Week In Review: Rhonda

Hey hey, and welcome back to a glimpse into my week.  Life has been a doozy lately with Claudia going through a phase of wanting all my attention, all the time.  I have tried to just embrace this phase of life and be thankful that I have the opportunity to watch her grow and learn and become a little lady.  Shit, it’s a challenge though.

She has been wild, dabbing and ridding her tricycle and playing Little Mama.

We did a lot of fun school lessons this week, learning about Arizona.  The kids love this state project we are working on.  Previously, they couldn’t really see past Texas or Mississippi.

Harper is absolutely obsessed with cooking and baking, so I have started to let go of a little control and let him in my beloved kitchen, mostly with free reign.  He decided to do cupcakes this week and they were delicious!  The cleanup wasn’t so fun though.

Quentin and Claudia helped me make my first roasted chicken (come back tomorrow for more about that experience) on Friday.  Then Saturday, we went to tour a possible wedding venue (now marked off the list).  In the evening, our friends came over to have drinks and dinner with us.  We had so much fun.  Lots of laughter.

On Sunday, the weather was sunny and perfect and Claudia wanted to play outside.  So we played in the driveway and ended up rolling out mats to lie down and soak up the sun.  After nap time, we went to a holiday parade.  We were so freaking late and parked a couple of miles away.  We were too late to get a good spot for viewing.  Quentin and Claudia took turns on Stuart’s shoulders.  I held Claudia on mine a little, but it was hurting with her dancing on my shoulders.  She’s a mess.  We enjoyed getting into the spirit of the season for sure!

Now onto Thanksgiving!  I can’t wait to have a good and hearty meal on Thursday and enjoy a long weekend together as a family.  AND PUT UP MY TREEEEEES!

How was your week?  Are you in total holiday mode yet?

Week In Review: Rhonda

I know, I know…I literally say this every single week.  But seriously – where did the week go?!

Monday, I did some much-needed meal planning and grocery shopping.  I also took Quentin to Target to spend his birthday money.  It is always one of my least favorite things to do, because I end up continually talking the kids out of buying shit with a million tiny pieces or stuff I know they won’t play with.  I was thankful that he actually made some good solid decisions and it was fun!

Wednesday, true to my extra self, I designed and ordered Thanksgiving Dinner invitations to send to my parents and ex-husband.  I love how they turned out (the black rectangle is actually blacking out my address, not part of the design).

The rest of the week was full of working my business, recovering from an epic Wine Wednesday (seriously, you have to show up for these live broadcasts if you aren’t already), wedding planning, and juggling mom life.

Then the glorious weekend rolled around and it was time for football, day drinking, and lots of relaxing.

We rounded out Sunday with hair cuts for all the boys (and a fake out snip for Claudia who can’t be left out of anything), which was needed in the worst way.

How was your week?  Do you watch football on the weekends?

Sleeping like a baby – and other necessary developmental myths.

There are a few things, in regards to motherhood, that I get a little cray and jump up on my soapbox when they come up in conversation. I know that we (here at RATMM) and a lot of other mom’s say that it is so so so important not to compare your child’s development to any other child. That’s incredibly hard not to do. I mean, even the standards by which your child is judged at the pediatrician’s office is basically a huge ass comparison to all the other children that are your child’s age (i.e. that percentile shiz). And obviously, it’s important to have some kind of guidelines so that you know where your child stands and if he or she needs some extra help in a certain developmental area. But for real though there are a lot of milestones that our children are expected to hit at certain ages that are not necessary. Let’s just take a moment to do a brief sidetrack into an example of an expected level of development that is basically unnecessary –

Once at a well visit, my pediatrician asked my then 3 yr old if he knew that he was a boy and that mommy was a girl. He had no fucking clue what she was talking about, and I was shocked that he was even supposed to be aware of that. I said, “oh he doesn’t know that – is that something he should know at this point?” And she said, “Well yeah, that is something most children his age are aware of. Or should be aware of.” I just left that appointment so confused and bewildered and annoyed. Now, I freaking love my pediatrician. She’s the bomb. I’m sure that was just some box she had to check on a form. I totally get that. And I don’t have anything against my child being self aware of his gender. Or my gender. I just wanted to express how knowing that by age three was not something I expected my child to need to know – I’d never pointed it out to him. He just knew the people in his life as people. He called them and recognized them by name –  not by gender. So, my long winded point is that : so what if 99% of all the other 3yr olds are aware of their gender and other’s genders. It’s not necessary or relevant to them being able to function. Why is it even a thing we are measuring?

BUT – to my main point of  writing this post..one of the motherhood/parenthood things that makes me just cray is how much people talk about and define a child by their sleeping habits which is basically indirectly judging your parental skills. For me, the real stressor is when you have a newborn and someone’s very first question about this newborn is “And how are they sleeping?”. They are asking with the expectation of hearing some ‘good news’ scenario wherein my 3 week old is magically sleeping in 9 hour blocks of time. In their own bed. Without being rocked. Sans a paci or nighttime bottle.

Listen. Babies don’t sleep the way we sleep. Generally newborns actually sleep all the time. They just don’t sleep in large blocks of time like we do. At night. Between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am. I used to joke with my mom that if I could just hire a sleep nanny. You know, she’d show up at ten every night and leave the next morning at seven. If I could just do that I’d be so happy and beautifully rested. Pipe dreams, huh?

Sleep deprivation is a serious thing for new parents. We all desperately just want to be able to sleep. The people who love us want us to be able to sleep. So, naturally we (and they) are concerned about the sleeping habits of our babies.

However, when you constantly barrage me with questions about “how well” my baby is sleeping. Like. I just want to … stare at you blankly and then turn away. Cause. My baby is not freaking sleeping and neither am I. Thank you. Very. Much.

A baby’s sleep schedule is shit. I don’t ever want to sleep like a baby. I have. In fact, I still sleep like a baby sometimes – cause my kids still sometimes sleep like babies despite the fact that they are no longer babies. I’m for sure looking forward to those lazy teenage years. 😉

The thing is – let’s just chill out when it comes to measuring ‘how well’ a  baby is doing/developing in regards to their sleep patterns. Let’s stop asking new parents about it. Cause those new parents are already stressed AF over the nonexistent regular solo sleep patterns of their newborn. That new parent has probably sat in her living room rocking chair while holding a newborn that just wants to sleep in her mommy’s arms, but mommy desperately needs to lie in bed to get some real rest. She can’t though. Her baby won’t let her. Her baby just needs to be held. She literally needs it. So mommy is sitting there with giant tears streaming down her face while she muffles her sobs cause she knows daylight is coming in a few short hours – and she’s exhausted. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally.

 

Exhausted.

 

And the most tragic part about all of it, is that new parent is being made to feel like he or she could be doing something to change the way their baby sleeps. Google has filled our heads with thousands of magical ways to establish sleep routines. Step by step guides to get your baby to sleep through the night. A hidden switch that you just have to find and flip. To make you, the parent, feel inferior because you’ve tried all the tricks and none of it is working.

Four years later and your baby STILL doesn’t consistently sleep through the night? He still needs a paci to sleep? And a sippy cup of milk? What in the world is wrong with your parenting?

What’s wrong with me? Nothing is wrong. What’s wrong with YOUR warped expectations of reality???

So, you know what you could do for that new parent in your life? Instead of asking how well their baby is sleeping: volunteer to be that beautiful night nanny. Seriously. I’d have let you. I’m sure most new parents will. Maybe not in week two…or maybe not even in month two. Month three though? I guarantee at that point,  those new parents would sell their soul for a night nanny. Be a peach – and save their souls AND minds by taking the night shift sometime.

  • Babies/kids don’t see the same values in sleep that we do. So they are just not going to willingly sleep the way we do.
  • Don’t let someone tell you that rocking your child to sleep is going to be detrimental. Rocking my babies was one of my most favorite things. You don’t want to rock your baby? Cool. I’ll do it for you.
  • If your child needs a paci, or blanket, or doll, or pot holder, or sippy cup – to feel comforted and safe enough to sleep on their own. Well – give it to them and let them tell you when they are ready to give it up. It’s not hurting anyone. So why not?
  • Hey dad, you should also be getting up in the middle of the night with your finicky sleepers. And you better not be using breastfeeding, your job, or any other lame ass reason as an excuse not to.
  • I wholeheartedly believe in sleep routines. It’s what works for us. We do bath and then straight to bed every single night at the same time. Even if they just had a bath four hours earlier. Even if they just woke up from a 3 hour nap two hours prior to bedtime. I figured all that out after several years of being in the trenches of unsuccessful attempts at finding our bedtime/sleep rhythm. I paid attention to what worked for MY children and ME – I didn’t follow some step by step Google guide.

Listen. Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, Godparent, Grandparent, Guardian – when it comes to getting sleep and getting your child to sleep : You do you boo. Don’t stress it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. And don’t be afraid to tell someone to mind their own bizznassss when they come around with their unsolicited opinions/advice.

Sleep is a beautiful and necessary part of survival – get it girl. However you can.

Week In Review: Rhonda

It’s a lovely day to recap a lovely week!  I had such a fun-filled, busy week and party-licious weekend.  Let’s get to it!

On Monday, we did Art class for school, learning about how to use the color wheel to mix paints into a blood red shade, perfect for making handprints on the windows and mirrors.

We had such a crazy jam-packed week.  Workouts, school, Halloween party planning and decorating.

Friday, I packaged up orders, ran more errands, then came home to enjoy some time with my latest Baths and Bliss order.  I can’t get enough of these high quality, handcrafted products!

Then.  Then it was the weekend and holy moly was it wild!  We had our first annual Halloween party that evening, after making a booze run.

We throw a lot of parties, but this one was by far my favorite.  We had a wonderful turnout and the food got destroyed, which tickled me beyond anything you can imagine.  There is nothing worse than pouring your time and money into a party and nobody showing up or nobody really eating.  I will be posting party details another day!

I absolutely drank so much that night and felt every bit of it for most of Sunday.  I got better just in time to head to the wedding of one of Stuart’s coworkers.  The wedding was absolutely lovely and the bride stunning.  We had a good meal, plenty of drinks, and so much fun dancing with our friends.

I can’t imagine a better weekend!

Did you get into any Halloween festivities this weekend?

 

Pinterest PreK Fall Snack Roundup: An Anti-Tutorial

Hey hey! Happy FriYay to you all!! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 If you are any kind of regular reader or follower of us on our various social media outlets, you are aware of the fact that we like to to say that  we are not Pinterest Moms, In fact, we pride ourselves in the honest truth that we are more of Amazon Prime Moms. Well, today I wanted to talk to you guys about bringing snacks to your kid’s classroom, and how my attempts at doing that illustrate, quite clearly, how I am not cut out to be that Pinterest Mom – even though I do keep trying –  in absolute vain. Lol Why? I don’t really know. Ok I do – I’m extra when it comes to stuff like that.  I am a people pleaser, and I get such a high when someone is impressed by something I do or say. I just can’t help it.

If your child goes to any kind of preschool..or maybe even kindergarten? .. you are/have been responsible for bringing a class snack. I know we are. There’s 15 kids in Coop’s class so we are on schedule to bring snacks about twice a month. One day, I saw another mom just toting in a box of prepackaged single serve goldfish cracker bags. In that moment I was jealous of her. Obviously my need to be extra totally rests on my own shoulders, because I could be that mom with the box of goldfish. I just like to torture myself. ANYWAY – if you also like to torture yourself and bring themed snacks to your child’s class, I have a nice little anti tutorial (by yours truly) and round up of my favorite Fall themed Pinterest snack ideas!

Let me just first start by saying that I was hyped when I saw that we’d be bringing snacks in for the class. We didn’t do it the first month, since we started school late and the schedule had already been made. So, I anxiously awaited the September Snack schedule so that I could be prepared for the day. I started a Pinterest board full of cute little Fall/Halloween themed PreK class snack ideas. My snacks were going to be lit.

Pinterest man – it’s so good at getting you hyped and fake prepared for things….

The very first time I had to bring snacks to Cooper’s class – I totally blanked out and forgot about it until 8pm the night before. Yup. My pinterest board was no help in my last minute moment of need. Total freak out moment for me. So. What did I do? I ran to the Dollar Store and got some Halloween treat bags and a Halloween plastic tub. I then threw together my own snack mix of various cracker type things I had in the pantry. (i.e. goldfish, cheez its, popcorn, etc)  Mixed all those “carefully”  selected ingredients in a big bowl then poured a couple giant spoonfuls into each treat bag, tossed the bags in the tub, and called it done! JK – I spent the rest of the night and next day thinking about those haphazardly thrown together snacks and wondering if it was a practical way to serve preschoolers? Would it be inconvenient for the teachers to open each bag? Would the kids like the things I put in the mix? Were the teachers just wishing I’d brought a box of pre packaged goldfish cracker bags instead of trying to be all cutesy????

Man, the inner workings of my mind…. It’s really exhausting sometimes.

However THIS TIME I have been keeping an eye on our upcoming snack day like a hawk. So, I’m prepared. 🙂 I not only have my Pinterest board brimming with great ideas, but I actually decided on something! I decided to go with Pumpkins and Broomsticks – which will be peeled mandarins and pretzels with string cheese. If that peaks your curiosity…well just keep on scrollin’ and I’ll break it down for ya!


Grocery LIst:

Manderins
Pretzel Sticks
String Cheese
[stems] – the Pinterest post used celery sticks as stems, but I felt like that’d just be a waste cause those kids ain’t eating celery without ranch…and I’m not also bringing ranch. I’m not THAT extra. So yeah, I just thought I’d find some kind of green candy stick or something to put in there.


The idea of the Pinterest article was that the peeled oranges with celery stuck in the middle would look like pumpkins and the string cheese would be pulled apart just up to the middle and the pretzel stick was to be stuck in the top of the string cheese (the part that wasn’t pulled apart). And, VOILA : pumpkins and broomsticks! Did I lose you? It’s a mashup of these two pins. Here, let’s insert a picture:

Source

 

Source

Listen. Things started off okay. I couldn’t ever find a substitute for the celery stems. So, I just decided to eliminate that detail. I felt like the peeled mandarins would still come off as pumpkins. Especially, alongside the broomsticks. Then. Well then I started with peeling the oranges which went just fine. Next, I had to pull apart the string cheese. That was the beginning of the end folks. It’s just not that easy to pull apart string cheese and make it look even and broom like. I even tried CUTTING the string cheese. Again: fail. At this point I was done. I know you’ve been there. Like. It just was no longer worth the effort. I didn’t expect that the string cheese part was going to be hard. I was expecting that figuring out how to get the pretzel sticks to stay in the cheese was going to be hard. After the string cheese fail – I couldn’t even face that pretzel dilemma.

Sooo yeah. I called it at that point. I took all the string cheese out of the bag and put it next to my peeled oranges, wrapped the whole platter in saran wrap, and threw the bag of pretzel sticks on top.

Done. and Done.

It was still going to be a really yummy and fairly nutritious snack for the kids. And it was still more effort than a box of something prepackaged.  

What did this teach me? Nothing. I’m not quitting Pinterest…I can’t not be extra in moments like this. I’ll just try to be a little more realistic though. 😉  Anyway, If you’re interested in some Pinterest PreK Snack Ideas…here’s my Pinterest Round Up.

What about you guys? Got any Pinterest fails to share???? Make me feel better and leave me a comment about your failed adventures in Pinterest land.

Week In Review: Rhonda

Not even sure how another week has already passed since I last wrote my week in review.  Where did the week even go? Hmm…let’s see…

We started the week with trying to get into a routine again after the kids returned from their dad’s.  This meant workouts, outside play time, and healthy, hearty meals.

By Tuesday, I was ready for some tequila.  Like, really had a craving for it.  I made some delicious margaritas with fresh watermelon and enjoyed them on the front porch while the kids played with neighbors.

Friday, we had a sangria play date with a mom group.  The kids and I all had such a great time.  Unfortunately, in the evening Stuart was on his way to join us when the shifter on his motorcycle snapped in half.  He was fortunately moving relatively slowly in a residential area and not on the interstate.  I had to leave the party to go follow him home at literally 12 MPH, since the shifter broke while in first gear.  We then went back to the party and had a couple of drinks before heading home.

Saturday, we just hung out as we usually do and practiced Lipsense application on Claudia so that we will be ready for Halloween makeup.  Sunday was amazing weather, so we took full advantage with some time in the sunshine!  An absolutely lovely weekend for sure!

What was the highlight of your week?

The Often Untold Story about Preschool Drop-off

I’ve been writing this post in my head ever since we started having issues with transitioning Cooper to Preschool. I wrote a premature post at the beginning of the school year, when I thought we had things figured out. I’ve spoken about the things we’ve been dealing with on multiple occasions – to close friends and family – on various social media outlets – but, I wanted to compile everything. I wanted to tell our story, because I feel like it’s not one that is told often.

It has been my experience, as a parent, that how you think parenthood is going to look – is not really how it ends up looking. I really thrive when I know exactly what to expect out of a situation or person. I’m not some uber planner, I just have a greater peace of mind and am able to perform better when things are not unexpected. And I know. I know. You may read that and think that’s totally normal. We all feel that way Ashley. Ok, I hear you. I believe you think you’re just like me. However, I don’t think you understand the level of fear that rises within my being when dealing with the unexpected. I don’t think you understand how abruptly I can be moved to debilitating physical and mental inaction when things don’t go the way I expected or was told they would. I know that you don’t know how it devastatingly affects my ability to interact with other human beings if they all of a sudden start to do or say things that are contradictory to how they previously presented themselves. The unknown. The uncontrollable change in plan. Those things force me into crisis mode. An immense panic rises from the depths of my mind, and I am overcome with self doubt, mistrust for those around me, and I question EVERYTHING. I cannot ask for help. I only know to throw overboard all non essential tasks and focus on the monster at hand. In that moment I can only trust myself. I only know myself. No matter what you say or do – I cannot calm down until I have talked myself down.

So, I’ve totally had to adjust my expectation level when it comes to expectations in general with raising children. I can’t just break down…or shut down in the face of change. Being a parent has made me a stronger person – because I have to be strong for them. And, I’m telling you all of that about myself because I feel like Cooper is the same exact way. He’s four. He can’t articulate his feelings and thoughts as well as I can..he doesn’t completely comprehend or care about social expectations of behavior so he literally and quite loudly freaks the fuck out. He may not even fully understand all of that about himself until he’s much older – but I see that part of me in him. I understand that part of him. I get it deeply. I feel it profoundly. And I turn into a raging Mama Bear when others aren’t sympathetic to that.

I know that we’ve all seen the ‘first days of school fairy tale’ that is repeatedly told by parents and caregivers at the end of summer. That happy little picture of a child holding a sign proclaiming what school grade they are about to embark upon. You hear the parents exclaim about how HAPPY their child was to go to school. The parent says that the child was so ready to go that he or she didn’t even offer a kiss/hug goodbye! And oh. They had a FANTASTIC first day. I mean. The whole experience is just usually presented as one exploding with rainbows and sunshine. Little babes marching off to school, one by one – calmly and without any major push back. 

That’s really just all great. Honestly. But – – what happens when your child suffers from such a vast and stormy expanse of separation anxiety  that he just can’t do what he’s ‘supposed’ to do? What happens when the school you sent him to just doesn’t want to deal with his atypical behavior? What happens when the staff at that school does absolutely nothing to help ease your child’s fears? What happens when they become so annoyed by your child that he senses it and screams – and cries – and kicks – and begs you not to leave him there? What happens when you don’t realize the gravity of the situation, because you thought he’d eventually adjust, you know – as all kids do – and you tried to stick it out for two months? What happens when the school gives up on him?

What happens?

You feel like you’ve let your baby down.
You feel like you could have done things differently.
You weep over his hurt.
You fear that you’ve scarred him.
You feel hopeless.

And then, you take a moment to regroup. You let him breathe. You bring him back to a place he knows. You let those he trusts take care of him. You start researching options. You become more diligent in your inquiries. You question your expectations. You adjust your expectations. You do whatever you have to do so that your child will feel safe and be successful. You will make whatever sacrifice you need to. You will take care of your child – and you will forgive yourself for being so careless before.

All of that led us to private school. A school we have quickly come to love and hold dear. A school that Cooper looks forward to going to each day.  I cry whenever I think about how fortunate we are to have this happy ending. We were welcomed with open arms. We were never looked down upon.

Those first three weeks – Cooper’s  Dad exclusively took him to school. It was his turn to help lighten my load, and I really felt like Coop would respond better to his Dad’s ability to not wear his emotions on his sleeve like I do (aka – his Dad wasn’t going to also break down crying at drop off…like I had been known to do). And even though I wasn’t physically dropping Coop off, I was not immune to how difficult those days were. He cried. He had to be carried to the classroom. He ran out of the school doors one morning. He screamed. His Dad would call me every.single.day. to say that he couldn’t do it anymore. BUT – every afternoon Coop said he’d had a good day. Every afternoon he had something that was happening the next day that he was looking forward to. The staff was incredibly supportive. The swept in to help. They established plans and routines that we didn’t even realize were happening. Plans and routines that made Cooper feel wanted, safe, excited, challenged, and happy. I just kept saying that if none of us gave up. If we continued to persist. If we believed in Cooper – that we’d make it through.

And, I know that life can change in an instant. I know that a child’s behavior is insanely unpredictable – but I really feel like we’ve overcome. It’s still scary to Coop when he has to walk through his classroom door. We just had a Fall Break and coming back after those five days off was rocky again – but no where near the chaos that was the beginning of his journey.

So, he still whimpers a little when he has to let go of your hand and sometimes he even cries – but he isn’t scared of where he’s going. He isn’t worried about who’s going to take care of him. He doesn’t mistrust his teachers and the other school staff. He’s just fearful of that jump. He’s just unsure of that first step away. And I tell him everyday – how that’s OK. It’s OK to be fearful. It’s OK to get scared. Big boys do cry and that doesn’t make them not a big boy. He knows that he is going to be cared for, and I see that in all the other tiny and big reactions he has to school. I’m not going to let those two minutes in the morning at his classroom door define his entire experience and neither do his teachers. 

I’m writing this so that other people will understand that children don’t and shouldn’t be expected to all fit into some predetermined mold of behavior. I’m writing this for those educators who go the extra mile, so that you know how much you are appreciated and desperately needed.

However, I’m really writing this for any parent who has or is going through what we did. I want you to know that you are not alone. This whole situation may seem so small in comparison to the seemingly insurmountable crosses that other parents have to bear – but I want you to know that I don’t think it’s insignificant. My child’s obstacles are not insignificant. Your child’s obstacles are not insignificant.  

And, whatever you’re going through – whatever your child is going through, if I had any one piece of advice… I’d say listen to your child. Really listen. Really pay attention to their behavior and reactions. And never ever distrust your Mama or Papa bear gut instincts. Don’t let other people or society tell you what your child should or shouldn’t do. I believe in routine. I believe in traditional education. However, I believe it is so much more important that my child be in an environment where he can thrive and grow and learn so that he will be able to function in this world that we live in. Sometimes, the environment that your child needs to do those things is not the one you originally planned for. If you find that to be the case, I say to you, listen to your child. He or she will help you see what’s right for them. Be willing to adjust your expectations from the Fairy Tale.

Weekend Roundup: Top 5 Posts

With a growth in readers and followers, it’s time to once again link you up to our most read posts.  Whether you’re new around here or just missed something, take a moment to go back and read our top 5 posts.

5. Three Years – an ode to Claudia Love on her third birthday

4. The Story of My Tattoo: Ashley – a tale of a spontaneous decision made in the Fort Worth Stockyards

3. From Arrest to Engagement – the story of how poor decisions can lead to something amazing

2. Nipstick – how to find the perfect nude for your lips, while nude

  1. A Drinking Problem – a response to some cowardly and ignorant accusations

 

Which of these posts is your favorite?

5 Things You’re Getting Wrong About Homeschoolers

For those of you who don’t know, we are in our second year of homeschooling, after several years in the public schools.  We chose that path for many reasons, which I will write about another time, but mostly because of the flexibility.  When my ex and I decided that we would be divorcing and would live in different cities, I knew we needed a good custody solution that worked for everyone.  We both really wanted to do 50/50 custody and homeschooling was the perfect solution for our family.

While on Facebook recently, a friend remarked that she was considering homeschool so that her son could experience lots of travel – not just normal summer vacation, but more like months-long journeys all over the world.  In the comments, someone showed his obvious distaste for the homeschool lifestyle, despite never having experience it himself.  I got defensive and then just had to laugh.  Stereotypes are everywhere, but I believe homeschool families get hit with the most ridiculous ones.

So here, the top 5 things you probably have all wrong.

  1. “Kids need to socialize.”  Sure, it’s a life skill.  Is making conversation with another 12-year-old at an uncomfortable middle school dance a life skill?  Not necessarily.  How about communicating with a cashier, speaking to adults and authority figures, and asking a librarian for help?  You bet your ass.  I still have problems speaking to a bank teller without anxiety, so I am glad my kids have to go through the agony with me.  Seriously though, most homeschool families (not us, because I don’t like people) are involved in plenty of groups where they get tons of interaction.  My children get playdates and also hang out amongst lots of adults, where they are comfortable carrying on a conversation.
  2. “Your kids may fall behind.”  Behind who?  Behind what standard?  Who decides?  Every kid is different and there is no need for them to know X thing by X age.
  3. “Oh my, you’re going to be so tired of your kids.  I couldn’t spend all day with mine.”  When they go to dad’s, I rejuvenate, recharge, and spend so much time alone that I actually get sad.  And guess what, y’all?  It’s fucking AMAZING to be the one to witness them discover a new skill or finally grasp a concept.  Believe it or not, I like my kids.  We give each other space and needed and it just works.
  4. “Oh, I get it.  You want them taught in a religious manner.”  Oh hell.  You must not know me.  Did y’all know there is a HUGE community of secular home educators in the U.S.?  Yep.  There are even Christians who choose the secular route of educating, because they want their children to make their own decisions about religion.
  5. “I guess your kids won’t go to college then?”  Did you know there are colleges that seek out homeschool students because of their ability to lead their own learning and to keep themselves on task?  Universities enroll tons (super fancy stat, I know) of homeschool students.  And – gasp – my kids are undecided about college and I support that because, hell, so am I.

No matter what decisions we make as parents, or even just as single people, someone is always going to have something to say about it.  It’s crazy.  Let people do their own thing!  What have you done in your life that brought out someone’s unsolicited opinion?

Raising Children in a Godless Home

This is something that is perpetually on my mind in an on again off again fashion. I think it’s a relevant topic and worthy of bringing to light. We make a big deal of saying that we’re doing this motherhood thing…this mommy blog thing our own way. What does a god have to do with that? Well, I think that a lot of people…a lot of mommy bloggers have a belief in some sort of god as a backbone to their life and moral code. There are people who are active believers in a god who is a major and foremost character in their lives. There are people who you may never knew go to church every week and their belief in god only comes up occasionally. What I’m trying to say is that the spectrum of belief in a god is huge. I am aware of that. I’m totally ok with that. Me personally? I don’t believe in any god and I actively do and say things to make that clear to those around me…especially my children.

I am a firm believer in the simple truth  that we are all humans deserving of each other’s respect and consideration despite what each of us believes or how we choose to live our lives as long as we are not harming other humans. I do not believe that violence (of any kind) is ever a good reaction when you disagree with someone. No matter what the subject.

I don’t believe in any kind of god, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a strict moral code. I don’t believe in any kind of god, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t teach my children about god and religion.

I once took a world lit class at a local community college in which we were studying Greek mythology stories. One of my fellow classmates raised this question, “I don’t understand how these people could believe in such fantasies and worship these gods? All these stories are just completely unbelievable as anything other than fiction!” It was later revealed and discussed how that this person was a Christian who believed in all those clearly true things that the Bible says …you know. Like Jesus walking on water..turning water into wine…resurrecting from the dead…etc. None of that sounds like fantasy…right? The truth is that person most likely blindly accepts those Christian stories and beliefs as fact, because that is how they were raised. That is what their parents taught them. Their beliefs are the only way and others are crazy notions.

I never want my children to come to that conclusion. I want them to know that I don’t believe in god. We don’t center our holidays or our daily lives around any belief in a higher power. BUT I think that it is so incredibly important that they know that other people believe in god(s). I want them to know about all the options available to them. I think that religion is sometimes necessary for certain people. I think that sometimes living with the knowledge that we are all in fact in charge of our own lives…that there’s no omnipotent being controlling/handling/guiding/whatever our lives and this world we live in…is not something they can handle. At our core we all crave some type of structure and guidelines. Some people need more than others. Some people need someone else to provide them with that structure. Things like a change of heart and mind to believe in a god that makes an alcoholic, wife beater, child abuser, tax evader, etc. turn from their wicked ways and start doing good instead of bad – well those things I can get behind when it comes to religion in this world. I’ve seen religion do the opposite though. It’s a fine line.

So anyway, what I’m trying to say – to impart to those of you who do or don’t believe in a god and teach your children the same beliefs…maybe teach them that there are children out there who don’t believe the same things as you do…and that’s ok. Cause that’s what I’m teaching my children.

I always always try to see things from the other person’s perspective. I try not to dismiss their beliefs. I think that we are all entitled to forming our own opinions. Both my children were baptized in the Catholic Church. Both sets of my children’s grandparents (and their dad) believe in a god. I’ll never stop any of them from telling my children about their beliefs. Why? Because that’s their prerogative and my children should know what they believe. And it made their grandparents happy to see them baptized. No one was harmed or traumatized. 

I grew up in a religious home. My dad was a preacher and the pastor of a Southern Baptist Church. I’ve made it a point to read about and research relevant religions and belief systems. I do not feel like I am uninformed or ignorant. I know the negativity associated with the word – atheist. There shouldn’t be any. Because the bottom line is that anyone – no matter what their belief set – is capable of injustices.  

It is incredibly important to me that my children not suffer from any kind of tunnel vision when it comes to their belief set. We can live alongside each other in harmony. We can enjoy each other. We can be kind to each other. We can be silly with each other. We can be honest to each other. We don’t all have to believe the same things in order to do all of that.