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*Sharing an AWESOME guest post with you all today from my friend Ann!*
Homeschooling is a task that calls for a lot from us moms. It affects EVERY area of life, it seems. It’s called the “homeschool lifestyle” for a reason, y’all!
Here’s another thing that affects EVERY area of a woman’s life: emotions. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely got ’em. And they can make themselves VERY noticeable sometimes.
So what happens when homeschooling and emotions mix?? Because they do, don’t they? Sometimes it seems like homeschooling can push all of our buttons. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I’ve noticed that there are certain things about homeschooling that tend to cause me to have a melt-down get more emotional. There are five scenarios that happen to me regularly, all of which have the potential to give birth to five types of homeschool moms that I DON’T want to be.
See if you can find yourself in any of the following:
1) Having to be a task-master all day. Otherwise known as trying to keep the daily schedule intact, lol. Wow, there are times when I feel like the kids have no desire to move any faster than molasses. And if one kid gets behind, everything snowballs – including my plans for my time. So I start nagging… and the more I nag, the more I get wound up about staying on schedule – and the more unglued I become.
2) Discipline issues. Aargh. I really prefer to avoid child training, don’t you? But we know that if we avoid it, it’ll come back to bite us later. I’ve heard it called credit card parenting: you put off dealing with an issue, but eventually you’ll be forced to – and then you’ll pay interest. I’d laugh except it’s so painfully true!! The crazy thing is that having to discipline our kids can often tempt us to exhibit behavior that is just as bad as theirs. Disciplining in anger is not unheard of in my house… been there, done that. Yesterday, in fact. 🙁
3) Children not learning as quickly or as well as I think they should. Don’t you get impatient sometimes, wondering why your kid just doesn’t “get it”? I know I do. Some of this has to do with personalities – after all, they’re our kids, so they will know how to drive us crazy, lol — and some of it is that we adults who have more knowledge forget to have patience with someone who of course isn’t going to know as much. What seems obvious to us is not going to be so obvious to them.
4) Having to clean and cook and teach and serve all day every day with no break to even go to the bathroom without being trailed by someone who needs something. So that we feel like we are constantly giving and not receiving. Which is wearing to our emotions, and gives us a martyr syndrome – and then we need to let everyone know about it. (Don’t ask how I’m able to just lay that out there in all its gory detail without even pausing to think about it.)
5) Guilt that I’m doing it all wrong. Like, all of it. The schooling, the character training, the cooking and cleaning – we can get to feeling extremely inadequate. Which can often lead to a sort of paralysis, where we don’t feel like attempting anything, because we just KNOW it won’t go right. Tell me I’m not the only one who gets there sometimes!
So what’s a girl to do? Giving into these issues by screaming and yelling or kicking holes in walls (don’t ask – but yes, the plural is intentional. Who knew drywall was so thin? Sigh.) is obviously not the solution. The way I see it, the road to dealing with our emotions as we homeschool is a two-fold process. On the one side, we need to address our heart issues. But also, we need to amend the logistics of the situations themselves.
Let’s look at each of the above scenarios again, this time with solutions in mind.
I’d love to go into greater detail for all of these, but for now I’m just going to provide food for thought. It won’t be difficult for each of us to ponder these and find our own ways to apply them.
1) Task Master Mom: In our hearts we need to recognize the sovereignty of God in our day-to-day moments. The milk that gets spilled that needs to be cleaned up that makes us late getting started in the morning is not a surprise to Him. We also need to see the bigger picture – God’s purposes are more important than our agenda. One thing that would help logistically is to make room for margin in our schedules. Build in time between tasks. Take some tasks off the list altogether.
2) Angry Disciplinarian Mom: I think we often get angry at our kids for misbehaving because we see it as a reflection of ourselves. “How dare they act that way? I never taught them to do that!” We are personally offended, even though the actual offense was not against us. Or we are just SO disappointed that the child made that choice, because we know it is not in their best interest. We need to learn to recognize that our child’s sin is not about us. “The wrath of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Rather, it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4) – and the same will be true for our children. This does not mean no consequences. In fact, that is part of the practical solution. Set up consequences for behavior and be consistent to stick to them. When consequences are decided in the rational moments, then during the conflict it’s easier to stay calm. I must confess I am STILL working on this one, though my kids are almost all teenagers and above.
3) Impatient Teacher Mom. Practically speaking, educating ourselves about learning styles is crucial as homeschool moms. I did not pay as much attention to this as I should have. It’s actually quite fascinating, and it’s fun to discover where family members fit. Now that my kids are older, I am better able to see which ones learn like their father and which ones learn like me. I wish I’d figured it out sooner. It becomes a lot easier to be patient when we are willing to accept that the child learns differently than we do. And on a more spiritual level, who are we to be impatient about our child butchering the multiplication tables, when there are lessons God has been trying to teach us for YEARS that we are still struggling to grasp?
4) Poor Me Mom. This is one is easy to fall into. It happens when we take our eyes off of our calling and focus on our own wants. But the fact is that we were bought with a price, and Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. BUT there is also such a thing as self-care. We do need to build time into our day for rest, exercise, and a little bit of “me” time. This is not selfish — I liken it to the idea of putting my oxygen mask on first (“In the event of a loss of cabin pressurization…”), so that I can help my child with theirs. I need to take care of myself so that I can be a better wife and mom and servant.
5) Inadequate Mom. I think there is a bit of pride involved here, at least for me. I want to be REALLY good at everything – at least I want everyone to THINK I’m really good at it. But the fact is I’m not, and I won’t be. But I am always reassured by the idea that God gave me to these children as their mother and their teacher, because He thought I would be best for THEM. He wants ME in their lives. And in my weakness, He is strong. It’s not about me; it’s about Him working in me and through me. But it’s hard for me to remember this if I am not in His Word. Spending time in the Bible is crucial towards maintaining a right mindset about who I am and who He is.
So often when we get emotional it’s because we have lost sight of our big God and are dwelling on our circumstances. In each of these five scenarios I can remember that I don’t want to be THAT mom. I can think on the truth as it’s found in God’s Word, while at the same time taking some practical steps to help alleviate the situation.
*Like this post? Then you will want to keep an eye out for the new iHN book Homeschooling: what to do when you want to quit.. This is just a snippet of what is to come in the book! Also, be sure to head over and check out Ann’s blog. She’s the real deal!
Ann is a 40-verysomething (ahem) homeschooling mom of five. She has been married for 26 years to her never-boring husband who travels two weeks per month; and she has homeschooled all of her children since pre-kindergarten, graduating three of them so far. Doing this while living in the boonies very rurally outside of Branson, Missouri, she has had to find ways to simplify her life in order to keep her sanity! 🙂 At Annie and Everything she blogs about making any and everything as easy and cheap as possible – frugality, homeschooling, and a bit about homemaking, motherhood, marriage, and other aspects of being a woman thrown in for good measure. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+.