I need to write this. I need to say it. It's been bothering me for a while.
This year I need to express myself more clearly, bad shit and all.
Not that it's been terrible in any way, I don't mean that, for a second. No, no, no!
But I have this niggling feeling that I have been slightly sugar-coating my writing when it comes to how I have really felt about parenting and home ed this last year.
To make it more palatable.
To keep giving other home edders more of what they so like to hear - to soothe and placate and be politically correct.
So you won't all think I'm a bad mummy.
It's partly my fault, weaving a story to make everything alright, for my own sanity as much as anything.
The truth is I'm batshit bored as fuck with being a full-time home edder.
Good mummys are not supposed to say such things of course.
Good mummys don't get tired or bored of being with their children from morning till gone midnight.
Did you read that correctly? Yes. From morning till gone midnight. Because this is what my litle firecracker kids have fallen into doing - and not wanting to be all oppressive and authoritarian, I have tried to be a good unschooler and say hey, no problem guys!
This is the story I have been telling myself, re-inforced by hours of reading unschooling blogs where children are the biggest blessing ever and mummys should focus everything, EVERYTHING, every last ounce of her energy, on them, and do it all sweetly, without any bitchin' about it.
They are right - children are of course a blessing, but never being able to say they are a massive pain in the arse as well?
I get the feeling in the home ed world that there is an unwritten rule of sensorship.
I know where it comes from.
Home ed often is misunderstood, and so morons who have no idea about it write some stupid thoughtless article. Home edders get up in arms, vitriolically defending the cause on threads and filling up comments boxes, spitting feathers about their misportrayal, about how they have misjudged home ed as it really is. I have done it myself.
We get such a hard time having the very idea of home ed accepted in the media and in some circles. Some parents get so much flack for doing it from their own parents and peers, neigbours and perfect strangers. Some parents can't even agree between themselves whether to home ed their children or not.
So we fortify ourselves with reassuring books, success stories and all the happy happy wonderful stuff, We document the sweet bits. We show off the glorious moments, photographing it all, like one long happy photo album.
And it can all become rather over simplified. The world becomes split into two camps - those that school and those that don't. George Orwell's 'Two legs bad, four legs good' in Animal Farm...becomes 'School is bad, home is good.'
Some blogs, websites and articles in the home ed world literally do not ever stray into that twighlighty reality zone where we mothers feel racked with doubt, fear or a quiet, secret, sense of hopelessness about our children's frailties or about our own. It's almost as if there is a quiet agreement:
We will not say anything negative about home ed because it will make us look bad, incompetent, inadequate.
Singularly and as a community.
We musn't say anything that might damage the carefully edited side of home ed.
We must only report, showcase and document the gloriousness of it, creating a kind of positive-only, self-protecting, rose-tinted version of home ed.
We must only promote it as a positive option in every last case, for every moment of the day.
Rightly or wrongly, I have felt that there is an invisible gagging order on me, if I want to be liked and respected as a home ed writer.
No-one has ever told me to say only nice things, to report on the sweetness of it all. But I feel it as a silent agreement, across the whole home ed world.
Like we musn't give anyone ammunition to throw against us, because there's enough already.
This year I will be exploring many options for my children which may include some flexi-schooling.
I have devoted myself to my children for the last ten years giving them more than every ounce of my patience and energy. I am so proud of what I have done for them. The time I have given them.
But this year, I am recognising some basic truths. I do not have infinite patience, energy,and imagination.
Parenting all day and late into the night is more than I can cope with, for seven days of every week.
It is an honour and a priviledge to be a mother to my boys, and I feel I have given them so much.
I love them absolutely, with all my heart.
I am utterly utterly grateful that we live in a free country where home ed exists, and believe passionately in it as a (mostly positive) alternative to school.
I can see the many benefits of home ed manifested in my own kids and in those who make up the lovely home ed community of which we are a part.
But this mama is tired.
And my kids need more Daddy energy this year. More outdoors energy. More out-in-the-big-wide world-without-mama energy. Different energy than the kind I'm putting out.
By respecting myself, my limitations, and by taking the time to nurture my other babies too- my writing and doula dreams, I hope to become a better mother this year.
A more generous and loving one.
A less tired one.
A more balanced one.
A happier one!
I hope you will step up and join me this year in writing more honestly and bravely about the rounded experience of parenting, of home ed, of living life to the full! I want to read all about the dark moments of your days, the murky bits, as well as the glorious ones.
Let's be more honest, more open, have more courage to break our moulds!
The word 'courage' is really speaking to me for 2013.
It literally means to be brave-hearted.
This is my pledge, my intention, out loud.
But I need your help to do it my dear readers. Give me the odd word, the odd comment on here. I don't want this blog to be a voyeuristic place of one-sided openness, where you can come and read about my fuck-ups and go back to your lives feeling smug.
If I write for you, you can give me some tiny words of your own.
It's a two-way thang my lovelies.
I need to hear your thoughts too.
It helps me to grow, to change, to learn.
I write to have a dialogue with you all, to get answers to questions I am not able to answer for myself.
If this blog becomes a one-way gig then I'm a quittin'!!!
So my dears, I hope you will join me in being brave and adding your own comments here. I hope you will feel safe to do so. I hope you will be brave enough to join in and be a part of this blog as I so need you all to be.
I have absolutely no interest in giving up my time for this blog, for a silent audience.
So if you value this space, if it moves you, if you need it in your life, chip in sometimes my lovelies.
I would love some guest posts on here this year - do you have something to say? Never been brave enough to speak out about your parenting? I'd love to hear from you!
Let's make 2013 a year of saying it like it is, speaking up, movin' on up, and living bigger and brighter lives, with more courage. I'll help you to do that if you do the same for me :-)
Big love to you all dearest readers, here's to a year of crapping our panties about our dreams but stepping up and doing it anyway.