Looking back, Babycenter was not solely to blame for my search into religion. Around the same time I had people harassing me from Babycenter, I also began homeschooling. In our area there is 1 homeschool group and its a Christian group with nearly 200 kids. Now, not all, but many of these families are extremely religious. Of course the woman are sweet as pie and many befriended me immediately as I always was on my best behavior for group activities. Why conform? Its much more complicated than it seems. I would have been allowed in the group had I not been a good little Christian Mama, but I would have stuck out like a sore thumb. My kids would have felt awkward knowing we were different. What did I care? Remember we were homeschooling for nearly 6 years, this was our social outlet for that duration. You know the old saying, "birds of a feather, flock together." Or maybe it should be birdswho flock together start growing similar feathers?? Ha
It almost felt like through the years many of the women, though they would never admit it, were competing to be as fundamentally Christian as you can come up with. Imagine us all sitting there glossy-eyed reading books from vision forum, whilst simultaneously sitting there with a giant pregnant belly and a toddler latched to our titties. Never once did I see a person or child wear a swimsuit that was less than a full one piece or more common would be girls in shorts and swim shirts. I think the group was feeding into each other and each one was measuring herself against the Christian yardstick of submission, sweet and gentle tone with their children, homeschooling, cooking from scratch, having impeccably clean homes and reading Christian self help books and knitting in her spare time. Each was measuring herself against that Christian woman many of you know about from Proverbs 31, the ol' woman of noble character. I wished I could be her at many points. I wanted to fit in and be the best Christian mother I knew how. I had the disadvantage(at least I thought it was at the time) of not having been raised Christian so I had to work harder, read more, learn more and do more in a very short amount of time to get up to speed. Through the years though this would backfire as I would slip back to my old self happily and then guilt-ridden I would jump back on the church wagon and straighten up. In time I got really good at playing both sides. I had the "Christian Mommy" facade going with a girlfriend on the side. I know I know. Social pressure does funny things to people. It wouldn't have ever been perceived as pressure had I not relied on this for my children's social interaction. I felt denying myself and continuing with the group was the best thing for my kids.
Let me back up and explain with why we wanted to homeschool to start with. We started because Nate's schedules flip and change with the wind so it enabled more family time.
I'm sure your wondering, why the HELL did you continue homeschooling and exposing yourself to a group that you knew was toxic to your well being and trueness to yourself? Well, that's because of Wyatt. He has Aspergers syndrome and the first time we tried putting the kids into public school, he was maintsteamed and was teased and bullied mercilessly. The following year we tried again, this time they went for a measly 3 days until we found out that they needed to ship Wyatt clear across the city to the dumpiest campus in our city for the special education class. I agreed he NEEDED special ed, but not in that school. My husband and I choose to live in nice neighborhoods in the upper part of town, not to put our kids into that area. So that was out......another year of the homeschool group. The next year we lived in the mountains and school wasn't an option there because of all the snow(this mama can't drive in snow) nor did they have any homeschool support groups there so we tried to stay somewhat connected to the group down here. I did tell my husband that the kids would be going to school this year if there was ANY way we could figure out a placement for Wyatt. Thankfully we moved into our new house and waited all summer for the schools to open so I could call and get the skinny on special ed. Man, how lucky we got. For the first time I was going to have a choice. They had a mild special ed program with Aspies and other regular kids who just need help. This is exactly what we wanted. He is mainstreamed for recess and lunch, but you see he isn't the scrawny little 40 lb 6 year old anymore. He's a big man/boy 95lb nearly 10 year old. Suddenly people aren't bullying, he has friends from his close-knit special ed class and he is gaining more sociability and confidence as he handles more situations. Its been so awesome and the best part is, I no longer feel any need to conform to the homeschool group. I am free at last!
These women read my blog and that sucks because they are lovely women. If they read this, they probably won't like me much anymore and that sucks too. It is nothing they did to me personally. It was me. I tried to be different to match them and I never should have. Maybe I will save one of them from continuing their lives in that fashion if they are indeed miserable as well?
But, like I have said in the past, all the reading, searching, living out and being with Christians and LDS women has challenged me to educate myself as to what I REALLY believe. Homeschooling was also great for that. Kids are naturally very skeptical so they constantly asked questions about the Bible, something said at church, the way kids acted in the homeschool group and other things I probably would have never thought of. I sought to find them real answers, objective answers. I started realizing how badly this would affect the kids later to come to me and realize I was a phony and I didn't want to live that way anymore either. I think I am equal to my husband. I like my house clean so I clean it. I like dressing stylish and sexy, I have a great body that I work hard at, why the hell not show it off? I love having my kids in school where I can get a break. I like spending money on frivolous magazines about celebrity gossip, taking vacations, eating out and even the occasional pedicure.I'm sick of breastfeeding so I'm almost done weaning my...GASP, 11 month old. And best of all, I don't want more kids right now at all and I don't feel guilty to say it out loud! TskTsk. :0)