For me, it's often because I've just uttered the two most scandalous words ever: We homeschool.
Because then we are automatically pegged as extreme. A little weird. Untrusting of establishment. Overprotective.
Of course we don't need to play the homeschooling card to earn our reputation as outcasts. Simply being a stay-at-home parent of littles will do.
I find that we frequently encounter situations where no one else is living our particular drama. I don't feel welcome into their dialogue, because my world is so different. I don't fit. I'm out of season. I am a sundress in the middle of winter; a parka on a July day.
Another example I come across regularly is the attitude of oh, you just wait. Usually this is the response of a parent of older children or teenagers. When they're teenagers, all hormonal and crazy and defiant, you'll be longing for the no sleep, potty training, won't-hold-your-hand-in-the-parking-lot days. This part's a breeze. How I wish my kids were blah blah blah.
Really? This is helpful and supportive? Um . . . thanks?
Because even assuming it's true, that someday I too will wish for these days, what good is it doing to point it out to me? Why not instead show empathy and understanding? Were you not once right where I am now?
|What our days look like now|
And I wonder . . . will I do that? Will I completely forget what it is like to be lost in the crazy throes of young children and toddlers? Will I be convinced that my new day-to-day, whatever stage that happens to be, is more challenging than ever before? Will I someday have the same slightly condescending reaction to meeting a mother whose daily life is where I am today?
Or worse . . . do I do that now? When I learn a particular family does something outside the mainstream (like homeschooling for us) is my first reaction one of judgment? Do I look at new mothers, struggling with one infant or toddler and think, lady, you don't know how easy you have it. Have I completely forgotten that having one child—one small, innocent child—is hard work? Have I, just 6.5 years into motherhood, already lost perspective?
I hope instead that no matter where I am on my journey I will listen and respond with compassion and not diminish any mother's experience, no matter where she is on her journey.
Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.