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November 30, 2009


French Knots

We are all just doing the best we can for our children, me, you, your parents and mine. It's hard and we don't get a second chance, we make mistakes but keep on trying.


As someone who moved almost 400 miles away from family, including a beloved sister and my just grown son in order to raise my then 1 year old daughter in a place I felt would be better for her and us in so many ways - I understand. Being so far away has been hard for so many reasons but I'm confident I made the right choice.
We do the best we can for our children. Many of us in an attempt to give them a better future, a better start into adulthood than we feel we had maybe. I do often feel guilt but try so hard to live in the present. Bx


You know you are doing the right thing focusing on your children but holidays and familiy time can strain the best of relationships. Keep reminding yourself that you are a good mother who is making decisions based on that fact.


oh this touched me deeply.

my husband and i are planning a move next year. it will take us to the other end of the country. far away from all of our family, including my mom, who's life is a mess right now. ive struggled with the guilt but ultimately decided i cannot let it swallow me up. i have to do whats best for my kids, my husband, my little family. we want our kids to finish out their growing up years in a place with a good educational system. a place where, after school, there will be opportunities.

my high school years were miserable and when i left high school i went straight into the work force. i had no idea why or if i should go to college and no idea how to even begin to try.

i, too, dont really have any expectations for my kids as far as college. i just want them to be happy and at least have a chance at doing what makes them happy. i dont feel i had that chance.

(oh, and my high school was totally sport focused too. i hid in the bathroom every friday afternoon during pep rallys. the worst years of my life, without a doubt.)

This Thrifted Life

As I read through that post, I found myself identifying with so much of what you had to say. While I appreciate the solid education I was given, neither my teachers or my parents understood much about me. I succeeded in school, but it didn't mean much to me. I always felt I was being pushed to be a perfectionist, and it is something I now have to try to grow out of every day of my life. I drifted in and out of three colleges before finally admitting this wasn't where I wanted to be. While I still feel a bit aimless (like you did for those six years), I am at least comfortable enough now to admit that's ok. I'm a work in progress.


I grew up in a small town with a sports focused school system. I kinda floated through high school, passed my classes and .. existed. There wasn't much direction insofar as what should be pursued after high school, and so, I went to college for a year and floundered uncertain. Eventually I choose to get a job and left my college degree undecided (still, and now I'm 37).

Now, I am the parent of a 15 year old and a 10 year old. After several other residences, we have bought a house in the (not so small) town of my childhood. The school system is one of the better ones in the area, and still sports focused but also supports many other areas (arts, drama, culinary). There is career guidance from Freshman year on and my daughter (now a sophomore) already has a pretty firm grasp on what she intends to do in her Junior and Senior years as well as for college afterward. If she goes and finishes, I'll be thrilled. What pleases me is there is direction beyond "take 4 math courses, take 4 English courses, take 8 electives" etc.

My husband is from Australia. He left his life there behind to come here and begin our life together. It was the easiest decision, as I had minor children. When my son is 18, I imagine the next chapter in our life may lead us back to Australia but there is a twinge of uncertainty and heart pains for the family I will be leaving behind here.

Life choices are certainly not easy, are they? Difficult choice to move, but best aligned with the families long term wishes. In reading your blog, I've always been impressed by your dedication as a mother.


I know it seems like your putting yourself "out there" when you share like this, but I think it shows that you are brave. And, as someone who lives over 1,000 miles from my family, I think that you'll find that a great number of people have walked in your shoes. Congratulations on having the strength to make the decisions that you feel are right for your family.


I love your blog. It makes me smile and think! Yessss! People similar to me are out there. Thank you for your honesty. You are so brave. I wish we had been friends in H.S. It too was a nightmare for me, for many of the same reasons. I have two beautiful grown children and I wish that I had done many things differently. My eldest would have bloomed, with so much more ease and happiness, had we put him in a Waldorf school. As users of the bio-dynamic gardening techniques, we were well aware of Rudolf Steiner and his teachings. Money was the factor for us. We had none. The nearest school was in Sacramento and we just couldn't do it. I applaud your devotion to your children. It is not an easy calling to be a mother, let alone a consistent and caring parent. By the way, my youngest son is an economist working on a PhD. in public policy. He believes that bio-dynamics will connect us to the land and each other for the benefit of all. I did something right and it sounds as if you are doing the same.

knutty knitter

All I can say is Did you happen to live my life.... Country schools are the worst if you aren't good at sport!

We are doing the steiner thing too. Fortunately it isn't too expensive here as we have some government subsidies. What we lack is about 14 more children to get us funding for an extra teacher.

The eldest is already in the public system as there is no high school here yet. Youngest still has two intermediate years left before that sad day. Moving near a steiner high school isn't an option either as the waiting lists in the rest of the country are about 2 years long.

At least the high school is a pretty good one with lots of alternative stuff. Should be ok - my sis and bro and all the cousies went there and survived and even flourished so hopefully it is still good. Only reason I didn't go was I was the eldest and had to go to boarding school - if you think day school was bad, try to imagine the worst elements in your school incarcerated with you 24/7 for 2 years! I only stuck it out for the education which was good. The others got to flat with me and go to a normal school. And yes, I still love my mum even if she didn't understand a lot of what I'm about. She understands much more now but as she says "You do what seems best at the time". (She lives next door now).

viv in nz


I can relate with the moving away from family part and the guilt. Thank you so much for sharing. I know that it is hard sometimes on blogs but you just never know who are you reaching out and touching in the process.

nicole kraft

I can really relate to what you are saying here--on so many levels. Many of my unhappy childhood experiences are what motivate me to create a different life for my child. I actually have to watch that I'm not projecting my own baggage on to him! But I think you address something really important here: finding that right balance between the connection to our roots and nurturing the branches so that our children will continue to evolve in a positive direction. It's hard especially when family members don't like to upset the status quo. But I celebrate you and your dedication to your nuclear family. What a gift for them to look back on their formative years with fondness instead of the alternative! thanks for sharing.


Please don't regret sharing this. Thank you so much for opening up about this. I recognize your feelings from high school and the feelings they bring up now. I completely understand you wanting what you do for your children. They seem so happy. Maybe as a compromise, you could visit your mom as much as you can. Bring your children with you. Honoring and caring for your mom will teach your children so much too. It will be hard and a balancing act. It won't take anything away from your kids, it will give them (and your mother) so much too. All the best to you. So many of us out here admire you very much.


Thank you for putting yourself out there. You are right. Your feelings and experiences resound with so many.

Creating a new cycle (what I call correcting the past) is just that, creating something new. My Gosh! can it be hard!

I am very sorry about your mother's cancer.

My children also built a fort on Thanksgiving. =)

Your children are blessed to have such a loving, dedicated mother.


I have no kids, but I think you do an amazing job with yours. It shows in your pensive sensitivity to issues that could affect their future, and in your consideration for their interests. I particularly like and relate to this post:

I suppose females are innately insecure about their appearance, something inbred since primeval times to help ensure the special through procreation. It’s instinct and it's impossible to fight it. My mom had and still has immense body issues. These carried over to me. She would cut her image out of family portraits, and I find myself incredibly tempted to cut my image out of my own- then burn the evidence.
I have no idea how one can break that cycle, but it seems like you're on the right track. Your children are in a positive environment.

Like you, I went to public school, Nathan Bedford Forrest High School- An F-Rated School, it's named after a KKK member though most students are black. You can’t imagine the negativity in that environment from students and faculty alike. My parents did bring up the option of alternative public schools like the local college prep school Stanton (also in a bad area) but I chose NB Forrest because it was an endurance test, I have an incredibly thick skin now, every day was survival.

Sometimes I wonder if a positive, nurturing environment would have made me a more trusting, productive person? I’m sure that’s the affect it will have for your family. You made the right choice.

rachel wolf

Like other comments, your story runs parallel to mine in many ways. AP, moving, waldorf...

We, too, made drastically different choices than our parents did, ones that brought our children into the center of our lives (and yes, sometimes left the connection between the two adults diluted). Seven years in, we still cosleep nightly (with our 3 year old all night and our 7 year old from the wee hours on). We've been on all of three dates in the past three years, but we're figuring it out and we wouldn't change it for anything. (A date around here means a glass of wine together at 8 pm.)

We also moved to give our children (and ourselves) a childhood that alinged with our needs, values, and desire for belonging. I remember telling my mom "I just want us to blend! I want to be among my people." I was tired of being along among strangers.

Ironically (to your story), we chose a Waldorf small town - so we are both the country that you grew up in and the Waldorf community you are providing your family. We live in Viroqua, WI, a town of 4,000 where you can buy organic food and beeswax crayons on Main Street and can score Ostheimer toys and Waldorf dolls are rummage sales. We live in bliss.

I send you blessings for creating a life that your children will cherish. As one friend put it, the only person you have to answer to is your child.

(Our blog is

Blessings on this journey.

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