Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Not That Patient, Not That Strong--Not That True

- a post by Jeanna Mason Stay
Note: While this post is sort of about homeschooling and homebirth, mostly it’s about doing things that are important to you but hard. I’m not advocating my life decisions.

When I tell people I had my first child in a birth center, the other three at home, all unmedicated, people look at me like I’m insane or tell me it’s “too messy” (a myth, by the way). But I also get this a lot: “I’d love to do that, but my pain tolerance is too low. I’m just not that strong.

I am also currently homeschooling my children (if you have guessed by now that I am an introvert, you would be correct).* The most common response to that is “I couldn’t teach my kids. I’m just not that patient.”

In labor with #3. Trust me, I'm not feeling all that strong.
Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you a secret.** I’m not either. I am neither strong nor brave enough to birth without meds nor patient enough to homeschool. I’m just a regular person who decided to do certain things.

Here’s another secret, one of the main reasons I chose a birth center for my first child: I knew, with near certainty, that if I had easy access to an epidural, I would get it. And I had decided that I didn’t want to, so I placed an epidural out of my reach. (Why I chose homebirth afterward is another, unrelated story.) I knew I wasn’t brave enough without a little extra help, but to me this was important enough to find a way.*** Homeschooling happened in a similar way, except that with homeschooling we continue to have the ability to choose a different path in the future if ever we decide this plan really isn’t working for us.

Here’s what I think about sometimes: What kind of a world would we inhabit if we only did the things we were already good enough to do? What if at the beginning of the day, my eight-year-old said, “I’m not good enough at math to do that problem, so I won’t try it”? Or if my six-year-old said, “I can’t read because I’m not that smart”? Or if my favorite authors, who continually write difficult but amazing books, said, “I won’t write that book because I’m not a good enough writer”?

We become those things by doing them, not because we already magically are. We put ourselves in the position to try the hard things and become the big things. That’s how we grow. We constantly reach for something that is just a little bit beyond us (or—in the case of patience on a late Friday afternoon when my husband isn’t yet home from work—something that is very far beyond us), and we get closer to the qualities we seek.

That doesn’t mean we need to be striving for everything. It’s perfectly legitimate for you to say, “I don’t want to homeschool or do homebirth. That’s not right for me right now (or ever).” It’s fine to say, “I don’t want to learn piano/guitar/how to write a mystery novel or run a marathon/Ragnar/5k.” Or whatever. The point is, if there is something you want, something that you truly think is important, don’t let your lack of ability stop you. Do it, and by doing it, you will find that you can.

* Although, for the record, homeschooling isn’t exactly an introvert endeavor. And my introversion was not the deciding factor in these decisions, just the happy icing on the cave troll cake.

** Actually, it’s not much of a secret. My kids, my husband, my midwife—even my birth photographer friend—can all attest to my lack of patience and strength. Especially in hour 10 of labor or minute 10 of reading practice.
*** And no, I’m not judging you for feeling differently.



Related Posts with Thumbnails