This is definitely not an invitation for abuse but I do like it when readers challenge my thoughts or downright say they don’t think much of something I write. It gives me a little jolt and makes me look at myself.
In response to my most recent blog in the "Educating My Boy" series someone (didn’t leave a name!) said that it wasn’t a very good blog. He/She is totally right. Before I posted the blog I realized that I hadn’t made my points clearly enough, which basically means I hadn’t thought them through. But I decided to post it anyway as a way of recording the various aspects of “educating my boy.” One of those “aspects” is me – and my limits. I simply have very little time to do anything right nowadays. And this is what I want to write about here.
You see, being a mother is already a full-time job, even if you have the easiest-tempered child in the world. Add to that work (inside and outside the house). And other family obligations and care-taking. And keeping up some semblance of social life so you don’t feel isolated from the world. This is already a heavy load – and then place one huge load on top of it: home schooling. It would break any camel’s back.
But the fact is that human beings are not camels. We can carry much heavier loads, because we have to. I know I’m not going to break under my load because I see that my friend who has an autistic daughter has not broken. Another friend taking care of a 12-year old daughter, a mother in early stages of Alzheimer’s, and a sister recovering from a severe stroke, has not broken. We come up with whatever strength is required of us, because we have to. It’s as simple as that.
So I know I’m not going to break. But there is no question that the quality of my work suffers. (I won’t even talk about the quality of my life!) So, yes, some of my blogs are going to be sloppy, reflecting my fuzzy-headedness. But I’m very curious to see how things pan out in the long run. I picture my blogs as a series of snapshots – snapshots at various times of various aspects of raising a kid. These include snapshots of the nuts-and-bolts of raising and educating a kid, as well as snapshots of my own emotional and even intellectual states.
I always feel I should apologize when I interject myself into the picture when I talk about raising or educating my son. The pressure is so strong – and so internalized – to “photoshop” the mother out of the child-rearing picture. Or rather, we are allowed to be in the picture as “mother” but not as someone in our own right. I, as a person, should basically just vanish!
But another fact is that human beings don’t really vanish. I make a point of writing about myself in these blogs, purposefully resisting that awful voice that keeps telling me “it’s about your child, it’s not about you, if you can’t go away then at least airbrush yourself.” I do put up that resistance. And resistance takes many forms. Let’s call purposefully writing about yourself positive resistance. There is also negative resistance.
Negative resistance shows itself in omissions. Either you are omitted from the picture or some quality of yourself is. In a fuzzy-headed blog, for instance, what is omitted is the clear-thinking part of yourself. And when there is enough indication that you are not just fuzzy-brained then what is missing is the time to hone your work to reflect your ability to think well and clearly. TIME is what is seriously omitted from my life right now. And that omission is going to show itself in various ways in what I do. The absence of something can very much have a presence!
In effect I am very much present in my shortcomings. My bad writing, fuzzy thinking, short temper, even unhappiness and frustration, all do reflect the absence of my other, opposite, sides. So I feel that my good sides are present in their absence. My better and more competent side puts up negative resistance by making itself absent from what I do.
So… bad blogs? Yup, that’s me. Bad mother? Yup. Bad teacher? Ditto. Just bad bad bad…
And this gets me thinking about “bad boys.” Negative resistance. That’s probably what they’re up to too!