I am not the Mom that you hate or talk about behind my back, but maybe I am.
I dress my kids in nice clothes, sometimes even fancy(ish) label stuff. I got it all second (or even third) hand from my BFF, who got some of it at Gymboree with her Gym bucks, and some of it at a tag sale. My kids wear the stained up stuff when we aren’t going out.
I feed my kids poptarts (when we go camping), and starbursts and Doritos (when we go to the drive in). I need them to have their blood sugar up so they can be bouncy and cute when they are excited, instead of just whiney and unable to cope, which makes *everyone in earshot* grumpy. No, I don’t fight them to eat things they don’t want to eat when I need them to have something in their bellies and some carbs to run on. If we are out to have a good time, we are *out to have a good time*. I pick my nutritional battles at home, tyvm.
I don’t have a tidy yard or a tidy house, pretty much EVER. My front room, the only one visible from our suburban street, is, in fact, piled high with boxes and camping gear which are, therefore, visible from the street. Should I deal with it? Sure, (and I’d like to!) but either we’re busy, or I’m not well enough; those are pretty much our two states of being around here. And no, you can’t just drop over, unless I know that you will value the people inside our house more than our exterior appearance. I know that I teach MY kids to pay attention to the qualities inside someone or something instead of just how it looks, how about you?
I talk about the things my kids like to do, and where they are with them. Yes, sometimes these things or skills might sound ‘advanced,’ even to me, but if my kids are doing them, what do you want me to do, pretend they *aren’t* doing them? What message would THAT send my kids? I’d rather you think that I am some pushy, braggy mom, than have my kids think that I don’t value the things they value, and the effort they put into them! Trust me; I didn’t push my two-year old to shoot archery for THREE HOURS, or learn to play chess at the library yesterday. These are HIS choices; I just do what I can to make them possible for him, and to support him in his choices when he has made them. And yes, sometimes I talk about these things in hopes that I *might* meet someone who has kids like mine, into the things they are into; we could all use more playdates with people who actually understand us, eh?
And, lastly, I live in Vermont, and I homeschool my kids, although I used to teach in public school. I am about thirteenth generation American on one side, and second on the other. I live in the suburbs of the biggest city in the state, and grew up in the suburbs of one of the biggest cities on the Eastern seaboard, and I have a BS in Forest Biology. I am not Christian (anymore), but have no problem with Christians that have no problem with me. I do not and will not own a gun, but I do support hunting, since folks need protein, and protein can be mighty expensive. I am married to a man and have had the honor to march in several Pride parades over the years. My politics are, much to my mother’s chagrin, so liberal that I should be anemic, but I’m not, since I eat red meat. I make my own granola, since, well, it is better than the store brands, and nut-free. I blog and play Civ5, and I sew, mostly by hand. I read. I read a lot. I read fantasy, SF, and literary fiction, as well as a *lot* of non-fiction. My husband writes urban fantasy and SF professionally. He has waist-length hair, and a beard. He is a nurse. He is a veteran of the US Army and VTANG, and is a third don in TKD. We are unabashedly geeky. We are attachment parents. Yes, it is almost 9:30 PM, and my kids are all still awake; the girls are watching Rescue Rangers on TV, and my almost three-year old is nursing and holding my first ever cellphone, on which he was just playing Angry Birds.
In summary, I AM A PERSON. I am as unique and distinct and full of quandaries and conundrums as you are. I’m not you; I don’t make the same choices that you do. I don’t play the Mommy Wars game: since we all want what is best for our kids, we are all on the same side. When I see you and yours, out in public and maybe not putting your best foot forward (imho), I wonder. I wonder what your life is like that you think or act that way, by choice or circumstance. I wonder if I there is something I can learn, or at least understand better, from your experience. I wonder, if it looks like you are having a Bad Day ™, if there is something I have the time and energy to do that might make your day go a little bit better, or at least more pleasantly. At a bare minimum, I try to shoot you an understanding smile, since we’ve all had our bad days, and feeling judged just makes them worse.
How about you?