I offended one of my aunts this week by posting one of those Facebook photos. You know, one of those things that Facebook calls a photo that is really just a pretty statement, possibly with a photo as a background.
I have about a dozen aunts, but there are three who have each let me know, on more than one occasion, that I have offended them by my thoughts, words, and choices. I don’t mean to be rude, insulting or obtuse. I know that many of my choices (especially my parenting choices) are controversial. I know that they fly in the face of how most Americans see the world. I also know that when I broadcast my ideas, people are going to disagree or think that I am saying that they and their choices are wrong. I am hurt by the thought that I might appear to be harsh and judgmental.
I am a fact and opinion collector. I like to share what I have learned. I don’t expect everyone to reach the same conclusions I do. I once heard that in order to influence a culture, one needs to conform to most of the cultural norms. According to that idea, I have no chance at influencing the culture. But, perhaps, if I share and keep sharing, I can influence a little, or encourage someone who might want to do some little thing a bit differently than others.
I plan to have an unassisted birth with my next child (no, I am not currently expecting). This is not because I hate or fear the medical community. I am grateful for modern medicine and for those who serve within it. I just happen to fall into a strange little demographic that is underserved here in southern Illinois and my choices are to submit to a surgery that I don’t want, hire a unlicensed, illegal direct entry midwife, or simply have my mom and husband by my side while I labor and birth at home. Each of my options have significant risks. I can simply choose the one that I feel most comfortable with.
I have chosen to Unschool my children. This is not because I hate formalized education or dislike teachers and administrators. I know many wonderful, dedicated people who are called to serve in the education system. I just feel that with the people in my family, our individual strengths and weaknesses, my children will be best served learning in an unstructured, and less people-filled environment.
I breastfeed my toddler in public. She has no notion of discretion. When she feels the need to nurse, she jumps into my arms, turns herself into a comfortable position, and pulls up my shirt, all while giggling maniacally. I can’t hide that with a Hootie Hider.
I like cloth diapers and the jury is still out on my opinion of the list of required/recommended vaccines. I read too much and do too little. I am low energy, need lots of sleep and am ridiculously frugal. Politically, I lean towards the Liberatarians, though I tend to vote Republican. Oh, and I am a Catho-Lutho-Bapti-tarian who believes that God is who He says He is in the Bible.
So, yeah, I am, in the fringe in most areas in which people hold strong opinions. I am okay with that. My aunts are much more normal than me. They are intelligent, strong women. I have no intention of degrading or insulting them by being different, or by posting thoughts and ideas that they find disagreeable.