It’s OK if you can’t homeschool

RosalieContrite
August 29, 2017

Please be kind, and assume the best of my words. I fiercely love and care for both of my children with all of my being.

When my husband and I married, we met a vibrant and wonderful homeschool group and that has always been what we wanted for our family. I feared I wasn’t cut out for it, but we declared our plan early on in our marriage. That made my admittance that it might not be what was best for us even harder. It stunk of failure, of a lack of self-discipline. I thought, “if only I pray harder and bear my crosses better, then I will be able to do this.”

I struggled so much with what is right to do for our family and the decision of whether or not to send my five year old to a Catholic School this year over homeschool for a plethora of reasons: my health isn’t great right now, I want to get my masters, I don’t seem to be offering her enough mental engagement to keep her happy, and my two year old was really struggling. I felt like a chump who couldn’t handle being a full-throttle catholic, like I was a lesser mom. Maybe I am. *shrugs*

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School started last Wednesday, and ALREADY the special one-on-one time with my two year old is paying off in dividends. She was very prone to screaming and having outbursts under stress, which are normal for her age, though her older sister never had them. I chalked it all up to differences in personality and temperment. YES, I know kids are not all the same in one family. I assumed she simply had a shorter fuse. I was wrong.

Already, she has calmed down, talks more, and handles things better. Maybe its a coincidence, but I suspect that the special time together is the reason for the change. Just minutes ago, I laid her down for a nap and she blew me a kiss as I walked out the door, just as her older sister did when she was little.

 I feel so guilty that she may have felt unheard, even though we have well-spaced kids. I am even more heavily considering how soon the two year old would be ready to be de-throned as the baby. She needs this time and I won’t be talked out of giving her what she needs because people feel she’ll “be fine” or “she’ll live,” nor will I give her the short end of the stick because I simply want another baby. It won’t be popular for me to have said this, but it is the truth. Yes, we are always open to life, we follow the faith 100%, but we are also capable of planning and exercising self control, as un-fun as that may be.

Catholics are literally always thinking about when the next baby should come; it’s our hobby. (Someone would make a killing on a dice with TTA/TTC/TTW/Take a chance on it.) My oldest was three when the baby was born, and she was ready to be a big sister! She was so excited. I want that for my current baby.

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My mental health is so much better now, not that I was on the verge of a mental break. I just always felt like I wasn’t doing a very good job, even when others assured me I was. I constantly felt like I was going to cry any moment because I couldn’t manage all the tasks I needed to be managing with my sweet kindergartener underfoot. I don’t feel mentally out of breath. My oldest comes home tired, happy, and simply wanting to snuggle or talk about her day. She’s had her mind engaged, prayed, played with friends and I am much more patient and relaxed having gotten my day’s work finished. She and her sister are not jealous of each other now, but excited to see one another because they did not spend all day competing for attention.

I feel so right about this choice for our family right now, and want to tell other homeschool mommies, homeschool is wonderful and a gift but it’s OK if you can’t do it. It’s OK if it doesn’t work for your family. Don’t force something because of what others think or because you’re afraid of the effect of the world on your children. Both options are OK, and what is right for one kid may not be for another. I know that now. We may return to homeschool again one day if it is what’s best for our family, but rather than focusing on raising them a certain way, I will only be looking to do what is best whatever that may be.

It still bothers me that I can’t be the graceful, homeschool mother of nine that I envisioned before kids and marriage, but I think it’s a lesson from God. Even the image that LOOKS holy to you, that might not be where he’s calling you. You have to pay attention more and talk less.

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R O S A L I E    C O N T R I T E
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Is Modest Hottest?

RosalieContrite
August 10, 2017

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Let me go ahead and spoiler alert, here. Whether modest is hottest is not something about which I’m actually going to debate. Whatever the hell I want to wear, be it “modest,” whatever that means as per your culture and chronology, or not, is not subject to a ratings system by a bunch of pharisaical, undisciplined, self-righteous men. I don’t care if you think modest is hottest. I do not want you to “guard my purity,” a thinly veiled attempt to shame me for looking like a woman in public. I don’t want to be hott or not hott in your eyes.

I am a human person with innate dignity, worthy of respect, a value which goes is far deeper beyond the superficial judgement of my clothing.

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The whole concept of modesty seems it cannot be separated from pleasing the eyes of men. This is so perverted with which to begin. You have heard it said “leave a little to the imagination.” Why? So I can titilate you with my purity and mystery? I am not a pleasure item to be consumed by men. I do not exist to serve aesthetic pleasure. I am not dressing with placating men or others in mind. I am dressing with MY dignity in mind, my self respect which IS charity toward others.

Can we not see that these slogans #ModestIsHottest and #LeaveALittleToTheImagination are both reinforcing the erroneous idea, that women exist to please the eye of men? That’s all this modest or not is about right now. It’s certainly not about helping men avoid lust. If it were, would Modest Is Hottest even make sense?

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You’re telling me that you are advocating a type or standard of clothing that is “hottest,” a colloquialism for sexy or wildly attractive? How is that at all focused on preserving a woman’s dignity? How is that about charity toward men, if the very act of modesty is apparently making women even more irresistable, more easily objectified?

As per usual, the women blaming and shaming debate on clothing and modesty has little to do with virtue, chastity, or dignity, and it has everything to do with lording over, controlling, and subjugating women. Where are the admonisions imploring upright men to discipline their own gaze and minds or to avoid pools if that is their cross? No where. It’s not about chastity. It’s about shouldering women with the lion’s share of the guilt and shaming them into accepting it. Deep down, it must also be about avoiding being truthful to themselves. If they focus on it being someone else’s fault, they do not have to indict themselves, they are not at fault.

Will I be dressing modestly? I will be dressing to reveal my dignity and my value as a human being. Will I leave anything to the imagination? Only someone who looks upon me as an object would allocate me as visually mysterious or not. I do not dress for these disgusting and perverted men. I dress for me, for my dignity, as an example for my daughters, and knowing that I am equal to men (See the Catechism), in intellect and value.

What will I wear? Whatever the *#$% I damn well please, and if it doesn’t trip your trigger, I will be one happy woman.

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Enough with the immodesty promoting blog posts….

RosalieContrite
July 9, 2017
This guy knows whats up, and he CARES about the souls of women. I wish all men were so moral and charitable.

It happened, again. Summer is so hard for upright women of God like myself. It is filled with selfish men who disregard the souls of biologically driven women so that they might wear whatever they please. Women are only responding naturally, the way God made them. This is not their fault.

Note the strategically placed overnight bag intended to make you think about sex!
Note the strategically placed overnight bag intended to make you think about sex!

Mass was a minefield. Men wearing tight pants that draw the eyes to their posteriors. You’re telling me they aren’t advertising something? You’re telling me they aren’t trying to make me desire them? I don’t believe anyone could be so naive. Why else would they dress like that? IF they didn’t want me to look, they would make themselves frumpy and grandfatherly. No, these men are attempting to provoke sin. They are disregarding the souls of women for the sake of fashion. Could anything be more sinful and uncharitable?

It’s like if I struggle with kleptomania, obviously any of the shop owners in town that allow their shops to remain open are in a state of sin because they are leading me to sin. Why is this so hard to grasp!?

Men should be asking their wives before they leave the house, “is this modest? Does this make you think lustful thoughts?” Wives should have the final say since only they know what goes on in the mind of a woman, particularly teenage girls.

Look at them. They literally have no control over their reactions.
Look at them. They literally have no control over their reactions.

Have you ever actually seen the bedroom of a teenage girl? They are so flushed with hormones that they wallpaper their rooms with “Belieber” posters and other men in various stages of attire! This is real! This is biological! Women are physically not able to just look away. Their hormones are raging! We need to have charity toward them. We need to stop being so selfish. It’s fashion. SOULS ARE AT STAKE!

Does it really matter if a man leaves the house intending modesty? No, it matters if he incites lust, and he needs to concern himself with the souls of the women around him! We can’t control the thoughts of others, but we can control what we wear. Men need to start throwing women a bone, instead of just crying foul when a woman howls at them or gives them a stare down. Would you really be wearing that second button unbuttoned if you didn’t want others to know about your assets? That’s what I thought. Pigs!

Shemar, we see you, and we upright women will not be taking your bait...Ok, maybe just a glance...
Shemar, we see you, and we upright women will not be taking your bait…Ok, maybe just a nibble…

I yearn for a time such as we had prior to the 1930’s when men were not allowed to trapse around without a top in public. They flaunt their nippled chests and stomachs with impunity today, and all so that they can “go swimming and have fun.” You better believe they are asking to be grabbed and oogled. They are basically wearing underwear in public. They only difference is the fabric. Would you wear your underwear in front of another woman?! They mean to give us BEDROOM THOUGHTS.

They will get no sympathy for me if they are victimized! They should know by now this is a woman’s world and women have hormones and drives. We can’t be expected to just look away and think about something else. That is ridiculous. That’s not how God made us.

This guy knows whats up, and he CARES about the souls of women. I wish all men were so moral and charitable.
This guy knows whats up, and he CARES about the souls of women. I wish all men were so moral and charitable.

I hope for the day when men dress with dignity. Modesty isn’t only about covering our bodies. It’s is about revealing your dignity! These men need to see their innate dignity and stop wearing the equivalent of underwear or asset accentuating suits in public.

Let us all pray for these lost men who have no idea the effect they have upon women, that they may see the error of their ways and the beauty of puritanical modesty. Amen.

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Are you condemning evil or contributing to it?

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We MUST speak out against clear evil. We always must, even if it upsets people and even when no one wants to hear it; however, we must resist another related evil.
We must resist the evil that is seeing ourselves as holy and upright because we boldly and bravely condemn evil.

We must not fall prey to the temptation to be cruel and malign other sinners simply because we are not guilty of the sin they commit. We must not give in to the temptation to purposefully be offensive because we believe anti-political correctness a virtue. Rudeness is not of God. His followers are meek and kind, full of grace.

Do not accept the truth in such a way that it allows Satan to sit between your heart and the truth, distorting the message turning you bitter, hateful, and arrogant. Satan doesn’t fear you having the truth. He fears you disseminating it with charity and compassion, for who would be turned from that truth?

Yes, we must have compassion. Compassion is not “being nice” or “not being offensive” but to suffer with someone. It is co-suffering. You cannot suffer with someone whom you do not know or with whom you have not spent any time. You cannot co-suffer with someone whom you are busy wounding.

The Pharisee did not mistake Jesus for condoning the sin of the sinners with which he spent time, and likewise you to can go out as salt and light preaching a message of truthful love and understanding. No one is converted by prideful grandstanding and vitriolous judgement.

Beat your chest before the chests of other wounded sinners, “mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!”

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Why my dog is not a child

Recently while I was strolling for a family walk with our new puppy, a stranger remarked, “Three kids?! You must be busy!”

For a moment I paused, thinking this man knew something I didn’t. I quickly realized he meant that the puppy was my third child and a definite part of the parenting handful.

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Admittedly, I was once a person who thought having a dog was just like having a furry human baby. I honestly did. I wasn’t making a political or philosophical statement. I had even been a nanny. I just couldn’t have known what I know now. This shift in my mind about children and dogs post-parenthood has been on my mind, as we have added a bouncing, baby livestock guard dog to our humble home.

I’m 100% an animal person; I love them. I have a veritable menagerie! (#CatholicArk) Even with my great affection for animals, I still must relay what the experience of having a puppy and small children at the same time has highlighted for me. They are not even close to similar.

You cannot feed kids from a bag that requires no cooking or preparation, three times a day. Good luck cooking a meal and getting your toddler to eat it on a day they’ve sworn off eating. Or, to wear pants. To the childrens’ credit, I’m sure if I made the puppy wear pants he’d rip them off, as well.

More or less, the dog is super stoked to find crumbs on the floor. (As will be a child if it’s in public, only in public!) He never complains or gets picky, nor does he have special allergies that require hourly consideration and planning. It is frowned upon for you to put your children in a crate. It is also frowned upon to put them on leashes.

You cannot send kids to the family doctor when you want to go on vacation, and pay a nice, low, daily fee. I’m certain my family provider would break up with us if we tried this. Anyone want to try this for science? Let me know.

You cannot just give them something to chew on and leave the house anytime you want to go out with friends. You cannot watch whatever movie or say whatever you want around children. While the dog won’t repeat that you think Bob down the street is a “darned hippy,” your kids will. They will do it in front of Bob, obviously.

My puppy likes to drink out of the toilet bowl until empty or chew on a bone for extracurricular activities. His literacy prowess is not of concern, and worrying about his second language development is not high up on my list of concerns. If he understands “sit,” we will be doing well.

While the puppy may need a quick potty run in the middle of the night for a few weeks until he matures, the baby I had four years ago is still iffy on potty training some days and definitely, does not sleep in a crate, unable to wake me in the night with her concerns about unpainted finger nails or looking to be serenaded.

The dog also never says, “MOOOOOMMMMMMMM! WHY?!” 😂👏🏻

To some this will probably seem like I’m saying, have a dog instead of a child. That is precisely not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that the experiences are not interchangeable, and they do not fulfill the space the other leaves. Man’s best friend is not a human child, and a human child is not man’s best friend. They are both distinct and wonderful relationships worth experiencing. Dogs have been domesticated and bred to serve alongside man and to serve him loyally. Children are the absolute greatest good and the future of our species.

I hope this reaches someone who believes owning a dog fills this void or informs them anything about the life of a parent. It does not. It may be a nice appetizer to prepare you for keeping someone alive, but it is not similar.

The complex and natural, lifelong relationship I have with my children is completely indescribable and dissimilar to having a dog, no matter how wonderous your puppy may be. (Ours is THE BEST!) The love and joy I have found in motherhood is not something I can convey to someone who has no children. It is something that has to be experienced to understand. All I can do is try my best to explain that you truly cannot know what you are missing until you have a child. It is not something you will regret. You cannot know this level of fulfillment and joy until you experience it.

I know that sounds convenient, like we’re a child cult trying to convince others to join our misery, but surely there would be a whistleblower somewhere? Wikileaks? Bueller? Consider how many people there are who have only dogs that believe dogs are like children versus the amount of people who have both who believe dogs are like children. Would you trust a person’s opinion on two experiences if they had only experienced one? It’s like getting that annoying dating advice from Suzie who never has a boyfriend but totally knows all the answers to your relationship problems.

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A dog will never have my eyes or make the same strange gestures as me or laugh over shared memories at family holidays. He will never make me examine just how difficult I can be, by acting just like me. He will never make me relate better to other humans as I realize that everyone I encounter is someone’s baby. Ask anyone about feeling emotionally “re-sensitized” after the birth of their child. It changes you and for the better. I will never want to put my dog before myself and in doing so, become a more selfless person. I will not grow old seeing him flourish before me, because he will be in an urn in my library.

What am I saying? I’m saying I love dogs. Truly. They are helpful, joyful, excellent company, and loyal, but they are not even close to the experience of having a human child, another experience, I highly recommend. This juxtaposition of relationships begs the question,  if someone claims to want to be child free, why would this same person want to pretend a dog is a child. Doesn’t that defeat the child free plan?

If you need further proof of the trouble with pretending canids are hominid offspring, look to all of the dogs harmed by being treated like a baby. Forcing a dog to fill a natural human void, denies them their right to be a dog, something we literally created them to be. Instead of being lead by a strong master, they are left to mow over their owners and rule their homes creating anxious, insecure environments where they feel obligated to step in as alpha. Ask any obedience trainer what causes dysfunction in dog obedience and behavior. They need order, and above all, they need to be dogs. (See Cesar Millan)

Of course after a long day raising the future citizens of the world, it’s nice to snuggle a fluffy dog who doesn’t talk back and just wants a butt scratch. I highly recommend both experiences.

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