Although my childhood can very accurately be described as "idyllic", most of my memories are from experiences I found traumatic - I think that is fascinating and shows how important emotions are in shaping our memories. It's also really useful for me to remember how sensitive I was when parenting my intense, sensitive children. For these reasons and many more, I try to choose kindness as much as possible.
I excelled at school but so far we have chosen unschooling for our children, and so far it's been pretty magical.
I was a science teacher before having children - it seems like another life now.
This blog is the most consistent project I've had in my adult life. I sometimes feel like I don't stick with things. You know, like hashtag themes on my Facebook page (remember, #learningiseverywhere ??), or routines with my kids. I think people who know me in real life would think that I am very consistent and persistent - and I think this shows how different our self-perceptions are compared to what others think of us. I also think it shows our human tendency to focus on the negative and our culture's obsession with perfection. So I try to remember all the things I DO stick with and do well - like dishes and laundry and getting my kids food - day after day, hour after hour - and of course, this blog. I also try to zoom out and see that life moves in cycles and sometimes those cycles are actually kind of bumpy and lumpy, and that means I can always come back to things if I really want to. <-- is that a run on sentence? Oh well, I'm kind of a rambly, monkey-chain-of-ideas kinda gal.
I started out sharing here because I felt a need to be "out" - to be honest about my thoughts and beliefs and to let others know - who were trying something different than the "mainstream" way - that they are not alone. The first 5+ years of parenting are intense for so many reasons and parents are bombarded with information. It is overwhelming. I get angry when I see misinformation being fed to parents when they are at the most vulnerable. So I try to share our family's experiences as an antidote to this tendency in our culture.
I do not believe I am an expert - in fact I am quite wary of experts (and you can read why here.) Actually, I finally felt like an adult when I realized that NO ONE could give me the ANSWERS. It is a scary feeling. Most of us grow up believing that there is a "Right Way" to do things and that Adults are the ones that keeping this sacred way safe, hidden in a metaphorical treasure box somewhere, and revealed to us only when we are ready, at the "Right Time". So realizing that we have to figure out our own path is both liberating and terrifying.
But I have figured a few things out along this journey and I like to share. Even after all these years of writing I really consider myself more of a "sharer" than a "writer" - maybe someday that will change. I also like to create things.
When I started out writing here, I was on fire - it felt so good to let all my "crazy" ideas out into the light for anyone and everyone to read! Three years later I've slowed down a bit and it's partly because I've figured out what is most important to me - and that is spending time with my family, working on our relationships, and moving our lives towards whatever we imagine is best for ourselves in any given moment. But I still get fired up sometimes and I'm trying to be grateful regularly, and so as I evolve so does this little blog.
I hope that this gives you a little idea about who I am and why I write here! Please click around and drop me a line - I'd love to hear from you!
Obligatory Disclaimer: This site is about me, my views, and my family. What I write here is not meant to judge others' lifestyles, choices, or values. The older I get and the more I learn the more I realize how little I "know". I will often have an idea in the morning and by the end of the day change my mind. I do believe that there are better and worse choices but I don't pretend to know what is best for every person on this planet. One idea that is becoming very clear to me about myself that is if I have a strong emotional reaction to something, it is almost always about me and not the person or circumstance that triggered it. So if you find something that I write "triggers" you I would invite you to examine why. Because that is what I have really learned to do since having children is EXAMINE things - ideas, choices, beliefs - and to try and get to the core of them and what actually is true, not what someone else or society tells me is true. My goal is to make this as much about me and my experiences though and to keep it positive! Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or something piques your interest. Thank
The Ultimate Confession
I, Susan Dionne Damaske May, hereby confess to being 100% imperfectly human. I have bouts of impatience, ignore my kids, spend too much time on Facebook, obsess over my blog and what to write next, and make judgments on other people's choices. My house is usually a mess and often borders on a disaster zone. I barely cook. In fact, my husband cooks most nights when he gets home from work. At 7 o'clock. (Poor guy! But lucky me ;-) I have barely exercised since my daughter was born (almost 6 years ago!) When I read I don't hear anyone which drives my husband crazy - and leads to what looks like more ignoring of our children. I over-think and analyze just about everything. I tend to dwell on things that bother me - about myself and others. I sometimes talk too much. I love Peace but sometimes feel violent.
My children have meltdowns, eat lots of candy, and fight with each other. They have been known to stay up late.
My husband and I very rarely have "deep" conversations and we can count how many "dates" we've had in the past 6 years on our hands (not sure how many hands, but one sounds way too pathetic!)
We all get on each others' nerves and say things that we feel bad about later. In short, we're a family comprised of imperfect human beings.