A few weeks ago at church I found my sister in law crying in the toilets. She was feeling alone, judged and overwhelmed. In our church community she is a working mum surrounded by past and present stay at home mums. As I was talking to her, reassuring her that she was not the crappy mum she felt she was at that time, I realised just how needlessly lonely parenting can be.
The feelings she described to me – I also feel in my own parenting but for entirely different reasons. Being a parent of multiple children with additional needs leaves me feeling tired, judged, overwhelmed and ultimately alone.
Then being a parent who chooses not to send her children to school also leaves me feeling judged, especially when friends and neighbours question my decision. They ask how I cope with the children all day by myself and whilst I want to say, “Its hard work, some days I want to cry with frustration because the house is a tip, no one listens to me and I’m taken for granted”
I actually find myself saying “It’s great! We love it!”
There are very few people I can talk to about the realities of Home Education and therefore I feel alone in my decisions.
Wouldn’t it be great if as women, as parents and as human beings we could just stop with all the judgements?
If we didn’t make clever quips questioning why someone would even have children if they are just going to leave them in childcare all day…
If we didn’t tell people they are crazy for not using the traditional school system..
If we didn’t tut when you see a 2 or 3 year old with a dummy in their mouth…
If we didn’t throw out eye rolls or mutter about bad parenting when a child is having a tantrum in the supermarket…
We could just give a quiet nod of “you’ve got this”. A silent hug of support or even just a friendly smile at another frazzled parent walking by.
Parenting is hard work at the best of times, just imagine if we cut out the judgement and hostility towards other people’s perfectly valid parenting choices and all made friends.
Having four children including one with autism and another one with suspected epilepsy is exhausting by anyone’s standards. Given this fact, it is surprising how much Leoni manages to do in addition to the (not-so) simple task of raising her children. Over the last ten years, Leoni has worked as a child minder, a cake decorator and baker, and as a carer. Leoni and her husband recently relocated to the valleys of South Wales and now home educates her school age children while sharing her family life in her daily vlog