I am in Minnesota this week. We are supposedly here for the national Suzuki conference. My son had to audition. He had to learn a ton of music that I screamed at him to practice. And now, after all that, he is sick in bed with a fever.

He is so sick that the King of Fashion did not even layer his outfit today. He barely had enough energy to put on his Adventure Time hat before he started looking glassy-eyed at the TV.

Which means I’m seeing lots of commercials aimed at moms. Here’s one I’ve seen at least five times today: Sylvan Learning. It’s aimed at rich people: moms in kitchens the size of my whole downstairs.

These moms are pitching the idea of rampant learning loss during the summer. They cite murky statistics. Of course, any statistics related to learning loss during the summer apply only to poor kids. This is well documented. Like, in a cover article of Time magazine.

So Sylvan Learning implies that these rich white kids are going to have summer learning loss, but really they won’t. Rich kids are privileged in this way. The real motivation behind rich people signing their kids up for Sylvan Learning is revealed at the end of the commercial. The movie-star good-looks mom says, “And I get some time to myself!”

The real reason rich moms put their kids in Sylvan Learning is so they can have guilt-free time away from the kids. The moms know, deep down, that the kids would be fine at home all summer. But the moms don’t want them at home all day.

Sylvan Learning is competing with day camp: both offering a way to get the kids out of the house so the mom can have a break. But Sylvan Learning isn’t fun, so they have to tell the moms that they actually would be IRRESPONSIBLE to let the kids do fun stuff all summer.

I think what really bothers me is that Sylvan Learning is smart to market this way. Parents do want time away from their kids. But if you send your kid to school, you have been programmed by society to talk about how much you love being with your kids and you don’t want to miss any quality time with them. Which means that you feel guilt sending your kids away for anything that is not EDUCATIONAL. Making the child care educational resolves the guilt.

A better way to be a parent is to say, “I like being with my kids but I don’t need to be with them all the time. I can hire a babysitter.” You can’t say that, though, if you are sending your kids to school. Because they are already at a babysitter eight hours a day, nine months a year.

In her book, All Joy and No Fun, Jennifer Senior does a great job of showing how we can both love our kids more than anything in the world and also feel like we are going to die if we don’t get time away. It’s normal to feel both those things. The question is, what is okay to act on?

I ask myself this question while I listen to the TV. My son is too sick to complain when I turn the sound down low, and he’s too tired to ask to get out of bed. So I get a whole day where I can read and write and do whatever I want. Now and then I ask him if he needs this or that so I can think I’m a great caretaker, but I wonder if I’m any better than the Sylvan Learning mom because I’m giddy from what I gain when my son is sick in bed. 

54 replies
  1. Jennifer Jo
    Jennifer Jo says:

    So well said. I savor the days my kids are too sick (non-dangerously so, of course) to be anything but pitiful and sweet. The healing blues (when they’re well enough to grump but not well enough to do normal stuff), now—well, that’s another story.

    • Sarah M
      Sarah M says:

      I agree. I love the days when my kids are just lying around with a fever or something. The normal energy of our day is so low on those days, and it’s basically like a free day for me. All I have to do is make sure they are resting and eating/drinking a little.
      The day after, when they aren’t sick but they’re still in that 24 hour -after period, they’re not enjoyable to be around.

      I will say, when I found out there was a local VBS for an entire week 9-3 everyday, I was pretty ecstatic. We don’t live near family, and so they’re going. It’s like my free vacation, all year. My kids normally like camps and things like that anyway since we homeschool and those are out of the norm of what our days look like, but I am giddy to have a week to myself!

  2. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    Oh no! He didn’t get to participate in the conference? Poor guy, that’s no fun at all. I hate when my kids are sick, I always feel like it’s my fault. Manuka honey seems to help them feel better faster. Did he get to do anything at the conference or was he so sick the whole time?

  3. Jeff T.
    Jeff T. says:

    Great post, Penelope.

    My wife and I had a nearly exact conversation after seeing this commercial. As homeschoolers, we found the wind-up disingenuous, but the punchline was perfect.

    Other PS parents never ask us about about our kids education or socialization; they only say either they need school for a babysitter or that they wouldn’t want to spend that much time with their children.

    Their honesty shocks me, but never them. Schooling somehow presents a moral argument that takes them off the hook for everything.

  4. Karelys
    Karelys says:

    I wonder if he was so stressed out about the conference that he got sick. It happens to me often but I don’t recognize it until later.

    About two years ago my husband and I parted from most of the people we used to surround ourselves with and very carefully started handpicking the people we’d be around and eventually influenced by.

    It got so much easier to say “I need a break from the kid. I am not at a point where I can stand the constant tantrum and focused attention he needs. I feel emotionally drained.”

    And because I wasn’t around people that insisted constantly blissed out mothering was the only right way to do it….well it didn’t bother me. It didn’t bother anyone. My mom has helped out tremendously by doting on my child and taking him overnight some weekend so I can sleep in. He gets to have all kinds of attention and relaxed grandparents and I get to sleep and spend time with my husband.

    Anyway, it’s a process to not care so much for what others think, but it’s also about changing your environment. Like, small towns and cities are not very conductive to cycling and other healthy activities. So everyone has to drive. Also, they have less businesses so there’s less of a chance to have an awesome salad bar where you can grab healthy food and go.

    Environment is very conductive to behavior modification. And modifying our behavior in turn changes the way we feel and think.

    It seems to me that you’re constantly surrounded or connected to people that are pretty cool and some of them even have kids. I am not sure where you continue to get reinforcement about how “parenting should be.”

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Hey I have a hard time relating to perpetually blissed mothers too, but I think it’s because I am an INTJ, my approach to mothering is very logical and methodical. I get large swaths of time to myself every single day, I facilitate activities for the kids, and provide comfort when I recognize the signs that it’s needed. Otherwise, I am raising each of them to be individuals and to learn self-reliance. I am not sitting here swooning over their every action. But we also have very deep, intellectual conversations that are interesting and meaningful. But there is also lots of eye-rolling from all of us… :(

      • Karelys
        Karelys says:

        I am an INFJ. I think there’s temperament plus other hang ups that we have to work through.

        I know some mothers were BORN to be mothers. I have some friends and have read blogs of women who really DO NOT struggle being mothers because they were born and always desired to be one and have zero ambition to do anything else.

        I am a ways away from deep conversations with my child. Touch is incredibly important to me and it seems to be to him too. Also, just being in the same room as the other person I love is important and it seems to bring satisfaction to him to. So I take him to the office. Once in a while he looks up and asks for water or to sit on my lap.

        I think, for right now, we have a good set up. I work and my husband stays at home. So we get time to ourselves and time to accomplish other things and time with the kid.

        Probably what has been most effective for us is to have no qualms saying “hey, we need a break! can someone take him overnight?” But for us to be able to do a lot of what we want we have given up relationships with people that were dragging us down.

        We were just talking about taking the kid with us everywhere (to work, to the store, should we take him to the park more? the park is very boring…). Then we decided that it was good for him to adhere to our pace more. Of course we make room for him but it’s not all about him. And it’s not all about us.

        Your last line made me laugh. I love my child eye-rolls and all. And I think that challenging him to join the pace of our lives have helped him grow a bit. But yeah, in the beginning it was full of eye-rolls and heavy sighing, and wanting to pull my hair out and chug wine by 3 pm.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          Giving up friends? I’ve never really had that situation. I have very few friends, and the few that I have I am quite happy with, but not emotionally connected to. I get foot in mouth syndrome quite often and I’ve always been the person who does what they want when they want, no fears or reservations. I think it throws a lot of people off guard. My husband says I’m a modern day I love lucy… like he comes home and the rooms are all switched around… lol…

          • karelys
            karelys says:

            Yeah, we just realized that the social environment is so strong. We were so careful with what we fed our bodies, our minds, but the pull of how we used our time…..it was just to hard to keep in line with our goals because of the people we associated ourselves with. And their mentalities pulled us into a direction that we didn’t care much for.

            A little bit of distance from some and just completely chucking the relationship later was a very good change for us.

  5. Gretchen
    Gretchen says:

    I LOVE being with my kid and don’t really need breaks from her…and it’s true, she is with the “babysitter” (school / camp) all day while I work. Work and school are just the necessary evils we both have to face, unfortunately, so life is like a meditation of making it through til we can have our quality time. So I make damn sure the time we have is great. It’s never enough for me and my heart aches.

    • Kim
      Kim says:

      Sadly, for most kids it’s not that way. Many parents get in to the grove of shifting their responsibilities and basically orphan their kids. Many kids I knew and still see, their parents don’t see them throughout the week due to school and aftercare and basically abandon them during the weekends.
      I don’t blame them though. It’s hard making connections with kids when they are spending the majority of their time being raised by the school.
      Another reason why I decided to homeschool is because of the deep connections and relationships parents had with their kids. In all my years of school, I’d never seen that kind of relationship before and that’s what I wanted with my kids.
      It might not be your temptation of going with the flow of babysitting and neglect any time they can spend with their kids because they’re so used to school doing it for them.

      • karelys
        karelys says:

        Yes. It’s not normal to adjust to the needs (that can seem SO BIG) of kids when you are used to deal by the rules of the adult world.

        It has taken me quite a bit of work.

        • Gretchen
          Gretchen says:

          Quite frankly, the adults I have dealt with (clients, aging tech-un-savvy bosses, my goofy husband) are more needy in more annoying ways that my child EVER was.

          • Commenter
            Commenter says:

            So true, Gretchen. Sometimes when people ask me how I like staying at home with the kids after working in engineering for ten years I say “It’s kind of like my old job – listening to people cry and cleaning up their shit. Except now it’s with babies instead of old men, so I don’t mind as much.”

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      I would also make the observation that so many moms seem to want to participate in GROUP things, that involve their kids but position them more as one of a group of moms overseeing something than actually engaging with their kids. Case in point: girl scouts. Nothing wrong with it, but I just see it as one more institution and a situation in which I’d have to spend energy engaging with LOTS of kids (which I don’t particularly like) and moms (ditto) instead of just being with my own kid. We’re going camping as a FAMILY next weekend and I was pondering the difference between that and the “encampment” I was reading about neighborhood girl scouts doing on my FB feed.

      • karelys
        karelys says:

        It seems that you and your daughter have an awesome relationship. So to her (needless to say, to you too) the family camping is a time to connect without having to hurry up and get to the next activity/commitment. Just hang out and connect, relax, talk (without the trappings of quality vs. quantity time).

        The girl scout thing would be fun for some kids but it is just another scheduled chunk of time full of activities. Some kids just really need down time from always being told where to go and what to do. It can be very exhausting when they have no say so over their own time.

        If your kid was a homeschooled kid maybe the girl scout thing would be fun. It’s different and she would just have to go along with what’s planned. But since she goes to school (and depending on her personality) it may be a lot of more fun and productive to spend time with family without having to hurry up and go do the next thing.

        • Gretchen
          Gretchen says:

          “Some kids just really need down time from always being told where to go and what to do.”

          This is so true! I try to be really mindful of this since at this point I have to have her in school. When we are at home together in the mornings, evenings and weekends we just do whatever. We draw a lot and just hang out, chat, build with blocks, putter around, go hiking or to the pool.

  6. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    You know what gets me about my rich mom friends and summer break, it’s like a rabid dog pack of who can plan the most insane amounts of activities for their kids over the summer. Whoever does the most, spends the most, over plans the most… wins!??? I guess… They will ask me what my plans for the summer break are, even though they know I homeschool I’m automatically included in this quest of parenting vanity. I get crickets when I tell them I do nothing but hide during the summers till all the other kids go back to school. The rest of the year is when I plan the activities and I can spread them out over time for our enjoyment, for my kids benefit, instead of some bragging rights to show how awesome I am…. I guess that means school is out now?? I really don’t know these things until I hear about summer plans.

    • Hannah
      Hannah says:

      I am guessing that you either sunburn easily or had a drowning experience as a child because anyone who can be so dispassionate about summer must have a real reason.

      Whether or not you homeschool does not take away from the fact that summer brings around unique opportunities that the rest of the year doesn’t hold.

      Summer was a time of extreme wonder and joy for me as child, and its still my favorite season (passionately so). I hope the fact that you homeschool is not preventing your kids from experiencing the joie de vivre that summer brings (quite apart from the release from school).

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Nope, I just hate crowded spaces, and summer time is when kids are out of school and parents take them everywhere that I usually go, when I go there are very little crowds. I am glad you enjoyed your summers, I had great summers as a child full of the normal activities that parents try to cram in a short amount of time. I take great joy in spreading out the fun times over the year for my kids, on OUR schedule, with… no crowds. :)

        And I hate the competitive drive to outdo everyone else with activities.

        Also, I am an INTJ so you will more than likely think I am callous about a great many things (even though I am not), but I rarely care what others think about me, so I wish you the best in your endeavors and thanks for the judgement here, that was cool.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Also, I live in Los Angeles by the beach where it’s nearly year round perfect weather here. So when I say I hate crowds, unless you live here you have no idea what I’m talking about… so our entire year would be equivalent to summer break, every day in unschooling is like that in our household, the city has SO much to offer homeschoolers here. But summertime! Then almost everyone is taking their vacations here as well, and I really hate crowds when it’s not summertime … add in the millions of more people that are here it’s way too much sensory overload for me.

      • karelys
        karelys says:

        Did you guys know that some people the the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) during summer time?? The sun, the brightness, the cheerfulness….it’s too much.

        I just learned that recently. It explains why when it’s super sunny out I want to go to sleep. I feel guilty because it’s like “SUNNY! EVERYONE BE HAPPY!!!!” and I am just cranky.

        But whatever. I am not saying she has that issue. Just something I thought of.

        Which goes to show that if you have more than 1 or 2 kids it’s very possible that one of them is not going to be as excited about the things you and another kid are excited about…like summer time.

        And yeah, I get YMKAS……I think I’d rather stretch the awesome times during the whole year than have one big bang during summer break, spring break, christmas break.

      • mh
        mh says:

        Hannah, I live in the desert southwest. Summers can be uniquely dreadful — stuck in the house, too hot to drive to activities, just swim and read and play…

        September and October, when the schools are back in session and the field trips haven’t begun, are the perfect time of year for my homeschooled kids to go see the world.

        Please understand that everybody is not you.

      • victoria
        victoria says:

        Yeah, where I lived as a kid summertime highs were usually over 100 degrees and our yard was full of fire ants. Summer would still be my least favorite season, except that now where I live it tends to snow :).

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      I don’t love summer either. It’s too hot, you can’t really enjoy the outdoors that much where I live and I don’t love public pools. I’ll go if my kid wants to go, but she’s satisfied with once a week or every couple of weeks, too. Not enough for us to have a pool membership but to just go to the rec center for one-offs.

      • mh
        mh says:

        Incidentally, summer is the time when my homeschooled kids come to understand through first-hand experience what their parents have been telling them about the tragic results of compulsory school.

        I have never in my life seen such a culture of horrid tattling among teenagers. It is both appalling and dismaying. I blame the teachers for creating a teacher-controlled learning environment.

        Figure it out.
        Solve it yourself.
        Try something different.
        Let it go.
        You’re very creative – I can’t wait to hear about the solution you come up with.

        These phrases make up the bulk of the advice I’ve given my own children about getting along with other people. Too bad the kids in compulsory school seem to be guided by a “teacher knows best” creed.

        Who will employ these crybaby tattlers in five or ten years?

        Another life advantage to homeschooled children.

    • MBL
      MBL says:

      I have kind of a reverse situation in that I am kind of embarrassed when other homeschooling mothers ask about summer plans. We are soooo loosey-goosey in our unschooling ways that I consider us to be reverse-schoolers. My daughter does tons of various camps during the summer because, well, that is when they are. I would love to break them up, but…

      They are all things that she really wants to do and it is so hard to limit them because there are so very many wonderful options. We do kind of a mix of types. Two weeks of horseback riding, three weeks of “educational” (girls only science, creative writing, and math puzzles,) and two weeks of drama (like the other 50 weeks aren’t full of it…)

      I make no effort to hide the fact that I love time to myself. And I hate summer activities–the sun, the crowds, the humidity, the freckles. Some of the camps are two blocks away and I can sit around and eat bonbons at home (read: clean the house) and the horseback riding ones are an ungodly hour away and start at an ungodlier 8 a.m. so I can either drive 4 hours a day to spend a couple of hours at home or hang out in the sticks for 6 hours and only drive 2.

      YMKAS, I think it funny that the same activity list can get such a different response depending upon the audience. I am right there with you with crowd avoidance. We are so spoiled by flexibility to do things during the week that I never venture places on the weekend! And September is indeed a golden time before school field trips come into play.

      I LOVE seeing how you handle certain comments since my daughter is either an INTJ or an ENTJ. I just LOVE how you have turned out and made a place for yourself that seems so comfortable and confidant!! So thank you for so generously sharing aspects of your life!!

      • Commenter
        Commenter says:

        I’m enjoying this conversation. What a lot of diversity of style and outlook.

        I’m also not a great fan of crowds, or sun. Summer is the time when it gets too hot to bake things and the weeds run riot in my garden. It’s also the time when the normal schedule (my son has scheduled activities with other homeschooled kids every day Monday through Friday) gets thrown out and I start biking around a lot more.

        My son loves the camps he can go to, like your children. Sometimes I think that if school were like the camps, he’d go year-round. He’s dedicated to the same arts camp every summer, and I don’t know when or if he’ll ever not want to go. And he’s still not old enough to mind being the only boy at horse camp when the arts camp winds up. He loves it so much that when I pick him up he’s glowing. If he didn’t do these, there are many others he’d like too.

        This year the little girl is enjoying preschool a couple days a week. July 1st is the first day I have to myself in years. Just contemplating it is pleasant.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Aw thanks! If your daughter is an INTJ the best thing you can do is just love her for who she is and don’t expect her, or want her to change. I’ve been called Sheldon Cooper, Spock (from star trek) and my realtor even asked me if I have aspergers… I promise I’m not a Vulcan!

        As for my responses, they are for the benefit of someone who is new to homeschooling and maybe needs to see a different perspective when they read through the comments, or for encouraging further discussion, not necessarily just a response to the person calling me dispassionate.

        • Hannah
          Hannah says:

          I’ve also enjoyed reading this string of comments; I’m surprised it elicited any response, much less a strong one.

          I feel flattered that you chose to respond because despite your apparent disdain, I think you must believe that I made a valid enough point that it needed to be defended.

          I feel like its only fair if I have the opportunity to explain my comment as it was not meant to be offensive (although if no one reads or responds I won’t consider myself the victor in this argument. I know that I’m a little late to the table.)

          I did not mean to suggest that you are not a good parent because you don’t sign your kids up for 400 activities during the summer. I myself hope to minimize the number of activities that my kid (kids someday hopefully) do when they are an appropriate age to do activities.

          I also do not think you should have to engage in competitive mom bullsh*t. In a way, I admire the fact that you feel no need to come up with a more moderated response to their inquiry.

          I was specifically responding to the portion of the comment where you said you go into hiding, and your reasoning is that you homeschool. (The fact that you would go through a reasoning process like this at all was what struck me as dispassionate, since I love summer so much its hard for me to imagine doing anything but attempting to drink in every second of it. However, you are clearly pretty passionate about the subject, so I apologize for my incorrect judgement).

          I had read enough of your comments in the past to know that you were introverted (INTJ as it turns out), and I figured that was playing into your decision to “hide”

          I wanted to encourage you to not totally shut yourself off from society this summer. Especially IF shutting yourself off would cut off your kids from opportunities to learn and grow and make friends and be silly kids.

          I believe that summer is at least as valuable as the rest of the year in helping your kids to develop their passions, but I will go one step further and say that in many circumstance it is a better time of year to help your kids grow?

          Why? Other kids are around this time of year, and the days are longer.

          Summer is the time of year where many kids have huge swaths of unstructured playtime (or hangout time if they are older) with other kids, and spending unstructured time with friends can help you grow as a person. Even the overscheduled kids have free time in the summer.

          I remember growing up a lot during the summers, but it wasn’t my parents that shaped me the most during this time; it was my friends.

          I wonder if this was the same for you.

          If you are committed to “hiding” then you MIGHT be taking that away from your kids (you said We hide, not I hide).

          On the other hand, if you are choosing to have unstructured time at home, but you are encouraging your kids to grow in their passions and interests and relationships (even if that means dropping them off at the skate park, or hanging out at the pool or hosting their annoying friends for a sleepover) then I don’t think hiding is quite the term I would use.

          Anyways, I respect you as a comment writer and I hope the fact that we probably do not see eye to eye on an issue will prevent you from responding to my comments in the future.

          @mh Anyone living in a desert in the summer gets a free pass to hide if they want to. As does anyone living in the upper midwest during the winter.

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            Here is what I found troubling with what you said: “I am guessing that you either sunburn easily or had a drowning experience as a child because anyone who can be so dispassionate about summer must have a real reason.” …Really, unless your name is Janet Reid (literary agent) aka Miss Snark, snarkiness will typically fall flat on me. So I’m not sure what that was all about.

            I’m thinking you took my “hiding” comment too literal. I still participate with our local homeschool group throughout the summer and visit family, where I live doesn’t get seasons really, like winter totally missed us here. It’s pretty much the same weather year round. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything at all.

            But it probably will seem like I’m hiding to you since I don’t do things the way you do them, really I can tell from your blog we are very different people, (besides the fact that I have more kids and I’m probably ten years older than you). Not good or bad, just different and I hope that you will appreciate other people’s POV who find their joys in life *not* during summers.

  7. Kim
    Kim says:

    I think you summed up the premise of the school system. Many parents want to go to work and spend time away from their kids even if they can afford not to, even if it’s cheaper to stay at home.
    So they need somewhere to place their kids for this time but feel too guilty so they set up these frivolous learning systems in school to simply ease the guilt, not to necessarily benefit the child.

    This is why the school system will never “improve”; it was never designed to be about the kids in the first place.

    It’s funny to see school kids on weekends clinging to their parents, you can always tell a schoolkid by how unsocialized they are outside of their comfort zones.

    However, you see homeschool kids thrive without their parents because being engaged and loved by their parents throughout the day, sans bullies and perverted/abusive teachers gives them confidence to explore.

    I thought I was the only one who enjoyed the calmness of sick days every once and awhile.

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      I don’t understand why, if someone is homeschooling and has all the control over their child’s schedule, sick days should be any more calm than any other days…? Aren’t you empowered to make all days “calm”?

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        omg this made me laugh … when you have more than one kid, there is not really any “empowerment” to keeping things calm. Add three gifted kids to the mix and it’s cray cray.

      • MBL
        MBL says:

        I let out something between a snort and a guffaw when I read this. I have the power to institute “lazy days” as in unscheduled, but calm…I can only dream.

        I only have one child. But she is high maintenance when she wants to be and self service when she wants to be and not even a ouija board can discern a pattern.

        My idea of a good time is for us to snuggle up together reading, either to each other or independently, I’m not picky. The days when she isn’t 100% are my best bets.

      • Gretchen
        Gretchen says:

        Mmmmkay…sorry.
        Maybe one of the reasons I don’t feel the need for breaks from my kid is because she’s relatively “calm” as a rule, you know other than normal child-like exuberance. I’d probably be wanting to farm my kids out if I had more or if they had “issues”…so kudos to those to deal with that, I guess.

        • Commenter
          Commenter says:

          Gretchen, my first kid is calm too. He was the mellowest toddler ever. He was like a miniature adult (yes, childhood can be hard if you’re a miniature adult). We could take him everywhere always, and he literally never had a single tantrum. The first language he produced was compliments. At two he would walk up to women and say he really liked their hair or dresses. He says a sincere thank you every single time I cook him dinner, even if he didn’t like it all.

          My second, not so much. She’s as jumpy as a sack full of weasels. Extroverted, gregarious, energetic, imaginative, vindictive, never ever stops.

          Yesterday, the good: we went on a seven mile bike ride to the museum and back. She loves that, and it wears her out so I can put her to bed early.

          Yesterday, the bad: she snuck up behind me and started hitting me with a bokken (yes, she’s wicked strong for three), saying I was a nasty daddy and she had to kill me.

          It’s the luck of the draw. Draw more and maybe you’ll get a crazy one too. No, I am not empowered to make her calm. She is empowered to make everybody else crazy, though.

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            Your daughter sounds like each one of mine, it can be exhausting, and a whole day off!!?? Jealous…. enjoy it.

            Sometimes I think that children that have those calm, mature personalities are “old souls” if you will.

        • Gretchen
          Gretchen says:

          Ha! Yeah. I’m gonna hold. Stick with the one I have, who is also like a little adult, albeit it a zany, imaginative one : )

  8. karelys
    karelys says:

    Okay, I want to chime in here.

    When Penelope started writing about how parents want to send their kids to school because they want alone time and how it’s boring for parents to raise their kids and so they want to outsource it….I was pretty offended.

    It just sounded so awful.

    I am not sure if she realizes that most parents don’t think to themselves “I rather sacrifice what’s best for my kid even if I can afford to give it to her, in favor of me having some alone time to work uninterrupted and do what’s fulfilling to me.”

    I honestly doubt that most people are very in touch with themselves and the reasons that propel them to action.

    But anyway. When I had a kid I was floored by how.much.he.needed.me!

    I wanted to stay home. I didn’t want to send him to daycare. I somehow knew he’d be safer next to me.

    And I was going crazy.

    There was no schedule. I was in constant physical pain from PPD. And he was one of those babies that needed to be carried constantly. And the financial hit we took for me to stay at home was incredibly stressful. Oh and I wasn’t losing weight despite the ridiculous amount of breastfeeding I was doing.

    This far into the whole thing I’ve realized that yes, I had to do mental acrobatics to justify leaving him in daycare when I returned to work just for sanity sake.

    I realized that we’ve been socialized into doing things this way for so long that it’s so normal. I would NEVER blame a parent for choosing to do things this way and defend it. It makes sense to them the way it made sense to me before I had kids.

    When that’s all you know it just makes sense. You can’t see it another way. Until you do. And then you realize you HAVE TO do mental gymnastics to accommodate the pace of life you are carrying on with.

    But once you get used to go against the grain it’s like you are a magnet for contrarian ideas and it becomes a way of life. And after a while you don’t even care for what people think. Except for the fact that it’s harder to find friends. But whatever, you take it in stride.

    • Kim
      Kim says:

      I understand your offense at the idea but there are a LOT of parents that send there kids to school because they don’t really want to be around them all day. My mother did everything and anything she could not to have to be around me most of the time and it was very common among those of my peers.
      Also consider that parents go to work and send their kids off to school for things other than financial reasons, like social status and activity. No one is really making the claim that it’s right or wrong, but does it benefit the child…that’s another question.

      • Commenter
        Commenter says:

        So here’s a question:

        Is it really better for a kid to be around someone who doesn’t want to be around them all day?

        • Kim
          Kim says:

          I think you’ve just defined the relationship between schoolteachers and their students. Unless you would assume that teachers get such a high off of being with around a bunch of kids simply because of that oh-so-high paycheck. I think a parent would enjoy being around their child a lot more than a teacher. I enjoy the stress of homeschooling, almost as much as the calm because they’re my kids and I love to see them grow and change on a personal level. I don’t think a school teacher would have that same incentive.

          • Commenter
            Commenter says:

            I’m not assuming anything at all, and you won’t find me on the teachers’ side.

            I’m just wondering about your statement: “there are a LOT of parents that send there kids to school because they don’t really want to be around them all day.”

            Why would a parent who feels that way want to homeschool? Why would it be fun for the kid?

            I think Lisa Lilly gives a good example farther down of how homeschooling can work in such a case.

          • kim
            kim says:

            @commenter….huh? i said that these parents who, “send there kids to school because they don’t really want to be around them all day” are not the ones who homeschool. I thought I made that clear in my comments???

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Hey, you know what? I didn’t lose any weight breastfeeding either! I thought it was just me, I felt totally ripped off, it’s like the person who told me that having three kids is no different than having two kids…pfft, lie!

  9. mh
    mh says:

    Yeah, the weight doesn’t come off because the baby might not survive if you get skinny, in the evolutionary sense. Fat mothers = healthy babies.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      That actually makes more sense than the “burn off all the baby weight” nonsense. If I had been told that, I would have been better mentally prepared to expect the weight not to effortlessly fall off.

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      It’s calories in / calories out. They say it takes 500 extra calories to feed a baby. How much that baby is eating varies, too. It’s not hard to eat 500 extra calories, negating any added weight loss benefit.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Ya, I figured that out the second and third time. It was the first time around when I was a big noob and knew nothing.

  10. Lisa Lilly
    Lisa Lilly says:

    My 9yo son is homeschooled. I also have a home based business. I have a tutor work with my son 12 hours a week. He goes to an open gym play center 8+ hours a week and often to a parents night out at the pool one evening a week. He is very intense and willful, and I do have to work some, and I need some down time, and he does need a lot of gym time, so this works best for us. I’m picking a tutor who fits his learning style, and open gym time that offers friends and exercise. All very flexible and with freedom of movement and freedom of choice.

    What’s funny is the open gym is designed for the poor in our community. It’s free, and the organization can’t afford to offer free structured activity, so it’s an open format. I find it really sad for the middle class and rich kids that they never get a minute to think their own thought or have free movement, because they are structured and taking orders every waking moment.

    Starting in September I will have at home during the days and nights: my husband, who is starting a new business; my elderly father; and 2 homeschooling sons. I am someone who needs a lot of quiet time (half the day is ideal) without people making demands of me. So the only way this can work is if all my menfolk have active lives and pursue their own interests without demanding my attentions and food prep every 15 minutes. (my husband and one son like a LOT of attention. Extreme.) Likewise I was raised this way: we were outside playing with friends until dinner on weekdays and all weekend. Parenting in those days (70s) was hands-off. The kids had a blast with no parent interference.

    I don’t want my kids in an institution taking orders all day, but I also don’t want them underfoot. The. Entire. Day.

Comments are closed.