I Did One DIY Project For Easter. One. Not Twelve. Not Twenty. Just One.

And even then, it nearly killed me.

I don’t mean that it was dangerous or wracked with mishap that could have severed my head or anything. I mean I hated doing it so much, I could have died.

I literally could have died. Literally. Not figuratively, like a spiritual death. I mean laid down on the floor and just stopped breathing – that is how over DIY projects I am these days.

(I did burn my finger on my glue gun, so maybe it was a little dangerous too.)

I think I’ve really evolved over time. First I hated Pinterest and all this perfect Mommy -DIYs everything crap. Then I felt guilt for that, or guilt for something, and went all Pinterest Mom crazy. Like everything was over the top DIY and perfect with all its perfection. Now I’m back to hating it, but mostly because I’m lazy and just over doing things.

Like any things.

So my devolving to this slovenly lard ass who would rather just buy something online than have to actually go and burn my fingers off with my glue gun again…it has been a slow one. It’s gone piece by piece, so that no one will ever notice that I went from DIYing everything to DIYing nothing. My theory is that the change will have been so slow that it will be hard to even remember that this wasn’t the way things were all along.

This Easter, I am officially down to the end game. The goal of DIYing absolutely nothing is within reach. In this – the final phase – I did but one DIY project.

And if I was going to be totally honest about it, I’d admit that the only reason I did it was to save money.

We gift all of the kids in my husband’s side of the family every major holiday. That’s Christmas and mini-Christmas, aka Easter. (Just kidding, we don’t consider it to be mini-Christmas, although I do find that a lot of people have turned it into that…)

Now at eight kids besides our own, this is starting to add up. And especially with holidays like Easter, it’s always the wrapping that makes the expense out of control. The baskets, the extra large eggs…whatever I wrap the Easter goods in for these kids, it always ends up being a hefty chunk of the overall cost.

So I made my own bags this year. Out of burlap. Burlap and buttons and some leftover chalkboard tags I had from something else.

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I hated every minute of it too, so I hope those kids realize how much effort went in to even convincing myself to make the bags to save the money. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could give the gifts in CVS and Trader Joes bags – those kids would probably never notice.

This raised a bigger issue, though, in my mind: how has it come to this? How has it come to the point where I hate doing DIY projects so badly that I would prefer to lay down and cease to exist? What happened to that Heather that just a few years ago would hand-paint the wrapping paper, and cut party cheese into shapes that went along with the party theme?

It’s possible that I burned myself out, as I do in so many other areas of life. But it’s also, and more likely to be the case, just a sign of this new era of parenting I am in – the my kids don’t want shit to do with me anymore phase. The themed parties aren’t really what they do anymore, now it’s all cellphones and God mom why do you have to embarrass us. So I may as well just stop caring about some of this dumb DIY stuff that doesn’t do anything but cost me frustration and heartache, and – apparently – embarrass them.

(Newsflash: everything embarrasses them.)

There’s also the distinct possibility that I am just on a Pinterest hiatus. That it’s only a matter of time before I am back in the saddle and DIYing everything to the point that other mothers hate me for all that I do.

I’ve written about this many times before, and I am most certain that I will write about it again. But just one DIY project this Easter. Not twelve. Not twenty. Not even two…just…one… I can’t help but think that is a sign of a much different and terrifying time to come.

For if I am no longer a Pinterest Mom, well then what kind of a mom have I become?

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I Am – At My Core – A Sanctimommy.

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.

I’ve said many versions of that over the course of the years writing on this blog. And in life, in general. It’s probably one of the only cliches I can really get on board with. I’m just not a big fan of them – at least as far as talking in cliche goes.

(My most hated cliched phrase is “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Fuck you. My grass is dead, like my heart. Ain’t nobody want my cold, dead grass.)

But then there’s the becoming a cliche thing, which I have done through my adult life over and over and over again. It’s just how I live – one standard, societally-dictated role after another. You name it, I have probably – at some time until I’ve hated myself enough to stop – fulfilled it.

The biggest one, the one that persists in spite of the self-loathing it creates within me, is probably the worst. I am – at my core – a sanctimommy.

If you don’t know what a sanctimommy is, in short it’s: a woman who becomes a mother and then suddenly has an opinion that she believes to be absolute fact on what is right and wrong for children. All children. Every child in the world, regardless of their situation. Regardless of whether those children are hers or not, her positions are the universal imperative. The Kantian maxim of absolute moral right.

It’s almost as cliche as meeting your husband at the door when he gets home from work every night with a smoking pipe and a martini. (For me, I’m lucky my husband works nights, or I’d probably have fallen to that one too.)

So I fell to the cliche of the sanctimommy pretty quickly after becoming a mother, and my list of sanctimonious views on mothering and raising children has continued to stack up over the years. And they just get worse. I have an opinion for just about everything, and believe those opinions to be the absolute right in my world of black-and-white, never gray, rights and wrongs.

It’s just the way things are, and I am.

12729097_1126111397433349_2977683069917066235_nThat doesn’t mean I share these sanctimonious views with everyone. I don’t take it the step so many do to judge others, and foist those judgments upon them. I’m rapidly becoming an Internet troll, making comments on news articles just to test out jokes or ideas for my blog (like my most recent: a comment on Starbucks when I don’t actually drink coffee…). But when it comes to parenting, I keep the tippy-typing in the comments to a minimum.

Were I to wield my sanctimommmy views upon the world: on the Internet, in my Facebook, at family gatherings and the kids’ weekly sports shit…it would be a wasteland. A wasteland of my universal maxims and everyone else hating me. A wasteland where I have zero Facebook friends left, and my invitations conveniently “get lost in the mail.”

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In fact, only recently I shared one of my particularly new sanctimonious views on being a parent in the form of a joke meme. In it, I basically said that people with only one child have no idea – NO CLUE – what tired is. Because I have two. And I’m fucking tired – no doubt way more tired than if I only had one. You might say double tired. Well all the backlash came within minutes of me sharing what I thought was a hilarious meme I, myself, crafted, and suddenly every parent of one child thought I was some asshole who had not a single fucking clue what I was talking about.

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Usually, and especially now, I’m so scared of the reactions I might get, that I typically only share my views on parenting with my husband. I’m not even sure if he agrees in earnest with me on most of this shit, some of it totally inconsequential to our current lives as parents. And often I wonder how he even tolerates someone as judgmental and sanctimonious as I.

But he does, and then there’s that whole thing where it seems like a lot of people in our lives hate me anyway. Like I said a few blog posts ago: I’m not everyone’s cup-o-tea. For every sanctimommy view I keep to myself, there’s at least three on other issues that I won’t shut the fuck up about. Many an invitation has been “lost in the mail” over the years.

So…why not just go full sanctimommy? Take the leap from holding my beliefs in my mind to outwardly and verbally judging others?

Why not tell people that I think at least one parent being at home with the kids at the very least part time until said kids graduate high school is what’s right? And that through sacrifices I have made, I know that oftentimes people claiming that they have to work is more a statement about their priorities in liking vacations and expensive things than what has been scientifically and statistically proven to be what is best for kids. (Note: I said oftentimes, and I am completely aware that in many families both parents need to work even multiple jobs each to meet the bills; though this does not change the fact that it would be categorically and factually beneficial for their kids if one of them were home at least some of the time.)

Or I could admit that for a brief period of time I seriously considered keeping pacifiers in my purse to slip into the mouths of infant family members whose parents – I can only assume on principle or the belief that they know better than trained medical professionals – had ignored the warnings of doctors that pacifier use decreases SIDS risk by 95%. That I believe people who put shoes on their children before their children can walk outside look at their children as a fashion accessory. And that people who pierce the ears of an infant – except in the case of Hispanic families, who have a cultural reason – are teaching their kids from the earliest age possible that their body is not something with which they have complete control over.

(I came close to outward sanctimommy recently on the piercing the ears of infants issue at a family dinner when I let a joke slip that I was going to buy my husband’s goddaughter big hoop earrings for her first birthday. When someone told me that was crazy, I said ‘almost as crazy as piercing an infant’s ears.’ But I knew then to shut my mouth and move on lest my true sanctimommy be released.)

There’s so much more I don’t share. About school work (kids should have a lot). About playtime (kids should have even more of that than school work). Like parents who line their kids up in so many extra-curricular activities that they have no time to be kids (that this is one of the worst things a parent could do).

My list goes on and on and on. I’ve already shared too much, and anticipate a backlash.

My point, though, is that I withhold from sharing most of it because it’s not my place to. I may think someone is doing something wrong by their children, but unless it’s actually endangering the life of the child – like legit endangering the life, for example when people choose not to vaccinate their children because they are insane and have no grasp of reality – then who am I to tell others how to live? You want to teach your kids particular lessons and values, by all means – do it. In the end, you will be the one to answer for that.

Just as I will be the one to answer for the lessons and values I have taught mine. And in that vein, no one has a right to share their own sanctimonious views with me on the way I raise my kids.

In the end, I think we are all sanctimommies. In our core of cores, it’s a mandate when you have kids. Otherwise, your kids flounder around, living life according to what a whole gaggle of people believe, and then you have taught your children something very damaging – perhaps the most damaging – that making decisions for yourself is not the way to live. That the opinions of others bear more weight than your own beliefs and feelings.

I would much rather feel like shit about myself for having so many judgmental views in my head, than raise my children to believe that they can’t make decisions of their own accord. If there is anything I’ll be sanctimonious and loud about, it’s that.

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I Used To Think I Knew Everything About Being A Parent. I Was Wrong.

This is a lesson I continue to learn, still, after all these years. I used to think I knew everything about being a parent.

I was wrong.

While I went to college, I worked in a pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. After about a year of working, they invented this thing to help kids with the gross taste of medicine called FlavorRX. The idea was that for the low cost of $3, we could add almost any flavor to a kid’s disgusting, puke-flavored liquid, making it easier on the kids when they had to take it.

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I thought I knew everything about parenting even then, which is funny because the truth was I didn’t know a fucking thing. Every time a parent paid the $3 for the flavoring, I would scoff that they would do something so ludicrous. Didn’t they know what all those $3 expenses could buy them?! When I had kids I would get them to take their medicine by telling them to take their fucking medicine. There would be no arguing about it. They’d deal and in fact they’d like it. I vowed up and down to never – not ever – waste money on frivolities like that.

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So today I paid $3 to have my daughter’s medicine flavored grape-bubblegum. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this, either. My kids don’t take antibiotics, or any medicine, that often, so you know they’ve got to be pretty sick if they do. In fact, this particular child has not taken antibiotics in four years; now a kidney infection has made it a necessity. The medicine they gave her was gross, and she has to take it four times a day on an already touchy appetite.

$3 to get her to take the damn medicine and quit the fighting about it was well worth it.

Last year, my brother in law and his wife had a baby. I remember during the pregnancy they were talking about all the things they would and would not be tolerating from their kid. They’d be hard to the line with the rules. The schedules would be enforced from the get-go. And so on and so forth… I remember one day at brunch another parent in the family looked at me and said “they’ll learn…they’ll see.” And I used to think that when people responded to everything I thought I knew about parenting before being a parent like we did, that it was sanctimonious crap.

It wasn’t. It was just true.

I have yet to find out if they have learned the same lesson I have on this one, but I continue to be reminded often that I sounded so much like them before kids. Only to have backtracked on almost every single one of my beliefs and assertions and ideas about being a parent since becoming one.

I had a lot of time to think about this as I stood in the mile-long line at the CVS waiting for my kid’s antibiotics to be flavored like a piece of grape-bubblegum. Because the FlavorRX is just one in a series of things I knew not a single thing about before becoming a parent.

I used to say that my kids would go to bed naturally at a reasonable time, and there would never be fighting about it.

My kids stay up pretty late every night. And most nights they bargain their way into sleeping in the living room.

I used to say that we wouldn’t be those families that spend all their time at theme parks.

We’ve been Disneyland season pass holders for as long as I can remember.

I used to say that I would never be one of those parents that bribes their children with sweets and privileges.

Bribe is now my middle name. Heather Bribe Schmidt. To get them to be good in Target, I give them ICEEs. To get them to take their allergy medicine, I let them each eat a Skittle before and after the pills. To convince them to be good for family photo day, I let them take over the entire dining room for their Barbies and dolls.

My list could go on…

You just don’t know what you’ll do as a parent to make it work until you have to make it work. I used to think I knew everything about being a parent. I was terribly, terribly wrong. But I really believe that this is totally OK. In fact, the only thing that would not be OK would be if I had learned nothing from this.

As I stood in that line and got that $3 FlavorRX, I finally figured out the bigger picture. The lesson is that sometimes things work out differently than you’d expect. Sometimes you have to adapt. Sometimes you have to change your beliefs to adjust to the circumstances. This really makes life better, in all aspects, and we have our kids to thank for teaching us that.

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My Child-Rearing Philosophy Is Simple.

Or is it?

I grapple with this myself on the regular.

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My philosophy as a parent in theory is really, and truly, very simple: don’t raise assholes. As I said, in theory this is easy. Raise good people. People that are kind. That care for others. That experience empathy. That know how to set healthy boundaries. That practice mindfulness. And so on…

Do all this by example. All of it. Let me be clear: ALL. OF. IT. You are not going to raise empathetic and kind people if you, yourself, are not empathetic and kind. You are not going to teach your kids about healthy boundaries and taking care of themselves if you, yourself, let people walk all over you, and let it affect your own physical and mental well-being.

But there is one area in not raising little terrorist assholes, who one day grow up to be the likes of Donald Trump or Ann Coulter – willing to stomp on anyone to get ahead, drop anything and anyone for the next best thing, all while spewing hateful words every single time they open their mouths…

…it’s in not letting other people raise assholes of your children either.

Without going into too many specifics, we are surrounded by a lot of people in our daily lives who have otherwise undesirable characteristics. Is that a nice enough way to say it? just-a-friendly-reminder-that-getting-shit-faced-is-not-always-the-key-to-having-a-good-time-5e363My husband and I are just very far on the opposite end of the spectrum from a lot of people we regularly encounter in that regard. We have high standards for the way we treat people, and as a result expect to be treated the same. We do not believe in getting shit-faced in front of the children, and we don’t have anything to do with gossip even when it’s just being spoken in our presence. Above all, we believe in being kind, understanding, honest, empathetic of other people’s feelings, and trustworthy.

Not everyone agrees with us on these things, though. Look, not everyone agrees on the way to live their lives. And, people have different priorities.

At some point, though, my husband and I started to realize the profound effect being associated so regularly with people who do not share our values (again, a nice enough way of saying it? …you never know who is reading this blog…) – how much those people were affecting our ability to raise good kids.

We have a couple of people (again, the vaguery) that constantly promise things and then drop said promise for something better that comes up. Now I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes things come up – you get sick, your car breaks down… Sometimes it’s something innocuous – like we kind of-sort of have standing weekly plans together, but something came up one weekend and the kids got disappointed but the plans were never really set in stone so… But then other times, like in the most recent event, it’s “yes I will be at your tennis tournament that weekend” and then the very next day decided instead to go with friends and family to a casino to drink, gamble, and waterski.

Um…shitty…

We are very fortunate that this hasn’t – yet – taught our kids that it’s OK to make a commitment only to drop it if something better comes along. But what left me with a chill down my spine that I could just not shake this afternoon was when my daughter said “you know, I guess from now on I’ll just tell them I’ll do things with them only to cancel for something better too.”

My parenting philosophy to not raise assholes seemed so easy. Just be good, show them what it means to be good – even when it feels like a slow, agonizing death inside to do so (like not saying nasty things about other people in front of them); and it’ll all turn out well, right? Wrong. The impact of others, though -especially as they get older – seems to have more and more of a profound effect on them.

And now raising kids gets hard again.

It sounds like just a petty reaction, do unto others so if they flake on me for something better, I’ll do the same. Won’t become a long term habit, right? Feet, meet slippery slope – suddenly in front of my eyes flashed a day when my kids thought it was legitimately acceptable to tell someone that you’ll do something only to flake because someone asks you to go gambling and drinking, or water skiing, or whatever it is you were asked to do that seemed more fun.

I mean…that’s what other people do. It must be OK.

So now my husband and I are tasked with figuring out the next phase. The next phase of not raising assholes, which not only involves showing by our own examples, but making sure that the examples they are shown by others are in line with our own values as well.

Talking about how others act in a way that is undesirable is clearly not enough. So then how do you even go about surrounding yourself by the people you want your kids to grow up to be?

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I’m Good On the Vacation Now

So I mentioned the other day that we are on vacation. Specifically, we are visiting family in Central Oregon. This will be the longest visit we have ever made here.

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In the past, we’ve come up for two or three days at a time. This time we made it a ten day jaunt; and let me tell you guys…on Day 7 I’m ready to go home.

There is no such thing as a “vacation” for mothers.

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Sorry, but there isn’t.

Anyone that tells you she has small children and was able to go on vacation with said children and actually came back feeling relaxed is a fucking liar.

I’ve still been doing laundry. I’ve still been ref’ing the fights. I’ve still had to cook and clean and administer medicine and answer “can I have a snack” thirty to fifty times a day and tuck in and bathe and homeschool. And then there was that whole incident when I learned that they had not packed appropriate clothing for the weather.

It sounds cliche, but by the time we get home Sunday night I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation.

My husband caused some major shade to be thrown my way by his family.

The first three nights we were here, we stayed at his grandparent’s home. But when it was getting to the point where he had to fly home for work and a job interview, he realized that the arrangements there were not going to work for the whole ten days.

Besides their bedroom, they have a very uncomfortable couch, a double sized bed in a tiny extra bedroom, and a whole lot of hardwood floors. Beyond that, they go to bed around 8 o’clock every night, and get up around 6 o’clock every morning. So from the time they go to bed until the time we go to bed, we’re desperately trying to keep everyone quiet. And then first thing in the morning we’re woken up with their chores, their music, their breakfast, and their bickering.

For a few days, we could all cram into that space and deal with it. But for ten days? It’s not very realistic, especially with the dog sleeping halfway up my asshole all night long and the children getting more and more difficult by the day from having been woken up so early every morning.

So my husband drove down the street to the first nice hotel, and checked us in for the remainder of the trip. He then flew home for the whole work and interview thing I mentioned before; then tomorrow he’ll fly back and enjoy the comfortable beds in the hotel room as we have all week.

In response, since he flew home, I have gotten some major shade from his grandparents over the issue. They don’t think it’s right that when you stay in the same town as family that you would stay in a hotel. They think we should all just deal with being uncomfortable, and that it’s not a big deal to have to get up early every morning for 10 days.

They’re old; they’re set in their ways – I get it! But that didn’t make the flack I’m catching daily any easier to take. Tonight his grandmother yelled at me that when he gets back tomorrow night, I should let him sleep on the bed alone and sleep on the floor to give him space to rest. Because he works so hard.

FUCK THAT is about all I have to say to that one.

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There isn’t a lot to do here.

We’ve shopped. We’ve eaten. We’ve shopped and eaten more. We went to the lone, local museum. Then we shopped and ate again.

Now everyone’s bored. Today I knitted an entire scarf. Yesterday I did an entire scratchboard drawing (that typically takes around 12 hours to do).

And the children are going stir crazy. If they have to do one more puzzle to keep busy, I may have to coax them down off a ledge.

We’re city folk. How terribly hillbilly and rednecked for me to say that, but it’s damned true. Of course we enjoy the peace and the quiet. The vegging out on the couch eating loads of Italian food while Clark Gable movies play in the background.

But we can only take so much. We’re getting antsy and bored. We’re ready for our regular lives to resume.

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You know, there was once a day when I would have loved to go on a vacation and never come back. I could live on hotel food and in different rooms weekly without batting an eyelash. I guess as I get older, though, I have become more of a homebody. As if what came shuffling through the front door along with my 30s was a sense of stay-put-edness. Or maybe I’m just on burn out with the visiting family thing – I need a vacation to somewhere exotic where I know no one, and can therefore be entirely myself.

Whatever the case may be, our daily routine of tennis-school-tennis-school-laundry-clean-laundry-cook never seemed so attractive.

 

(3 Things You Can’t Say To Me, 1 Thing You Can) On the Topic Of Homeschooling

Summer is upon us, which means everyone with an asshole and an opinion wants to tell me what I should be doing with my family come next fall.

My 11 year old is – technically – a to-be-6th grader; although, to define her as such in homeschooling terms seems very unfair. We don’t take breaks for summer (or Christmas or Easter or even weekends for that matter), because we take a much more well-rounded and un-schooled approach to things.

If I were to actually qualify her, I’d say that my 6th-grade-11-year-old is continuing on about halfway through 6th grade math, beginning 8th grade science, testing out high school level reading and language arts, and continuing on into a whole gamut of subjects that aren’t even covered in public K-12. Like metaphysics, Latin, ethics, art history, and growing up to not be a dick.

But I don’t actually do that. I never say things like “you are a 6th grader” or “are you ready for 6th grade??!” People often regret asking me what grade she’s in, because my response is typically “it’s a little complicated” and people don’t want complicated. They want something simple and they want a label for it, which is probably part of why they want us to stop homeschooling.

What’s important is that at her age, she should be starting 6th grade. In California, that’s when middle school begins. This means that everybody is all up in my business. Now is the time to get her back into “regular” school – what a great transitioning point!

(If I hear the words “this would be a good transitioning point” just one more time, I may completely lose it.)

Ignoring for just a moment that a public school system where kids sit on the floor because they have no desks, bully each other to the point of suicide, and are lucky if the teacher even knows their name by the end of the year – ignoring for just a moment that all of these are actually considered “regular,” I usually indulge them with a smile and vaguely say “all things to consider.” Then I move on with my day and forget about the conversation altogether.

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And yet, I’m tired of slapping a smile on my face and listening to people’s opinions. People I barely know; people close to me. People I talk to once a year; people I talk to every day – everyone else seems to think they know better than I do when it comes to what is best for my family. Maybe it’s that this year I’ve heard a lot more of them, because of this whole middle school thing. Or maybe it’s that as time goes on, more and more people around me believe it’s socially acceptable for them to foist their unsolicited opinions in my direction.

Whatever the case may be, I’m tired of it and am resolving to no longer stand by and smile and nod and respond “all things to consider.” Because while I don’t think that’s the sole reason for all the unsolicited advice, I do believe that is perpetrating the problem.

This makes me partially to blame, and you all know how much I don’t like being at fault.

So here are 3 things you can’t say to me and 1 thing you can, on the topic of homeschooling. Nosy nellies, be warned.

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You Can’t Say You Think Our Family Needs More Socialization

I’m not sure it would be physically possible to have any more positive social interaction than this family already has. While going to a “regular” or public school would, in fact, provide more in-person time with others, that isn’t to say it would necessarily be positive or even true.

When kids go to school, they don’t spend all their time sitting there gabbing and working together. In fact, as project-based learning has decreased in the public school system, individual learning and silent testing time has taken over. The time kids have with each other as actual, social interaction is typically confined to recess and lunch. Arguably, I make up for the lack of that ten-fold in other ways.

And then there’s the whole issue of bullying.

Usually when I tell people that homeschooling affords us more positive social interactions – through extra curriculars, homeschool groups, sports, friends, and family – they retort with some idiotic response like “but they have to learn to deal with bullies eventually.” As if extra curriculars, homeschool groups, sports, friends, and family don’t have their own fair share of bullies.

The difference between homeschool and “regular” school, though, is in the ability to deal with those bullies in a more healthy, controlled, and effective way.

You Can’t Say My 11 Year Old Needs Other Girls To Go Through Puberty With

Someone actually said that to me.

When I asked for a little clarification – not that I cared, only that I was dumbfounded – she told me that there was no way I could understand what my daughter is going through in this pre-pubescent time of her life. Moreover, she could go through it all with others if she were in regular, non-homeschool school.

I may not remember every, single, literal, detail of my puberty – when I started shaving my pits and what brand maxi pads I used for the first time; but I certainly understand what is going on. And what I know more than anything is that the most terrifying thing about puberty as a little girl is that everyone goes through it at a different rate, some even at entirely different age brackets. There is really no such thing as everyone going through it together as friends. And even if there was, I see this as having absolutely nothing to do with our educational choices.

You Can’t Say I’m Going Too Far Ahead

Remember how I said that we have a much more well-rounded, less restrictive, way of doing things? The result of this has always been that we’re well beyond the expectations of any given grade we’ve homeschooled through.

I cannot even tell you how many people have said I’m going too far ahead. People that have actually said to me in all seriousness that “there is such a thing as learning too much.”

You just can’t say that. It’s so wrong on so many levels – morally, philosophically, logically – you just. CAN’T. There is no such thing as learning too much – there never has been, there never will be.

That leaves only one thing. That 1 thing you actually can say to me on the topic of homeschooling. It’ll probably come as a shock to many of you, especially those that have been nosing up in my business and telling me why you think we should stop this little experiment already.

The 1 Thing You Can Say Is That WE ARE DOING A GOOD JOB.

The only people I have ever – in all these years of homeschooling – heard say to me that we’re doing a good job with this crazy, alternative lifestyle of ours is … you’ve got it … complete strangers.

A stranger sees us studying in the morning on a weekday at our local coffee shop…stops at the table to say we’re doing a good job.

A stranger hears us talking in a museum in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday…stops us in the exhibit to say we’re doing a good job.

A stranger is on a walk and passes us on one of our weekly scavenger hunts…says as we cross paths that we’re doing a good job.

These are the people that have said that we are doing a good job. Not the people around me – the friends and the family who think it’s their missions in life to convert us to the regularity of compulsory day school.

Support. It’s simple. It’s positive. And if you learned anything yourself in whatever education you’ve had, you know it’s the smartest thing anyone can do.

Well, that and minding your own business.

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By Now, I Should Know Better Than To Leave The House When I’m Crabby

I woke up this morning in a bad mood.

That’s actually a slight understatement, actually. I was so angry in the general sense that I continually thought to myself: “geez, Heather…you’re being pretty bitchy this morning.”

And to be honest, it was entirely my fault. I opted to sleep in bed last night, instead of on the couch. Knowingly I went in aware that it was unlikely I’d get a good night’s sleep. For after all the money we’ve spent on a new bed, our comfortable bedding, and exotic pillows I truly thought I’d have to sell a body part to afford, the truth to the matter is: I cannot sleep next to my husband. He thrashes, kicks, talks, shrieks, mumbles, snores, mouth-breaths, jolts, and – in all earnestness – punches.

But several times per week I glance at that Sleep Number bill and sleep in the bed out of guilt. Sleep is putting it politely, though. It’s more like: I lay comfortably in frustration.

Around 12:30 in the morning Nick punched me in the face and screamed “did you hear that?” I sat up and said “WHAT?!” – frantically, because I hadn’t heard shit. He rolled over and mumbled “I guess it was nothing” and started to snore.

At least one more time he woke me by kicking me. That, of course, was after I was finally able to get back to sleep around 4 o’clock in the morning.

At 6:30 his alarm went off.

At 6:45 he spent ten minutes dropping everything he could on the dresser directly next to my head.

At 7:15 he woke me up to say he was leaving for work and to ask what was wrong. At this point I imagined fire breathing out of my mouth when I said “WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘WHAT IS WRONG?!”

So I was crabby today. And tired. Entirely my fault for choosing to sleep in bed instead of on our comfy, and solitary, couch last night.

all-i-really-have-going-for-me-is-sarcasm-resting-bitch-face-a-huge-rack-and-really-good-eyebrows--3d268I should have taken my aggression towards the entire world as a reason to stay at home, nestled on my couch with my pajamas, my Netflix, and my Pinterest. Everyone deserves a Resting Bitch Day every once in a while, anyway. And I’ve been working my ass off lately to get our house move-out ready, as well as to put together everything I want for our new place so that our move-in can be as seamless as possible.

 

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Oh, we’re also going on vacation next week – just a few weeks before we move – so a day to myself to calm the fuck down seems like it would be perfectly in order.

But by the time I was done showering and angrily getting into yoga pants and a t-shirt (but no make up, as I reminded myself with fierce hostility that no one notices when I wear make up anyway), I was convinced that I had to plug along with my plans for the day. Because tomorrow I could be angrier, and would then be pissed off at today’s self for procrastinating. And then the possibility of me becoming a huge ball of red, hot, fiery, pissed off was too great.

This was clearly a mistake.

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So I’m doing a project for which I have no fucking clue what I’m doing.

This is the general course of all projects I do, but I especially don’t know what I’m doing on this one.

In short: my husband and I use our two, ugly-as-fuck nightstands pushed together as a long dresser that houses our in-bedroom TV. I’m tired of looking at those fucking things on the rare occasion that I sleep in my own, extremely expensive and un-sleepable bed, though; so I’m repainting them AND removing the top drawers to turn that space into the DVD-VCR-cable-etc shelf.

You people have no idea how much I hate myself for not just going out and buying something new on this one. No idea.

So I had to go to the paint store, obviously to buy paint for this dumb-shit of a project. And I’ve never been to a paint store before, or bought paint other than the kind you put on a canvas for that matter. Which means that I had absolutely no experience with taking young children into a paint store.

What I’m saying is: I should have put this off for a different day.

What in the actual fuck is it about paint stores that makes kids lose their fucking minds? All of a sudden I’m one of those people. One of those people in the store for whom everyone else is either thinking that I – the mother – needs to get shit under control; or, on the flip side, is being pitied.

“Oh, her children must need refills on their Ritalin medication.”

At one point, my 11 year old came up to me with a pile of over 200 paint chip cards in her hand. “I have what I need!” she said, and I gave the oh-hell-no look that should put the fear of God in her, and yet only inspired a pout and silent retreat to put them back where she found them.

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A little later on in the day, we had been back at home for a while and I knew I needed to go to the grocery store. Half hams were on sale, and I’d be damned if I didn’t stock up on those.

Plus, my dad was home which meant I could go by myself. It’d be like the vacation I’ve truly needed all these years.

Hopeful that my day was about to look up, I grabbed my little notepad that I use for small grocery shopping trips, and I began to look for a pen. I knew for sure that there had to be at least one: the pen that I put a Post It note on just yesterday reading “DO NOT TOUCH –  THIS IS MOM’S.”

That pen, as well as all the others, were missing.

My eye began to twitch as I stalked around the house, searching. Mumbling under my breath that I just knew this was a part of some household conspiracy to make me go insane, I searched and searched until finally I had to settle for a crayon. Standing amidst an array of Barbie clothes, dried up Play doh, and a Lego cramming its way into my foot, I stood in the kids’ room writing my list with a broken, red crayon. If you didn’t look at my list closely, you might’ve thought it was blood.

“What do you want for dinner?” I asked, being polite and trying to preserve some semblance of the very sanity that would get me to and from the grocery store in one piece.

“Mommy, I think you’re getting a lazy eye.”

[Drops mic. Leaves the room. Goes insane. Blows up the world. Everyone’s dead.]

I wish I could say that this was the end of my terrible and intolerably crabby day, but it wasn’t. While I was at the store, this old guy came up to me and started shouting in my face about how “young people” are too wrapped up in social media to be a part of the world around them. To make matters worse, I’m pretty sure he was the guy that sang Tu Ra Lu Ra to me at the register counter when I worked in a pharmacy during college. I also got home to find a note on our front door: the neighbors complained that they didn’t like my patio arrangement, and wanted it removed in the next 24 hours. And that 11 year old that tried to steal over 200 paint chip sample pages at the paint store this morning lied to my face about picking up that dried Play doh I spied when using the crayon to write my grocery list.

So I’m going to bed, still grumpy. By now, I should know better than to leave the house when crabby. Next time I really will stick to my PJs and my Netflix and my couch.