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Very Cranky Mommy Speaks

This morning my six-year-old insisted on going with me on my morning walk. She does this occasionally. Sometimes she does it so often we have to invoke the “every other day” rule. If I don’t get a brisk walk in nearly every morning, my back gives out and I become Very Cranky Mommy. And if I don’t get my half hour of alonetime every day, I don’t get time to think and again, I become Very Cranky Mommy.

So today Very Cranky Mommy has taken over my blog. Bear with me.

The thing is, I do enjoy my daughter’s company, but she has legs half the length of mine, and my usual brisk stride slows down to a stroll so she can keep up. And then I think, well, at least I can do my arm exercises, and she insists that I hold her hand while she balances on the decrepit chunks of broken-up blacktop that we call a curb in our neighborhood. And by the bottom of the first hill, she realizes what work it’s going to be to get back to the top and she insists we cut the walk in half and turn around.

Very Cranky Mommy, here we come.

Yesterday I was chatting with some other homeschooling moms about what we appreciate about homeschooling. Having read comments lately from homeschoolers around the country and the, ahem, crap they get from pretty much everyone they meet, I appreciate living in Santa Cruz. The worst I’ve gotten when I’ve told people we’re homeschooling is the usual “how is she going to learn social skills?” and the modest, “Wow, I couldn’t do that.” (As one of the moms pointed out, that’s code for “I WOULDN’T do that,” much of the time.)

But this morning we passed a couple who live down the street and walk their dogs at the same time as I take my morning walk. Today they greeted my daughter with, “No school today?” so I answered, “We’re homeschooling, so it’s no school every day!”

Their answers were classic Santa Cruz: “Cool!” “Wonderful!” And they walked on with their homeschooled dogs into the forest.

I’ve been noticing lots of people lately complaining about how someone’s own personal choice of lifestyles, and their pride about their choice, somehow criticizes others who didn’t make that choice. So far this week I’ve seen: Being proud that you homeschool your kids implies that other people are damaging their kids by sending them to school; being a woman who works insults women who stay at home and vice versa; spending your money insults people who don’t have it.

This week’s theme: don’t have enough to gripe about, so find something ridiculous.

Seems to me we have enough to gripe about. I mean, come on, with suicide bombs in Iraq, a flailing economy, and the state of popular entertainment, did we really need the swine flu? It seems so weird and completely outside of my own worldview to look at something someone is doing successfully and happily, and say, wow, that person is insulting me by being happy with her choices!

Generally, I find that people who think this way are really telling you that they’re unhappy with their lives. I wrote a while back about a woman who thinks that she’s being vilified for not pumping her breastmilk. Excuse me? I personally have been helped by and know people who have worked as lactation consultants, and these are the most pro-breastfeeding women you’ll ever meet, and they don’t go around looking for women putting bottles in their babies’ mouths and telling them off. Clearly, she was suffering from her own self-induced guilt, and needed somewhere to pin it.

The thing about this supposed war between women who work and women who stay home is that it’s complete bunk. I’m sure that there are women who are critical of others’ choices (heck, I’m critical in my MIND about some choices I see, but I hope I usually keep it there!). But there’s no war going on. I am a woman who works (for measly pay and very little glory) and a woman who homeschools my child. Thank goodness I can work at home; this is just serendipity. If we were in another situation, and I had to find care for my daughter, I would simply have a different life. I hope that if we were in another situation, we’d find a way to be happy with that, too.

Even when I’m griping and grumpy, I know that a fundamental part of being happy is coming to terms with what IS and deciding, for better and for worse, to go with it. Yes, we should always try to make things better, but don’t go harshing everyone’s mellow while you’re doing it!

Very Grumpy Mommy has spoken. Go forth and conquer!

Posted in Parenting.

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