Do you ever feel like you just can't find a place you belong or you are in a transition? I'm in a season where I just feel like I don't quite fit in anywhere and it's hard to find people who share my interests. I don't say this to elicit any sympathy but I'm just processing my feelings honestly. Since I became a mother, I'm discovering all these interests I never had before. If someone had told my 16 year old self that I would be requesting manure from a local farm for my garden or preparing wild venison for my family or canceling my cable so I could afford local food I would have been horrified. At that point in my life, I was most concerned with how fresh my highlights were and when I needed to go tanning again, oh, and that I would get an "A" on my next test to get into UVA of course. Almost ten years later, I still love me some highlights, but have given up those things that seem so trivial and dumb now, like tanning beds.
So, I got married, had Parks and in a heartbeat my focus was no longer myself, but him. What to feed him, what to bathe him with, what to teach him, what to let him watch, if anything? All these questions. I wanted to do the very best I possibly could to steward this blessing wisely. That desire has led me on a journey towards an intentional, simple lifestyle that I never would have thought I would be pursuing. I've come to the conclusion that everything matters. It matters what we feed our children. It matters what they spend their time doing. It matters how we view our job as parents. It matters what we tell them about God and more importantly, how we show them God. It all matters. Now, please don't misunderstand me here. I'm not about exalting all these things above our faith and trust in God. There must be balance and godly perspective in every part of our life. What I have discovered though, is that if I'm not careful, I slip into "default" parenting and I'm not really aware of my choices for my children and I'm not really aware of the long-term lessons and patterns that I'm setting. If Jackson and I didn't have a vision for the boy we want Parks to be and left it up to Parks, he would not speak to adults willingly, he would not learn to look people in the eyes, he would not know how to give a firm handshake, he would not know how to address adults as Mr. and Mrs. But, we do have a vision and we are training accordingly as best we can. I'm convinced the little, everyday things matter in the long run.
So, back to not fitting in. When you become a parent, you quickly realize that there are all these little "subgroups" of parents, even within the Christian community. It starts before birth when people are advocating their "infant care" approaches. There's babywise vs. attachment parenting. Then there's formula feeders vs. breastfeeders. "Normal" breastfeeders vs. extended breastfeeders. baby wearers vs. people who put their baby down (the horror!). No tv vs. tv on all day. Organic, whole food vs. cheetos & capri suns. Self-weaned vs. rice cereal at 4 months. working mom vs. stay at home mom vs. work at home mom. spanking vs. "gentle parenting". emphasis on traditional manners vs. emphasis on casual relationships. homeschool vs. public school. preschool vs. no preschool.
So many choices! I honestly feel like I'm part old-school, spare-the-rod, mind your manners and part crunchy, organic, waldorf, let's live in the country and milk goats. I'm finding it's a rare combination!! It's been difficult for me to find other women who are interested in things I am like traditional food preparation and herbal remedies who won't report me to Child Protective Services when I spank my child for disobeying. Or maybe I find someone who disciplines like I do but they look at me like I'm crazy when I talk about sprouting grains and driving an hour away to get meat.
I have several dear, real-life friends who I love and share interests with me, so friend, if you are reading this, I love you and am glad we are friends! I'm just saying I've noticed it's been difficult to find community with people who share my interests, because it seems that I am somewhat of an odd duckling. If you see this ad in the paper, you'll know it's me:
25yo female seeks friend. Must enjoy: traditional foods, herbal remedies, breadmaking, homesteading, intentional parenting AND the real housewives of new jersey, highlights, diet coke and a good pitbull song every now and then. Please call: 757-619-**** thank you very much!
(I told you, I'm a freakshow and I know it).