I fell from unschooling grace...but I'm back, ready to make a full confession. See, I was at the library a few weeks ago and a woman who I don't know, had never met and will probably never see again, made some comment about my 3.5yo wearing pjs. It was something about homeschoolers and being too lazy to get dressed or something. I can't even remember the exact words, but I know how judged I felt in that moment. Instead of sitting with it all and realizing that the problem was hers and not mine, I began to insist that my child get dressed before we go places. This little boy rarely gets dressed because he just likes pjs! (Who doesn't???) He gets up in the morning and puts on clean pjs, but he really hardly ever wears "real" clothes. Often, he'll compliment his pjs with a tuxedo vest and tie or perhaps a pink dress and crown...you get the idea. Anyway, I made this decree that he must get dressed before we go places. And know what?? It has done nothing but strain our relationship. I began insisting that he could do it on his own and he would cry because he didn't want to. He stopped wanting to go out and do stuff (like the library) and oh, how we fought. Daily. We have been fighting over this daily. (Of course once the fight started, I would get into the authoritarian parenting thinking that made me feel like my child had to get dressed simply because I said so...but that is a post for a different day!)
Yesterday it came to a head--I was SO angry with him for making us late yet again because he wouldn't get dressed! Something as simple as getting dressed that he should be able to do!! Then, something snapped and I finally came to my senses and realized that I was letting that judgmental woman ruin my relationship with my son! My precious, wonderful, growing-up-too-fast, SON was being forced to do something he didn't want because of someone I've never met!
When I think about it, I was truly concerned about the image our family presents out in the world. I want homeschooling to get a good reputation in our small town and I was honestly concerned that my son's pj habit was going to reflect negatively against families that choose this lifestyle. (Just typing that out right now makes me see even more how ridiculous it was for me to think that!) I also felt very judged as a mother--of course my child "should" be dressed! How wrong of me to think that this was okay! Clearly I had lost "control" of my children! (Again, typing it out helps solidify how silly it was of me to feel these things!) Bottom line?? This morning I apologized to Evan and told him how much I loved him and how his clothing didn't matter to me at all and that pjs were perfectly good attire to wear to the library, the grocery store, or anywhere else he thought they were reasonable to wear! We had a wonderful, relaxing, connected day. When it was time to go to the library, know what he did? He got dressed...because he wanted to.