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Monday, May 9, 2011

A homeschooler's guide to interior decorating

I hear often women who decide to stay home with their children whether they left the work force with a successful position first or never really entered the working world doesn't seem to matter much. When asked what you do for a living, many stay at home moms will answer, "I'm just a mom!" But, the work of a mom who stays home all day is a very important job. The culture in America doesn't allow payment for this position, so she gets paid in hugs and kisses. The culture in America tends to look down their noses at any position that doesn't bring in large paychecks. Add to this the fact that you're not only a stay at home mom, but also a homeschooling stay at home mom and watch the faces shift to display any number of responses.

I realized all the more the importance of what I do as a mom when we decided to purchase new furniture several years ago. We went to a reputable furniture store int he area who provided a designer to come by the house and advise as to her recommendations of what should be in our living room. At the time, I had a just-turned 3 year old son and a very active climber barely toddling daughter. We had a child gate around our fireplace. The bricks were sharp, and I had a heavy mirror resting on the mantle. I didn't want jumping, curious children to cause that mirror to topple on top of them. Nor did I want either of them to fall and get hurt on the bricks. I don't like the emergency room at the hospital that much. So, we put up the child gate which was adjustable to wrap around the fireplace. The designer came in, was friendly enough but then went to work. Her first comment was said in a very condescending tone suggesting that she was here to help us take back the living room for mom and dad, the adults. I didn't like her insinuation, but decided to let it slide. But then the clincher came. She turned and said, "When my daughter was little, I didn't need child gates, I simply told her 'no!'" I think all the air sucked out of my lungs as I stood there trying to remain composed in the face of the obvious insult to not only my decor of child gating but also to my parenting skills. I was apparently inadequate in her eyes.

It took awhile, but I realized what was at the root of her comment. This was a woman who worked full time the entire time her daughter was small. This meant she would wake up early, drop her child off at daycare and go to work all day. She would then pick up her child in the evening and head home or run to a restaurant for dinner. Then, it was off to bed to do it all over again. There was no need for child gates because there was no time for an accidental journey to the fireplace. The child and the mother were hardly ever even at home. On the other hand, my house which had just been criticized was being used as a house, a daycare, a restaurant of sorts (place where we ate), a place to sleep, a place to play, etc. We lived in our home. Sure we went to library programs, church, dance classes, etc. But, we used our house for the purpose of raising our children. They were not sent away so I could earn a living. I do not mean as a cristicsm to her as she had her reasons why she worked and made the decisions to allow someone else to spend the day with her child. And, I had my reasons for putting up child gates for the safety of mine.

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