Wednesday, 2 December 2009

I should lighten up and play Twister, naked

Sometimes I tire.

I get so low down that there seems no way out. You can say it's my fault, and I should learn to point the gun away from my own feet.

I chose a lifestyle that took on a stupid amount of responsibility. Home educating kids who pot-boil themselves with their own competitive triplet issues is only the start. Having an absent husband doesn't help. The falling-down house with mice, broken boilers, exploding taps, it's like mould on a rancid cup cake. It's like someone says, that's your treat, so enjoy it.

But I can't do otherwise. I live through the choices I make. Like, these kids are my responsibility. I can't hand them over to someone else. Believe me, I've tried. Once we nearly got a babysitter.

Ultimately, I take responsibility for Shark, Tiger, and Squirrel. In all areas. Educationally, what the state offers around me is just not good enough. We can do better. But having made this choice, I have become ferocious in defending it. Now, it's a case of Don't cross me. Tell me I'm not just like you, with your mother loyalty and terrifying dedication. And I bet you have snarling teeth and hackles when it comes to protecting your offspring.

But I tire of having to do that defending job. That's the job where I try to hold back the stuff that I think will damage the lifestyle we've chosen, and the way we've decided to raise our kids; the choices we've made; the investment we've placed in it all; the aspirations we still have - even if I know we are quite capable of destroying those aspirations ourselves with our own stupidities, and because I cannot aim that gun anywhere else than at my own feet.

So I do that defending job by handing in the petition of evil to the MP of pointlessness; by grappling with the ton of statements, actions, reactions from Ofsted, local authorities, other home educating voices; by reading background notes from the DCSF, from Badman and Balls. And I am grateful to others who've presented ideas for me, who provide clear explanations, who are calm, when I want to rip up my clothes and tear out my hair.

Because sometimes, because of the work of others, I can stop thinking for a while about defending my choice. And I can take the kids to the science workshop, and I can enjoy watching this lovely mixed age, mixed-kid group, all work together to make ideas, build connections, and simply have fun.

Then I can come home to make lunch, and fuss about Tiger who these days will eat only beige. And we can sit down on the sofa together and have a cuddle, and I don't have to man the barricades or nail flags to the roof, I can just smell my daughter's hair, and know that this is the best I can do, and the way I've chosen to live is the best I can make.