Sunday, June 6, 2010

Where to Begin?'s good to be back, I think.

You know when life throws you so many curve balls that it's hard to even figure out which way is up? That's where I'm at and it feels good to be relying on some old habits.

Reading through some of my old posts has been a good reminder of where I previously found a tremendous amount of comfort and solace. Writing has always been the very best way for me to work through stuff. It's like a part of me becomes accessible through writing that doesn't really show up in any other way.

It will take me a while to get my sea legs back. I can feel my inner critic cringing at every word. Patience. I'm still here. I always have been. My voice as a mother is bubbling up and ready to begin again..........patience.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Talkin' 'Bout Lazy

So, it seems that my life doesn't leave much time for blog posts these days. I still think about it a whole lot, but sitting down at the computer most days means sorting through work emails and putting out the fires that inevitably come up as this non-profit I've started launches. I've also discovered a new hobby and anytime there's snow, it's hard to stay inside.

Anyway, life does continue in this unschooling life of ours, there's just less time to write about it. I've got a new post up at the other LWoS. It's about being lazy. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Better Days and a New Post at LWoS

Yep, today really was a better day. It's late and I'm still exhausted, but I'm here, and all is well. Janey did indeed move to her dad's house this afternoon. It feels a little strange around here, but mostly I'm aware that we're supporting her independence and allowing her to try something new. Chances are good, she'll be back. We'll see.

The great news is that tomorrow we go snow camping.....yippeeee. It's our first time and we can't wait. We'll be celebrating Charley's 8th birthday by building an igloo, sledding, and playing around in the back country. Now if I could just get to bed.......

Check out this month's post over at LWoS.

Nighty night!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Road

There are times when parenting, to me, feels like a very lonely road. Today is one of those days.

Every once in a while I get rocked to my core and all my fears and insecurities come out and say hello and it's a scary, scary place inside my head. The good news is that reaching out to a few key friends and supporters really helps. The bad news is that I am exhausted in a way that is hard to describe. Emotional exhaustion is a doozy.

Two things happened today which cracked me open and set the floodgates a runnin'. The first, was when another parent let me know that she doesn't agree with my style. Now, admittedly, this is no biggie, right? Strong opinions lend themselves quite easily to criticism and debate. I've known that for a long, long time. Our unschooling life doesn't sit well with all kinds of people. This is not news to me. It's just that in this particular instance, I was being accused of negligence. Some days I can smile and agree to disagree. Today was harder. Some days are like that.

The second thing that happened is that my twelve year old told me she wants to move in with her dad. Ouch. Now, there really is a whole lot more to the story and it's actually not as dramatic as it sounds. Her declaration has inspired some very cool conversations between her dad and I, and we've been able to support her mutually as we navigate this new phase in our co-parenting. But it is a bit of a jolt. Her things are all packed. The boxes are sitting by the door.

I've learned, thankfully, that I have no business taking anything that anyone (irritating criticizers and hormonal pre-teens included) says personally. But I am human, and some days it's harder to remember. As a twelve year old, Janey is simply differentiating. It is her job to push up against me as a mother and find her own way. I'm grateful that she has a dad who loves her and wants to be with her as well. It's nice to have options, I suppose.

The critical parent, let's see. I suppose, I can be grateful for the opportunity to reaffirm my beliefs about parenting. The choices I have made in the way I interact with my children are shockingly intentional. There is very little that I say or do in relation to them that I haven't thought-out, hashed-out, fleshed-out, rationalized, chewed on, and otherwise researched ad naseum. Negligent, I am not. Brave and determined to treat my children with respect? Absolutely.

Raising kids unconventionally rocks the boat. Unschooling makes loads of people uncomfortable. A good friend reminded me that the fact that I treat my children with the very same respect with which I treat any other person, makes some folks uneasy. "Because I said so" doesn't work. "I'm the adult, that's why" means nothing to a child who has been empowered to think and feel and be the person they want to be. Awesome for the kid who gets to experience life on their terms much of the time. Tougher for those of us struggling to navigate the world around us that isn't always able to see the value in our choices.

And so, at the end of the day, I am reminded that it is not my responsibilty to please those around me. It is my responsibilty to be the best parent I can be, and to understand why.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Big News, New Post, All is Well

No, I haven't disappeared.

All is well, and life has taken some fun, and exhausting, turns. The good, the GREAT news, is that my non-profit is having it's Member Drive and launch Celebration on Sunday, and I've been working like a dog to get it all organized. The bummer is that my newfound full-time job has left no time for blogging....ah well. The kiddos have been on a two week camping trip in Baja with their dad ( cna you say....wah wah?), and return this weekend, so I have a feeling that suddenly I may have far more to write about when my house is once again full of children.

I do have a new post up over at the other Life Without School. Check it out, if you haven't already been over there.

Happy Everything!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Here Kitty, Kitty

I remember that moment in early parenthood when I knew my life had changed forever. When Janey started to crawl and pull herself up using the coffee table or a chair leg for support, I ooohh-ed and ahhhh-ed and giggled with delight, and then quickly realized that the potted plants and breakable ceramics within reach would have to go. Electrical outlets were outfitted with plastic covers, sharp corners were padded, and the few times I left my purse on the floor, I was cleaning up for what seemed like hours.

I also remember the moment a few years later when many of these precautions were no longer necessary. My kids had outgrown the don't-put-that-in-your-mouth-stage, and plants and breakables were once again relatively safe down low. It feels like ages ago, and every once in a while when a toddler comes to visit, I am reminded myself of those days, and I breathe an enormous sigh of relief when they're gone (not that I don't love 'em, but you know) and I can have my house and my sanity back.

A couple of toddlers are visiting for the weekend, and they're reeking havoc on my sanity.

These particular toddlers happen to be furry and cute and cuddly. They meow and pounce and leap on my window shades without warning. They kept me up last night while they burrowed under the covers and used my legs as scratching posts. This morning I was awakened by a loud crashing sound coming from the bathroom. I like to wake up on my own. I was not pleased.

These cute and energetic kittens belong to my daughter Macy. She bought them with her own money a few months her dad's house. Don't get me wrong. I love animals. Well, maybe I actually just like animals. But I'm no pet hater, I just don't love the mess. this is when living in two households becomes convenient. Mom says no.....Dad says yes.....sucker!

In the time that I have been sitting here drafting this post, these two holligans have knocked over a potted plant, apparently tipped all the shampoo bottles into the tub (haven't been upstairs to investigate yet), pounced on my keyboard (causing me to have to go back and edit said post), ripped an art project of Janey's off the wall, dumped the bag of catfood that got left on the floor last night, and now appear to be upstairs batting something hard and plastic against the door of my sleeping children's room.

I love the quiet of the early mornings, when the kids are still asleep, and I can sip my tea and be alone with my thoughts. I also love that these little rascals will be heading back to dad's house in a few short (long?) days.

Do I get the mother of the year award yet?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trusting the Process

I just came from my first Board of Directors meeting. Not actually, my first one ever, just the first one where I feel as though I've recently given birth and am now handing over my beautiful, precious, sweet newborn to random strangers walking down the street. Okay, maybe it's not quite that dramatic, but it's a little like that.

I've been gestating this baby for well over a year now and several exciting things have happened in the past month which have allowed my kooky little idea to become a reality. Money has showed up, people have showed up, and this really is going to happen.

I knew that inviting people to serve on the Board of Directors was a crucial first step toward the future success of the organization. I knew that I was reaching my absolute limit as to how much I was able to pull off on my own. But I didn't realize how terrifying it was going to feel to essentially hand over this baby.

It's not like I'm done. I suppose you could say I'll still have frequent visting rights.....shared custody, even. But I have officially released my ability to be a governing body of one. As of tonight, my dictatorship has become a democracy. Which is a wise choice for an organization, right? Who wants Idi Amin, or Hitler running their non-profit?

But I'm not planning mass genocide....I just had this idea. This really great idea, and I can't make it happen alone. Intellectually, I know it's all happening the way it should. Intelligent, creative, enthusiastic folks gathered around my dining table tonight for over 2 hours to discuss the future of the organization. Important decisions were made. Difficult questions were raised and concerns were addressed. It's all good news. Except that I'm scared.

It's a familiar feeling: Scared that if I let go, things may not happen the way I think they should, or thought they would.......horrors!! Could it be that I don't actually know it all? That there may be some ideas that have never even crossed my mind? Wow..........when it comes down to it, I suppose I should be relieved. It's not all about me.

But I'm still scared....and attempting to let go, and trust the process.

Which is why I'm even writing this post tonight, in the first place, when I really should be in bed. This whole giving birth and then giving away my baby metaphor is really just exactly like parenting, for me, in a life without school. Every single day, I am faced with yet another reminder that this household, these children, this life, is just not all about me. Sure, I've got some great ideas, but I often get myself into trouble when I attempt to perform exclusively in the one woman show. There are three other opinions and viewpoints and perspectives which demand my consideration and attention, and quite frankly life is much more peaceful when I keep that in mind.

It's tempting to play the dictator, especially when I'm in a hurry or grouchy or tired. I'm taller, and older and sometimes have a louder voice. But democracy works a whole lot better around here. My kids know this intuitively, because for them, there has never been another way. It's nice to sit on a Board of Directors that can gently (or not so gently) remind me when I forget.

And by the way, all this talk about democracy reminds me....if you haven't already voted, or if you're looking for more information, check out Colleen's post. It rocks. GOBAMA.