I’m in our favorite supermarket with the kids. We’re at the bakery waiting for a free cookie. Goodness knows how we love that free cookie.
One of the girls behind the counter knows me from elementary school – knows I homeschool. She chuckles, shakes her head, and says the words that have so often made me cringe:
“I don’t know how you homeschool. I could NEVER homeschool my kids. Seriously, HOW do you do it?!”
(Have you heard those words before? They are usually accompanied by a look of total exasperation at the mere thought of homeschooling her own children.)
I find these kinds of statements incredibly uncomfortable for a few reasons…
1. My kids are usually with me, which makes them feel that I’ve taken on some impossibly miserable task by choosing to be with them 24/7. (Which, of course, is the farthest thing from the truth!)
2. The statement suggests that I’m some kind of Super Mom with powers that far surpass those of every other ‘regular’ Mom in the room.
3. It also suggests that homeschooling is radically hard and unnatural but SOMEHOW I’m struggling to manage. *sigh*
When people ask the question “How do you do it?” I’m sure they don’t know how loaded the words truly are for the Mom in question. I mean, this question could actually mean about a hundred different things. Some possibilities include:
How do you actually teach 3 kids at 3 different grade levels?
How do you choose curriculum?
How do you clean your house when 6 kids are all home ALL the time?
How do you actually get your boys to write?
And sadly, more often than not, I think the comment really means:
How on earth do you put up with your children all day, every day?
*gulp* Let’s be honest. That is totally what most Moms mean.
Want some truth?
I actually really love being with my kids all day, every day. Like, seriously, totally LOVE being with them. Aaaannnd all their friends on many days – we really need one of those fancy 16-seater vans…
Want some more truth?
I didn’t always love being with my kids all day. Or any other kid for that matter. So I can completely relate and have empathy for Mamas who ask these types of questions and have these types of feelings.
I used to be completely stressed out, lacking peace, patience, love, kindness, grace – all the things I so desperately WANTED to have for my children. I didn’t take the time to truly enjoy the moments I had with my children, and I certainly didn’t think I had the time or energy to invest in relationships with any other kids. I was too busy and too stressed out about, um, something or other. *cough*
Want the best truth?
Without my faith in Jesus, I would by drowning fast in a sea of selfish Motherhood.
I would lack joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and all the other beautiful and wonderful fruits that only the Spirit of God makes possible in me.
And my children would be paying the price.
I wouldn’t be ‘doing it’ like all those people keep saying I am.
That’s the deep down truth. Maybe some Mamas can totally ‘do it’ without Jesus – but I cannot, and I’m not ashamed at all to admit my need for Him. Jesus Christ is my Everything. He radically changed who I am at the very core of ‘me.’ He transformed this selfish, grumpy, stressed out Mama and slowly brought me to a place of (more) selfless, joyful parenting and meaningful, intentional homeschooling. To a place where I deep-down LOVE to be with my kids.
I am BY NO MEANS ‘there’ – I am such a work in progress, oh goodness. But, praise God, I am certainly not where I was, all glory to Him for that.
For me, the real answer to the question “How do you do it?!” is this: Jesus.
I do it because Jesus is transforming me and lives in me, giving me what I need to ‘do this’ faithfully and to the best of my ability in Him.
I think people perceive homeschooling my kids as so ridiculously difficult because they just don’t see that it is not by my strength and wisdom that I operate.
Without God’s hand on me and His guidance in my life – homeschooling would be remarkably difficult. But WITH Him, homeschooling is a joy and an honor and, honestly, not really that hard at all.
Yes, He has so radically changed who I am and what I value and pursue that Homeschooling has become as natural as breathing to me, and my children have become the deepest and most beautiful blessing. I mean, I can also take it right back to the beginning and confess that without the many ways Christ has changed my heart – I wouldn’t even have considered staying home full-time to bring up and educate three little people. I’m nothing special. It’s only the amazing God I serve who makes anything I do possible… Now, I need to get the guts to actually just SAY that to the lady at the store.
And where would I be without His daily presence? Without His ultimate peace, and His loving, guiding hand on my life and our little moments? Lost. That’s where I’d be.
So, that’s how I do it, friends.
I do it because Jesus makes it possible for me to do all things through Him.
Now, I want to remember to give Him the glory next time I am asked the question “How do you do it?!“