To put it simply, I am grey trying to figure out where I fit in a black and white world.
I have posted in the past on my feelings about *Mommy Wars*. To summarize, I am a person who believes passionately that the choices we have made for our family are the right choices for our family. Things like homeschool, breastfeeding, our church choice, our family size, etc. That being said, I am also a person who feels no reason to be critical of those who make different choices. What I have often found, however, is that many times in order to feel more confident in their own choices moms feel the need to criticize the *other* choice and find something wrong with it in order to prove that their choice is the *right one*.
Don't get me wrong here, I believe I am right when it comes to the choices we have made. I do not believe, however, that I am a better mom than someone who makes other choices. I do not believe our family is better than those who choose public school or formula or to limit family size or attend a different church. I think I'm right, but I feel no desire to prove others are wrong. I recognize I can't walk in their shoes and know why they make the choices they make. In Minnesota, I would say my friends represent this diversity in choices well. In fact, we never really even had to talk about it. Differences were just that. Neither here nor there, really. Call me grey that way.
Back to Utah.
In Utah EVERYTHING I have come across so far is in black and white. LDS, not LDS. Homeschool, public school. Even East side, West side (and they really talk about it like that)! Everyone seems to be out to prove they are right and don't want to be seen associating with the *other* side.
In my first week in town a mom that I met told me that I should just let everyone assume I am LDS (because of the 4 kids thing) and then *they* will leave me alone. While I'm sort of ok with being left alone because I'm not here to change them and I certainly don't want them to try to change me, the problem in this becomes the fact that non LDS also assume I'm LDS. And then don't really want to talk to me for the same reason I'm kind of ok with letting the LDS assume that I am. Did you follow that?
I tried a homeschool co-cop. Yeah, the homeschoolers I've met in Utah won't have anything to do with anyone who has anything to do with public schools. The fact that my husband is a teacher? Don't even get them started! I am actually going to have to leave one email list because I can't handle the constant barrage of criticism of all things school related. I'm not sure there has been a single thread (and I get about 20-30 emails/day from this list) that was actually about teaching your child at home and not how to avoid all things school related. Apparently I'm not allowed to support public schooling in anyway and be accepted into the homeschool community.
Now this East/West business. It's serious. A friend warned me to avoid anything West but we couldn't find anything East that had enough space for 6 of us. We did find a nice church that seems to have programming, worship, & activities that will meet our needs, but it is very East. It is right near campus (about a 20-30 minute drive for us) and most of the moms/families live right near church. In fact, many of them walk. Neighborhoods are VERY important here. I actually can't say anything bad to say about any of the people I have met from that area, but I think they are unlikely to ever come to me or even meet in the middle. Because then they would have to go "West", and they don't do that.
So what is a mom to do?
Well to be honest, we've only lived here 6 weeks and we've already put our name on the waiting list for married student housing. If we can get in, we won't be able to keep our cat, but we're hoping to find someone to adopt him for a couple of years. In these 6 weeks, the kids have been getting bullied on the playground in our apartment complex and last week there was a condom on the ground between our apartment and the playground. Opened. Hopefully not used. Thank goodness the kids didn't see it and ask about it.
Truth be told I absolutely love our apartment. It is very open and well laid out for our needs. If I could pick it up and move it that would be great. It has its downfalls though (no balcony or patio, on the second floor, downstairs neighbors who complain about the thumping) so a new place may help rectify some of those things.
So, how's it going?
We're working on it. That's about all I have to say about that for now.
I think there are more greys out there, but you have to live and be in the right place to find them.
Because they don't really associate with black or white either.
More of a third option than a neutral option.
In the meantime I'm anxiously planning our three week Christmas trip to Minnesota. We might be nuts, but I think we're going to fly all six of us rather than drive in the winter. I might be needing lots of plane advice from those who have done it! Then we're going to rent a car and go visit our friends before spending Christmas with our families.
I just can't make it until June.