Musings

 Paths through the woods…

Good evening beautiful friends!

 

So a while back I posted about Mother’s Day and how it was less-than-Hallmark-y at my house but that was a more real and honest version of what motherhood looks like and therefore was worth celebrating.  I loved hearing all the responses from fellow mommy-warriors fighting for their own sanity amidst the crazy/beautiful everydayness of real life.  Love you all and hang in there- baby spit makes a lovely perfume. 😉

 

Lately I’ve been processing some things in my own heart and community with my husband and he encouraged me to write a post about it.  Secretly I think he’s sick of hearing me talk about it and wants me to use this blog as a listening ear disguised as a creative outlet.  I’m on to you honey. 😉

 

Here’s the thing…what I’m doing with my family may not look one bit like what you’re doing with your family.  And it’s hard to get to the point where that’s something we’re all ok with.  As sisters/brothers-in-arms, however, we just have to have to get there eventually. ASAP if possible. 

My family does some things I know other people think are crazy, and honestly, vice versa.  We have five kids, not two-point-five, and yes we know things like birth control and vasectomies exist, thanks for the tip.  We homeschool even though we live in a small, safe, faith-based, lovely community with great public and private schools (which I’m reminded of often). I’m newly obsessed with essential oils and natural remedies, but I also (selectively) vaccinate, but I usually avoid the doctor, but I sometimes take Aleve, and I sometimes go to the chiropractor.  We drink wine- sometimes in front of our kids and sometimes out on our deck in town until the wee hours of the morning.  By some standards we spend too much time and money traveling and that disrupts our kids’ “stable” upbringing. News flash- we will continue to do so as much as humanly possible, even if that means we have to miss out on a rec-league sports season or two or a prompt 9pm bedtime. The Huggs are just beginning to get around. 😉 My husband doesn’t have *A* job he has like 4.5 jobs but still has time to sit on our front porch and teach our daughter to play ukulele on a Tuesday morning. I do yoga, but not at the fab/trendy local studio because I just can’t drag my butt out of bed that early and honestly, I don’t think I’d fit in there. I probably/maybe would. But still. We make our kids do a lot of chores, but they also get a “lot” of screen time and ride longboards all over town.  We love us some fresh juice and eat tons of bacon and homemade sourdough bread slathered with butter. We cosleep and publicly breastfeed and blast worship music in the living room and go to loud concerts and sometimes let the a-word slip.  Seriously, when I write it all out like that, no wonder people think we’re weird. 😜

Here’s the other thing- I know and love and respect people doing things tooooootally differently than me.  I have really smart, caring friends who work full time and send their kids to daycare.  I have friends who can’t imagine homeschooling and fly the colors of their locals schools with pride.  I have friends who are divorced but filled with love and graciousness and beauty and strength I don’t often see.  I have unschooling friends who let the world be their kids’ teacher.  I have friends who are vegan, friends who use formula, friends who Crossfit and friends who are a little chubby. 🙋🏼I have crazy-dedicated soccer mom friends and “my kids don’t do any organized activities and I’m proud” friends. I have crunchy hippie friends and straight-laced old-school friends and friends who love sushi and IPA’s and friends that hate baked beans or fresh, Gulf Coast fried shrimp or, gasp, coffee!!!  You know who you are.  And I love you all anyway. ❤️ 

Hear this from me, and know I mean it with all my heart.  I don’t judge you for doing things differently with your family than I do with mine.  Actually I think it’s kind of awesome.  I love hearing how people are really learning how their family ticks and making the bold choices that suit their unique circumstances and personalities and seasons of life and callings. 
In some ways we’re all swimming upstream- going against the current of what is expected or what is easy in our own circles.  Doing life differently than our parents or siblings or the neighbors or the Joneses.  There are times that feels lonely and hard and the flow of that stream looks really sparkley and nice.  It’s hard to stay your course when it feels like there’s no one cheering you on, just a lot of judgy/nosey/gossipy onlookers looking on. Too much? 

There’s more than one way to skin the mangey cat called raising a family in ‘Merica in 2017.  

I have a solution…or at least the start of one that makes tons of sense in my optimistic mind.  Let’s cheer each other on- for real- despite the fact that we’re running our races a little (or a lot!) differently.  Let’s show genuine interest in someone’s choices and lifestyle without feeling the need to jump in and defend our own. Let’s assume the best in people’s decisions when it comes to the way they’re raising their kids and living their day-to-day lives as a family.  They care more than we do about how their kids turn out and how “happy” their homes are so let’s assume they’ve given some serious thought/prayer/worry/energy to the process. I know I have and I bet you all have too. Just because we’ve ended up in different places after that process doesn’t make either one of us wrong. Or right. Or smarter or more spiritual or awesomer. 😉 Let’s drop the insecurity that needs to have others doing exactly what we are in order to validate our own choices.  Ouch.  Instead let’s celebrate the diverse and stunningly beautiful variety of paths before us and really believe in and support each other as we put one foot in front of the other.  Having confidence in ourselves and our choices while simultaneously cheering each other on not holding each other back.
In the end we’re all on different paths through the proverbial woods.  I really believe I’m on a path that will take me and my family through, and I think you are too, even if it’s not a journey that looks like mine.  Each route will have surprise switchbacks and gnarly roots to trip on and steep drop-offs and smooth lovely places and stunning scenic overlooks.  And by God’s grace I think we’ll all make it through to the other side.  
Cheering for you, 

Jess 

6 thoughts on “ Paths through the woods…

  1. Beautiful words (as always). Thank you for bursting through the mantra that we all have to be one way or another but rather can still be just right for who we are. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing and making me smile 🙂

    1. Oh bless your sweet heart Sarah! Thanks for the encouragement and feedback! Blessings to you and tpr beautiful family tonight. ❤️

  2. I…can’t…even🤗 This could NOT have come at a better moment on this exact date, as I came in from my salon last night feeling a bit defeated, with questions from a client about homeschooling. Other lifestyle choices as well. Thank you for being bold. I appreciate that very much. And now we need a coffee date!

    1. Awesome Jess! So glad it spoke to you where you needed it. Hearing that makes the post totally worth it to me. It’s cool how the Lord uses us to bless and encourage each other even when we don’t realize it. And YES to coffee ASAP! Text me some options and we’ll get it done! Love you friend!

  3. Love your perspective and hearing about your family’s path🙂 This seems all of a piece with the 4 year old Matthew who so captured my heart and led his family into a community of faith. I als love the artwork. Did you do that?

    1. Thank you so much Karen! I would have loved to know Matt as a child. And yes, the art is an original photograph I took and used the Waterlogue app to turn it into this lovely little watercolor.

Leave a Reply

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