Close your eyes and imagine this scene for me. You are standing in your kitchen. Dishes are piled high in the sink. Crumbs are crunching underfoot. A stack of math books is on the counter, waiting to be graded. One child is crying over his grammar book. Another is sneaking outside instead of finishing her assigned reading. Your cell phone dings as another unread email comes in and the house phone is ringing for the umpteenth time. Hubby is on his way home from work and you forgot to defrost the chicken.
You’re about to crumble to the kitchen floor in tears.
Imagine that for a moment. The frustration, irritation and emotions that come with it. Then open your eyes and tell me, what goes through your head in those moments? What’s the soundtrack playing in your head?
Is it your mother’s voice? “You’re not qualified to homeschool.”
The neighbor? “Why don’t you meal plan? I do. Dinner is always on time.”
The mean kid from high school? “You’re stupid…and fat and ugly too.”
Your own worst enemy (yourself)? “What was I thinking, I can’t do this!”
Maybe you’re not qualified to homeschool (who truly is?). Perhaps you should meal plan. So what if you are fat? It doesn’t change the fact that you are important, special, beloved…a hero in your child’s eyes.
I want to tell you it’s okay. There’s hope. Tomorrow will be better. And if not tomorrow, then next week. The silver lining is coming. But if you want to have more good days and less of those days, you must learn to quiet that negative self talk. So I ask, why are you so hard on yourself, homeschool mom? What inflated ideal are you trying to live up to?
What’s your plumb line?
If you feel defeated, or not good enough, perhaps you’re using the wrong plumb line. Examine your ideals. Are you comparing your worst against everyone else’s best? Do you want Janet’s clean house (even though Janet is now an empty nester), Kelly’s delicious meals (what you don’t know is Kelly studied culinary arts), Molly’s toned thighs (she’s exercised religiously for years) and Beth’s adoring husband (bet you don’t know he wipes his mouth on the drapes)? A life as perfect and unrealistic as Pinterest?
Adjust your plumb line
Negative self talk is one of the biggest, perhaps the biggest, stumbling blocks for homeschool moms. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with women in the same walk of life — other homeschoolers. Allow yourself to be built up by real women who not only understand your unique challenges, but will inspire you to be the best you can be. And by “real women” I don’t mean negative, continually complaining women. I mean friends who are open, honest and positive.
Online friendships are great, but go beyond that. Connect in real life! Find a fellow homeschooler with whom you can have coffee. Join a moms group, or a prayer group. If you can’t find one, make one. Could you open your home one night a week? Once a month?
One of the biggest blessings in my adult life has been my homeschool mentor and friend, Mary. Mary is a homeschool mother of 9 (all of whom are now graduated) who opens her home every Thursday night for moms group. Some years I go sporadically, some years religiously. But I never fail to come away with a feeling of confidence and assurance.
Do you have a Mary in your life – someone to help you find your plumb line? Can you be a Mary in someone else’s life – help others find their plumb line?