Family of N

That’s Never Going to Last!

Posted in Family, Homeschooling, Parenting by Laura on December 14, 2009

The Professor and I are used to doing things differently from people around us. We cook our food from scratch from whole food ingredients. Even before we had kids, we spent most of our free time at home rather than out at concerts or movies or whatever “normal” people do on Friday nights. We don’t watch TV (though we do enjoy the occasional movie at home).

Now, as parents, we see the trend continuing. I gave birth to Savannah naturally, at home. We use cloth diapers and exclusively breastfed her until 6 months. Savannah still nurses some even at 14 months. We’ve never put her in daycare. She’s never ridden in a stroller. She started using the potty at 6 months and has been half-trained on the potty for several months now. We made all of Savannah’s baby food and toddler food from scratch, with the lone exception of Cheerio’s. (Recipe? Anyone?) We keep her with us in worship services rather than sending her to a nursery. When she reaches school age, we intend to homeschool her.

Often when we have told people we were doing these things, the response is something like the title of this post: “That will never last!” or “Yeah, you think that way now, but just wait!”

I’ll admit: in the last year, our baking has taken a hit (though it has rebounded some in recent months), we’ve avoided making our hardest meals, and we have used disposable diapers in limited circumstances. But so far there’s no room for an “I told you so” from the nay-sayers.

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately — how can it be that people are so sure that it can’t be done (i.e. that we’ll give up on cloth diapers, or on making healthy home-cooked meals with a little one running around, or on keeping Savannah in church service) when the things we’ve tried have turned out not to be all that bad? I can come up with a few reasons:

  • 1) They don’t know how stubborn (I prefer “determined”) we are.
  • 2) They’ve never tried themselves, but it sounds like so much work!
  • 3) If they’ve tried, they didn’t have the support system we do (I get tons of tips from the Internet)
  • 4) They have more commitments outside the home than we do, so even if they had the support system we have, they would indeed find it hard to carve out the time or the energy required for the “project” in question.
  • 5) They don’t value the outcome as highly as we do, and as a result they don’t think it’s worth the moderate amount of effort that it requires.
  • 6) In some cases, they misunderstand our reasons for doing what we do. [I think this is the case with keeping Savannah with us during church worship services. To many people, it looks like maternal weakness — I’m sure my friends think I have an unhealthy clinginess to my “baby” (who is now more of a toddler) and am unwilling to let her grow up. On the contrary, my husband and I allow Savannah to participate in the adult worship services in order to lead her to a mature faith. And viewed with that lens, my conviction on this issue is not something that is going to fade with time as the hypothetical clinginess would.]

In writing this post, I am reminding myself that this can’t-do attitude is nothing new to my experience. People have been saying “it can’t be done” all my life. Most notably in college — I can’t count on my two hands all the times I was told, “You may have kept a good GPA in high school, but you’ll *never* manage a 3.0 at Georgia Tech.” In a similar situation, my mom’s college counsellor computed her projected GPA in college — and let’s just say my mom proved that dismal prediction wrong by a mile!

I wish I knew more people in real life whose success in these counter-cultural choices I could draw hope from. But I don’t. I have a few homeschooling acquaintances at church, and a few more who are SAHM’s to their young children, and I know one older woman who kept her children in the pew with her many years ago. Other friends of ours cloth diapered for a while until they couldn’t figure out how to get rid of their son’s rash without switching from cloth. We even have some peers with a baby girl 7 months Savannah’s junior who have (or, rather, whose Vietnamese mother/mother-in-law has) toilet trained their infant. (Does that make us slightly less weird? Please?)

But I do have access to many real people who have gone before us and who have written volumes to encourage those of us who are wandering alone in this counter-cultural wilderness — I just don’t happen to know any of them in real life. πŸ™‚ My hat goes off to the families who homeschooled before there was an Internet, because it is so helpful to have a reminder sitting in my Google Reader every day, telling me that, yes, it *can* be done. After all, the Headmistress has done it seven times over. Cindy has done it nine times over. Kim has done it nine times over and is preparing to do it a tenth time.

You can’t fill your void for friendships by reading blogs, and you can’t make a three-dimensional role model from what you read on a blog — there just isn’t a complete enough picture.

But what that blogroll does for me is tell me is that It. Can. Be. Done.

And you’re not going to see me giving up any time soon.

2 Responses

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  1. Harmony said, on December 14, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Yay! My favorite blog updated!! πŸ˜€

    We’re lucky to have more in-person friends who are like-minded, but we’re still weird to most of our acquaintance. But our family is supportive, and that’s the biggest help to me.

    I think a lot of people assume the way we live is more work. Sometimes it is harder, yes, but the reward is so much greater. And it’s really only a few minutes here and there, I’ve found.

  2. Alan said, on December 14, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Sometimes folks who choose differently from you may respond defensively. They may feel accused by the fact that you chose differently, and that you have such strong feelings about your choice. It’s partly defensive of their parenting choices, and partly defending what might be implied about their children. It’s a pretty sensitive topic.

    I’m confident that you have what it takes to do this exceptionally well.

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