She takes this really cool laissez-faire approach to mothering which is really refreshing in an age of piano-boyscouts-tennis-chess-soccer-moms. Her general attitude is "Let 'em do what they want, they'll figure out something good."
For example, the boys have lots of pets. At least one of everything you could think of. And when they bring something home and say "Can we keep it?" She says "Sure." If the boys want to wear tie-dye, or mix and match, or costumes, "Who Cares? As long as it's not hurting anyone."
And her kids are cool. Primarily as a result of this.
When I first met this mom, she was working on a knitting project. I asked her what she was working on, and she told me that she was knitting a rope - because that's what one of her boys had asked for. Later, I asked what he did it with - he used it as a jump rope, and hung from it, and built stuff with it.
When the school decided that one of her boys was just too "difficult," she decided to home school him.
I'm sure all of this sounds scary to your average "My home must be perfect and my marriage must be perfect and my child must be perfect" moms.
This past summer, one night I met up with this mom and she seemed bothered by something. It turned out that she had just received a phone call from someone casting a new reality tv show. The concept of the tv show was to find a household in dire straits and give it (and, in particular, the children) an obedience makeover.
She turned down the offer - which included quite a bit of cash. She just couldn't see allowing cameras into her home and how foolish her family could be made to look. Moreover, she was distressed that someone knew her, and knew her family and thought that they were in need of a makeover.
Because, when it comes down to it, she may live in a cluttered messy home with animals running all over and kids' and their projects on every surface - but she's raising happy children - not spoiled Stepford children who excel at every actvity and don't know what it means to just experiment and play and have fun.
According to the Daily News:
The concept of "Nanny 911" ... is to descend upon parents who are so utterly irresponsible and clueless that they A) allow their young children to run roughshod over them, and B) think nothing of allowing a TV crew into their homes to document all the bad behavior.
I'm proud to report that my neighbor, and her very lovely, very real children, will not be a part of it.