Laura from Wistful Wanderlust commented on the pictures of Emily baking whist on the counter and commended my commitment to freedom.
I have been questioning my commitment to allowing Emily freedom.
I have always allowed her to sit on the counters and climb an the table(it has been a ship, a carriage,a comfy place for her whilst playing board games)she never went to anybody else's house or a restaurant and sat on tables she knew without words not to do that.Emily has always wanted to do things differently,I always let her dip her hands in the paint pots at play group and home and smear it on the paper rather than do the picture with brushes if that was what she wanted.She liked to press the playdough into her face and feel it on her feet.If she wanted to move from the table after she had eaten and before others had finished she could go and play,(she would find it virtually impossible to sit still and wait for others),she has always had the choice of what to wear and if that involved wellies in the sun or carrying her umbrella when it wasn't raining then so be it.She still has a dummy at nearly nine.The dummy gives her comfort, she has never taken to sucking her thumb, I couldn't think of taking away something that gives her so much joy.
Now why am I questioning my commitment?
I have not always done these things with confidence,sitting on the table etc is fine as the people who come in to my home are people I know(although a lot of family members were not impressed)and I did not get too anxious about it.
At playgroups etc when she didn't want to do the lovely neat pictures that the other kids did,I let her dip and smear, this is what she wanted to do and for her it was a much more pleasurable experience than using a brush but I did get embarrassed and wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.
Eating at others houses(especially if other children were at the table and expected to sit till the end) was always difficult for me, I always wished she could just do as the other kids did.
The clothes I never really had a problem with cos little kids look cute don't they and people kind of accept it.But now she is nearly nine and wanting to wear odd things and not brush her hair, will my commitment to freedom last? Well the clothing I can accept but not brushing her hair is something that I can't pass on,If I could afford it I would pay to have it braided but can't imagine just letting her not brush it and turn into dreads which is what she would do because she hates having it brushed so much.This is not because I have a problem with dreads but it would be more about other peoples views and judgements about my parenting.
Oh the dummy??? This has given me the biggest dilemma ever.She has it and I can feel how much it means to her, but I limit the places she can be seen using it because of the judgements of others and how I feel it reflects on me as a mum.
So am I actually committed to Emily's freedoms? I am allowing her some freedoms in her life because they are things that make her who she is regardless of how they make me feel but there are areas I can't go because of my own hangups.
Main Entry: com·mit·ment
1 a : an act of committing to a charge or trust: as (1) : a consignment to a penal or mental institution (2) : an act of referring a matter to a legislative committee b : MITTIMUS
2 a : an agreement or pledge to do something in the future ; especially : an engagement to assume a financial obligation at a future date b : something pledged c : the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled
I feel obliged and emotionaly impelled to the cause,I want Emily to grow up with a strong sense of self.I want her to live her life as free as possible of other peoples constraints.So I can talk the talk but will I be able to walk the walk?
I feel I have some work to do before the dreads are an option!!!!I have not had a discussion with Al yet about this as he is at work but it would be my guess that he would find it easier to allow the dreads and not care how others veiwed him as a parent.
But not so long ago we had a lot of work to do before we took her out of school, I was the one who was sure of that as the way forward Al had a lot more concerns than I did.
Who knows where my limitations are and how this will affect Emily's freedom.My understanding if I have it correct is that in the purest sense unschooling/autonomy is about freedom to be who you are to have the right to act independantly without being told what to do . I can't have a halfway house where I allow some things and then control others.It is such a big step and I just can't get there yet!!!!