I was walking booth to booth with a large, brown paper bag dangling between my fingers. I had a few flyers in it already, and some notes scribbled onto the bag from a booth that hadn’t prepared as well as they would have liked. I went to almost all of the tables that night, working my way backward through the tables. A lot of the tables I didn’t need, as I double majored in college in early childhood and elementary education. I went in to teaching my children with two valuable resources. Degrees in teaching, and a love for all subjects. I could technically teach art and music and pe, and I was not fearful of any subject like many moms are.
But I wanted, desperately, to connect. So I made my way through the bits and pieces of crowding to see what classes and opportunities and gatherings were available in the area. I was lucky that night, as I not only found an awesome co-op to join, but also found a cub scout troop, both of which have been essential this last year to helping us learn about the new town and gain some new friends for our children.
That night also reminded me of how much I feel like a dohecahedran in a world that’s either firmly spheres or cubes.
I was at a table with an awesome lady who was telling me about her art classes. She went on to explain that she had a map of a museum, and could offer directions around the museum to avoid nudity. I smiled and explained that that wasn’t necessary. I was an artist, and my children were already used to seeing nude art in our home.
Let me insert that I don’t have a problem with another mom deciding that her kids shouldn’t see nudity in art. But let’s be honest, we can respect each other’s differences, but at home we are teaching two different things. And I happen to be the mom teaching “bad” things.
Yes, I am the Rahab of the Christian community.
The church is full of Marys and Marthas and Elizabeths and Esters. They survive and thrive in the church, and they get along with the rules, unspoken or not.
And then there are the bad girls of church. The bad girls of the homeschooling movement. We do, in fact, believe in God. But we don’t accept the orders of the Men In Ties as if they came from the G man himself. Because we know the Men In Ties are completely and utterly human.
But because I do homeschool, I automatically come off as a square at first. Everybody sees me and automatically assumes that I’m just another Mother Duggard. I am far from the Girl From the Next State Over. In fact, I try to balance her out with my own family. While her children run around like selkies who have stuck zippers on their suits, my children run around my backyard. Butt Naked. And during the years we had pool in the backyard, my children often skinny dipped in the hot, summer months. (Don’t worry, K and I did not skinny dip. We can’t. We are chunky dunkers.) It was our way of being a Chill Pill in the Anti Nudity movement that was so common those days. You know, the whole bathrobes over a full set of clothes style that was coming back.
I actually think bathrobes over a full set of nightclothes is a sign of the antichrist. But we all have our own conspiracy theories, don’t we?
I remember when I finally had the Sex Talk with my children. I actually have two levels of Sex Talk prepared for my children. The first Sex Talk is the one I have with them as children. The one where I explain the basics. The Cliff Notes version, so to speak. I’ll actually have this talk with them twice. Once when they are young and want to know where babies come from, and again with more detail when they are about to dive into puberty. (Okay, so 3 levels)
Now, in my area of the country, the right way to talk to your kids about sex is to go to a Christian book store and get one of the approved sex talk books that mixes God and biology. So I borrowed one. And I couldn’t get through it without gagging and eye rolling. Rather than suffer a slow and painful intellectual coma, I decided to do my own thing. So I got out a medical book, showed my kids the anatomy in their bodies, talked about sex, and then the next day I got lucky and two polar bears did it on TV while we were watching a documentary.
So, it wasn’t perfect, and there’s a chance I might get into trouble later with my kids since they saw rear entry first rather than the accepted missionary style, but all in all I was content with the experience. (Actually, I feel like I’m preparing them better. Like, seriously, our kids should know about positions before they leave home. Life is short. We shouldn’t be rearing children who are sexually frozen for years because they grew up thinking sex was “bad”)
Why do I let my children see nudity in art? Because I honestly feel that it’s a healthier approach. The human body is not anything to be ashamed of, and hiding it has never helped anyone. I want my kids to be comfortable with their bodies, and good grief, my girls will know that there are three holes down there and not just two. The boys and the girls will all be comfortable with saying penis and vagina, and will not feel like they should feel shame when putting a tampon in.
Having babies, for me, erased every last bit of uncomfortableness I had about my own body. But being wheeled naked through the hospital hallway with a head shoving out of you as you provide birth control for the young men in the hallway will do that to you. (I think I’m going to tell my birth stories someday. I like birth stories. I know people get all grossed out by them, but I love them.)
Can we have a side bar here? I feel like I need to have one to explain something. Again, what you do in your home is your business. And if you don’t want your kids to see two polar bears doing it on TV, then that’s your choice, and I will still love you. What I’m asking today and recently, is that we all get over ourselves a bit and have a sense of humor.
Now, in case you want to know, there is another sex talk I will have with my kids later. It’s the, “Now, son, there are some additional things to know before you leave home. Like how to smack a woman’s ass. You actually have to do it just right. If you are too hard, then you are hurting her, and you aren’t going to get any action other than a smack back from her. But if you are too soft, she’s going to think you just bumped into her and you will be forever landed in the Just Friends sector of her mind.”
I feel like proper homeschooling, and proper schooling for that matter, is really lacking in departments like this. Like, it’s all great that you can speak Latin or that you are the president of fifteen clubs at school, but if you can’t balance a checkbook or smack a woman’s ass properly, then you are not really ready for adulthood.
So, yes, I am a bad homeschool mom. And if you know me in real life, you might never be able to look me in the eye again. But I will gladly suffer as an outcast so that my children have a chance at a happy, healthy adulthood.
You’re welcome, future sons and daughters in law. You’re welcome.
Live Bravely, Love Strongly, -AEM
I announced on Facebook that I’m taking a bit of a creative sabbatical right now. So I’m going to be around less on social media in a lot of ways, but I’m also going to be churning out a lot of art in lots of different formats and reading a bunch. You might see more sarcastic posts from me during this time, but I might also be quiet. I don’t know. I’ll see where this adventure takes me. It’s about connecting with who I am, and growing as an artist. I never know where these breaks will take me, but I need the renewal. I tend to lean into Instagram a lot during these times, as I have an awesome creative community there. I will, however, try to check into my other outlets, and I’ll try to stay on top of adding and connecting with people. Anyway, thanks for your time and have a great weekend!