So I grew up in a traditional household. I went to the most traditional of traditional schools. I hung out with great, nice people, and I always knew the right place to be at the right time.
And then I went and exposed my real self by marrying a temperamental hermit painter who I just met a couple of months before our wedding date. Not only that, I got pregnant and spawned. So much for the status-quo, huh.
I was expected to marry a nice.. banker.. or an accountant.. at least someone with a calling card. It was expected that I was going to send my kid to my alma mater or if it was a boy (yay, Basti!) to the school for boys where I got my college education. (I still do maintain that my university is the ONLY university in Manila I would allow my son to attend, if he does decide to attend college one day)
Here I am now, yaya-less, purely breastfeeding and planning to do so into Basti’s toddler years and planning to homeschool as well. Basti is just 4 months old, and I’ve already had to deal with people who are not so keen and have raised an eyebrow (or two) on how I plan to raise my child.
Number One: The No-Yaya Policy
People have thought me a masochist for not hiring help. To them, it’s a silly and unnecessary choice to be tired, exhausted and permanently attached to my baby, at least for the next few years. To me, that’s not the choice I am making. Instead, I look at it as a chance to hold my baby in these days that he needs to be held, for my smell to be permanently engraved in his subconscious, to see and get to know my baby as he grows every minute of everyday. I think other mommies can relate to this. I will be selfish with my baby because he will grow up too fast and too soon, and I want him to know that his mom loved him every minute he was doing so. I am grateful that my husband has given me freedom to be a stay-at-home mom and that’s what I’m going to be. I’ll probably get some help when he’s older, but right now, the baby smell and the baby breath is ALL MINE!!
Number Two: Toddler Breastfeeding
“Masyadong malaki na yan mag-breastfeed pag 2 years old na or more.”
“May malisya na at that time.”
“Mas maganda na yata ang formula milk sa malaki. Pang-baby lang ang breastmilk.”
Isa lang ang masasabi ko. Ano ba. Mas marunong pa kayo kay God. He made breasts for milk, it was man who put the malice in it.
I will never stop mentioning this. The lack of education on the benefits of breastfeeding, plus the social stigma that has stained its purity is insane. I find it in breastfeeding rooms, in mommy mixers, and even in the closest of my friends and family members. I love how some people have embraced the breastfeeding experience with me, especially my mom, who admits she has learned a lot since Basti was born. I love her – she was there for me all throughout the birth and the first few weeks of Basti’s life, and goes with me to every pediatric checkup. My dad even thought that breastmilk stopped flowing at a certain point. He thought that babies just eventually went on the bottle and on formula because the mom had no choice. Heck, some moms even think they have no choice but formula. All these myths were broken for me on the very first day of breastfeeding class. If you’re an expectant mom and even if you have half-hearted or no plans at all to breastfeed, please at least attend a class and make an informed choice about breastfeeding versus formula. The benefits outweigh the pain, which is no more than just a brief period, really!
Number Three: Homeschooling
Reactions I’ve received to the statement, “We’re going to homeschool Basti.”
“You’re so lucky! I wish I could do the same.”
“What? You’re going to turn your child into a hermit!”
I prefer speaking to people of the first statement than the second. I believe you will only turn your child into a hermit from homeschooling if you lock the child in a room and not let anyone speak to him. The notion that school is the only place for socialization annoys me. I’ve met so many people from other places outside school: dance class, theater class, swimming class, gymnastics class, diving, badminton… My mother made it a point to encourage activities outside school and I will do the same for my child. In fact, the whole point of us homeschooling Basti is so that we go about the regimented school stuff as fast as we can, never worry about grades and honors, and be able to go out, and spend time in the world as a family. Orley goes as far to say that all he cares about is that Basti can read and write, and count money. That’s about all he expects Basti to learn from “school.”
My own principle is that I simply just don’t like how kids are growing up these days. I do not want the icons of Basti to be on the Cartoon Network or on a PSP screen. I don’t want him asking me for a cellphone at 8 years old. I want him to appreciate the simple things in life and enjoy it using his five senses. I don’t want the major part of his day spent in school and just a few hours with me and his dad. I don’t want our lives dictated by school holidays since my husband has a tendency to pack up and take trips with but 10 minutes to pack. It’s not important that Basti makes a lot of friends; we’ll be content with a handful of trusted buddies than a gaggle of acquaintances.
And on a more manipulative note, Orley and I are going for the art. In the age-old discussion between nature vs. nurture in how our kids will turn out when they grow up, we already have nature in our court. If we nurture Basti into the arts, then he will be an artist. Fingers crossed. Orley is hoping that even if Basti is a carbon-copy of me, his talent has somewhat seeped into our baby’s DNA. We’re hoping for a one-man exhibit by Basti’s 15th birthday.
It’s not going to be easy, and contrary to popular belief, not inexpensive either. I’m lucky I know a handful of people who are into homeschooling and enjoying it to the hilt. I’m really looking forward to their for guidance and advice.
So I’m taking the road less traveled. I never had a problem with that, and neither does my husband. With any luck, Basti won’t either!