Saturday, August 22, 2009

Us and Them

I don’t like to think of myself as a person with prejudices. I don’t think many of us do, and yet lately I’ve been struck by how often I put people in “boxes” and label them without even knowing them.

Boxes like:
Working mom

The list goes on. Your list may look different than mine, but we all have them. Maybe you classify people based on race or gender or socioeconomic status. And as much as we know that these labels are not helpful, and certainly not the way Jesus rolls, we do it—many times unconsciously. Becoming aware of it is often the first stop toward changing. (And now I’ll stop being all Dr. Philish. I promise.)

I’ve recently jumped categories. From stay-at-home mom to part-time working mom. I took a part-time job at a Music and Art Academy working a few evenings a week and the occasional Saturday. And I love it.

I’ve been working from home for awhile now, but I love actually GOING to work. Leaving my house and looking nice and talking to real live people. Not to mention starting a project and finishing it from beginning to end with very little interruption. It’s a beautiful thing.

And with the boys back in school, I’m aware of the other big label—especially in the Christian community: public school mom versus homeschool mom.

How many times have I sat in a circle of well-intentioned women and heard someone make an off-hand comment, “Well, it’s a sacrifice, but I just love Johnny so much, I COULDN’T send him to public school!” And as a public school mom, I’m sitting there thinking about how much I LOVE my kids and am doing what I believe is best for them. Did that homeschooling mom intend to slam me? Probably not. But in our judgment of the “other” we unintentionally hurt one another.

So, Moms. Can we try to lose the labels? Can we all work together and trust that we’re all doing what we feel is best for our kids? After all, we all have the same goal: to raise healthy, happy kids who are productive members of society.


megs @ whadusay said...


Beth S. said...

As a mom who works because I have to, I appreciate this blog so much. Thank you!

ChosenRebel said...

Let me put this as senstively as I can as a pastor of over twenty years: People can be idiots! It's why we all need grace.

I need some coffee said...

From a Mom who has a child in public school,homeschools one child and works I say AMEN girl! Were is the Love!

elizabeth embracing life said...

I think more importantly than losing labels we need to have the confidence in the choices we make as mothers so there is no offense when a comment or label is presented. Confidence that your best looks different than some one else's and that is way okay with me.

I know that I ditched the labels and just ask questions which has me talking less and keeps me out of trouble.

You are a good mama!!

Home School Dad said...

I understand what you are saying, but the issue certainly does swing bth ways. So many well intentioned church people who send their kids to public or private label home school parents or isolate them from activities. Yesterday one of our pastors came up and said we needed to pray for the school teachers in our congregation and asked all the private and public school teachers to stand. Well I am a home school teacher as was another woman in my row. We did not stand because we were not invited to.

We need to have more tolerance for other people doing things differently than ourselves. But I have to admit that public school would not be a good fit for either of my school aged children. My daughter would be misdiagnosed as ADHD (My wife works as a school pyschologist, so she has much experience with teachers pushing the adhd diagnosis so they can manage their classes better.) and my son would be labeled as well for being a slow reader) Also I would not have the privilige of teaching my own kids. Does that make you a bad mom, because I'd like to teach my kids at home? I really don't think so.

Keep up the good work and congrats on your job.

chrissy said...

So, true! Thanks for posting this. It would be nice to identify people with their hearts, wouldn't it! It would be so nice to say "you want the best for your family and I want the best for mine!" Whatever that is, we are all so different and what is good for one family at the time, is not good for another, at the time! Life keeps changing, but the heart, focused correctly, never changes! I would love to identify and be identified by heart!!

Llama Momma said...

Great comments, everyone!

And, Homeschool dad, you're so right that it swings both ways. I'm guilty of "judging" homeschool families at least as often as they've judged me.

We all need to lose our defensiveness, trusting that God doesn't do everything just one way, and come alongside eachother as we do what we feel is right for our kids.

Blessings to you, and to all my commenters!

Leslie said...

This is a timely post for me. I'm making the shift from stay-at-home mom to part-time working mom, too. I'm teaching Kindermusik! This life change for me has really altered my perception of things. I didn't realize how entrenched labels were in my life until mine changed. I agree, we're better off without them.