August 15, 2011

Calling a Truce

I sat at the table with women of various ages and a patchwork of backgrounds when the question was raised:

"Do you feel a chasm between your homeschooling friends and your traditional school friends?"

I stayed silent to hear the responses of the women around me.
My initial (silent) response was no; but everyone else seemed to feel the opposite.

The first to speak was a mother of public schooled children.  Her response was, "I often feel judged or inferior to those who homeschool.  If you're not homeschooling or sending your children to private school, you are looked down on."
Nods of agreement came from some of the other moms.

One of the homeschool moms replied, "There seems to be levels of homeschooling thought, too.  If you aren't radical, or following a certain curriculum, you're inferior."

This was a table full of very opinionated, strong personalities; and yet they were expressing their feelings of insecurity regarding the opinion of other moms.

Why do we do this?  Why do we begin motherhood as if it were an episode of Survivor, casting our votes of who is doing it "right" and who should form alliances.  From the time we find out there is a little bundle of joy on its way, the competition begins.  We compare  and take measure of one another until all that is left of ourselves is insecurity.

~Prenatal care
~Birth plans
~How soon my child is reading
~The number of extra curricular activities
~Our children's success rate in any of the above
~Public, Private, or Homeschool
~How young to have a cell phone, email, facebook, texting...

The list goes on and on.  Why do we need to see it as a competition?  Who are we comparing ourselves to?  If you have found the PERFECT mother, please let me know and I might jump on the bandwagon of trying to be like her, but so far she's no where to be found.  Certainly not in my household.

Rather than comparing and judging, why don't we call a truce?  No more competition.  Let's encourage one another.  Let's be willing to make different choices, find contentment in the decision, and celebrate the differences.

When we are faced with a decision, like education, the only person we need to make sure we are seeking is the Lord.  Once He has made it clear what I am to do, it really shouldn't matter what answer He has given my neighbor.  If she is following His call for her family, then I am CALLED to rejoice with her, pray for her, and support her willingness to follow the call.

Imagine how sweet the community of motherhood would be if we were willing to lay down our insecurities and look for opportunities to rejoice together.

**I'm linking up with Richella today.  Check out her blog to read of more ways Grace is Imparted...


Kellie said...

Great thoughts, Gretchen.... so true. Enjoy your day of HOME schooling while I am off to work PRIVATE schooling. Getting ready for the new little ones arriving tomorrow. :)

Anonymous said...

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Your imperfect Daddy.

Angel said...

I would love for a truce to come about! I don't think people are always aware of the word choices and how sensitive both camps can be. I had to take a few deep breaths the day that one parent said to me, "Oh, your kids attend the day Tae Kwon Do classes, they aren't in the class with the normal kids." Are my kids not normal??? I chose not to respond and to chock it up to poor word choices. Every family needs to raise their kids according to how God has led them to raise them, my right doesn't make another persons right wrong.

Anonymous said...

A-MEN!! Count me IN, friend! :)

- TZ

Amber said...

So well written Gretchen! And SO true!

Sherri said...

Well said.

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

Amen and Amen!!! Count me in!

Caryn and Brent said...

Beautifully said Gretchen. We could apply this to a lot of different areas in our lives...size of house, type of cars, clothes, etc, etc, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Tracey said...

Beautiful! Everyone needs more encouragement and less matter what the topic.


Mom said...

As Karen & Tracey said, encouraging each other in lots of areas would be so beneficial to all. I think it's neat that there are now so many choices for schooling & various kids do better in one than another, sometimes even within a family. We should be thankful that we have the freedom in our country to make choices. It's sad to think that anyone would feel "inferior" for the choices they make for their kids.

Mom said...

I LOVE this picture!!!

Richella said...

Amen, Gretchen!

Isn't it amazing to discover that other moms suffer from the very same insecurities that you battle? All of us feel insecure at times--you're absolutely right that it would be better for all of us to support one another. :)

Thanks so much for linking this beautiful post!

Bree said...

so very true-thank you :) Have a blessed week!

heartland farmhouse said...

I agree! I loved this post!!! My husband is #5 in a family of 6....ALL homeschool and we have 2 short years to figure it all out. Figure out which direction we will go that is??? Thank you for this!

God Bless~

Angie said...

Sadly it's not limited to motherhood. Women (and I am included in this) feel an enormous amount of pressure to be perfect. Unfortunately even when we don't mean to, we try to tell ourselves we are better by telling others that they aren't good enough. "I don't know how you wear those big glasses, I could never pull it off." "You're always dressed so cute. Those things just aren't important to me"

Small, subtle ways we give backhanded complements that DON'T build the person up at all and are really tearing them (and ourselves) down at the same time.

I've been thinking about CS Lewis' quote on humility lately. "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." If I am humble than I can freely give encouragement and compliments to others based on their achievements and not compare myself to them.

I'm not there yet, but hopefully each day brings me closer.

the bennetts said...

i love this.

when i talk to new moms i always try to encourage them by telling them "whatever you do, whatever choice you make- do it believing you are pleasing God, and THAT is what is best for you and for your baby. whether it's breast vs bottle, preschool vs no preschool, two piece vs one piece. if you believe with your heart that the Lord is pleased with you, it matters NOT what any human has to say on the decision."

none of the common "issues" listed on your blog can add to or take anything away from the Gospel. none of them can save you from your sins. they are all small in significance when compared to salvation in Christ... yet so many people fight for their stance on those issues like they're going for blood (or they do in their heart) yet they make no mention of Christ's blood and forgiveness. now THAT is something worth having a stance on and sharing... something eternal.

Dawn said...

how smart you are to call the truce now... i think i spent a lot of years feeling "less" because of all the conversations. good to come to a place where the talk is just talk...