One of the options…

One of the options mentioned for coping with bright kids who aren't doing well in the school system is homeschooling. While I certainly think homeschooling can be a valid choice for a number of reasons, given the needs of the child and priorities of the parents, I find myself disturbed by how often it's the mother left to do the work of homeschooling.

To me, this goes along with some of the dangers in the rise of attachment parenting. They're philosophies that privilege intense time / labor on the part of the parents for the benefit of the children -- which is fine if that's what you want to give your children and accept the sacrifice to yourselves. But almost always, it's the mother who is expected to shoulder the burden of that lost time and additional labor, sacrificing career, relaxation, hobbies, and more.

I was a semi-attachment parent by default, I suppose -- I wore my babies in a sling pretty often, tried to breastfeed (with limited success), didn't let them cry it out at night. (Although I regretted that last decision often.) But since Kev is a professor too, his schedule was really flexible, and he did and does do close to 50% of the child-rearing in terms of time and labor.

Many families who choose attachment parenting don't have that flexible job option, and I worry about the long-term consequences for this generation of women who are being told to give so much to their children. Yes, it's rewarding to pour time and attention into your kids. But I'd ask you to be careful you don't give up too much of yourself.

How much is too much? Only you can answer that. But please don't let your husband or your social group pressure you into that decision!

2 thoughts on “One of the options…”

  1. I’m so glad that you bring this up. I did the full-on attachment parenting thing when my child was 0-3, and it was exhausting. And yes, I did the majority of it. My husband also did a lot more than he would have without it, but I was the one who felt the incredible pressure to give my identity over.

    One thing that I’ve found since then is a community around the Waldorf school my child attends. Having a supportive community that cares about my kid /and/ about me as a whole person is incredibly helpful. I also appreciate the pedagogical perspective about the value in allowing the children to work stuff out alone.

  2. Know what happens with homeschooling? They come into my classroom with huge weird gaps in their education. Know what happens with attachment parenting? Parents think that they have the right and the duty to complain/protect their children when their adult offspring is in college. I had a student last week who came up before class started and informed me that she had to leave 15 minutes early because her mother had made a doc appt for her. My response was, “so what. You are an adult. Change it.” I did let her go early, but the look on her face was one of shock, like her mother was going to continue doing everything for her for the rest of her life. *shakes head*

    Parent complaints are on the crazy ridiculous rise in community colleges and presumably universities as well. I think you have a very valid point about women landing up doing most of the child rearing and people should be concerned about it. OTOH, as long as our culture continues to make adult offspring into children far past the age of 18, the problems are going to worsen, especially in higher ed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *