doesn't happen when someone feels attacked. i try to educate when i can. but how often do people listen?

i don't know it all. i don't, i know this. i am faaaaaaaar from a perfect parent. i screw up daily. but i still can't help feeling sick to my stomach over the sorts of things i see regularly in public and private gatherings. i get a knot in my stomach when i think of having to go somewhere that i know i could witness some of these things. and i don't want my children to have to see any of this either. so i feel doubly sick if they are with me and might see or hear something cruel towards another child. and i feel anger for another adult deciding what MY child is exposed to!

that just infuriates me! its bad enough they are cruel and sadistic to their own children, but do NOT force their warped ideas of parenting on MY children too! no way in hell i'm going to let my children suffer along with theirs!

a long time ago when maeven was a toddler we were with someone that was yelling and screaming at her child. that's her form of "discipline"...and she made maeven cry. my little baby was crying because she couldn't handle the sound of this woman screaming at her child. made me want to strangle her for exposing my child to her ugliness!

i know my children will see things eventually...but they are still so young. they don't need to know about the ugliness out there yet. they don't need to be aware of how cruel some parents are to their children.

don't you DARE try to tell me i'm a bad parent for wanting to shelter my children from that ugliness!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

what is wrong with people?

it just blows my mind to see parents that are so unbelievably ludicrous in their ideas on parenting...how can they have half a brain and think that what they are doing and saying with their children ISN'T going to damage them?

like thinking its ok to tease and taunt children with something they KNOW will scare them (they WANT it to!!)...and then laugh because the (gullible) child fell for it. OMG! and calling a child "bad" repeatedly...for totally normal and natural child behavior! what a friggin idiotically cruel thing to do! of course the child grows up thinking (knowing! cuz mom/dad told them so!) that they are bad...so why bother trying to be anything but?

and what is wrong with people when their own egos get in the way of what's best for their children? god forbid they should lose face when someone calls them on them being cruel and potentially damaging their child! nooooo...oh no...you couldn't be wrong...no way...you must be right at all costs, even if it means damaging your child. of course the parent ego is far more important than any piddly child.

this kind of stuff just makes me sick. literally. physically ill. i just cannot stomach being around people like that. i just can't.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

my girl isn't spoiled!

i was reading an article yesterday in the central cal parent magazine about "is your child spoiled?" and the list of signs to look for were pretty much not at all maeven...well there are times, but they consistently said in the article that its normal from time to time to have some of these behaviors, but its the pattern of behavior to be looking for and i can honestly say she doesn't have the pattern...but just to be certain, i asked her the question they said to ask.... "what are you thankful for?" because they said spoiled kids would probably have a hard time answering this...

so i asked maeven (age 6, spunky little homeschooled girl, artist, scientist, gymnast, yoga-guru and big sister extraordinaire) the question and you know what she said? without even a millisecond of hesitation (no exaggeration! and i don't recall ever having asked her this question before!) she launched into a list of things such as "i'm thankful for having food, because some people don't have enough food to eat...and i'm thankful for having a home, because some people are homeless and don't have a home to live in...and i'm thankful having friends, because some people are mean and they don't have any friends"... (i've talked to her many many times about mean people are mean because they are hurting and unhappy, and maybe they just need someone to love them and be friends with them and that would help them to be happy and not mean)...and on and on and on! she continued on, covering all the biggies and some of the littles...she's thankful for money, family, etc etc etc....she really gets it! i was so proud i was about to burst! my little girl is not only not spoiled, she's really grateful!!! how cool is that???

just when you need to get some sort of affirmation that you're parenting well, something like this happens. its enough to bring tears to your eyes! and after having a couple days with her being little snotty mouth a few times too! still, my little girl is thankful and is appreciative for the important things! oh man, this mama is PROUD!!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

stress, stress and more stress

i'm so friggin stressed lately i'm actually feeling it physically. knot in my stomach, constant feeling of unease. bleh. babyfest planning always gets like this near the end, but its exacerbated this year by a toddler that is just SO much work and so exhausting (tantrums galore!) and won't let me get much done...and by the pressure i feel this year because of homeschooling maeven. things just feel more important and more of a big deal when they don't get done and yet with tyren they're less likely to get done because he's so needy and whiney. he won't let me do anything! he's actually calling for me right now, but i think he might have just gotten distracted by curious george on tv for a few minutes, cuz he stopped. hopefully will let me have just a couple minutes of peace. he's even taken to getting up early these days and so i don't even get my couple hours in the morning to work on the computer to catch up on things...and then i'm so friggin tired at nite i crash with him so i don't get computer time in the evening either. so i'm REALLY behind on things...but have to turn off the computer during the day cuz it just makes life with the kiddos worse. really stressful cuz tyren ups the ante when mommy's on the computer (or phone). ugh.

i hate feeling stressed all the time...and then when i do, i am so incredibly irritable. everything and everyone irritates me. i am not a particularly patient person to begin with...but now all the stupid emails that annoy me (people asking for help with the simplest things, regarding my websites or the babyfest) are just putting me over the edge lately. its so hard to be kind and understanding and helpful when i just want people to grow a brain and figure just a FEW things out on their own! particularly when they are emailing me over and over with stuff that i've very clearly already spelled out and detailed to them on a website or an email. if they would just READ instead of expecting me to hold their hand and walk them through everything, ARGH!! i know this is more of an issue with me now though because i'm already under so much pressure to get stuff done. *sigh* normally i'm much better at handling these sorts of requests. (still don't like them, because WHY do i go to all the trouble of making the info available on the web or in emails if they don't bother to READ THEM??? argh!!)

anyway what i wouldn't give for a vacation right now...and a toddler old enough to stay with someone else for a little while. but he's so needy right now...and mostly his needs only include mama. short periods he can handle with others, but not long. i can't take off and go anywhere. yet. it has become quite apparent that the more he needs, the more i attempt to pull away and that just makes him cling more. so lately i'm taking to just sitting and being with him, even when there's mounds of stuff i need to accomplish. just sitting and watching tv with him or holding him while he looks at a book or being at his beck and call outside while he explores (never far)...that seems to make him happy. but if i try to go put on a load of laundry or make a phone call or work on dishes or answer an email...he's losing it and throwing tantrums and life is hell. so things are more pressing than ever, with crunch time for babyfest (less than 3 weeks to go!) and i have to sit and just be with my son more. *sigh* really, he IS the priority though. and maeven, of course. so this is what i do. i am mama first.

then what do i get? criticism left and right from people around me about the stuff i'm not getting done! mentioning no names, of course because i do not want to hurt any feelings...but its wearing me down! all the negativity about how the house and the yard are just trashed...i KNOW they are trashed, you don't have to point it out to me! how about a little sympathy for a stressed mama? how about a little extra help? how about understanding that this will eventually get worked out somehow and be patient?? how about not heaping more negativity on me when i'm already at such a low point? ugh, some people just don't get that! its wearing me down! i'm already stressed because of all i'm dealing with and the added negativity and judgement is just wearing down the last bit of sanity i have. i don't have the energy right now to put up my barriers against it. i've always been very sensitive to other's negativity...but i've been learning that that is my problem in how i deal with it and i cannot change others...negative people will just be negative and i cannot change that so i need to change how *I* react to it, how *I* take it..but right now, at this point with all this stress...i'm having a real hard time shrugging it off. *SIGH*

i need a vacation. thank god one's coming up in may. i'll so be ready for it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

what about school is like the real world?

a thought just occurred to me as i was reading an article in my CHN homeschoool journal...further evidence that there's not much in GOING to school that is like the real world...is the feeling i remember distinctly after i graduated college. that feeling of...uhhhhhhh, what the heck do i do now? i went straight to college after high school and spent 4 and a half years getting my bachelors...so that was 13yrs + 4.5yrs....17.5 years going to school, straight...every school day for 17.5 yrs, minus sick days and vacation days...i had NO idea what to do with myself afterwards! it was a huge feeling. so weird!

oh ok i know that there is the day to day of a job, if that's the route you take (vs being an entrepreneur, which i hope my children choose to be...but its entirely up to them)...but that is NOT something you need 17.5 yrs to figure out how it works, PLEASE! that one is pretty dang easy to figure out, LOL!

but really, it seems to me the daily routine of going to school mostly prepares you for doing things you don't want to do. i mean, trains you that you HAVE to do things you don't want to do. like, all the time. sure there are things that everyone has to do that they don't want to do, at times... but you don't need 17.5yrs of education to prepare you for that...you just need parents to expose you to the concept. not a hard one to do...there's things i tell my kids are "not a choice" all the time...like wearing seatbelts, waiting for your turn in line at the post office, eating your "growing foods" before you can have a treat...not a hard thing to instill. not always easy, but not something that has to be drummed into them for 17.5yrs. they get it pretty quick during early childhood, methinks.

so it seems like the history of education is pretty accurate...that school IS for training worker bees. training children to think that they have few choices in life. that they HAVE to go to school, just like they HAVE to go get a job eventually and they HAVE to do it even if they hate it...because, heck, mom and dad made them go to school and they hated that and so now they have a job and they hate that but they HAVE to do it cuz that's just what you do. took me a LONG time to figure out this can be road to unhappiness. that i don't HAVE to do what makes me unhappy. so many people, i think, work jobs that just make them miserable...because they feel they have no choice...makes me wonder, now that i'm thinking of it...did this sort of attitude get started being imprinted on them as small children when they HAD to go to school...something that the vast majority of children really don't want to do. i mean, sure there are some children that like school but they are few and far between.

just makes me wonder...what sort of disservice are we doing to our children by forcing them into this "jail" or sorts at an early age...are we setting them up for a lifetime of working jobs they hate? its not very common for people to finally figure out that they really don't have to work where they are unhappy. that there are many alternatives.

ok its very unscientific of me, but just makes me wonder if this forced education could be at least part of the problem with this mentality in our society that we have to go daily to jobs we dread.

so what is the alternative? schools that children actually enjoy going to, that are set up entirely differently so that they actually have choices and education is truly a fun thing...something i think really IS possible....and then grow little entrepreneurs that really know that the sky's the limit in the possibilities for their lives! they really don't HAVE to do the "grind"...unless they choose to. they can do ANYTHING they want! there are ways to make money doing pretty much anything these days!

i prefer to raise free-thinking entrepreneurs than worker bees. but of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.