Originally published May 12, 2012, on The Next Family.
TNF: How has it been blogging for TNF?
It’s been great. I love reading all the different perspectives here, and all the types of families. I especially enjoy seeing the common themes across all families (“Am I doing the right thing?” “My kid isamazing!” “How do I explain this to a child?” “Parenting is hardwork!” those sorts of minutiae), and how those themes are interpreted through different lenses (adoption, surrogacy, same sex parents, single parents, etc.). And let’s be honest- writing about something besides invasive plants and native amphibians is a great distraction from my dissertation, even if my advisor disapproves.
TNF: How is your family like every other family and how is it different?
We’re the same as every other family in that we love each other, even if we do sometimes struggle. We have to juggle work, house work, social life, school, community work, extended family, and much more. We’re our own best support system, and know we can count on each other. But, like every other family we have our own unique variation of life. I’ve heard that most kids don’t attend professional conferences for vacation. And I’ve heard a rumor that it’s not normal for a six-year-old to know more about TARDISes and Daleks than s/he does about sports. I guess our main difference is our extreme collective geekiness.
TNF: Did your family accept you and your lifestyle? If yes, explain and if not, explain what you have done to help them to accept your decisions and your lifestyle.
Eh, some members of the family accept various parts of our life more than others. I don’t think that there’s anybody in either Dwight’s or my family that 100% agrees with how we live and the choices we make, but for the most part, the differences are in the details, not the broad picture. Some family members aren’t fond of surrogacy and/or our closeness with the LGBTQ community, others dislike our activism. A few family members disagree with our choice to pursue higher education, and some just wish we didn’t live where we do (usually wishing we lived closer). But if we all agreed on everything, life would be dull as all get out.
TNF: How do you juggle the work at home with your jobs?
Hahaha! I’ll let you know that answer when I figure it out, probably sometime after I conquer the mass of clothes to fold. I don’t tend to balance things, more often than not there’s one area of life that gets lots of attention, while the rest is ignored. And then something that was being ignored gets all the attention, while everything else is ignored. And the cycle continues…
TNF: What lessons do you feel are the most important to teach children in this day and age? Are there any lessons they, or perhaps we as parents should unlearn?
Most important: There but for fortune, go you or I. Don’t hold someone else’s situation against them, because you could find yourself in a similar situation someday, and then you’ll need others to be understanding and supportive, as you’ve been in the past. Practice not sympathy, but empathy. Lesson to unlearn: Judging others. We’re all in this life together, and we can choose to either be a positive influence or a negative influence, and prejudice, discrimination, all the “-isms” preclude our being a positive influence on the world.
TNF: Any words of wisdom to pass on to our readers?
Look past direct effects. Yes, they’re easier to understand, but they’re less interesting and don’t show the whole picture. And you can do a lot if you just set the bar low enough. Either do a few things well, or try a bunch of stuff.
TNF: Anything you want our readers to know about you or your family?
Know that I’m not trying to be a jerk or insult anyone ever, I just don’t often have the right words. And I’m about as blunt as a club. But I do care- a lot. So feel free to call me out when I screw up getting the point across. I’m a work in progress.