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Confessions of a Homeschool Mom (part 3)

(Part 3 of 6)

#3 Our last name is not Jones, Smith, Miller, or Johnson

Raise your hand if part of the reason you began to homeschool was because you saw Mrs. Smith on a field trip with her kids in the middle of the day, smiles on faces, kids behaving, the first grader spouting facts that your 6th grader hasn’t quite grasped yet, and she herself just has it all together.

Raise your hand if you began homeschooling and can’t figure out how to get your school room looking like that other mom’s Pinterest post. Or maybe you’re still waiting for a school room because school would be so much smoother if you had a designated room for it.

Now, raise your hand if you feel inadequate and are questioning your worth as a Mom and homeschooler because you are convinced that all the other moms on Facebook and in your community group have it all together.

“Will I ever have it all together?”, you might be thinking. Or maybe “Mrs. Jones runs an amazing homeschool and she uses “Creating Geniuses” curriculum for all the subjects. That must be the answer I’m looking for!” you think as you look over and see your 2-year-old eating gum off the floor.

Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

The Bible says, “Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is hidden in Christ with God.” Colossians 3:1-3

Comparison. We all fall into this trap at some point in our lives.

 At its core, comparison is a form of bondage.

When we compare ourselves to others, we are bound by feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, and inferiority. It can leave us feeling drained of energy, trapped and hopeless, leaving ourselves to ask, “why bother?”.

I know. I’ve been there. I still go there sometimes.

There are days when I feel like a classroom teacher could do a better job than I am; like I am doing my children a disservice when we are having a not-so-productive day. Afterall, schoolteachers don’t have the luxury of taking a day off with their students just because they don’t “feel it” today.

Guess what? You aren’t a schoolteacher. You aren’t Mrs. Jones. Your kids aren’t forced to perform on days where they are “feeling off” too.

You are called to homeschooling because you are choosing the path that is best for YOUR family, not the neighbor’s family. And if your neighbor homeschools, their day is going to look different that yours because each of us is uniquely and wonderfully made. What works for them may not be a good fit for you.

The classroom is a place where children are forced to conform and fit into a mold, into someone else’s definition of “average”, “above average”, or “below average”. The classroom is not focused on “things above”. Where, then, is the freedom for children to become who they are created to be?

Homeschool is a place where YOU define what is “average’, “above average”, and “below average”, based on the criteria God gives you, as you focus on the things above. Homeschool is a place where your kids are free to become who they are created to be.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Fixing your eyes on Christ is freedom for you and your family.

#4 We filled half a 15 passenger van!

You read that right. We used to have a 15 passenger van, and filled it half way. There are 8 of us total in our family. Our oldest is grown and out of the home, leaving 7 of us still under the same roof.

How did we get to 6 kids? Well, as you learned from my first confession, our life doesn’t exactly look the way my husband and I thought it would! I’m grateful God had other plans for us, because the life we dreamed up would be boring in comparison to what we are living right now.

When we began homeschooling, most families were larger in number than those families with both parents working and the kids in school all day. I never spoke it out loud, but there was a part of me that felt I too needed a large family in order to fit in with this community. Couple that with the tug on my and my husband’s heart to trust God with our family size, and it wasn’t long before I entered a season of back-to-back pregnancies with nursing little ones in between.

I was nursing or pregnant for 7 years straight! When baby #6 was “in the oven”, I knew I was finished bringing life into the world. My husband wasn’t sure at first, but after listening to what was happening in my heart, and after my telling him I was so over having Small, Medium, Large, and Maternity sizes in my closet, he realized that this was God telling us our family was complete…that is of course with the exception of the future wives and husbands waiting for our crew 😉

The part of me that felt we needed to have enough kids for a football team in order to be accepted as a “true” homeschool family, subsided.

We have 3 boys and 3 girls – The Brady Bunch! And with our youngest being a boy, I finally got to use the boy name I had been holding on to since our oldest daughter was in the womb (we had 3 girls in a row). Our family is just as it should be, just as God planned for us. We were faithful to listen to Him regarding our family size and He was faithful to let us know when my stomach was no longer needed to house a wee one.

I don’t share this with you to make you feel like I’m somehow better or more accomplished than you are. I share this to impart to you that sometimes we carry around perceived expectations like a backpack, ready to stop and pull one out at any given moment. Backpacks can get heavy the more that’s placed inside them!

What perceived expectations do you have regarding your faith, your marriage, your motherhood, your purpose in life?

How do you know when an expectation is perceived and not an actual expectation? For me, I can tell the difference by how my thoughts surrounding the expectation make me feel emotionally and physically.

As I go through my day, or a season of life, I can feel a bit scattered or overwhelmed; like I’m spinning too many plates and they are all about to crash down if I stop to shower. When I feel this way, or when you feel this way, stop for a moment, let those plates “crash” for a hot minute, and ask, “what is making me feel so crazy right now? Do all these things truly need to be done right now, or today? How is the stress and anxiety showing up in my body? Am I tense in the shoulders, clenching my jaw, or making a fist?

Anything that I realize can wait until tomorrow or be completed by someone else, and anything that causing physical or emotional tension in my body is most likely caused by a perceived expectation.

Now, do we have times when life is just extra busy? Absolutely! In these moments, ask yourself, “is today uber busy because I over-planned our household schedule? Did I bring this on myself because I’m trying to show everyone that I am Super Mom and can do it all?”  Most of the time the answer to these two questions is yes. This means we are living out perceived expectations. I’m guessing that if you asked your husband, your family, your friends if they expect you to do half of what you choose to do on a daily basis, they would say “No! We think you are amazing no matter what! You are doing a great job!”

If they aren’t encouraging you along your journey, it might be time for open, honest conversations with a spouse or family member, or maybe a new circle of friends.

One final note about perceived expectations, I’m not saying we should live our lives with no expectations at all, we need some guidance, because as Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

What I am saying is that many times we take action based on what we feel others expect of us, and we forget to ask God what HE wants from us.

When you wake up in the morning, and as you go about your day, ask your Creator “what do you want me to do for You today, Lord?” Bonus if you can get away to a quiet space for even just a few minutes, take a deep breath, exhale any tension, and just “be”.  This is a great time to think about and, even better, write down all that is going through your mind – we call this a brain dump – and ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way? Is the negative stuff I’m saying to myself true, or am I saying things to myself that I would never say to another human being?” When you identify your emotions and realize that your negative thoughts are really lies, take a few more minutes to release the emotions and to replace your untrue thoughts with His Truth.

Now you are ready to conquer the rest of your day with His expectations, not false, perceived expectations. Don’t you feel better already?!

Pam-Spinker_Bio-Sidebar

Pam Spinker
Author-Speaker-Mentor

I help Christian homeschool moms, just like you, thrive in your home and in your walk with Christ. If you question your abilities, or feel like you’re drowning in homeschooling, you’re in the right place! 

I’m here to help! 

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