Parenting - A Career Choice or the Only Choice...
© Beverley Paine
As a woman, I see parenting as a career choice. It's the career I chose before I turned 20. I think that had I been well enough I may have worked part time, and shared the parenting workload with Robin, but we tried that out when Roger (now 22) was a toddler and my health deteriorated - I don't survive sustained social settings very well!
We opted for a low income lifestyle that enabled shared parenting duties, rather than dividing them into traditional male/female roles. For the most part we were successful, but gender was definitely against us! And we're both pretty traditional, conservative folk so I ended up helping him build the house while he helped me cook the dinners...
The low income lifestyle was great when the children were young. Living in a shed was an adventure... The kids didn't eat much... Excursions into the garden were educationally satisfying... We didn't need a car that actually worked all the time... Living cheaply was an adventure and I'd recommend it - but only for what it teaches us in how to live simply to simply live. The stress and hassles and worry come time to pay the big bills - council rates, etc - that I could have done without!
Pulling together and sharing the parenting and educating workload was the best we could offer our children. This also meant getting involved in alternative school education, preschool and playgroup. Robin is a much better father for his experiences and I'm an enlightened mother (that is, I learned that dads can be exceptionally capapble mums in all but a few areas!)
When I was a teenager I thought long and hard about how to change the world, because I was deeply disturbed by all the garbage going on. I figured, at the age of 13, that education was the answer, and back then I knew that schools had failed, but didn't know why. I thought that perhaps we needed schools to teach the parents how to parent, because it seemed to me that parents weren't parenting properly. I had a lot to learn about parenting! But who would teach the parents - only a parent knows how to parent and most of them were making a mess of things...
So I figured that the only way to change the world was to educate the children, and the only way to do that was on the job training. We learn as we do, and the more we do, the more WE'RE ALLOWED TO FAIL, the better we get at what we're doing. No one likes falling on their faces over and over again. If they are picked up continuously by well meaning others they don't learn to support themselves. If they aren't allowed to trek the path unaided in the first place they haven't got a chance. I figured that the best way to change the world was to WALK BESIDE people as they seek to learn the lessons they need to...
I'm still learning how to walk beside people, without giving in to the urge to assist them before they've asked, with clarity, for help. And that's the job of parenting.
I truly believe there is only one job - career - for humans on this planet. And that is parenting. It's high time we all started parenting - our kids, your kids, each other.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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