I never witnessed these generalizations as much as when I started to have children.
At first it was my decision to go back to work and send my child to daycare. Lots of people asked me how I could do that...you know, send your kid off to a strange place so strangers could raise him. I heard a lot of comments like "why do people have kids if they are going to send them to day care?" and "kids in day care turn out to be much more aggressive than kids not in day care."
Then it was my decision to not breastfeed. It just wasn't in me. Why do I have to explain it? Well really I don't. But people kept asking me "WHY NOT??" as if there was something inherently WRONG with my own personal decision. I read a lot of opinions of how breastfeeding is best. It probably is...FOR SOME PEOPLE...again, generalizations...breastfeeding is not for everyone and why did I need to explain that? People would tell me "but children who breastfeed have a better chance of fighting off childhood illnesses". That may be true. But I have formula fed all 4 of my children and
And then there was the obvious generalizations when I got divorced. I heard a lot about how my boys would never make it. They had no chance. They would struggle their whole lives. They will have a difficult time in school. They will have a difficult time with relationships. Their grades will fall. They will have behavioral problems. I heard it all. I felt the judgments. All of them.
It's been a difficult road being Catholic and divorced. Not that any other faith doesn't carry the hardships that come with being divorced. But my religion in particular comes with its share of judgments..after all, if you get divorced and remarried you are breaking Canon law. But that's for another post that I plan to write one day.
But with each passing day that my older boys live in the generalizations, they continue to amaze me how they seem to be proving them wrong. My oldest boy was just invited into the National Honor Society. He is making a 4.0 GPA and is going to Catholic high school. My younger son is also making a 4.0 and will go to the same high school next year. I watch as they get selected by their teammates to be captains of their sports teams. I watch them help people out all of the time. I watch them volunteer their time to helping handicap kids play soccer. I watch them help elderly people in the store. Every day I watch this stuff go on with my boys...the ones who were supposed to be aggressive because I sent them to day care, sickly because I didn't breastfeed, not amount to anything because I got divorced.
But their successes are no accident. I make it a point to take them to church every Sunday. In fact I fought my ex in court so I could have every Sunday with my kids. I even pay for that Sunday in child support to my ex just to have every Sunday. People have asked me "why is Sunday so important to you that you would pay your ex to get that day?" My answer is "church." It was supremely important to me to have my kids grounded at church and in school. The rules in my house were always church, school, then sports.
These hard investments into my kid's inner banks have not always come easy. I prayed one day to start seeing the rewards and I am so happy to be seeing those rewards come to be. And it makes me so proud. So very very proud.