"Do you really want to go down that road?"
"Do you love this earth? Do you want to stay on this earth? Do you need to be reminded who brought you into this earth?"
Oh my! Does any of this sound familiar? I think every mom at some point has said something similar to the above. Now add this...
"....because I am not only your teacher, but your MOTHER!"
Yep, ladies and gentlemen (that would be my husband...I think he is the only man that reads my posts), homeschooling is NOT FOR THE WEAK! Oh sure, if you look on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or read blogs (mine included), homeschooling looks like a walk in the park...a fun little day of tip toeing thru the tulips. It appears to be filled with fun crafts, experiments, and field trips. As much as you do have beautiful moments and share so many joys with your kids there are THOSE days. You know....those days that no one talks about. Those days that you find yourself in the pantry (with the door closed) eating chocolate chips out of the peanut butter jar because there is no time or patience to actually make something. Your children have pushed you to the edge, they have worn out every, last, drop of patience. You have switched hats between Mom, Teacher, Counselor, Principal, Custodian, Nurse, Lunch Lady, Campus Security and the day is no where near being over. Since, you homeschool and all your homeschooling moms/friends are busy homeschooling you cannot call anyone. The option to call up a girlfriend and go grab lunch, coffee, or get a pedicure does not exist. So, as you roll in your self pity you just assume your house/school/office/security guard station is the only one that runs like it is a complete looney bin. Why are these children so feral? You have not raised them this way...they have turned on you! How are you suppose to handle THOSE days because those days are not pictured and "liked" and "hearted" on Facebook?!
Let me tell you, I have had my fair share of days like that. In fact, yesterday was one of those exact days. One of my children (who shall remain nameless) decided the assignment was not to his/her liking. Not only was it not to his/her liking he/she decided to drag it out making it painful for everyone. Now, I tell myself all the time that some day the stubborn trait that runs firm through all of my kids will be a blessing. They will never be pushed around. They will stand firm in their beliefs and values. But on a day like yesterday it just seemed like a stubborn mule would have been easier to move. When you homeschool all of the lines cross like one big plate of spaghetti. You juggle hats like a BOSS but sometimes the crap (sorry) just rolls downhill...and you are at the bottom. Actually, if I am being accurate, you are at the bottom and under a huge pile of laundry but that is a post for a different day.
So, since I am trying to convince myself that I am not the only homeschooling mom who has CRAP DAYS (sorry, it just keeps coming out), I am going to attempt a short list of helpful tips. See, when you say "helpful tips" it already makes it sound a little bit better. Now, before I begin, let me make it very clear. I have not figured out how to keep from having THOSE type days. These kids of mine are human and their mom/teacher/principal/security officer.... is also human. We are going to have days like this (sometimes weeks or months) but as my wise grandma always said, "This too shall pass." Here are some things that I find helpful.
1. I must mention prayer and God first. Seriously, the only reason I started homeschooling was because God literally shoved our family into it. It wasn't a soft, gentle approach - He full on shoved. However, He has made sure that we are successful and really do love each other at the end of each school year. I have learned more about grace and mercy in the last five years of homeschooling than my entire life. When you are having one of those days pray and pray hard. Go to your room, shut the door (lock it if you have to, maybe even prop a chair under the door knob), drop to your knees, thank Him for those little blessings (remind yourself that your children are BLESSINGS), and then ask Him for the wisdom and guidance you need.
2. Have a secret stash of chocolate on hand at all times!!! Yes, chocolate and a hiding place (mine is the pantry, laundry room, backyard, garage, and my closet). When you are frantic you need options! Better yet, while your are hiding and eating chocolate also PRAY. God is not picky about where you pray and He will not judge you for eating while you pray.
3. Have a TRIBE. I have a short list of people that I know I can text at a moment's notice. This is especially helpful if you need to vent and the kids shouldn't hear what you are venting about (most likely them). Pick your tribe carefully. You need someone who will be compassionate; who will remind you that you are doing a good job. But then you also need another tribe member that will kick you in the booty, tell you to put your big girl panties on, suck it up, get back out there, and teach those BLESSINGS. Your tribe may be two people or it may be ten. Either way, they are crucial to your sanity. It is so easy as a homeschool mom to feel like you are alone. Call on your tribe!
4. Stay off of social media. When you are having one of those days DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT get on social media. Because while you are in the pantry stuffing your face the last thing you need to see is your friend from high school who is a size zero in a picture with her "perfect" kids AND she is eating a cupcake.... This will send you over the edge because in this moment your blessings are very much reminding you that they are not perfect and you are in the pantry eating anything you can find. You can worry about your jeans and how they fit later. You do not need her picture to remind you.
5. When things have settled down and you have regained perspective, remind yourself (maybe even write it down) why you chose to homeschool. Take the kids to the park or go get ice cream (yes, even if their behavior doesn't deserve it). Getting out of the house will help everyone. Remind yourself that you can do this...that you are doing this...and you are doing it well.
These were our co-op shirts from last year.
I think they are very fitting for this post. :)
The blessing built into THOSE days is that you appreciate the really great days so much more. When we sit back and think about it, there are so many more great days than "those" days. Your blessings are getting a quality education, they will graduate, they will move out of the house, they will give you beautiful grand baby blessings! This will happen, it must, it is the only thing keeping you going...wait, I think I may have gone a bit far on that one. Sorry, it is the peanut butter talking and there is very little air in this pantry...
You've got this! Through prayer, peanut butter, and chocolate you can do this!!!