Sunday, May 10, 2020

The transformation of Motherhood...

Almost 10 years ago, my life was about to change... I never once believed it for a second. Seriously, how could one tiny human change everything about your existence, anyways?

I went into parenthood at almost 30 years old and set in my ways. I figured this new baby would just nonchalantly fit into my life and I could carry on, as things were...

But, as you could tell, that didn't happen... Not one bit.

In fact, I delve into a world that was the complete opposite of everything I was ever exposed to. Once my baby was born, I knew she deserved more, than what I pictured in my head... Every child does.

She deserved a mother who didn't think about her own needs and a mother who sacrificed everything to make sure she was first.

All of the sudden, there was this baby that didn't care that I never slept or sat up at night and watched her sleep, just to make sure she was breathing... She didn't care that I didn't see friends anymore or that I didn't shower for 4 days...

All she cared about, was her need for me.

My motherhood journey didn't start after giving birth, it started when I transformed. It started when I realized the secret to motherhood is quite simply, lead with love and support. Also, just be actively present and focus on the positive moments, while sweeping the hard ones under the rug.

Don't stay in the negative space and assume that when children do something wrong, it's intentional or a manipulative dig at you.

And, you can NEVER spoil a child with too much love and security...

My children have built me from the ground up -I didn't have a purpose before them... And, every day that I get to be their mom, is such a privilege and gift. My goal is to honor them everyday, by being the best version of myself. And, allow them to become the person they were meant to be, not something I created in my head.

So, on this mother's day, I celebrate the transformation of motherhood and my children's gift to me, of being the perfect versions of themselves.

Happy Mother's Day...


-----------------------------------------------------
You can follow my daily posts and stories over on my Instagram page - Click here to follow  <3

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A grateful day, during quarantine...

Week 6 is tough... It's the toughest week yet - Probably because, the first few weeks were left with such uncertainty and fear took the forefront... But now, it's fatigue...

Pure fatigue.

Fatigue of doing nothing, but nothing is exhausting when you're used to always doing something... And, I've also noticed that because we're secluded, we easily forget the world is going on outside of us. We forget because, our source of the outside world is through the news and the internet - which is drawing fear and causing so much unnecessary mental anguish. And, 6 weeks of the news and internet is intense. 

Also, our weather has been horrid. The sun barely shines and the temperatures love to hover at a brisk 40 degrees - with rain, 6 out of the 7 days. Which doesn't help the isolation, at all. It doesn't help the feeling of being trapped, when you can't even get outside to breathe.

But today, it reached the high 50s - with sunshine.

The universe gave us an olive branch... And we gladly accepted.

I couldn't even believe my eyes, when I noticed something bright peering through my curtains. Was it someone reflecting a mirror against my window, signaling for help? Has the apocalypse finally begun??? Honestly, the sun was at the bottom of my guesses.

So, breakfast was eaten quickly and school was placed on the back burner - let's face it, this was a monumental occasion that should be celebrated. And, school can be done at any time... Plus, learning occurs all around us. It doesn't have to be a structured, sit down style, in order for a person to become educated.

So, we fled our home, like the bell rung at the end of the day of school...

Because, quarantine is rough without sunshine.

We skipped down our street and headed towards our favorite quiet spot. I carried a plastic bag, so we could gather sticks, flowers, rocks, bark, etc - anything we could use, to craft with later. My son had his new kid go pro camera to vlog the excursion. And, my daughter had her phone, where she documented all the steps we traveled.

We walked slowly, taking notice of the way the new buds on the tips of the trees looked against the blue sky. How the bluebells and dandelions pop against the fallen leaves... My daughter started her philosophical conversations that would continue, until my son chimed in with a beautiful flower he just picked -We stopped to clear a drain from debris, so the water passed freely - they both sat and admired the clarity the water made, after it was free.

We were almost there...

I placed myself in a field, with my back against the leafless tree. My children were doing cartwheels and running relay races around the big concrete loop. My son stopping to vlog about the experience and film some cool things on the ground. And, my daughter occasionally stepping off to the side to answer a video chat, but quickly exiting the conversation, so she could run with her brother. Both, continually talking to me about the world around them... 

I could sit forever and feed their inquisitive brains.



After my bag was full and our bellies emptied, we headed home for lunch. But, the urge to continue on with the day pierced our souls.

We needed more.

I thought back to my newly 16 year old self, when I would hop in my car, throw on a newly made cassette tape, pick up some friends, and we would cruise around town, listening to our favorite songs and sing at a god awful volume - while the windows were down.

And, that's just what we did...

However, instead of the cassette tape, I blasted the Bluetooth and my daughter controlled the songs from her phone. But nonetheless, we drove for almost 3 hours and let the wind blow through our hair and the sun cascade off our bodies and sung all the songs, as loudly as we could...

There is something so therapeutic about that and it seriously doesn't get enough credit.

And just like that, our souls were recharged...

Outside of the obvious mental stress that has been brought upon our lives from this virus, I could do this forever. I could ignore the world around me and just spend my days like today (with sunshine)... Just doing cartwheels in an open field, listening to my daughter try to dissect the world around her, and listen to my son find the beauty in everything.

So, when the outside world seems chaotic and scary, my inside world is secure and stable. And, during a pandemic, I'm so grateful for my life, the simplicity of it all, and the ability to enjoy it...

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay sane...

______________________________
*You can catch my daily posts and stories over on my Instagram account -- Click Here to follow me <3

Thursday, April 2, 2020

My fears during COVID-19...

It's been almost three weeks since we isolated ourselves... The first week felt so natural, like it was our calling or something. I wasn't nervous, as I think I felt like the world was overreacting and it would all be over soon.

Even the second week, we 
enjoyed a loose schedule and the outdoor sunshine.

But, entering into our third week felt different. I felt the darkness lingering overhead. I felt a lump in my throat with every news alert that came through my phone. And, I felt defeated with every automatic call from our district.

I originally feared martial law and my husband's hours being cut and wondering how we're going to pay our mortgage, but now, I'm starting to fear the virus.

I'm fearing the uncertainty of it all. How symptoms and age groups seem to keep changing, like the sun rising and setting - It all just solidifies that no one really knows anything concrete and it's all an educated guess at this point.


The peak of the virus seems to keep changing and our "stay at home" orders are moving more than a drunk walking a straight line...

Additionally, I read about a healthy 12 year old girl on a ventilator and I cried. I felt the the stability leave my body and I feared for my children, even more. I fear a simple trip to the grocery store - that I'll bring something back to them - and they'll be that anomaly. 


Which is so strange because, this isn't normally me... I'm the one who thinks most of the media is overreacting and people believe things too easily. 

But, I felt safe in our little rural area. It felt freeing living where we have vast farmland and houses spaced. And, gave me peace and a false sense of hope, that we wouldn't see a case here. However, I recently caught wind of a possible case in our little town... Which made me want to board up the windows and retreat into the bomb shelter, I wish my husband would have built.


I know there are probably dozens of people walking around asymptomatic, that we're unaware of... And, I'm not quite sure why this virus feels so different - I don't know why I feel so consumed with fear and doubt.

But I do.


However, I also keep those fears to myself and plaster a smile on my face for my children... Because, what I want them to remember from all this, is all the fun they had with me - not the horrific pandemic going on in the world around them. I want them to thrive and continue business as usual. I want to continue our walks, our hiking adventures, and our patio campfires. I want them to enjoy our dinners on a blanket in the backyard. I want to bask in our kitchen dance parties and crafting fun and laugh into the night. And, I want to hear them laugh hysterically, as I attempt a flip on our trampoline... Remarkably, I shove my fears down as far as they can go, so I'm fully present with them... 

Family campfires...
 Family snuggles....
 Family walks...

Nevertheless, when the air is quiet, my fears swell... And, I fear for my husband, who has to go to work 7-8 days a week, with severe asthma labeling him as high risk...
I fear what the next few months will look like... If education will be haulted, if schools will remain closed, or i
f schools will even go back in the fall? I wonder if our yearly amusement park trip and our beach vacation will be cancelled. And, if friends and family won't be face to face for months.

I fear for the people who don't have the financial means to stock up, in order to limit their grocery store visits.
 I fear the one time stimulus check won't be enough to carry families past a single month...

I fear what the world will look like over the next few months because, it's going to get bad, before it gets better.


Afterwards, will people realize how much we really don't need in life? 
-Will they understand how important family and friends are? 
-Will they appreciate that money shouldn't be the most important drive in life?

In the depths of this, I never realized how much I enjoyed my simple prior life...

...I miss just walking out of my door and wandering around a grocery store, reading packaging after packaging... I miss the routine of taking my son to school and stopping for coffee afterwards... I miss having the need to get dressed and changed out of my pajamas... Simply, I miss being around strangers in a building and talking to the person behind me in line about the weather.. 


Jammies for daaaaayyss!

I'm not sure what this world is going to look like after all this... I wish I did, because my brain works so much better with the known, versus the unknown... But, I'm so hoping everyone realized who was there for us, when world needed them the most - the grocery store employees, gas station attendants, restaurant workers, healthcare workers, teachers, and so many more... So, when it's all over and we're rushing out the door getting back to our lives, I hope we remember those places and patron them as often as we can...

Because, I want to believe life will eventually go back to normal... That social distancing will not be the new norm... That, we'll be able to hug our parents and grandparents and go to the park and grocery store, without worrying about passing the virus...

Life will resume.

And when it does, we'll all pause for a moment to thank everyone who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, healthy, and fed... And, we'll mourn the ones who were lost - because, we were all in this together...

Furthermore, when that normal does resume, I hope we never forget that we were all in this together...

__________________________________

*You can catch my daily posts and stories over on my Instagram account -- Click here to follow me <3 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

My vulnerability during a pandemic...

I keep distracting myself with activities and just being with my children. I feel this urge to keep busy, but I also have this urge to sit and stare out a window... My children and I go for walks in the sunshine and have pretend adventures in our woods... On my face, I'm smiling and laughing. But on the inside, I'm screaming.

In my home, we're just going with the flow. I'm allowing my children to regulate themselves by doing whatever brings them joy. Because, in times like these, that's what we all need.


I'm distracted for the most part, by doing what I love - being with my children... But, as soon as I'm left alone, my mind starts racing - Because the truth is, I'm scared.

I'm scared that my husband is an essential employee and is out everyday. I'm scared that keeping my family safe, isn't in my full control. And, I'm scared that we're not being told everything, in fear that society can't handle it.


...We have been self isolated since March 13, with only my husband going to work...

And, being isolated with my children isn't the problem. I could do this for years... I also stay in touch with friends and family on the phone and video chat. My daughter keeps up with her friends on her phone. And, my son plays his games with the world...

Socially, we're not feeling any weaknesses.

And, except for the minor questions my children ask, they're thinking this is all pretty fun...

It's fun, because as a parent, I've mastered the ability to let them be children and exclude them from the fears that are on my mind...

I can't let them see me sweat.

I keep my children informed, with age appropriate facts. But let's face it, for me, I like to speculate and I have trouble sticking to only facts - my brain loves to run wild with the, "what ifs."

So, when I have down time, I feel my skin crawl with uncertainty. My anxiety revels in the fear it creates and not knowing what lies ahead, fuels the fire within.

I find my eyes well up with tears, each time I read the alerts my phone, telling me who else contracted the virus. I feel it closing in on us and I just want to shut off the world.

Ironically, I'm usually the one who thinks everyone overreacts... And the truth is, before kids, I worked as a behavior therapist during the swine flu pandemic and just wore a mask and gloves (because, I cannot stop touching my face), and went about life as usual. I worked in schools and homes and never batted an eye... But, once you become a parent, you don't feel as invincible, as you once did... That urge to be one of those spring breakers down in Florida saying, "who cares if I catch corona!" doesn't seem as appetizing anymore.

Because, as a parent, you do care.

You don't want to be that one statistic where your child has a reaction that no one else did. You don't want to be that sole death, that hasn't affected anyone else throughout the globe... Why would you want to chance any of it, if you didn't have to?

So, in a time when everything feels so unfamiliar and life is thrown upside down, I'm grateful for my children and their ability to see only the positive. I'm grateful for my husband staying on video calls, well into the middle of the night/morning, to entertain my crazy thoughts. I'm grateful for my friends, who text in our group chat daily, just to stay in touch. And, I'm grateful for family, for staying in touch.

I'm grateful for the time to slow down and pull inward in our lives.

I'm also super grateful for Dish Network, for releasing the Hallmark channel to every package, because that station has pulled me away from the news...

Moreover, I'm grateful to watch humanity come to life. I'm happy to experience the world coming together in a way that hasn't been felt in decades, centuries, or at all. I love how everyone knows we're in this together and it's creates a different environment - a supportive, loving, atmosphere.

I love watching the singing throughout Italy, Facebook porch songs, live zoo feeds, live library story times, putting hearts in your windows so kids can find them on a scavenger hunt (we have one in our window, too), and countless other things...

So, in a time when life feels so out of control, I'm grateful I'm not alone... And, I'm eager to see what this world will look, on the other side...

Furthermore, I hope to god at the end of all this we get to say, "boy we overreacted." <3

__________________________________
You can follow daily photos and stories from me over on my Instagram page - Click Here

Thursday, March 19, 2020

A day in a life, during a pandemic isolation...

As the world is literally in complete uncertainty - and we all aren't entirely sure how our days ahead will unfold - for us, it's been truly wonderful to just pull inward and slow down.

It turns out, I'm perfectly happy and content just being home with my children - it brings me back to when they were little and the days belonged to us, not society time constraints...

The first few days, I obsessed over the news. Every time I put my phone down, I immediately picked it right back up to analyze all the new information being pushed. My little small tube TV that sits on my kitchen counter, had the news playing constant. Heck, those first few days, everything was changing so rapidly, I really felt like I was missing something, if I wasn't glued to it.

But, after our schools closed, I felt a sigh of relief. I really felt like I could finally relax, as I think most of my anxiety was stemming from my child being away from me, during these uncertain times.

For us, it wasn't hard to get into a groove. My daughter is already homeschooled, so it's business as usual for her. And, I know I rant a lot on my social media Instagram page about our school system, but they deserve an A+ for canceling school for 2 weeks, without sending work materials home - I really feel like everyone needed time to process what is going on with our current new normal, without having to do school work on top of it all.

We're homebodies in general. But, like everyone else, we have lives outside of the home. My daughter and son's evenings are usually filled with extracurricular activities and events. So, even though we enjoy being home, it's a difficult time for them to adjust not having their normal, with their friends.

So, instead of packing our days with colorful charts that schedule everything down to the minute, we are just living. Furthermore, I am taking this time to let them do whatever they want to fill their days, as I am doing the same... However, their days look so much more productive than mine - I am shoving my face with junk food and watching Hotel Impossible.

Currently, my daughter does her school on the computer, whenever she feels like it. She doesn't have a time frame, just as long as she stays up with her lessons. And, I do some reading activities with my son, only because he has struggled with reading and has surpassed the district's goals for this year - and I don't want him to lose that progress.

But, the rest of our day consists of free play. Absolutely any kind of free play... I'm looking at it as our Spring Break... 

-Playing Fortnite. Even my husband has joined in, too.
-Online Roblox playing with their friends, who they cannot be face to face with.
-Video chatting with friends.
-Making silly Tik Toks.
-Texting with friends.
-Sending cute videos and photos to friends.
-Outdoor adventures.
-Hiking in our back woods.
-Trampoline jumping.
-Swingset playing.
-Dance parties.
-Watching movies.
-Doing parkour in our home.
-Using our gymnastic equipment.
-Practicing Karate.
-Board games.
-Playing family charades.
-Creating art.
-Building the best Lego land in the home.
-Vegging out, while watching YouTube.

*There are so many more details, but this is just to name a few... As you can see, there aren't any micromanaged topics - And in reality, our days prior to the pandemic, don't look too much different -as I'm not much of a schedule type person. I believe in children controlling their lives and learning how to balance their items/responsibilities throughout the day.

And today, our district already sent a message that there will be some kind of school materials worked out within the next week. So, at that time, we'll resume some what of a normal routine - well, as normal as we can be, in self-isolation.

But, free play will still be the center point of our days...

Here are some photos of what our days have looked like.











You can see daily photos and stories on my Instagram page - Click Here.

...As a parting message, just know that our children are watching us -They're watching our reactions and our behaviors. So keep smiling and use this new found free time to be engaged with them. Basically, be the fun parent. Let them stay up late, talk to them often, answer their questions, and just laugh... And know, you're doing great, as there isn't a parenting protocol for this type of situation. 

The world is all in this together. And for the first time, we are all truly stopping and smelling the roses.

*And remember, practice being distant socially, instead of socially distant -- stay in touch with friends and family and let your children stay in touch with their friends (whether it's through a phone, video, texting, or video games -they need it, too)... 
And, check on your neighbors.
Be kind.
And, stop hoarding toilet paper... <3

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

38 trips around the sun...

I woke up this morning, hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock, more times than not - When it reaches this dreary time of the year (caught between Christmas and Spring), I can't seem to wake up as easily for school, as I did, just a few short months ago. And repetitious, mind numbing routines, always mess with my soul - So, I fumbled with my phone, waiting for my eyes to focus in, to see the time...

I threw myself upright and raced downstairs to pack a lunch, a snack, and make some breakfast, before we left for school drop off. My feet sputtered down the bare wooden steps, and when I hit the bottom, I saw my daughter and son were waiting there, holding cards in their hands - And, on the table behind them, were packaged items... They both stood there proudly, with the largest smiles on their faces, as they shouted, "Happy Birthday!" before hugging me - From them, I received homemade cards and my daughter spent her own money and bought me these pictures items, because she knows my love of socks and well, coffee too...


I'm on my 38th trip around the sun, and I've noticed as people age, they usually start rebelling or frantically try to turn back the clock... It appears to be the general consensus that aging, is the ultimate evil... But, as I age, I see this precious world around me and I'm aware of how grateful I am to be reaching any birthday... 

Because, life can change so quickly, for any of us.

And, this past year has left me so happy for my life and the many more gray hair I obtained in the process... 

*I'm grateful that my brother, who has stage 4 cancer, is still celebrating another birthday with me... 
*I'm grateful for my children, who gave me purpose - I truly found myself after their arrival and I still continue to evolve and grow, to this day... 
*I'm grateful for my husband and his hard work. (And, how quickly he rebounded, after his company laid off his entire department on December 31st). Because, without his hard work, I wouldn't be home to give our children the life I want, I couldn't be the parent I want to be, and I couldn't homeschool... 
*I'm grateful for all the love and support I received, when our 13 year old German Shepherd passed... 
*I'm super grateful we didn't let mercury retrograde drown our spirits, because it tried. It seriously tried to pull us under water and hold us down...

Because you see, after 38 trips around the sun, I know that life is treasured... Sure, days suck, days are long, and life seems to do everything to make you hate it... It's easy to get caught up in all the negative, while not appreciating the positive... But, all you need is the love of family and some really awesome friends, who will meet up with you 7 days a week, just to keep you laughing. And, they'll laugh with you, at all the crap that occurred simultaneously, because at some point, it seemed like a joke.

And, some perfectly timed hugs from my wonderful children, who are the reason I live and breathe everyday...


As time passes and more birthdays come and go, I look forward to the days when my hair is white and I lost a few inches in height. I look forward to all the aches and pains I feel and naturally slowing down... I look forward to it because, it means I've lived a full life. It means I'm still in this world, enjoying everything it has to offer.

It means I was able to watch my children grow, revel in their days, and come out of this chaos, on the other side...

I would have learned so much more about myself - And hopefully, learned how to be more patient with time and learned how to "stop and smell the roses..."

You see, aging is truly the most important gift that is taken for granted, because without aging, there's nothing else left to celebrate...


-----------------------------------------------------------------
**Be sure to check out all my social media pages... I'm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, I post daily on Instagram and share stories there, several times a day... It's by far, my most active page.

My Instagram link - Instagram
My Facebook link - Facebook
My Twitter link - Twitter

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Our transition from traditional schooling, to homeschooling...

While I sit at this computer, I'm staring meekly at the blank screen... I'm fumbling through lots of ideas and then my mind goes blank for a few minutes, as I randomly stare off in another direction... I seem to keep coming back to this single paragraph, rethinking it over and over, about how to tell our story...

There is just so much to say...

Because you see, the end of 2019 is really hard to put into concise words.

But, here we go...

Before my children were even of school age, I have basked in the idea of homeschooling. I'm a, "fight the system," person by nature and the whole institution of school in 2020, gives me chills down my spine - It's outdated and most importantly, school isn't designed for children. 

I'm among an online community of unschoolers and homeschoolers. I relish in their writings and photos of how their days play out - My children started public school, but I still sit and stare at these images with jealousy, that they were brave enough to go against the grain. 

I made the decision of traditional schooling, because of meeting with our principal in the elementary. He's truly a wonderful human. And, the structure of our Blue Ribbon public school is set up a lot like a Montessori... Meaning, they don't have grades, they rotate among small group sizes, and they have so many activities that focus on other avenues, instead of only "subjects." 

So, I figured, we'd at least try it out...

My daughter has been in traditional schooling since preschool -she's now in fourth grade... She loved the structure of learning and following a school-based curriculum. She loved the elementary school and all the activities they had to offer... But, this year, they built a new building that houses 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade - with a new principal, new staff, and new policies (the original elementary stayed, housing kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades)...

If you follow me on Instagram, you know all about the beginning of this school year (I posted daily videos about what was going on - the links are at the bottom of this article).

Unknowingly to us at the time, this was the beginning of the end of our traditional schooling experience...

My daughter eagerly awaited the completion of our new Intermediate Building on our district's campus... We were all anticipating how it would unfold. And, she was excited to be one of the first classes to begin at this brand new building...

But, it was around August, when our school district started with its absurd letters arriving to our home. They built this new, tens of million dollar building, in an already wealthy district... But yet, they couldn't seem to figure out how to start and dismiss both the old and new buildings, at the same time.

We live in a rural area. Our campus sits on acres surrounded by farms and woods. But yet, the whole construction seemed to limit access from the new parking lots to the buildings themselves... And, they couldn't fit all the parents and buses, at the same time. 

So, the letters started, even before school begun. They read aggressively, stating that parent drop off would be taking place 30 minutes before the start of school and parent pick up would commence 30 minutes after school completion - leaving the non bus kids in school an hour longer than the bus kids... And, if you arrived one minute later, you had to wait until after 9:05 am, and your child would be marked late.

At this point, my daughter was starting to get nervous because, she didn't like the idea of sitting in a gym for an extra hour a day, when she could be home with us... And I concurred... So I, as the fix it personality, mustered up a few ideas and plans to get around this proposed notion. One of which, involved me reading the entire department of education code, to find out my rights first.

I then scheduled a meeting with the principal of the new building, the one whom we have never met, to go over my proposed idea... To which he reluctantly agreed upon, only after I showed him the state laws.

Which was ridiculous, because all I wanted to do was inconvenience myself to get my child out of school, when the contractual time stated. Basically, I wanted to take my child off their hands and they acted like I was trying to take their own flesh and blood child from them. 

This was all before school even begun...

We then had a group walk through for the new building. We met some new teachers and staff, who were oddly unfriendly - something we haven't ever experienced on this campus. The principal had all the parents and children gather in the cafeteria, to which he spoke to us, like we were all children - even having everyone repeat after him, the official parent drop off time and pick up time, with a condescending tone... I am almost 38 years old and that meet and greet left me wanting to run for the hills... I couldn't imagine how my daughter felt, being only 9 years old... They rushed us from room to room, showed us the building and all it had to offer. But, all I saw was stark white walls, like the many psychiatric wards I pulled hours in during my clinicals, back in college... No part of this school resembled an elementary. It didn't look like 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders were going to be attending here. It didn't look like anything, other than a hospital.

And, I kept hearing the statement, "they don't want it to look like an elementary school," being thrown around... Like, that was the worst thing in the world that could happen... Imagine the horror of having color strewn throughout!

And, a friend of ours pulled her three kids out of the district immediately, after that meet and greet...

School begun, and even after all the red flags leading up to the first day, I still blindly followed the society norm... My daughter waved goodbye, as she left me for 6.5 hours, into the unknown.

As weeks passed, my normal spunky-in-your-face daughter, started to pull inside of herself. I noticed things were off... She would come home and tell me these bizarre rules and policies that were taking place and they made my stomach turn... She told me how her 30 minute lunch was taken up by two, 5 minute quiet times, where they were not allowed to talk or make any sounds - and their heads had to be down on the table for the last 5 minutes of the quiet time. They implemented peers to walk around and "rat out" their classmates to the teachers... Then, when you were caught making noise during this time, you were then handed a shaming card which stated: Because I chose to talk, now I have to walk... Which then, the child had to walk the perimeter of the playground at recess - in front of their peers.

I emailed the teacher, asking to see a copy of this card and asked why in the world would this be a policy at a nationally ranked school in the suburbs - Her response was, "if she isn't making noise, then there won't be a problem." And, she was going to send me a copy of the card, until the principal caught wind of my asking and then, I was told it wasn't allowed to be given out.

I also heard some chatter from other teachers who were saying, they wouldn't actually make the child do it every single time... 

So my thought was, why are they even saying it in the first place? Why constantly bombard children with blind threats from they minute they walk in, until they walk out?

Oh, I know! 

To instill fear, for obedience and compliance...

From the minute these children walk into that building, they are bombarded with threats. Recess is taken away for forgotten homework or, they have to walk the playground perimeter. They're not allowed to talk for the full 30 minutes of lunch, or sit where ever they want at the tables. Or, they're not allowed to whisper to their friends at the desk next to them, if they have finished their assignments early...

The ironic part of all of this is, society is so accepting of traditional schooling for the main purpose of socialization... But, from the sounds of this structure, there isn't much socialization actually taking place...

I was nearly in shock from hearing all of this. I even met with the principal for an explanation, as to why these policies are being implemented... We had a back and forth conversation, before he concluded with, "I run a tight ship." He even went on to say that they shouldn't be treated like kids, because once they come into an Intermediate building, they're not kids anymore... During our discussion, he supported each and every policy that I described. He was dismissive, contentious, and said two, very inappropriate things to my daughter (right in front of me)... He was cold and nothing of what a principal of young children should be. It was in that moment, I knew I could no longer be a part of a school that supports this type of behavior.

So, she was pulled from traditional school on a Tuesday morning, seven weeks in, right after my conversation with the principal.

The idea of traditional schooling is a bizarre concept, when you really think about it. You're handing over your child to a building, where staff is burned out, overworked, and most are underpaid. These teachers are forced to teach 25-30 children in a class, for 7 hours a day. They design their materials with very little wiggle room for creativity, because the State is involved with their every move.

And somehow, we have accepted that this is more beneficial to your own child, than an individual designed curriculum with one on one teachings...

We have these children, who are individuals with big ideas and bright dreams - A square peg. But, after taking that square peg of individuality and beating it into a circle hole, in order to fit the regime of school and confines of the education system, the peg eventually fits... 

But, you know what? 

That peg is forever changed. 

It's now uniform. 

It now looks just like all the other pegs...

And, I thought the idea of parenting was that we wanted our children to be individuals, we want them to think outside the box, and be creative. We want them to be strong enough to fight for the injustices in the world. We want them to use their words respectfully and stand up for what they think is right... But you know what? School doesn't teach that. If anything, school teaches children to sit down, be quiet, and do as your told from someone who has 100% complete control over your life for 7 hours a day. 

Years ago, schools didn't parent kids. School only taught academics and left everything else up to the individual families... There weren't any behavior charts, rewards, or stickers. And, teachers weren't creating their classroom goals and expectations off their own morals and values and trying to push it onto the children... Everything that basically occurs now...

The decision to pull my daughter was one of the most nerve racking decisions I have ever made - You're going against everything society has taught you. You're standing alone... Especially in my hometown, which isn't a progressive mindset - And the majority of parents and children don't seem to think the dynamics of that building are wrong, because they parent similar - But in the end, I didn't need my child in an environment which will never be replicated outside of school and doesn't represent our household. 

No where in her adult life, will she have to walk a perimeter if she forgets something. She won't have to put her head down during lunch for quiet time. And, she won't have to be told when to sit, stand, move, etc... 

Unless, she's in prison...

...It's been four months since she's been homeschooled and it was truly the best decision ever. We love the flexibility and freedom it allows. We get her school work done, but then, she has so much time to do other things that are important to her - She has more time to practice her vocal songs and practice her acting lines. She is able to read for pleasure, instead of reading for A.R points. Additionally, she is able to learn more valuable life skills because, she is with me, while I'm running a household.

It's been a long road and I'm sorry she had to experience what she did, in order to get here. At only 9 years old, I'm sorry she had to learn that sometimes people in power, take advantage of those without power... But either way, I'm glad we're here... I'm glad we're doing things on our schedule and not someone else's. And, I'm glad she doesn't have to worry about walking a playground perimeter, if she does something wrong... Mostly, I'm glad she gets to learn and grow in a secure environment that focuses on who she is, rather than making her be someone she is not... And, where she is shown love and understanding - not fear and judgement.



**I have documented the journey via videos over on my Instagram page. In my saved stories tab, you'll see 3 numbered "School Rants." If you want to listen to them, head over there and check them out -- Instagram (@the_happy_days)




**Disclaimer: I cannot attest to how the building is currently being run... This all occurred the first 7 weeks of this school year. And, changes could have been made since then... I just wanted to disclose our experience and what finally made us decide to leave traditional schooling**