Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I am THAT Mom

I'm gonna dust off the ol' blog so I can join in on the unschooling bloggie fun.... thanks for the prompt!

I am That Mom....

I am that mom who still gets hugs from her teenage boys; and knows when a hug isn't welcome and respects that without reading into it. (Like today, when dropping Jonathan off for his first day of football camp. All throughout the gymnasium moms were filling their sons' ears with last-minute instructions, trying to hug them, brushing their hair out of their eyes, while their sons brushed away their hands, rolled their eyes, and practically crawled out of their skin with each doting embrace. How can they find the inner strength to tackle a day of football camp among total strangers when mom's attention is all soft and schmoopy?)

I am that mom who doesn't flinch when her child tells her he wants to cut his hair into a mohawk, or learn to ride a motorcycle, or promote hemp oil as a cancer cure, or sleep behind the couch for three months straight. I am that mom who sees her kids' interests and desires, no matter how unusual or dangerous, as valid, worthy, and do-able.

I am that mom who says, "How can we make this happen?"

I am that mom who gets physically and emotionally ill when I witness (or even hear about) a parent shame, berate, or threaten her child. I am that mom who some days can't go out in public because I'm not strong enough to navigate such interactions. I am that mom who, on those days, feels overwhelmed with gratitude for my relationship with my children.

I am that mom whose child says, "some of my friends need an escape, which makes sense. But I love my life and I love the people in it, and I can't relate to the need for escape."

I am that mom whom other parents thought (and some, probably, still think) was the irresponsible one, the one who'd "pay for it later" when my kids ran wild, became disrespectful, or couldn't function in public due to my "hands-off style" of parenting. I am that mom who knew all along that wasn't true. I am that mom who watches those controlling, authoritative, drastic-measures, zero-tolerance, 'my way or the highway' parents struggle today. I am that mom from whom they now seek advice. Advice I begin with "It's never too late."

I am that mom who knows that because I listened before passing judgement, my kids talk to me. That because I don't over-react, my kids trust me. That because I have no hard and fast rules, my kids seek my advice and input.

I am that mom who believes in 'people over principles' and 'relationship first' and 'everything is negotiable.' EVERYTHING.

I am that mom who will end friendships if they are detrimental to our family's well-being. I am that mom who understands that her children choose their friendships for their own reasons. I am that mom who will tell you to back down if you are infringing on my child's sense of self. I am also that mom who will empathize with YOU when you struggle, when you hurt, and when you want to be better.

I am that mom who can go from setting a proper table to having a sock-throwing fight (ewwwww, nasty!); from scrubbing a floor on hands and knees to watching the "most amazing video game replay ever"; from talking to listening at the moment it's necessary.

I am that mom who believes nothing - NOTHING - is more important than this family. Who'd live in a cardboard box before she gave up a minute of these growing-up years.

I am THAT mom.

Any questions? :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brady and I Changed his First Flat Tire

I keep my cellphone on vibrate most of the time, so I didn't get Brady's text that he had a flat tire. Rob finally reached me a while later, and since he was out of town, I donned my "rescue persona" - a mix of "I'm coming to help you, honey!" and "Dangnabit, I'm not in the mood for this" - and headed out, after changing into clothes I didn't mind getting dirty. Brady's never changed a flat before, so I had visions of me doing most of it, teaching my boy how it's done, getting my hands dirty.

So this is where I think I'm still needed. "Here, let me show you how to do the jack."

"I know how to do the jack, Mom."

"Well, maybe I should make sure it doesn't slip."

"It won't slip, Mom."

"The last time I tried to change a tire, I couldn't get the lug nuts off so I had to get help. But for the record, I KNOW how to change a tire. Don't think I play 'helpless female' because I don't."
"Ok, Mom."
Brady's friend, Joe Convoulsion Bubenzer, smiles nervously.

"See? Those lug nuts are a b*tch to get off, aren't they? We might need help."
"I'll get it, Mom."

"I wonder if there's a service station nearby?"
"Mom, I'll GET it."

"Wow, you got it. How do you know how to change a tire anyway?"
"I watched Dad once."

"Need me to get anything for you?"

Ho hum... la dee dah.... *twiddles thumbs*...

"I'll put the flat in the trunk for you."
"Ok, Mom, you do that."

So I did.

"Why did I drive all the way up here?"
"Because I didn't have a jack."
So I WAS needed after all.
Nicely done, Brady, nicely done.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Well, Hello There

Hello all you new readers. Um, where did y'all come from? Oh that's right, my blog was listed in the latest statewide H.O.U.S.E. newsletter, wasn't it. I forgot all about that since it seems like ages ago that Pamela asked if she could use my blog to jumpstart that section. I haven't written much lately, so I kinda cringed about being listed. Sending folks to a quiet blog probably isn't the best way to generate excitement.

But I've written lots in the past about unschooling. Check the sidebar for category LABELS such as
'Unschooling Q&A' or 'An Unschooler Goes to School' about Brady's year of private college-preparatory high school after eight years of radically unschooling, or if you're in the mood to laugh check out 'Cornfield Country' or 'Family Farm.' And if you want to know why this isn't a food blog, check out 'Why I'm Not a Food Blogger.'

And now, because you're likely here because you're an IL homeschooler, be sure to check out my one post about last year's
InHome Conference - it's not comprehensive by any means, nor a review, nor a plug as publicity chair (bad publicity chair! Bad!). It's a bunch of goofy pictures of us having a good old time. Be sure to pop on over to the InHome site and register - it's always fun fun FUN! I was in charge of workshops for kids ages 10 and up, so I've been very involved this year and it's going to be a great year. John Taylor Gatto is coming! If you go, if you see me, say hi or introduce yourself. I'm a Chatty Patty and love to meet new peeps.

For now, I'm at the
UWWG, where I'm scheduled to speak tomorrow on 'Seasoned Unschoolers' (wait - does that just mean I'm OLD?) and Thursday on 'An Unschooler Goes to School.' We're having a grand old time.

Coffee calls. And Gatto. And waterslides. And more chatting. Woot!