When I first started homeschooling I hated having to tell people. You know that moment when you can see someone approaching to ask, “Did your kids stay home from school today?” I used to herd my kids away so we wouldn’t have to explain.
Then I got more comfortable explaining. In fact, I got so comfortable that I dared someone to ask. We’ll go out to lunch and when the waitress said, “Is it a special occasion for someone today?” I’d say, “No. We homeschool.”
I thought if I debated with everyone who asked how my kids get socialized then I could convert the world, one intrusive inquiry at a time.
Then it got old. Especially for the kids, who sidelined my diatribes when someone asked, “What grade are you in?” by providing a simple number. As if everyone in the world is defined by their classroom.
Now I’m calm. I go about my business and let anyone who wants to subject their kids to standardized tests, and standardized curricula, and standardized socialization (whatever that means). Although I do want to mention to the naysayers that social scientist Hermenia Ibarra once told me that as long as you do not ignore social skills, then social skills will add up just fine. What you care about is where you grow. It’s whatever you’re ignoring that you are probably sucking at — and since we all have to talk with our kids, they are being socialized just fine. I settle into complacent homeschooling. Except for complacent.
And except for clothes. I don’t want to look like a woman who has no life outside of her kids. But the problem is that increasingly I am a woman who always has a kid by her side. If you don’t go into an office every day you don’t have nice clothes. Who buys nice clothes to schlep kids all over the place? I just read in USA Today that more than half the moms polled don’t change out of their pajamas when they have to drive kids somewhere.
But I’m thinking that I’m a more effective parent if I care more about what I look like. There must be research to back this up, though only to a point, because, I also want to believe that I am on equal footing with a supermodel when it comes to parenting: chronically ungrateful children are the greatest equalizer.
Anyway, I cut my hair. I haven’t done that since high school, but even today I wield a scissors with confidence.
My husband watched from a safe distance and said, “Is this a cry for help? You’re not a teenager.”
I like that he called me a teenager. I cut more. And I decided my new haircut would look great with the Bartaile bag the company sent to me that my friends said I’m not cool enough to use. This is my new homeschooling look.
You can call it what you want. But at least you can’t say I’m ignoring how I look.