Monday, July 14, 2014

White Space

I should probably not read blogs when I am tired, which is what I've been doing lately. I should probably not write when I am tired, which is what I have been doing lately.

Oh, well.

I was going to write about writing erotica. I have not actually written erotica, but I have some thoughts about writing it -- were I to do that -- which I wanted to express here. Maybe I will do that in my next post. If I ever did actually write erotica, I would probably do it in some other forum, under a pseudonym. So, if you would want to read my erotica -- should it ever materialize -- you will have to let me know and I will tell you where to find it. I think it would be quite good, and not lame. Most erotica is pretty lame, these days. I think my mom would have been excellent at writing erotica.


Instead of writing about erotica, I am going to write about a mom thing. The other day, I was reading the blog of a homeschooling mother of several children. Her kids have been busy with a variety of activities during these long, hot summer days, so she has had a lot of time alone. She writes: "....the house is mostly empty and I'm understanding how people who send their kids to school and work from home (Writing erotica, perhaps? JUST KIDDING! She did not say that. I am just being a wise-ass.) are able to accomplish so much. The rhythm definitely offers a great deal of white space."

Maybe I was in an overly sensitive mood when I read that statement. But, that statement seemed to me to be just a little bit judgmental and just a tad ignorant. It's kind of like this mother has allowed herself to feel inferior to these other mothers who send their kids to school and work from home and seem to get so much more accomplished than she does. And then she tells herself that she doesn't have to feel inferior about not getting as much accomplished, because these other women are sending their kids away every day. And -- it seems to be implied -- that she is patting herself on the back because she doesn't send her kids away. She goes to the trouble of keeping them with her, which is -- in her mind -- inherently superior.

It could very well be that this mother did not mean to be at all judgmental in what she said. Here is the thing, though: WHY DOES SHE EVEN HAVE TO SPEAK ABOUT THESE OTHER MOTHERS, who send their kids to school and work from home, AT ALL?  She doesn't. She could just say that her kids are off at wonderful summer activities, which means she has lots of wonderful time to herself to get many things done. No comparison needs to be made to any other mothers. No mention needs to be made of any other mothers and their choices and their lives. Because these other mothers -- the ones who send their kids away to school and rejoice when summer vacation is over -- love their kids every bit as much as the homeschooling mothers. And they also feel plenty stressed out -- even with all their "white space."

Now, I have gone to school and taught school and sent my kids to school and homeschooled. And -- yes -- there is more "white space" when the kids go to school. But, let me tell you, the hours between 5:30 and 7:30 AM and 3:00 and bedtime are no picnic. Those hours are much, much, much harder when you send your kids to school than when you homeschool. As a homeschool mom, you get a lot of flexibility as to how school is done by your children. You can load up certain days with more assignments and lighten things up on other days, according to what else is happening in your life and your children's lives. You don't have bring junior home from soccer practice late in the evening and make sure the math assignment gets finished. You don't have your long weekend -- during which you are taking your family on a long-anticipated camping trip -- surprisingly usurped by a project that the teacher sends home at the last minute because she decides that you have all this time since it's a long weekend. You don't have to spend every Thursday night with your teary little girl, making sure she is ready for the dreaded weekly spelling test. You don't have to rush around in the morning finding missing shoes and trying to get that kid who just doesn't like breakfast to eat breakfast and then helping him clean up when he barfs because he really doesn't like breakfast. You don't have to cope with make-up work when your child is out sick for a week with the flu. SENDING YOUR KIDS TO SCHOOL IS DAMN STRESSFUL, in ways that homeschooling is not. Homeschooling my kids was WAAAAAY easier than sending them to school, even though I didn't have much precious "white space."

Of course, you could say that I am being all judgmental here. And you would be right. The thing is, though, that it is possible to think about and speak about and write about our life choices without bringing up other people and their life choices and making comparisons. We can just say, "This is what I decided to do and this is how it's working out for me." And we can realize that we really don't know what goes on in other people's homes and in other people's hearts.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that! I wish people would be more thoughtful in phrasing things. And a lot less smug.