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Critical about criticism

written for , June 2021.

Are you one of those people who can't help but judge the lives of others? Are you that mom who thinks her choice and way is the only right one? Do you ever find yourself thinking of other people's decisions as madness for which you can't find a justifiable reason?

I think that, although we don't always want to admit it, the vast majority of us were the ones who at times shook our heads and questioned other people's choices and decisions. We must all have felt better, more valuable and superior than others at some point.

Moms are not an excuse.

The story of judging others took on a whole new dimension for me when I found myself in the epicenter of it.

And I must admit that it surprised me. Because Denmark is apparently not as openly critical, people interfere much less in the lives of othersand do not find themselves so lightly called upon to comment and give their own insights into other people's decisions. It's very rare, if not ever, that a passing stranger will tell you that you're doing this and that wrong.

But when you choose an alternative, when you live on the fringes of social norms and when you also speak about it openly and honestly, many (even in Denmark) will find themselves invited to judge.

There are many prejudices about not sending children to nurseries, kindergartens and school - even in the North. This is a summary of the ones I have encountered the most. The list can certainly be supplemented and is not final.

The difference between before and now for me is that I got used to it and learned that other people's opinions have nothing to do with my reality.In Denmark, more and more mothers decide to stay at home with their children until they start kindergarten (around 3 years old) or school, but there are still very few who decide to homeschool.

One of the biggest myths and prejudices is certainly the burden of socialization. The question: "How will they socialize if they don't go to the collective" is definitely number one. But what is socialization and how distorted is the picture of the socialization of children in today's age?

In my opinion, from the mentioned comments and the amount of them, it is a very big myth that children can only be socialized through interaction (daily and several hours) with their peers. How did we come to see the only (correct) form of socialization in peer interaction?

And what about socialization with primary caregivers, siblings, neighbors, people we meet in various segments of life and then with other children who are not necessarily the same age?

Last year, I was interviewed by journalist student who was researching homeschooling, or rather unschooling. At one point, she caught me asking how one of the most common criticisms she has encountered about unschooling is that parents who decide to do so are actually doing the children a disservice because they are sparing them from real life. Real life?

This led me to ask about what real life represents for individuals? And if we all don't live according to a specific pattern, then I guess we have an "unreal life"?

So, our life where at any moment of every day we can interact with passers-by, random workers, the grandmother whose garden my daughter weeded every week for several months, watch swans land and take off on a nearby lake, go to exhibitions, plays, playgrounds, socializing of different kinds is not real, but what man artificially created a few hundred years ago is more real life? I mean the walls of kindergartens and schools and fenced playgrounds where most children spend most of their time.

In Denmark, great importance is attached to the Danish language as the child's primary language. Many years ago, when I listened to lectures on bilingual (multilingual) children as part of my phonetics studies at the Faculty of Philosophy, I remember a lot of positive cognitive aspects that such children possessed. In Denmark, the importance of multilingualism is ignored, and the term bilingualpeople (children) is used in negative connotations. This is how the myth about how children who speak other languages ​​at home (in the family) must be part of the kindergarten (nursery) collective in order to be exposed to the Danish language from the earliest days was strengthened. There in lies the criticism that my children surely speak less (worse) Danish because they are at home.

Our children speak 3 languages ​​and their Danish is no worse than Croatian and they switch from one to another very easily. Moreover, our daughters prefer Danish between themselves, while they address their brother exclusively in Croatian.

Many also think that our children have no friends because they are at home. Many advised us to immediately return the oldest to school because she will lose all the contacts she had.

Not that she hasn't lost some of her contacts, but it's an understatement to say that they have a lot more new acquaintances and real friends than before. I also heard about how I'm a possessive mom who doesn't want to let them off my lap. I believe that many people think that I limit my children because I am their primary support, guide, consolation, companion and organizer. It is difficult for me to remain objective at all when I advocate that there is little responsibility for their lives (a who at all) with the need to keep them with me. In fact, those who know us know that one of the basic values ​​that I build and invest in is their freedom and autonomy, unrelated to me and my needs.

Likewise, I have been asked quite a few times about my own intellectual work: whether I have stagnated or regressed by choosing children over a career. When I look at the last years of work, I remember quite a few days and moments in which I worked well and in a way that was easier for me in stressful periods. Today, there is no segment that does not intrigue me, about which I do not want to learn more: from astro and quantum physics, tricks on a skateboard, the periodic table, natural phenomena, reproduction of crabs, sailing, sports, geography... I find myself in everything and miraculously a lot I manage this better than in the days when others dictated to me what I can and must do. How could I waste all the colleges, all the knowledge I acquired and painstakingly invested at the expense of the children? How could I leave a good job "for idleness", housework, laziness?

How I am certainly less hard-working and hard-working when I stay at home.

To make it better and safer for me to work.

It's not normal to be with your own children all the time.

How could something be wrong with me when I chose them and after they turned one year old?

All these are just the most common comments and questions, behind which many prejudices are undoubtedly hidden.

How do you look at moms who don't work (for whatever reasons) or whose lives are primarily children?

And let's be clear, I am the first to defend the right of individuals to choose, whatever it may be. Fortunately, we are all different, so our lifestyle does not have to be the same.

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