My journey as a mom began in 2001 with the birth of my first son, Stephen Montgomery (Monty) Head. Actually, it began before that. You haven’t known me long if you think I could do anything so complicated as get pregnant without first coming home from the library with a stack of books.
Don’t let my obsession with research fool you into thinking I turned out to be a good parent, though. The house is an eternal mess, I yell at them almost every day, and they are badly neglected. I once discovered my toddler eating an onion he found on the bottom shelf of the pantry because he was hungry. At the tender age of 18 months, he had already figured out that asking Mommy to prepare food was unlikely to end well.
I may not be a good parent, but I am a passionate parent. Here are some of the places my parenting journey has taken me:
- Home birth. All three of our boys were born in our home–two of them with the assistance of a midwife, one unassisted. The unassisted birth was precipitous–that means he came out before I had a chance to get freaked out about the fact that a human being was about to emerge from my lady parts. Twenty minutes, for the record.
- Homeschool. We homeschool for secular reasons. I want to point that out immediately because the first question everyone asks is, “Why did you make that decision?” I used to go into detail on the political, educational, and individual reasons we choose to homeschool each year. Then I found out nobody actually cares. They’re just too polite to say, “So, are you a religious freak?” and finding out the answer to that question is an important prerequisite for silently judging. You see, around here, if you’re homeschooling for religious reasons, the general consensus is that you are a fundamentalist extremist who shelters her children from the pagan influences of public school. Secular homeschoolers, on the other hand, are given more credit as sane and rational persons who make educated decisions about their children’s upbringing. I don’t know that I fit into the second category–we’re a little dodgy on the sanity front around here–but it is true that I don’t shelter my kids from… pretty much anything (see below). Also, we are mostly-unschoolers, in case that means anything to you.
- Free ranging. This means is that we believe our children learn and grow best when left mostly to their own devices. It means they do the sorts of things we remember doing as children in the 70s but that society has since decided are unsafe. Things like walking to the park alone, skating around the block without an adult, and lighting fires in the backyard. Also occasionally fires in sheds. Forget I mentioned it.
- Therapy. For me and them. ‘Nough said.
- Mess. Crippling noise levels. Broken dishes. Ant infestations. Stank.
- Love. Turns out, I may be a crappy mom, but my kids forgive me every day. And, well, I’d do pretty much anything for them.
P.S. Before you call Child Protective Services on me–and I’m not saying you shouldn’t–please consider that I did help them each set up a blog. I mean, my kids may be starving to death, but at least they have an online presence.