Sorry, just have to rant for a moment

I'm pretty good with comments about our family. Either I repel them by sheer body language, or they are one of the same few questions or comments that I usually receive and for which I have well-rehearsed replies. Every so often, though, I get a question or comment that sets me back on my heels and I mumble through some kind of response, it taking several hours of thought to really come up with a half-way decent reply. 

I received one of those types of questions the other day. What was it? I can't remember the words exactly, but it went along the lines of, "I'm curious about your decision to homeschool. So you're content to just do that all day long? You don't miss the camaraderie of the work place?"

I'll let you just sit with that for a few moments. It feels a little more demeaning every time I read it. The trouble was, the question was asked in good faith and wasn't meant to sound snide. So the snark response goes completely out the window. I've been pondering why this particular question has so rankled me.

I think it was throwing in that little word, 'just'. Frankly, I am content to stay home with my children. I enjoy them. I like the challenge of figuring out how they learn best. I enjoy learning things with them and planning what we are going to learn next. This is not all I do, though. I have my own interests which I pursue. I have friends whom I socialize with. (When my equally introverted friends and I can get up the energy to socialize in person, that is.) My life is full, and not only with my children. But the comment certainly implied that this must be a compromise in some way; that I am missing out on an important life experience. It wasn't until I mentioned that I also taught piano... to other people's children... that the questioner was satisfied that I wasn't quite as stunted as first thought. 

It all boils down to money, doesn't it? If I were actually teaching at a school, I don't think the question would have ever been asked. If I were teaching other people's children then that somehow validates what I do. This is what baffles me. Why is doing something for our own families not worth doing, but the second we do the very same thing for someone else, it becomes valuable? I fear it is the money. We have reached a point in our society that it is only the making of money that deems an activity worthwhile. We monetize everything. 

I'm not even sure where I'm going with all of this. I guess just that it's tiring to have to defend a decision that should never have to be explained as to why it's valuable. 
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Anonymous said…
I don't think it's about money, I think it's about spending time away from your family, your bubble. Some may be perfectly happy in their bubbles but some are going to like the change. People complain about being home with their kids for winter break. It's not that the kids or awful or that they don't like the kids- they feel isolated and want some change.
LJS said…
I was asked that same question when I chose to leave my job teaching and stay home with my 9 month old daughter (That was 16 years ago...). I had no comeback. I was blank and it fed into my struggle with identity. My identity was so tied to a job that for a year I felt lost. Now that question would not bother me but I still would not have a great reply.
sandwichinwi said…
I think the the thing that bugs me about it (and it does bug me a lot-more each time I read it) is how it implies that there is no value or worth in educating your own children. Like we're not really doing anything. Like my children are not interesting human beings worth spending time with. They certainly are infinitely more the kind of people I like to hang out with than my coworkers!
Donna said…
Snickering a bit. I don't know what the person who asked the question does for work, but "camaraderie" in the workplace can be rather overrated. Other words that come to mind are "competition," "backstabbing," "cliques," and "pressure."
Not that I haven't made some wonderful friendships among work colleagues, I have, and I value them still, but overall it is probably not my first choice for friendships and warm fuzzies!
Lucy said…
Not knowing the questioner, I can't say if it was or was not about money. But taken at face value it could just as easily have been from an extrovert (probably, since they got up the nerve to ask a question in the first place). A friend who was staying home with a couple young kids told me once she was just about crazy for adult conversation by the time her husband walked through the door in the evening. I was home with only dogs and cats for company at that same time, and I never had that problem. Didn't miss "adult conversation" at all, whatever that is. But then, I did have a rather smart dog.

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