Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's A Quivering Girl To Do?

I have been brainwashed.
Up until a few years ago, i was certain that rock music and Harry Potter books were the pathway to hell. I was sure that anyone who really loved their kids would home school them, spank them, and have at least 11 of them. I knew FOR SURE that we hadn't been to the moon, and that Halloween was the devil's birthday. I was positive that getting married meant I would have to get pregnant right away and then stay at home for the rest of my life.

I was always uncomfortable with the idea that only MY family (and others exactly like it) was going to heaven. As a teenager, I mostly avoided thinking about everything and just went through the motions. Eventually i realized i could avoid addressing these issues forever, as long as i never got married. Marriage meant submission, and kids. And kids meant homeschooling, (of which i was terrified) and the responsibility to teach them what i had been taught. If i never got married, i could slip under the radar and avoid all the hard choices.

Well now that I'm married (and finally seeing the errors in my upbringing) I am completely cut adrift.
I want an education, but i am lost in the sheer volume of things I've never learned.
I want children, but probably only 4 or 5, and we're waiting at least 5 years to start our family. How do I overcome the guilt involved with that simple choice?
I don't want to home school my kids, but I know nothing about the alternative.
I want a career, but that will mean day-care for my potential future children, and wont that turn them into mindless spoiled zombies? I have mothers guilt before I'm even a mother.
Even little things bother me:
I want to play on the worship team at church, but doesn't God hate it when we plug guitars into an amp?
I want to ask my husband to do the laundry while I'm at work, but wont it emasculate him to do women's work?

My tomorrow hinges on the choices i make today. Do i have the patience to completely re-educate myself? Do i have the courage to make these decisions? Will I ever be truly free?

So many choices, so much freedom. So many questions, so much fear.

Have you dealt with these questions and fears for yourself? Do you have any tips or advice?


  1. Oh you poor baby! It IS like being brainwashed, and it is NOT fun! Seriously, if you want to email me feel free, because I've been through all of this, ALL of it, and I started years ago and have got a lot of it sorted out now. Not everything yet, of course, but I've got my feet on the ground now. You CAN make it, you CAN be free! The journey is painful, yes, but I have found joy and happiness I never knew existed. Seriously, don't despair!

    First, daycare does NOT turn kids into mindless zombies. My little girl has been in daycare for a year now, and she LOVES it. Absolutely adores it. She can't wait to get there each day, loves her friends, loves her activities, and then is excited to see her when I pick her up - and so am I! Yes, there is guilt, because it was ground into me growing up - that only evil selfish mothers put their kids in daycare - but none of those lies is true. At all.

    Second, only four or five kids is still a LOT, and you don't have to be ashamed of waiting - your kids will be better for it! I want about five too, and like you it doesn't sound like much, but I'm spacing them out. They'll be better off in the end for that - more individual attention!

    Third, don't be afraid to ask your husband to do housework! My husband and I share it about equally, and he's still uber-manly. There is nothing un-manly about housework. I know, I know, our pasts lie to us about that. You have to ignore it and tell it it's wrong. And it takes time.

    Fourth, public schools are not the evil thing we were taught they were. They're actually pretty good. They have great teachers, excellent curricula, amazing extra-curriculars - so many opportunities! Your kids, like mine someday, can have friends, activities, classes, social lives, and opportunities we never had. And it's great. Of course, you don't have to figure all that out yet - you don't even have kids yet!

    Here is what you have to realize: Everything your parents taught you is suspect. You can't assume that ANY of it is right. That means you have to rethink it ALL. Of course, you don't have to do this all at once! But it does mean you can't rely on the instincts and knowledge they gave you. Any bit of it might be wrong. So realize there is a lot you don't know, a lot to figure out, and go from there. And you know what? It's okay to not know things! It's okay to say "I don't know yet"!

    Most of all, just take a deep breath and enjoy being. Enjoy your husband, your freedom to go where you like, and the little things in life. Take walks and look at flowers and take naps in the sun. Because you know what? You're free now, and you have the rest of your life to figure out who you are and what you want.

  2. It's so weird how we are both working through this stuff at the same time, even though I moved out 4 1/2 years before you did. Libby is so right, you know how people say to go with your gut or your instincts? Well we can't, because ours are totally screwed up.
    Take your time with kids, believe me, you have plenty of time to have them. Sometimes I feel like I blew all my childbearing time in the first few years of marriage.
    When we first got married, I did absolutely everything around the house. Since we moved to Canada, we've really dissected what each of us doesn't mind doing and selecting household chores that way. And anything we both detest we try to do together. On bad days, I still have a TON of guilt about letting him do anything (you know, all that "making him do that mans work AND the womans work" stuff.) But it is getting better. You may want to talk about Eddie about this kind of thing, and maybe assign him some reading to learn about how you grew up so he understands the craziness better.

    Also, read "The Mommy Myth" it is awesome! I'll send you the link for it.

  3. Also, I never meant to imply that I was DONE working through this stuff. Some of it will never really go away, and life is a neverending journey. I do feel like I've made a lot of headway over the last four years, though, and I've had to!

  4. I understand some of this & regarding day care, I'm personally not a fan, only because I feel that parents should raise their own children (I have no issues w/mothers day out which is 2 days a week usually) AND day cares are typically germ headquarters!

    I work full time & currently hubby is unable to work due to medical issues so he is home full time with our son. Before he had to stop working, I stayed home & attended school at night so one of us would always be with our little boy. We are planning to either work opposite schedules to ensure our child(ren) don't have to be in day care, or figure out a combo of me working part time & utilizing family as occasional child care help. There ARE other options & I don't fault anyone for using day care, but having seen how often my friend's little boy (& other kiddos) get sick, I'd rather not worry about my guy getting sick & bringing the germs home. Another thing -- I REALLY didn't want to miss ANY of my son's big milestones (first steps, crawling, first word, etc).

    About asking men to do laundry... honey this is 2011! Men can do just about anything women can do & vice versa. Not that they should of course, but my husband cooks, cleans & does laundry... much better than I do, actually! I do help, but honestly he is such a good "housewife" & MUCH more domestic than I am that it's often easier to let him help! There's nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it (I had to get over the guilt thing when I 1st married too, but since I wasn't taught much about housework I didn't have a choice!). By the way, hubby HATES doing yard work. So much so that if/when we buy a house he has said that he WILL NOT be cutting grass OR washing my car! Thankfully I LOVE washing my own car & I guess I can either cut the grass or hire someone to do it!

    *Just my 2 cents!*

  5. I've dealt with some of them. I planned to homeschool, but my husband was opposed and over time I've come to realize that I was not cut out to be a teacher. I am made for other things. However, the curriculum they teach in public schools scares me. Not the religious part so much; I can handle that at home and I am NOT afraid of my kids being around their secular and irreligious peers. It's the sex education that freaks me out.

    I don't know how it is where you live, but in PA they are trying to start sex ed with 8-year-olds. Not 8th GRADE, which is more like when I think the school should step in. Giving the responsible parents time to do that on their own like they are supposed to. No, they want to educate 8-YEAR-OLDS about sex - and include homosexual behaviour in that education. That I can't tolerate.

    I don't want them going to Christian school, so I think I will be sticking to private school from 2nd grade on. I am very blessed to live in the area where the Quaker Friends started out, and we are surrounded by their schools, which in my opinion are the ideal form of education. Small classes, short sessions on each subject with a wide variety of subjects, and a very open-minded approach to religion. Exactly what I want for my kids. I don't need the school to fine-tune our family values for me. That's my job. Their job is to provide a well-rounded education, and I feel the Friends do that better than anyone. Far better than I can, that's for sure. They do a lot of scholarships too, which is wonderful since we are consistently broke lol.

    Daycare bothers me a lot more, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Having worked at a corporate daycare, I vowed never to leave my kids with those ignorant, selfish college students. I originally gravitated to them because I felt the risk of abuse was lower in such a highly populated setting. The neglect, however, was rampant. I would advise avoiding them. They have no qualms about lying to the parents, especially if the kids are too young to say otherwise, and by the time the kids get old enough they are used to knowing that mom believes the teacher so they rarely contradict. It's all about the bottom dollar and maintaining the corporation's reputation. If there's not a mark you're gonna see, it never happened. If there is, it was a freak accident that was probably mostly the child's fault anyway. If someone like me comes along who believes in open communication, they get rid of them. I had other teachers black out notes I wrote - things as simple as letting the parent know their child didn't eat, which the rules say we are supposed to tell them - and write whatever they thought the parents would like to hear. No concern for the poor sick toddler who is going to eat McD's on the way home and then puke because the parents think they had this nice healthy meal with lots of veggies for lunch. Ugh.

    If I ever have to do daycare again, I will just look for a private one and do lots of research first. Talk to the other parents, watch the kids playing, etc.

    I am really blessed to have a husband who cleans a lot. He's a neat freak, and it has its downsides, but I never have to wish he would clean something for me. I mostly wish he wouldn't use half the bottle of dish soap at one time and clean the floors with our expensive disinfectant wipes instead of a rag, lol. And leave bleach residue on the countertops so my clothes get ugly streaks. And throw away all the kids' homework and projects. But I'm learning to cope. I'm grateful that he isn't into the whole "woman's work" thing. I just have to work around his OCD hehe. :)

  6. Pippi - When they start "sex ed" with eight-year-olds, they're not actually teaching them about "sex." Instead, they're teaching them personal hygiene, teaching them not to talk to strangers, teaching them that their bodies are theirs and other people shouldn't do things they don't want to them (i.e. working to prevent kids from falling prey to sexual predators). No one believes in teaching explicit sex to eight-year-olds, and no school does that. I would really suggest that you look into what your state actually means by "sex education," including looking at what is taught at each age level. You might be pleasantly surprised!

    Also, on daycare: I haven't missed a single one of my daughter's milestones yet, and she has actually been MORE healthy in the last year since we started daycare than she was before. I LOVE daycare.

  7. Thanks so much everyone for your input! :)

    Libby, thanks for the details! exactly what i was looking for! also,It's very scary and a little daunting to realize that everything i "believe" is now under question. I have to re-learn everything now! :P

    Young mom, I have mommy myth on hold at my library. yayy! :) I look forward to someone telling me how to be a working mom and not hate myself. haha

    Pippi, I have the same concerns about schools, but from what i understand you can request and view any curriculum and talk to teachers. I think that with lots of diligent research its possible to find a public school that you're comfortable sending your kids to.

    I know people who swear by daycare as the best thing that ever happened to their kid. And i've heard alot of horror stories. If i did daycare it would probly be a private one. and i would want to sit in and watch for a couple days before deciding.

    My husband is AMAZING with cleaning and laundry. I just sometimes feel bad for letting him do it you know? Oh and it surprising news: He learned how to make mac and cheese from the box last week and i have it for lunch now all the time! haha :)

  8. Charity, Your 2011 comment cracked me up! After spending my childhood in the 1800's, i find the 21st century very refreshing! :) Also, I really admire your determination to care for your family the way you want!

  9. You are very very brave and I hope that You will overcome your past. It's your life, your choices.
    I wish you all the best.

  10. Enigma, my wife is very much where you are, right now. You can email her at

  11. Okay Pippi. Why would you not let your kids know about gay people? That doesn't make any sense! And there's a 1 in 5 chance that your kids, any kids, will be gay or bisexual. Talking about lgbtq people doesn't mean talking about one night stands or sex orgies (things some people do regardless of their sexual attraction, straight people are just as kinky as non-straights), if you thought that.

    In my country most kids know what sex is and how babies are made by the age of seven. That doesn't mean they will then go out and sleep with somebody! We recieve the basics of sex ed in primary school (age 7-12), like puberty, periods, what different genitalia may look like, and dating/relationships. I think that's far better than a lot of the American sex ed, with their abstinence only-programs and purpousfully false information about STDs and queer people.