The other day I mentioned that some of my parenting is different than societal norms. Well, I thought I’d open up and explain some of those differences.
First off, I nursed all of my kiddos. Ok, so that may not be way out there, but I nursed them beyond the normal range for Western society. I nursed Oldest son till he was 21 months old when I found out I was pregnant. An aunt warned me that it would make the new baby be born sickly. I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that (and later found out that nursing while pregnant is fine and even common in other parts of the world), but I guess I was looking for a reason to wean Oldest son. He was only nursing at nap time and bedtime and he weaned easily so I was comfortable knowing that he was ready to wean. Each child nursed longer than the previous child and my twins (my youngest) nursed for several years weaning 6 months apart from each other. I’m proud to say that each child was allowed to wean when he or she was ready and any encouragement on my part was done to test to see if they were close to being ready.
Secondly, with my fourth pregnancy we decided on having a home birth. Again, this has become more common, but it is not the norm. With each pregnancy, I learned more about what my body was capable of. I gained more confidence in myself with each birth. I know that each birth is unique and can be very different from previous births, but it was more about me having confidence in my body and what it could do. My homebirth, births actually as I had twins, was by far my easiest births and I had the quickest recovery. If we had gotten pregnant again, I would definitely have chosen to birth at home again.
Thirdly, we homeschooled. Once again, this is becoming more common, but it is not the norm and we not only homeschooled, we unschooled (definitely not the norm, even as far as homeschooling goes.) Like our birthing experiences, our schooling choices started out with societal norms, but evolved into choices that we felt were right for our family. Our oldest three started in public school. They were in the 6th, 4th and 1st grades when we started homeschooling and they were unschooled through high school. Our unschooling actually included some public schooling for our two youngest kids, but only because they chose it. One of them decided after a couple of years that high school wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and left it for college.
I’m sure there are a myriad of other things we do differently than most of society, but those three things are the major ones. I decided to write about this because yesterday I bumped into an old neighbor in the grocery store. We were neighbors for only 5 years and didn’t really even get to know each other until the last couple of those 5 years. It’s been 4 years since we moved and this is the first time we’ve talked since we moved. We have a lot in common, but our friendship didn’t really evolve past our being neighbors. So what I’m saying is that even though she and I were both homeschoolers, even both unschoolers, both had practiced extended nursing, and had other things in common, and we genuinely liked each other, I thought it was funny that she made an assumption about my family based on the fact that we had a lot in common. She was telling me that the couple who bought our house from us had twin boys this past year. (Side note here which is interesting is that we bought the house from the original owners who had twin daughters. We had twins, a girl and a boy. And now the third owners have twin boys. Something about that house and twins!) Back to my story, my old neighbor was talking about the coincidence of all the twins and our old house and then said something about this woman and what she named her twin boys. My neighbor said, “She’s not like us, she named them after guns.” This was the remark I thought funny because my family is actually very into guns, we enjoy shooting and my guys know more about guns and rifles than your average Joe. I realized that because we have so much in common she assumed that we have the same outlook on guns. I did not know anything about her family’s position on guns, but apparently they don’t like them. I quickly corrected her because I don’t want her believing something that is not true. I told her that my guys would probably get a kick out of their names because they actually like guns. She had a bit of a bewildered look on her face, but she recovered well.
By the way, the woman named her sons Colt (I guessed that one) and Remington. When I got home, I told Second son who is still here trying to get over his cold and guess what; he gave the names a thumbs up!
The moral of the story is: Just because someone makes similar choices as you do, it doesn’t mean you will agree with them on everything and on the flip side, just because someone makes different choices than you, it doesn’t mean you won’t agree with them on anything.