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Uncomfortable thoughts....


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I read this in the comment section on a website called 'education revolution' - interesting site, and it was in response to an article about unschooling and feminism....

 

"""I was dying at home. Depressed, unhappy, bored. I love my three children but I am not able to live without intellectual stimulation. I need challenge and yes, there was plenty of that at home but it was not intellectually rigorous. I found excellent childcare for my children and went back to university. Yahoo! No more depression and my sense that I was a failure as a mother disappeared. My adult children remember their childhood very fondly and describe it as a time that was creative and filled with interesting trips out into the world around us. They remember turning the livingroom into forts with blankets and chairs and they remember all sorts of art projects. Their friends filled the house and yard on the weekend and after school. My children loved their daycare. I did too! They loved the educational field trips my husband and I took them on during our weekends and on odd days off: Science World, frequent trips to the BC Museum, the Duncan Forest Museum, to name but a few. I loved university and my career and I loved my children with all my heart. You don’t have to be a stay at home mother to be a good mother BUT you do have to be happy and feel fulfilled in life. A depressed woman who doesn’t fit the at home mom picture is not a healthy person to be raising children.""""

 

It struck a real uncomfortable chord with me as i can relate to how she describes being at home. (i have 3 boys ages 6, 3, and nearly 1) My brain absolutely craves intellectual stimulation, for example, a few years after graduating from uni and being in a job i went on to do a masters because my brain felt like it was rotting away and i needed to do something with it - my brain is perpetually engaged in deep thought!!

 

Anyway, the comment triggered my fears of not being the best mum because i'm trying to sqeeze myself into a role that doesnt fit me and so i am constantly fighting that depression. I KNOW if my circumstance were different (at a stimulating job or doing that course i worked toward all those years but gave up when pregnant) that i would not be fighting off depression all the time (its not severe but always waiting in the wings to swoop me away and i suffer somewhat with irritability - probably not helped by not having a full nights sleep in 7 years!). It makes me wonder whether i'm doing the right thing.

 

On the other hand, i cannot concieve of sending my kids off to school - it just seems absolutely undo-able. So i have what feels like a total unsolvable dilemma.

 

Anyone else dealt with this and managed to have her cake and eat it without packing kids off to school or having to live with that drowning feeling all the time?

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Yes, I felt that when my children were young. I love the young ages but they are not exactly intellectually stimulating. I can tell you that homeschooling the middle and high school grades can be very stimulating intellectually! I found intellectual stimulation through books, discussion groups, church Bible studies of the meatier variety and through writing. I don't think it is wrong for women to seek their stimulation in the work environment but I found it while still staying home with my kids and homeschooling.

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Yes, I did. I work mostly from home, but some outside the home and I am doing varied things every day. I get to have challenging intellectual interactions with adults every day, and I still get to homeschool my kid. It's not easy to make things work out that way, but it can be done. The key for me is that I have a partner who can and wants to be home when I am not, and who fully supports my intelletual health and well-being as much as my mental and physical health and well-being.

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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

 

First of all, you don't have to be around other people to learn new things. You can read and research to your heart's content, even when you're home with your kids. And you don't necessarily need "in-person" contact with others to be intellectually stimulated; there are online groups for just about everything.

 

Second, if you are truly depressed at the thought of being at home with the kids all day, every day, perhaps homeschooling isn't for you. It doesn't work for everyone, and there is no reason to feel guilty about sending your children to a good school if you aren't cut out to homeschool them.

 

Third, your kids are still very young, and require a ton of attention and work. It can be very overwhelming at times (or all the time, depending on the energy levels of your little ones,) and it's OK to feel resentful or depressed or even angry about it for a while. Being a full-time mom is hard and often thankless work. Most of the time, no one is patting you on the back and telling you how brilliant and wonderful you are, and that can be difficult to deal with if you were successful in your pre-mom "working in the real world" days.

 

Finally, I think you need to sit down and decide what you really want. If you feel you need to homeschool your children, perhaps you can manage to do it while still holding down a part-time job in your career field, or maybe you can work from home. If you're not 100% on board with homeschooling, visit some schools in your area and assess whether or not you've been realistic about whether or not your kids should attend one of those schools.

 

It sounds like you're feeling a bit trapped right now, and that perhaps your life isn't working out quite the way you'd planned. Please believe me when I tell you that many of us have or had the same feelings you're experiencing, and that there are solutions to the issues you're facing.

 

One quick question -- are you married? If so, how does your husband or partner feel about all of this? Is he or she supportive of you being at home and homeschooling the kids?

 

I wish I had more advice for you, but I want to send you some :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

 

Take some time, think things through, and don't let anyone else's opinions color your own feelings, particularly if people (like old friends from work) are telling you that they don't understand why you'd "waste your time" being at home all day with your children. And on the other end of the spectrum, if anyone is telling you you'd be a bad mom if you put your kids in school, ignore them, too! This is about what will work for you and your family, not about what anyone else will think.

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I think that intellectual stimulation and wanting an outside job are two totally different animals. You can easily want one without wanting the other.

:iagree:

 

When the boys were little and I felt like this I would take on a study of something I wasn't naturally good at (i.e. anything in the maths/physics area :tongue_smilie:) I felt my brain "stretching" and it was good. As the boys got older I found that just trying to stay ahead- ok, keep up with their assignments was stimulating enough :)

 

It's a completely different matter if you're missing your career, though.

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You will hear this from a number of people, I'm sure:

 

While you are raising little ones, the time you spend with them seems endless, and when you look toward the future you think, "I am going to be ANCIENT by the time these kids grow up."

 

Then, all of a sudden....it's over. Completely over. They're big, they don't need you around all the time and suddenly you have tons of time to do with whatever you wish.

 

I homeschooled for a decade, then things changed for us and my kids are finished or are finishing up at the local ps. Looking back, I don't wish for a second I started my career earlier, because after 10 years of homeschooling when I got to it.....I really knew how to "get to it", if you know what I mean. It has only taken me 2.5 years to reach "success" in my new career, as I defined it. I have loved the incredible mental stimulation of starting a business and learning it all from scratch. If I'd tried to do it ten years ago....it would have been awful, LOL.

 

 

I figure I have at least 20 more years of "career" ahead of me, maybe more, before I retire. Tons of time. Plenty of time for everything I could hope from a career.

 

And looking back we had wonderful times when we homeschooled and I'm so glad I had them. My kids had my attention, they had each other, they had wonderful homeschooling experiences. It was great.

 

And you know what? If they had gone to PS all those years we would have had wonderful, different experiences, so if PS is the right choice for you that's okay, too.

 

But you are going to be amazed when you get through the little kid years how fast they went, after all. Just keep that in mind as you make your choice.

 

And relax, if you can. Enjoy. You are doing so much more than you think right now. It's okay if you plunk them down in front of the tv now and then while you read some great literature or research something that thrills you!

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How long have you felt this way? If you're feeling depressed and unhappy about the role of teacher and it's not going away, I think you should consider a new job. Put it this way, if your kids' teacher at school wrote the same post, would you want her to keep doing that job?

 

It is brave of you to try to define and face your problem. To test if it's true, can you put the kids in some sort of early arrival afterschool program, do what you like in those hours, and see if you don't wish those hours would stretch longer? If those hours are enough, then problem solved. If you yearn for more time, then maybe school is a good idea.

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On the other hand, i cannot concieve of sending my kids off to school - it just seems absolutely undo-able. So i have what feels like a total unsolvable dilemma.

First, not all jobs are intellectually stimulating. Factory assembly line worker and janitor come to mind. Also it is possible to concoct a rich intellectual life through, say, study, book clubs, and so on. Secondly, sending your children to school is not a failure. There are many excellent schools. Certainly a reasonably good school is better than your complete mental collapse and resenting your kids. If you are generally depressed, you might seek help for this to. I think there is also a middle path, where you work or study AND homeschool your kids, and/ or others are more involved in their care.

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First, not all jobs are intellectually stimulating. Factory assembly line worker and janitor come to mind. Also it is possible to concoct a rich intellectual life through, say, study, book clubs, and so on. Secondly, sending your children to school is not a failure. There are many excellent schools. Certainly a reasonably good school is better than your complete mental collapse and resenting your kids. If you are generally depressed, you might seek help for this to. I think there is also a middle path, where you work or study AND homeschool your kids, and/ or others are more involved in their care.

 

:iagree:

 

I think that its so important for at leats one parent to stay at home in those crucial early years! I feel that you would have resented not being able to see their first steps and other important milestones if you had been at work.

 

You just have to take it in your own stride, sometimes there are bad days and others better! Its all apart of being a parent.

 

Perhaps you can join a groupon to discuss your feelings with fellow parents who feel the same, I am a firm beleiever that talking about problems is the first step to solving them.

 

:grouphug:

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I greatly relate to that post. I have four completely unrelated college degrees, and will earn at least one more before my life is over (at least, that's my plan). My life has taken a direction that I have never imagined, as for the longest time you would have heard me saying 'I'm not the stay-at-home mom type.' Obviously, now I am home and homeschooling. After the first ear of being home I felt like the walls were closing in and my brain was wasting away, as my oldest is at a self-discovery high school level, and the other two are 4 and 2.

 

I have found, though, that I can find intellectual stimulation outside of having a job. I have specifically chosen a few things to do, and I make sure I do them, or I will go batty. For example, right now I am working on an in depth bible study for myself. I am also currently writing a challenging high school level US History course for my oldest to use next year (I could not find anything already created that matched what both she and I want for her). I find that the research that both of those require meet my need for intellectual stimulation. I also have future projects, so that even when the histroy project ends (the bible study may never end) I already know what will follow.

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I think it's more than just intellectual stimulation. It's meaningful interaction with adults, too.

 

For me, just the three months of maternity leave got old. I went to an evening conference toward the end of mat leave, and I felt like I was in Heaven. Talking to an adult - about something other than (at the time) bodily functions! Woo hoo!

 

I am not a full-time homeschooler, but I do work from home most of the time so I can switch between domestic and work duties and hopefully get it all done. Having to work on projects with outside adults keeps me from the self-absorption that can lead to frustration and depression.

 

Like the woman in the quote, I still put a lot into my kids' childhood. I try to do enriching things with them for at least an hour or two every day, in addition to the usual family stuff. We don't watch TV; we go places, read, and play music together. I give a lot of thought to how they spend the time they aren't with me. What school? What extras? Who else besides me can really enrich their lives? There are so many people who are really great at working with kids and have good skills/qualities to share. Don't be afraid to make use of their expertise.

 

I also feel that it's important for kids to see their moms as having a healthy balance between serving others and taking care of their own needs. On one hand, they need to know that their mom desires to and loves to nurture them. On the other hand, they need to know that a woman deserves to be respected by herself and others. You don't have to have an outside job to achieve this balance, but if you're forcing a square peg into a round hole on a daily basis, that can confuse your kids, especially daughters.

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My answer to this is, well, then stimulate your mind! You don't have to be enrolled in school to learn. Isn't that what we want our kids to know, that they can learn their whole lives? Model this! TAke up a new, challenging subject and educate yourself on it! Audit classes at MIT or whatever. Write a book. Start a non profit. Teach homeschool high school students in a co op setting. Find something to do . Not having a job is not an excuse not to challenge yourself.

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I agree with the PP that say middle and high school will fulfill your need for meaty info. I am learning more now than I think I did in school! History is my thing and I love teaching it to them. My next plan is to learn Spanish with Rosetta stone. There are about 3 languages I am dying to learn but I am afraid that I won't be mentally up to the challenge.:tongue_smilie: Mushy mommy brain

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I think it's more than just intellectual stimulation. It's meaningful interaction with adults, too.

 

For me, just the three months of maternity leave got old. I went to an evening conference toward the end of mat leave, and I felt like I was in Heaven. Talking to an adult - about something other than (at the time) bodily functions! Woo hoo!

 

I am not a full-time homeschooler, but I do work from home most of the time so I can switch between domestic and work duties and hopefully get it all done. Having to work on projects with outside adults keeps me from the self-absorption that can lead to frustration and depression.

 

Like the woman in the quote, I still put a lot into my kids' childhood. I try to do enriching things with them for at least an hour or two every day, in addition to the usual family stuff. We don't watch TV; we go places, read, and play music together. I give a lot of thought to how they spend the time they aren't with me. What school? What extras? Who else besides me can really enrich their lives? There are so many people who are really great at working with kids and have good skills/qualities to share. Don't be afraid to make use of their expertise.

 

I also feel that it's important for kids to see their moms as having a healthy balance between serving others and taking care of their own needs. On one hand, they need to know that their mom desires to and loves to nurture them. On the other hand, they need to know that a woman deserves to be respected by herself and others. You don't have to have an outside job to achieve this balance, but if you're forcing a square peg into a round hole on a daily basis, that can confuse your kids, especially daughters.

 

:iagree::iagree:

 

I WANTED to love being a SAHM. I really did. I had it all worked out in my head. I had a plan. I made the decision.

 

It was an EPIC FAIL. I was miserable. I was a miserable person and I made everyone around me miserable.

 

My life is very full balancing working and being a mom but I LOVE my life and we are all much happier. Sometimes I read posts on here or on blogs about happy SAHMs and I start to think...hmmm.... Maybe I should try...

 

But then my dh, who knows me better than I know myself, reminds me to quit trying to be someone I am not, quit trying to force that square peg in that round hole.

 

We are all gifted with certain abilities, certain strengths, and we should play to those strengths WITHOUT guilt.

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

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:grouphug:

 

not all things work well for all folks all of the time. its actually good that you can put your finger on what it is that drags you down! (that said, for a few years i thought that was it, too, and it turned out it was more just feeling tied down and never "free" to do what i wanted to do.)

 

the question is what to do about it.....

 

if you want/feel called/need to stay home with the dc and homeschool, then working on finding something you can do that will help.... an online course? a babysitter for an afternoon a week so that you can be "free"? (for me during one period, it turned out that that is what it really was, although i thought it was a need to talk to other adults and be "valued", whatever that meant!), writing a book, researching just about anything, tutoring college/high school kids....

 

if you can see that a part time job would work, then you could pursue that. teaching at a community college or ???

 

or a full time job???

 

each choice has its benefits and drawbacks....

 

and fwiw, i had my first two in my twenties, and my second two around my 40th birthday (one before, one after!), and with the first two i tried staying home so hard, then did part time volunteer work, then part time masters, then full time work, then full time work + part time masters.... with the second two, i stayed home, went nuts, ended up with the one afternoon a week freedom, taught the elders AP calculus, worked part time, and then threw myself into full time homeschooling.... i've learned ASL and Spanish so far, done in depth research on climate change, heat exchangers and solar panels....

 

all that to say that different solutions may work at different times....

 

:grouphug: good luck finding a happy (mostly) path forward!

ann

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If you feel you are fighting off depression, then you should get help or make a change. :grouphug: There are plenty of happy, well rounded families with working moms. If you need to work to be happy, your children will be okay.

 

OTOH, I want to echo the thoughts of many previous posters. Life at home gets easier and more rewarding as your kids get older. Toddlers and preschoolers are physically and emotionally demanding. :tongue_smilie:

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I agree with what the other posters have said. I think it's very important for children to have mom at home I even talked to one middle school principal who said it's crucial in the middle school years. But, you don't necessarily have to be homeschooling. I remember my mom went back to work when I was in 2nd grade and I did daycare some (boy, I got an education there, iykwim) and latchkey kid, which I hated. My intellectual stimulation comes in the form of the monthly mother's meetings for our hs group, blogging, I've ordered some classes from The Great Courses (right now I'm studying The History of European Art, and loving it) and I write the curriculum for jr. Church at my church. Sure, days are long sometimes, but this is really only a season. It's short and I don't want to miss it.

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I think that it's important to separate what we really think and feel from how society views us. It has become a truism to consider working outside of the home as more fulfilling and challenging and intellectual than any form of being at home, and that is not necessarily accurate.

 

Personally, I worked in engineering for a long time before staying home with my DD, and I really liked it, but I liked staying home as well. I thought that the years that I both worked fulltime and homeschooled or at least worked fulltime with a young child to care for (one year was when DD was too young to homeschool) were absolutely hellish. My house was always a disaster (dh picked up no slack whatsoever), I did not feel like I was doing right by my daughter, and I was miserable. It was the most sacrificial, horrible, miserable time of my life. While I was doing it it was absolutely the best of the available options, none of which were great, and I knew that it was just for a season, so I kept on going.

 

But I did not expect to like being home, and we did not plan for it the way some people do. I thought that, like almost every SAHM I saw growing up, I would be depressed and resentful and feel trapped in a menial job. So I took specific steps to avoid that. I cultivated a circle of fairly intellectual SAHM's who I liked to talk with. I joined a book club and a couple of Bible studies and a choir. I did a lot of volunteer work at my church and elsewhere, including starting a nonprofit secular children's chorus that has really taken off and now has about 150 children at various levels. I looked for the company of women who liked being home but did not talk about housework or shopping too much. I planned our weeks so that we went out of the house most days. I did not wait on my DH hand and foot, although I did spoil him to some extent. I studied a lot on my own--politics, policy issues, theology, pedagogy, psychology, a little science, world history, etc.

 

I don't think that it's good to be a depressed SAHM. In fact, sometimes it just does more harm than good. That doesn't necessarily mean that you're more intellectual than those who are content at home--I was plenty intellectual, and I was very happy (surprisingly so) as a SAHM. It means, rather, that you have not achieved the balance in life that you need to be happy and contented in your life at home. To be a good mother and a fulfilled person, you have to either achieve that balance or change your circumstances. Being a depressed mother is extremely hard on your children. Be well for yourself, but also for them. Think carefully about whether going back to work will accomplish that, and if not, what else will. :grouphug:

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I'd like to know what sorts of intellectual stimulation you ladies use. I know it's possible in theory, but I'd like more ideas for myself.

 

1. I signed up for a bunch of reading challenges this year, and I'm trying to spend a little more time on my book blog, because I meet people with similar book interests that way, even if only virtually. I'm reading ancient Greek literature, medieval works, and a bunch of other stuff.

 

2. I do Khan Academy to re-learn math and prepare for when my 11yo gets into algebra next year.

 

3. I signed up for a free online course about the US Constitution and am making sure to do all the readings.

 

4. I joined an online embroidery class and am learning a lot of new skills, since I've never done most of the techniques in the project. (It's going really slowly because it's hard to find time to sit and embroider!)

 

5. I walk every morning with a good friend and we talk about all kinds of stuff.

 

6. At other times I've set myself to learn new sewing techniques or whatever. This is what's going on now.

 

Hope that helps; I have to run or I'd say more.

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I feel the opposite. I worked when some of mine were little and I was resentful about being at work. All I wanted to do was be home. I taught public school and hated that I poured all my energy into other people's dc. I was too tired to do any fun stuff after working full time. I hated hours of homework with my older one. I much prefer to be home. I don't need a job to find intellectual stimulation. I do miss being with adults, but I solved that with church activities.

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Oh, factory assembly line worker is intellectually stimulating if you are in the right factory. The statistics knowledge alone is usually a challenge for the operators. And janitor? Janitors can grow in their industrial chemical knowledge and their ability to work and to set up work efficiently.

 

of course any job can be stimulating but many are not, and it's a mistake to assume all jobs are going to meet your intellectual needs

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Thank you all so much for your replies!! :001_smile: They are so helpful in helping me figure out what it actually is i am looking for!

 

I do a lot of reading and researching and stuff already to try and get the mental stimulation i need but there are definately more things i could do in this area that would help. I also think i need to somehow make that a priority - dh works long long hours and i dont have that much help with the kids otherwise, and they are not big sleepers so its not like i can do anything when they go to bed cos by then i am in bed too usually!!

 

I think the main thing missing for me is to have other people to talk to who are on my wavelength so to speak. We went through a phase a few weeks back were we were out almost every day for about 3 weeks going to different home ed stuff and were the kids where mainly happy playing without much attention from me and i had so many great conversations that i was just on top of the world. Now i am coming to the end of a 2 week spell of staying in due to illness and not much going on home ed wise and i can feel the ache in my soul!! :tongue_smilie:

 

I think really deeply about things and i so so need to talk about things and thoughts and ideas that i have - bat them off others who are on a similar wavelength. I could literally spend maybe 80% of each day in conversation of the right sort, with the right company - i have an almost insatiable desire for it :D Any conversation is good and helpful, but there is another sort that can only happen with certain people - i'm lucky that when home ed groups are on that a lot of the people are those 'certain' people!

 

 

Also i feel like there is so much to learn and understand and i follow rabbit trails all the time and i think part of me wants to find something that i can feel like i am 'making a difference' in, contributing to,for the wider good or something - if thats makes sense. I find that feeling hard to explain. Sometimes i feel like my brain is wasting away and i know that it could do some brilliant stuff given the right material :D

 

The depression thing - it did get to a more severe stage when i was pregnant with number 3 for various reasons - i had counselling and sorted all that out - its probably the just 'isolated human being looking after 3 young kids' kinda proneness to feeling depressed now - i can handle it now - but i just know if i could get the obove needs met consistently, which was easy before having kids (hence the association with being in work/education) i would be much healthier emotionally and therefore maybe more able to handle the kids at times.

 

I absolutely do not want to send my kids to school so i am definately looking for solutions within my current cirumstances rather than the school option. I think when i read comments such as that i quoted - it makes me feel guilty in a bit of a convoluted way for homeschooling, because a tut tutting 'authoritarian' voice in my head says i am doing a bad thing for my kids cos i could, maybe, be happier and therefore a better mum, if they were in school and i could meet my needs more easily, and this would make them happier, better behaved etc etc...

 

Anyway - thanks again for the discussion - off to re-read it and see what solutions i can come up with :grouphug:

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Will it help to tell you that you are at about the lowest point you will be? I can clearly see now that when my third was about 1-2 yo, I was at the most overwhelming, lonely, mundane point in my mothering career. It has been all uphill from there. Your dc are just about to start becoming a *lot* more help, your oldest's education will get more stimulating to you in a few years, and the mundane tasks of motherhood will only decrease from here.

 

I think the comments quoted in the OP show the current agenda against SAHMs: fulfill yourself first or you will be a bad, depressed, dumb mother. When some people make a choice, they need to justify why it is a better choice, not just for themselves, but for everyone. Don't get caught up in this woman's need.

 

I completely understand the intellectual stimulation part. There are many, many smart, educated women on this board, and we discuss this often. I *still* get comments about wasting my potential by being a SAHM. :glare: Like others, I have found ways to further my education and keep my brain happy.

 

I think we are all so used to the idea that we must learn officially either on the job or in school. I think that's because we grew up "in the system." Our dc will probably not feel that need to learn from a school or get a paycheck to show they are contributing. Just think of yourself as the first generation to break out of that. Sure it's hard, but you're on the front line of a new movement. Take heart in that!

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"""I was dying at home. Depressed, unhappy, bored. I love my three children but I am not able to live without intellectual stimulation. I need challenge and yes, there was plenty of that at home but it was not intellectually rigorous. I found excellent childcare for my children and went back to university. Yahoo! No more depression and my sense that I was a failure as a mother disappeared. My adult children remember their childhood very fondly and describe it as a time that was creative and filled with interesting trips out into the world around us. They remember turning the living room into forts with blankets and chairs and they remember all sorts of art projects. Their friends filled the house and yard on the weekend and after school. My children loved their daycare. I did too! They loved the educational field trips my husband and I took them on during our weekends and on odd days off: Science World, frequent trips to the BC Museum, the Duncan Forest Museum, to name but a few. I loved university and my career and I loved my children with all my heart. You don’t have to be a stay at home mother to be a good mother BUT you do have to be happy and feel fulfilled in life. A depressed woman who doesn’t fit the at home mom picture is not a healthy person to be raising children."""

 

I agree. The problem is that we don't have a lot of great options for wonderful childcare, or an abundance of excellent public schools. That's a huge issue.

Edited by LibraryLover
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A person is responsible for finding his own intellectual stimulation. If the job isn't appropriate, he can move on.

I honestly don't understand why you keep going after my point. Every job is not fantastic or intellectually stimulating. Can one be curious and wonder about the boring work one is doing? Yes. But are people sometimes beaten down by their crummy, boring jobs? Yes. It can be very exhausting and draining to scrub poop off of airport toilets for $8 an hour all day long. One's back begins to ache and the smell of toxins and human waste are often not overly charming. Sometimes smart people find themselves in boring, life-sucking jobs. I know cleaning people and janitors, and I am not sure they love their job or find it the best path, but sometimes it's what they've got for now.

 

My point was, going to work might or might not provide intellectual stimulation for the OP. Perhaps similarly, homeschooling or being a SAHM might or might not be intellectually stimulating. Saying it is or is not is with certainty is not really realistic.

 

Fortunately, this means she has different paths available. There is not only one way to be a homeschooling parent. Or a concerned parent.

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You go. Yep. :iagree:

 

 

I honestly don't understand why you keep going after my point. Every job is not fantastic or intellectually stimulating. Can one be curious and wonder about the boring work one is doing? Yes. But are people sometimes beaten down by their crummy, boring jobs? Yes. It can be very exhausting and draining to scrub poop off of airport toilets for $8 an hour all day long. One's back begins to ache and the smell of toxins and human waste are often not overly charming. Sometimes smart people find themselves in boring, life-sucking jobs. I know cleaning people and janitors, and I am not sure they love their job or find it the best path, but sometimes it's what they've got for now.

 

My point was, going to work might or might not provide intellectual stimulation for the OP. Perhaps similarly, homeschooling or being a SAHM might or might not be intellectually stimulating. Saying it is or is not is with certainty is not really realistic.

 

Fortunately, this means she has different paths available. There is not only one way to be a homeschooling parent. Or a concerned parent.

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I think first of all you should get some rest. Then you will be able to think about what you really want and who you really are and what will work best for your family. Can you arrange with family or close friends so that you get an afternoon off per week? Then go someplace and have a coffee and think. Read a book or go to a movie.

When my kids were littles, I lived for my 1 afternoon off a week. It helped me see everything in perspective and take joy again in being with my kids.

 

At one point I thought about going and getting my PhD and going back to work. I carefully arranged childcare and used public transportation to get to the big university in the next town. I went to a presentation about the program, chatted with professors and took a tour. Then I took the bus and subway home. I watched the people and enjoyed the trip. I enjoyed the day out very much. I enjoyed hearing about the PhD program, but I realized that I had already gotten what I wanted. I did not apply because I did not really want to--- what I wanted was a stimulating day out, seeing different people and places, and thinking about my dreams and what they might be. After this, I began to schedule a regular day out and things went much better. Good luck!:001_smile:

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I read this in the comment section on a website called 'education revolution' - interesting site, and it was in response to an article about unschooling and feminism....

 

"""I was dying at home. Depressed, unhappy, bored. I love my three children but I am not able to live without intellectual stimulation. I need challenge and yes, there was plenty of that at home but it was not intellectually rigorous. I found excellent childcare for my children and went back to university. Yahoo! No more depression and my sense that I was a failure as a mother disappeared. My adult children remember their childhood very fondly and describe it as a time that was creative and filled with interesting trips out into the world around us. They remember turning the livingroom into forts with blankets and chairs and they remember all sorts of art projects. Their friends filled the house and yard on the weekend and after school. My children loved their daycare. I did too! They loved the educational field trips my husband and I took them on during our weekends and on odd days off: Science World, frequent trips to the BC Museum, the Duncan Forest Museum, to name but a few. I loved university and my career and I loved my children with all my heart. You don’t have to be a stay at home mother to be a good mother BUT you do have to be happy and feel fulfilled in life. A depressed woman who doesn’t fit the at home mom picture is not a healthy person to be raising children.""""

 

It struck a real uncomfortable chord with me as i can relate to how she describes being at home. (i have 3 boys ages 6, 3, and nearly 1) My brain absolutely craves intellectual stimulation, for example, a few years after graduating from uni and being in a job i went on to do a masters because my brain felt like it was rotting away and i needed to do something with it - my brain is perpetually engaged in deep thought!!

 

Anyway, the comment triggered my fears of not being the best mum because i'm trying to sqeeze myself into a role that doesnt fit me and so i am constantly fighting that depression. I KNOW if my circumstance were different (at a stimulating job or doing that course i worked toward all those years but gave up when pregnant) that i would not be fighting off depression all the time (its not severe but always waiting in the wings to swoop me away and i suffer somewhat with irritability - probably not helped by not having a full nights sleep in 7 years!). It makes me wonder whether i'm doing the right thing.

 

On the other hand, i cannot concieve of sending my kids off to school - it just seems absolutely undo-able. So i have what feels like a total unsolvable dilemma.

 

Anyone else dealt with this and managed to have her cake and eat it without packing kids off to school or having to live with that drowning feeling all the time?

Everyone feels this way with really young children. It is a tough time. Don't be too hard on yourself. Very soon, you will be out doing things again while your older children babysit. Before you know it.

 

Honestly, that writer sounds a bit self-centered to me. All Moms everywhere have had these times. Sending the kids to daycare has its own set of problems. But maybe because I finished college and grad school and was married for years before we ever had kids, I see it differently. I already knew there wasn't anything out there more fulfilling than trying to do the best job I could for my children.

 

And although I'm having some tough times now with a teen, none of us are sorry that they had the childhood they did. Once, when my daughter was 9 or 10, she said to me, "Mom, do you know that if you had sent us to daycare and then school all day every day, you wouldn't even know us?" I thought that was pretty insightful.

 

Of course, these days, she wishes I didn't know her so well!

 

You can't win. I'm just in a different tough season. But this too, shall pass.

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Once, when my daughter was 9 or 10, she said to me, "Mom, do you know that if you had sent us to daycare and then school all day every day, you wouldn't even know us?" I thought that was pretty insightful.

 

Hmm. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know my kids. Do you know your spouse despite the fact that you aren't with him 24/7?

 

I don't mean to be argumentative, but I don't find this type of comment helpful in response to the OP's situation. JMHO.

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Hmm. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know my kids. Do you know your spouse despite the fact that you aren't with him 24/7?

 

I don't mean to be argumentative, but I don't find this type of comment helpful in response to the OP's situation. JMHO.

It was not intended to be argumentative.

 

I was just sharing the rather surprising - considering her very independent nature - view of my daughter. It surprised me when she said it, but when she analyzed how things would differ had we chosen a different lifestyle, this was her conclusion, not mine. I don't think it is out of line to share that. Just something to think about; disregard if it does not apply.

 

Now she's a teen and in school, because she wanted to study a particular subject that this school offered. She has excelled in the subject, and is indeed the school's top student; HOWEVER, there have been things that occurred there, exposure she has had that I dearly wish I could take back.

 

I think all perspectives are valuable, whether or not they apply to me at this moment. Or maybe they do, and I don't see it. Or they definitely don't, and I know it.

 

Believe me, I understand how the OP feels; I've been there, done that. It seemed endless and hard at the time, but it was easier than now. Go figure.

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A person is responsible for finding his own intellectual stimulation. If the job isn't appropriate, he can move on.

 

Well, in an ideal world, yes. But in reality, many people are trapped in jobs they don't enjoy because there are no other available options and they still need to pay their bills and support their families. I'm sure a lot of people working menial, boring, or backbreaking jobs would love to move on to something else, but sadly, it's not always possible.

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Well, in an ideal world, yes. But in reality, many people are trapped in jobs they don't enjoy because there are no other available options and they still need to pay their bills and support their families. I'm sure a lot of people working menial, boring, or backbreaking jobs would love to move on to something else, but sadly, it's not always possible.

 

Sometimes being a mom can be a menial boring job. But of course we can add some excitement into the mix - and socialization for moms too - which is what the OP is missing, I think.

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I read this in the comment section on a website called 'education revolution' - interesting site, and it was in response to an article about unschooling and feminism....

 

"""I was dying at home. Depressed, unhappy, bored. I love my three children but I am not able to live without intellectual stimulation. I need challenge and yes, there was plenty of that at home but it was not intellectually rigorous. I found excellent childcare for my children and went back to university. Yahoo! No more depression and my sense that I was a failure as a mother disappeared. My adult children remember their childhood very fondly and describe it as a time that was creative and filled with interesting trips out into the world around us. They remember turning the livingroom into forts with blankets and chairs and they remember all sorts of art projects. Their friends filled the house and yard on the weekend and after school. My children loved their daycare. I did too! They loved the educational field trips my husband and I took them on during our weekends and on odd days off: Science World, frequent trips to the BC Museum, the Duncan Forest Museum, to name but a few. I loved university and my career and I loved my children with all my heart. You don’t have to be a stay at home mother to be a good mother BUT you do have to be happy and feel fulfilled in life. A depressed woman who doesn’t fit the at home mom picture is not a healthy person to be raising children.""""

 

It struck a real uncomfortable chord with me as i can relate to how she describes being at home. (i have 3 boys ages 6, 3, and nearly 1) My brain absolutely craves intellectual stimulation, for example, a few years after graduating from uni and being in a job i went on to do a masters because my brain felt like it was rotting away and i needed to do something with it - my brain is perpetually engaged in deep thought!!

 

Anyway, the comment triggered my fears of not being the best mum because i'm trying to sqeeze myself into a role that doesnt fit me and so i am constantly fighting that depression. I KNOW if my circumstance were different (at a stimulating job or doing that course i worked toward all those years but gave up when pregnant) that i would not be fighting off depression all the time (its not severe but always waiting in the wings to swoop me away and i suffer somewhat with irritability - probably not helped by not having a full nights sleep in 7 years!). It makes me wonder whether i'm doing the right thing.

 

On the other hand, i cannot concieve of sending my kids off to school - it just seems absolutely undo-able. So i have what feels like a total unsolvable dilemma.

 

Anyone else dealt with this and managed to have her cake and eat it without packing kids off to school or having to live with that drowning feeling all the time?

 

I agree with the other posters that there are TONS of ways to stay intellectually engaged. It depends on what your interests are, and goals you have for yourself down the line.

 

In addition to studying ahead for the future in regard to homeschooling, I write novels. Between the actual writing, studying the craft, networking, etc., I am probably overstimulated. At this point, my emotional/intellectual downtime is nil.

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Someone above posted that OP sounded "self-centered". I don't agree.

Yes, all moms go through those times. But when you are the one going through it, you feel so alone and you don't know that anyone else has ever felt that way.

:iagree:

 

I would venture to guess that for most people, the staying home/homeschooling stuff goes in cycles.

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I felt much like that when I was a stay at home mom. When I pulled my then 4th grader out of ps and began to homeschool him and my younger ds, the intellectual stimulation really ramped up for me. As my kids get older...and I now have a 7th grader and a 3rd grader, I find that I sometimes need to slow down the intellectual stimulation because I am having to think WAY too much! lol And, I get to use that English/Writing degree way more than I ever imagined having a 7th grader who is learning to write. He tells me, "okay mom...here is my paper...and remember, I AM NOT IN COLLEGE!" haha

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Thank you all so much for your replies!! :001_smile: They are so helpful in helping me figure out what it actually is i am looking for!

 

I do a lot of reading and researching and stuff already to try and get the mental stimulation i need but there are definately more things i could do in this area that would help. I also think i need to somehow make that a priority - dh works long long hours and i dont have that much help with the kids otherwise, and they are not big sleepers so its not like i can do anything when they go to bed cos by then i am in bed too usually!!

 

I think the main thing missing for me is to have other people to talk to who are on my wavelength so to speak. We went through a phase a few weeks back were we were out almost every day for about 3 weeks going to different home ed stuff and were the kids where mainly happy playing without much attention from me and i had so many great conversations that i was just on top of the world. Now i am coming to the end of a 2 week spell of staying in due to illness and not much going on home ed wise and i can feel the ache in my soul!! :tongue_smilie:

 

I think really deeply about things and i so so need to talk about things and thoughts and ideas that i have - bat them off others who are on a similar wavelength. I could literally spend maybe 80% of each day in conversation of the right sort, with the right company - i have an almost insatiable desire for it :D Any conversation is good and helpful, but there is another sort that can only happen with certain people - i'm lucky that when home ed groups are on that a lot of the people are those 'certain' people!

 

 

Also i feel like there is so much to learn and understand and i follow rabbit trails all the time and i think part of me wants to find something that i can feel like i am 'making a difference' in, contributing to,for the wider good or something - if thats makes sense. I find that feeling hard to explain. Sometimes i feel like my brain is wasting away and i know that it could do some brilliant stuff given the right material :D

 

The depression thing - it did get to a more severe stage when i was pregnant with number 3 for various reasons - i had counselling and sorted all that out - its probably the just 'isolated human being looking after 3 young kids' kinda proneness to feeling depressed now - i can handle it now - but i just know if i could get the obove needs met consistently, which was easy before having kids (hence the association with being in work/education) i would be much healthier emotionally and therefore maybe more able to handle the kids at times.

 

I absolutely do not want to send my kids to school so i am definately looking for solutions within my current cirumstances rather than the school option. I think when i read comments such as that i quoted - it makes me feel guilty in a bit of a convoluted way for homeschooling, because a tut tutting 'authoritarian' voice in my head says i am doing a bad thing for my kids cos i could, maybe, be happier and therefore a better mum, if they were in school and i could meet my needs more easily, and this would make them happier, better behaved etc etc...

 

Anyway - thanks again for the discussion - off to re-read it and see what solutions i can come up with :grouphug:

Looking at this, I don't think the kind of friendship/intellectual conversations you really want would happen a lot at work anyway.

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Looking at this, I don't think the kind of friendship/intellectual conversations you really want would happen a lot at work anyway.

 

I agree. I work in a college library and I don't have those kind of conversations there! (I do tell students to quit playing the ukelele on the silent study floor. I have some fun. But I don't have deep intellectual conversations.)

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Ah where do i begin to respond to all these thoughtful posts! :)

 

My job b4 children was assistant psychologist and i was just about to embark on the clinical psychologist training program when i found out i was pregnant. The course is hugely pressured and demanding and i just knew i wouldnt be able to do it with kids (it lasts 3 years) so i never started the course. Obviously my days were spent in very mind stretching and deep conversation with both clients and collegues, which i absolutely thrived on, so if i went back to work in the same field i would most certainly meet those intellectual/deep-stimulating conversation needs perfectly.

 

I have ideas now of gradually working my way towards becoming a counselling psychologist (alongside homeschooling) through a different route than i would have taken if i hadnt have had children. Part of my wondering what to do is looking into the practicalities of this.

 

I meant to add that reading discussions on this forum, and others similar to it, goes some way toward meeting the need for mental/social stimulation too, which i appreciate. I know that lots and lots of woman on here are highly educated/intelligent and in need of the same types of mental excercise that i'm looking for :001_smile:

 

Oh! and i i dont think anyone was referring to me (the OP) when they referred to the lady seeming to be self centred - they were referring to the quote that i quoted in my initial post.

 

The more i think about it the more i realise that what happens is that when i read a quote like that (especially after 2 wks being stuck at home with sick kids :) ) it just triggers off guilt in me for all those moments were i have not been as patient with my dc as i would like or were i've felt desperate for a bit of time away from them. I wonder if i am doing the right thing and i would be a better mum if i went to work and we all had that time away from each other. But as many people have said - it is only natural to have these feelings and i can see that. They come and feel so intense and then they go again till next time. :001_smile: Plus, i'm sure if i went back to work/training i wouldnt suddenly become the perfect mother that i would so like to be :tongue_smilie:

 

I also have family and friends telling me i should go back to work etc and what a waste. My husband would really like the extra money too :001_smile: When he stresses about money it makes me feel guilty.

 

About the home ed groups - i usually go to any group that i can - its limited round here though - i am in the uk and in an area where there is not huge amounts going on but i'm coming across more things all the time so yes i will definately get right back in there when we are all well!

 

Thanks to everyone again for helping me think those thoughts/feelings through! :001_smile:

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I love the young ages but they are not exactly intellectually stimulating. I can tell you that homeschooling the middle and high school grades can be very stimulating intellectually!

:iagree:

 

I just stayed up late tonight and finished balancing chemical equations (for practice) to keep up with my son's progress in Chemistry. And also am doing the lessons in Geometry to keep up with him and figure out where he has any difficulty. That alone for a 45 year old brain is quite a workout. ;) My reward for doing my homework is getting to chat with everyone here! LOL

 

I love to keep up on current events. Lately the political news is great fodder for my husband and I to discuss at length. Hubs is also very versed in doctrinal issues as a Pastor and we can discuss at the drop of a hat worldviews and religions, which I enjoy. And I love to read. I do find homeschooling older teens in high school to be more brain stimulating and less physically exhausting like at the younger grades. Now that ds is old enough, we both get involved in community events and volunteer weekly, which I love as it gets me out of the house and helping others.

 

I think the OP needs to be encouraged in that she needs to understand where she is at is one part of the journey. Not everyone has to homeschool. There is no shame in enrolling her kids back into a b&m school. The only thing concerning me about her original post is the melancholy. I hope she is not truly depressed??

 

ETA: My hubby is a visionary/philosopher soul. Loves to sit and think deep thoughts. Loves a stimulating intellectual conversation. I totally get where the OP is coming from. I'm the "sounding board" for my better half! *grin* Sometimes, I am not in the mood to discuss such weighty topics and feel like I need to give him a glass of scotch and a cigar.

Edited by tex-mex
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I dont know how to inbed quotes but tex-mex said...

 

'''ETA: My hubby is a visionary/philosopher soul. Loves to sit and think deep thoughts. Loves a stimulating intellectual conversation. I totally get where the OP is coming from. I'm the "sounding board" for my better half! *grin*'''

 

Yes, i am totally your husband - unfortunately, though my husband has many wonderful qualities, capacity for such conversation is very limited :D So i have no sounding board at home. He will listen attentively but has little to add which is the whole point of such conversations really. This wasnt so important before children when all these needs were met by work and a good social life but obviously in my situation now I wouldnt really be struggling so much if i had a fellow philosopher for a spouse :)

 

Also the depression comment - i've always been a bit prone to depression, when i used the phrase 'got more severe' that means got more severe for ME - which on an objective scale means moderate depression. I would say i can, if i dont watch myself, easily fall into a mild depression/anxiety. Even when working and 'free' this was possible. But on the whole i know what i need to do to get myself out of a depressive state just sometimes the things i need 'ideally' are hard to achieve in my current situation. Hence coming here looking for ways to meet those needs without having to give up the home ed etc. Hope that makes sense!

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Ah where do i begin to respond to all these thoughtful posts! :)

 

My job b4 children was assistant psychologist and i was just about to embark on the clinical psychologist training program when i found out i was pregnant. The course is hugely pressured and demanding and i just knew i wouldnt be able to do it with kids (it lasts 3 years) so i never started the course. Obviously my days were spent in very mind stretching and deep conversation with both clients and collegues, which i absolutely thrived on, so if i went back to work in the same field i would most certainly meet those intellectual/deep-stimulating conversation needs perfectly.

 

I have ideas now of gradually working my way towards becoming a counselling psychologist (alongside homeschooling) through a different route than i would have taken if i hadnt have had children. Part of my wondering what to do is looking into the practicalities of this.

 

I meant to add that reading discussions on this forum, and others similar to it, goes some way toward meeting the need for mental/social stimulation too, which i appreciate. I know that lots and lots of woman on here are highly educated/intelligent and in need of the same types of mental excercise that i'm looking for :001_smile:

 

Oh! and i i dont think anyone was referring to me (the OP) when they referred to the lady seeming to be self centred - they were referring to the quote that i quoted in my initial post.

 

The more i think about it the more i realise that what happens is that when i read a quote like that (especially after 2 wks being stuck at home with sick kids :) ) it just triggers off guilt in me for all those moments were i have not been as patient with my dc as i would like or were i've felt desperate for a bit of time away from them. I wonder if i am doing the right thing and i would be a better mum if i went to work and we all had that time away from each other. But as many people have said - it is only natural to have these feelings and i can see that. They come and feel so intense and then they go again till next time. :001_smile: Plus, i'm sure if i went back to work/training i wouldnt suddenly become the perfect mother that i would so like to be :tongue_smilie:

 

I also have family and friends telling me i should go back to work etc and what a waste. My husband would really like the extra money too :001_smile: When he stresses about money it makes me feel guilty.

 

About the home ed groups - i usually go to any group that i can - its limited round here though - i am in the uk and in an area where there is not huge amounts going on but i'm coming across more things all the time so yes i will definately get right back in there when we are all well!

 

Thanks to everyone again for helping me think those thoughts/feelings through! :001_smile:

 

It is really dammed if you do and if you don't. Feel guilty for not being at work - or feel guilty for not being at home.

 

I've really found that the most important thing is to find outlets for some deep conversations. Probably for me the most reliable ones have come from my church and some of my university friends. I did end up moving to the city in part for that kind of companionship - in a rural area I was just incredibly lonely, despite loving the lifestyle.

 

As for the people who think it is a waste - they represent, whether they realize it or not, a view which says that only paid work is really important and raising children is work for low paid people with nothing more important to offer. And that is a profoundly disordered idea on the level of a society. It is because we have so few parents at home that we have a lot of the loss of community that seems to characterize much of modern life - homes are empty in the day and people have no opportunity to get to know each other, there are few people available to do serious unpaid work in the community that is really important for its functioning, and everyone is a specialist which is culturally diminishing.

 

As for money - if you really liked your field of work, it might be worthwhile to think about engaging in it in a slightly different way than you had originally planned - whether that is part-time or on a contract basis, or in a slightly different area that will give you more flexibility to also stay at home.

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As for the people who think it is a waste - they represent, whether they realize it or not, a view which says that only paid work is really important and raising children is work for low paid people with nothing more important to offer. And that is a profoundly disordered idea on the level of a society.

 

:( I think this is a pervasive idea, and it makes my heart ache.

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