Own the Road You Travel

by Sandy Gordon Frankfort on September 5, 2013

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Boys Waterfall BLW

After giving birth for the first time and choosing what instinctually felt right, I was told I wasn’t doing things the “right way.” I was, and still am, whispered about, talked about and judged by many. I know this because I eventually hear about it. I really don’t care what people say or think of me, but today I’m choosing to use it as fuel for my message.

Since becoming a mother, I’ve witnessed how others live to judge and tell you, either to your face or behind your back, what you are doing wrong in terms of parenting. Everyone is an expert it seems. They will make it known every time they disagree with the way you choose to live your life or raise your children.

I live a life I am proud of. I hope you do as well. I am connected to my higher purpose. I am grateful for my family and my life. I am doing my best, with pure intentions, patience, acceptance and love in my heart.

I believe traveling is one of the best ways to open the mind to curiosity. You will not learn everything about the world while you are traveling, but you will be exposed to new ways of life and things you never knew existed. I believe this is one of the most important decisions and choices my husband and I made. We are teaching our boys that the world we live in is not the only world there is.

Many people thought, and still think, we are crazy for not enrolling our boys in school yet and choosing this path of traveling. At the moment the world is their school, and education is in front of and around them every day, with ancient history, new cultures, different ways of life and more. What we choose to do in the future will be our decision. We will always do what is best for our children based on who they are and what they need.

People warned me if I breastfed too long, our boys would be weak or too attached. If I co-slept, they wouldn’t know how to be by themselves. Now these same people have bets that we won’t continue this journey for the year we planned, and each is waiting to collect on that.

This time, it isn’t about extended breastfeeding, bedsharing, babywearing, or veganism, but rather it’s about the fact that some people think we are doing a bad thing by traveling around the world with our children.

Our boys are strong, independent and can’t wait to venture out every day. They have beautiful and expressive spirits. They are centered, and they are free. They are loving this experience and growing each day. We are all in this together. We all make time for our relationships and time alone.

Our kids are not perfect. We do not live a perfect life. We struggle and suffer and face challenges just like everyone else. I don’t claim to have everything figured out. I simply choose to have a positive outlook and a lot of gratitude for every day I am given.

As I type this right now, I question whether I should just let all of this go and not post my feelings about this matter. Maybe I should do what Abraham Lincoln used to do, write this letter, let it sit in my desk for a day and file it away, never to be sent. That isn’t the answer though. I am sharing this because I want to tell you to LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE. DO NOT let others put their self-doubt, their unfulfilled dreams, their negative attitudes, fear or insecurities on you.

I am happy to be away from home right now. I am happy to be away from the microscopes, the expected norms of society and self-appointed parental control officers. I am happy to be free in a world where togetherness and intimacy is not only accepted but encouraged. I am happy to raise our boys with our beliefs and values. I am happy they love and respect nature and are participants in other cultures and societies beyond the comfortable bubble we popped.

I am happy to make mistakes and learn from them without those people clapping their hands or smiling when we fail. I am happy we are all growing and enriching our lives and our relationships more than ever. I am happy we are in this together, through the good and bad.

If you want to join us on this journey, we are happy to have you. I believe we are raising boys that will be healthy, contributing parts of the society they choose to live in. This is what matters to us.

As for those of you who can relate to my feelings, please remember this is your life. You have been given what you see in the mirror, and your choices are yours. Ask yourself if you are running away from something or chasing your dreams. Choose based on what you believe. I am not here to justify why I believe this journey is amazing or why I do anything for that matter, although this letter seems to be doing exactly that. I am sharing this with you because I hope you don’t feel the need to justify or defend against these types of people in your own lives. People who refuse to look in the mirror and would rather look out the window and tell others how to live.

I feel a lot better now. Even if I never post this, writing helps me work through my feelings. If, in fact, you are reading this, I believe I made the right decision in expressing myself. We will begin a new adventure today and enjoy each moment. I wish the same for you.

sandy-signature

 

 

 

The views expressed and choices made by the contributors on this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of Attachment Parenting International (API) as a whole and are not necessarily connected to API’s Eight Principles of Parenting.

 

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Sandy Gordon Frankfort (12 Posts)

Sandy Gordon Frankfort is a proud Attachment Parent and loving Mother of two boys. Sandy founded her company Baby Love Wrap based on her firm beliefs in Attachment Parenting. She writes in order to connect and share with others on this amazing journey of Life. Please join Sandy and her family on their trip around the world at Four Love of the Globe and get involved in the discussions all things, Parenting, Life and Love. Stay connected on Facebook as well on Baby Love Wrap and Four Love of the Globe Much Love and Support to all of you doing the most important and rewarding job on Earth.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Vedjen September 6, 2013 at 1:19 am

Thank you. I needed this today.

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Sandy Frankfort September 6, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Thank you for reading, Vedjen. I’m glad. So did I :)

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Julinda September 6, 2013 at 10:52 am

Thanks for this inspirational post! I am often held back not only by what others might think/say but by my own fears, so your courage in living the life you choose inspired me.

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Sandy Frankfort September 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Thank you so much Julinda! I haven’t allowed myself to be held back but other’s opinions get to me sometimes and this is why I felt compelled to write and share my thoughts. My wish for you and all of us is that we live our lives despite fear of other’s thoughts or opinions or their judgement against us.

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Andrea September 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

This was a great thing for me to hear today. I think as parents we struggle daily with these social norms that we know don’t fit into our particular ways of parenting. I think what you’re doing is great for your boys. I hope to keep a few phrases from your writing in my head to repeat like a mantra when I’m around my incredibly neurotic mil.

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Sandy Frankfort September 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Thank you so much Andrea. Yes, I too repeat these mantras in my head :) I am thankful we all have each other. I appreciate you taking the time.

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Cindy September 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Amen sister! We are AP parent, co sleeping, long term bf, the whole deal and vegetarians. We get the same attitude every day. Boston burbs are a hotbed of “insecure, unhappy people with unfulfilled dreams”….and big mouths too. You sound like excellent parents. Keep on your path.What an incredible way to experience the world and grow up. Teaching our children is natural, institutionalized schooling is not. We received complaining letters from my 4yr olds preschool teacher that he was trying to teach the other kids about atoms and how to multiply. Around here $$ sneakers and backpacks are more important than intelligence. Pathetic.

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Sandy Frankfort September 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Thank you so much Cindy! I wish we lived closer! You sound like my kind of woman! I wish the same for you. Continue on your path. It’s natural and it’s yours. Also, your son will continue the atom conversation despite resistance, thanks to your encouragement and support! I’m so happy to meet you. :)

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Kari September 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Awesome. Keep it up!

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Sandy Frankfort September 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Thank you so much, Kari :)

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Kari September 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Oh, and I’m right there with you in terms of people thinking I’m crazy at times. It can be lonely.

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Sandy Frankfort September 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Thank you. I’m so happy we all have each other amongst the craziness. :)

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Bethany Whitaker September 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm

This was so empowering. Unfortunately, how I choose to parent is not seen as the “usual or correct” way. I do struggle to admit to other people to choices that I’ve made and why even though I firmly believe in those choices. I know I’m doing the best I can which is a bloody great job. You’ve just given me the confidence to openly support how I parent. I guess you could have called me a “in the closet” attachment parent :-)
Not anymore.
One more thing, I never even thought to take my son traveling for a long period of time to do what you are doing. This is going to be my goal from now on… What a magical adventure full of life’s lessons and mysteries. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Thank you again. I’m so glad you posted this today. X

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Sandy Gordon Frankfort September 13, 2013 at 2:42 am

Hi Bethany!

I’m so happy you are ‘out of the closet’! There will always people to judge and disagree but it’s our own reaction and confidence that will deflect how it makes us feel. There is no correct or usual way…although our society and the norms within it make us think there is.

I encourage you to be proud of yourself and your choices and when they don’t feel right, it’s up to you to make decisions to adjust. That is the wonderful thing about trusting your instincts.

Thank you for your kind words and I’m so happy to have you along on our journey. Please visit our website and facebook page for photos and updates along the way! Four Love of the Globe :)

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Sarah September 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm

BRAVO! I believe all of this with all my heart, our family doesn’t fit into any normal category. We slept with our oldest until he was excited about being in his own bed, but still he likes to snuggle and talk to sleep. Our youngest, at 5.5 still sleeps right next to me…sometimes he tries to sleep with both feet and hands under if he can! I breastfed both boys as long as they wanted, one until 2 the other until 4.5. We have found that often we feel a little between all groups of others…we aren’t homeschooling, nor do our children have typical pleasures (no constant screen time, very limited shows!), we let our boys play sports, but don’t make it overly serious, we live what others call a “small” house, but we love the intimacy. We like this path. I appreciate post like yours that share the joy of being the family you are, enjoy your travels :)

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Gayle September 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

Thank you so much for writing and sharing this! I’ve been doubting myself lately with all the negative comments I’ve been getting on how I’m raising my son. I really needed this!

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Megan Oteri (memomuse) September 10, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Sandy.

Well written. You are doing what so many people wish they could do. The people that criticize are most likely jealous.
I don’t understand why attachment parenting is criticized so much — it is about building and nurturing an attachment. Obviously there are other principles and factors but primarily is about building and nurturing the bond of parent and child.
I am sure your children are building attachments to a whole different side of education. They are living and learning and learning and living. I am a former public school teacher and I think children do learn best by engaging with their environment. And it seems your children are doing just that. I look forward to reading more about your adventures.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

“I’ve never let my school interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain
(I saw this quote on your Facebook page)

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” (this is my favorite quote as an educator about education. I have a plaque with this quote I always hang in my classroom.
― Robert Frost

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BonnieJeanne September 12, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how much I needed this at this exact point in my life. Thank you so much for encouraging me to get my power back and dust off that confident Momma that lives deep within me. Your words have inspired me so much to stay true to myself. Never forget that yourself. It sounds like you and your family are on one amazing journey together. Always remember that your children chose you both as parents for a reason so other people who just don’t get that can just zip their mouths and continue living their surface lives. Much love sent to you! And safe travels.

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Farzana September 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

RESPECT!!! Thank you so much for posting this. You have just become my biggest hero! :) Wishing you and your family a prosperous life together as a loving union. Enjoy your free floating life! <3

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