Sunday, February 2, 2014


I am still Homeschool Atheist Momma!

Before I had children of my own, I remember seeing misbehaving children out in public and thinking to myself, I will never allow my children to do that. I was the eldest of four children; I was a very responsible adult-figure to my siblings; I babysat a great deal; I was a step parent. With all of this experience and knowledge I was certain that I knew what to expect from parenthood. For example, I knew for certain that I would never spank them, punish them, yell at them, lose my temper, buy them too many things, allow them to behave in certain ways and I would make them to be kind and loving at all times, etc. I knew that I had waited so long to be a parent that I would be the best parent ever.

I think you know where this is going...

Along come my children and I begin to see that conventional wisdom about parenting is a total crock. First of all conventional "wisdom" offers everything from pick them up when they cry to allow them to cry themselves out. From breastfeed for years to use only organic formulas. From making your own baby food to using only baby foods from special producers. Second of all, the raising of every single kids is like entering uncharted territory. There are no rules and there are no maps.

When my kids were still newborns and toddlers I realized something important:  no one knows what to do! 
I, certainly, did not know. 

As the kids grew up and grew into themselves, I learned that there is absolutely nothing that I can do to make my kids any different than they already are, and why would I?  But the leading authorities on my list told me that if I reacted this way or that way my children would learn tolerance and kindness and respect. Many non-parents suggested that I had MADE my children this way or that way.

I laugh.  HA!

I am here to tell you that you can not teach a child to be kinder, less sensitive, more out-going, more compassionate, happier, to love athletics or math, to be a leader, to be optimistic, to have a sense of humor about certain subjects, or more willing-to-learn. What you can do is learn to work with and love the child that you have. To value your child as they are. To love themselves for who they are. To protect them from the people and forces that are judgy and unkind and insensitive.

Parents try their hardest and do their best with the knowledge and support available to them. There are no magic tricks and nothing superior that is available to the wealthy that isn't also available to those living with less.

The important things are truly love and effort...and love really IS effort.

All of my good intentions and determination to be a certain kind of a parent have all gone by the wayside. All of that knowledge that I thought I had vanished when I had my children. I realized that my parental education was just beginning when I finally became a parent. No parental role that I have ever played in my life could prepare me to be a parent to my children.

And, though I now consider myself a pretty darn good parent, I cannot tell you what to do to be a great parent to your child. What I can do and what I DO say to you is this: 

  • Try and try again
  • Try something new
  • Trust yourself
  • Trust your child
  • Learn at every moment
  • Do better today
  • Forgive mistakes made
  • Love the child that you have
  • Recognize that your child is not an extension of you
  • Support parents who do things different than you do.
Each new day is another opportunity to learn another, better way to approach the needs of your children.  And that is why, today, we are eating licorice and playing board games. Because as unlikely as that may seem to you, that is exactly what my kids needed today.

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Good Job!


  1. Heh, I was the perfect parent before I had children! Your children will remember their mum sitting down to play board games with them and eating licorice :) I think it's great they will have these memories. My hope is that my children will remember we had a lot of fun! This is why I love homeschooling, I love that my children are spending a lot of time with eachother and building a great relationship.

  2. Oh dear, not even six months into parenting I have to say THIS times a million f^_^;

  3. Ha! Right now we are playing board games and eating popcorn!

  4. "What you can do is learn to work with and love the child that you have. To value your child as they are. To love themselves for who they are. To protect them from the people and forces that are judgy and unkind and insensitive."

  5. LOVE this post. I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I think many of us thinkers were "perfect parents" in our minds before having kids. The reality is so different... I thought that being a teacher for 10+ years and being the oldest of 11 children made me a natural. WRONG! But, I think one of the most devastating things to us parents is the judgement that can come from others. Sometimes it's well-meaning; sometimes it's just down right ignorant, backwards, and unkind. But, shedding the need for others to think us "good parents" and focusing on just doing what is right for our children is a very tough lesson... yet very important.


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