Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our Imperfect Life

Recently I seem to be posting without enough care to express that the challenges I talk about are in fact my own challenges. Most disconcertingly, I meet people who tell me that they like to read my blog and would love to be able to unschool their kids, but they aren't confident enough to do it, or their kids aren't smart or motivated enough, or they themselves aren't smart or motivated enough. Obviously this is because I am not humble enough in my postings. I've constructed some strange world where my family seems to have no problems. People ask me for advice. I can give opinions, but I can't give advice. Because I'm just an opinionated person and not in any way qualified to advise.

So, here it is. The bare bones. The truth about my completely imperfect life. Pretty much everything on this blog is in some way something I struggle with: I have bought colouring books for my kids. I have told them many times why I disagree with these things, but I have caved in to my daughter's desire on more than one occasion, and I've also printed colouring pages for them and their friends without even blinking an eye. I not only buy myself lattes at Blenz but also get homogenized steamed milk for my kids there, despite knowing that homogenization makes the fat particles small enough to pass into their bloodstreams. I never buy homogenized milk for the house! But in town - oh yeah, there went my principles and intentions. I am no less a member of the overfed middle class than the rest of the people in Blenz. I make myself feel better because it's not Starbucks. And then I throw my paper cup in the garbage because I don't want to carry a wet paper cup home to recycle.

Truly, I do have good intentions! I usually make my own drink in a thermos and bring it with me; I usually bring metal containers with food, or when I'm too disorganized to do that, bring them empty to fill at expensive buffets. Except when I forget, which... is most of the time.

My kids? They're so awesome. Totally brilliant. Always doing something productive and intelligent and socially conscious. Except when they're sitting on the couch for day three of the house getting filthier and filthier (because I am the world's worst housekeeper) reading the same obnoxious comic book and eating junk food. They barely lift their heads when I call them for meals and sometimes I don't bother to cook. They don't go play with their friends because their friends go to school and apparently they've been dropped off the invitee list for field-trips this year, so they lost connection with most of their friends. Sometimes unschooling sucks.

And then there's the parental relationship. To say we've had a rocky past few years would be putting it mildly. My kids have listened to far more fighting and crying from us than they've managed to create for themselves. Do I feel guilty? Yes. Ashamed? Yes. But this is our life. And I also am glad we're working out our issues, because our relationship is now in far better shape than it was four years ago. I have to tell myself that at least the kids are witnessing how to save a dying relationship because that would be better than having hidden it. We couldn't have hidden it. There was too much.

But these are the realities of life. We all have our challenges and yes - unschooling probably brings many issues to the fore that wouldn't have been so difficult in another context or situation. But this is the life we chose, and I really feel that this is currently - for us - the most authentic way to live. Authenticity is important to me. That's why I'm writing this post.

I blog about the things that come to mind or, in a few cases such as the recent 10 Essential Educational Toys post, because somebody requested something. A blog is an opinion log. In everything I write here, if I am expressing opinions about products or activities, or the way the world is or I think it should be, these are my opinions. They are in no way judgements about people who read my blog, but are usually thoughts about my own activities; my own challenges.

I am not a perfect person; my family sure doesn't have a perfect life. But I try to make the most of what I have in whatever ways I find, and I try to present positive solutions on my blog, because I'm trying very hard to find those positives, myself. This blog is an expression of my hopes and dreams. We're all just trying to find those, all in our own ways.

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