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Where I Have Fallen Short as a Homeschool Mom

Where I Have Fallen Short as a Homeschool Mom

In this world of social media, we tend to only see and share the best in ourselves. While we don’t choose the stress and anxiety of seeing all the drama, there is a difference between being dramatic, and sharing your authentic self. People appreciate realness. Women who look to society for approval need other women to be real so they see themselves in others, find connections, and realize “I’m not broken, I’m human. I experience real humanness.”

In the name of being real and transparent, I’d like to share with you some places I have fallen short as a homeschool mom. Let this serve as a caution for that which you have not yet experienced, and as a common ground to that which you have.

I have fallen short in holding on to the idea that I have to be a perfect Mom. The one that wakes up early with a smile on her face, gets in a 60 minute workout, reads her Bible and prays for another hour, enjoying her coffee hot without having to top off in order to maintain temperature. She awakens her children who promptly and excitedly get out of bed, get dressed in the clothes they laid out the night before, brush their hair, and head downstairs to a super-highly nutritious breakfast that I made fresh while they were getting ready for the day. Everyone sits down, enjoys a meal together, cleans up the mess, heads to the bathroom to brush teeth, grabs school books, and each subject flows flawlessly throughout the day in the allotted time listed on the schedule neatly displayed on the fridge. After school, play dates abound! Kids enjoy time with others while mom chats away with other moms. Husband/Daddy is home, time to prep dinner! Another highly nutritious meal enjoyed by the entire family sitting around the dining room table. Team up for clean up. Family play time, sports or clubs flow freely after dinner. Home, showers, bedtime stories, prayers, kids in bed by 8:30pm.

Did you laugh a little? A lot? Did you see any of your expectations in there? Did you feel stressed or exhausted?

Me too. I realized after several years of attempting to be the model wife and mother that all I was doing was adding stress to our full life, and putting up an image of a wife and mom that other women felt they could never touch. Many women thought I had everything figured out and it made them think they themselves were trainwrecks. I’ll admit, it felt good to get compliments about how my household appeared. I also felt guilt, as I knew the truth.  I knew the above paragraph was not reality. I knew that other wives and mothers felt they had to live up to those standards too, and none of us, in reality, could do it. I was doing a disservice to other women and I did not like it at all. Who am I to make another mom feel bad in order to make myself look good? That is not the person I choose to be!

Not only was I doing a disservice to other women, but also to my family.  I was so busy attempting to do all things and do it to perfection, that there was a lot of unsettledness and hustling and bustling in our home. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being a wife and mom, and our kids are amazing humans. I’m just not quite sure how that happened when Mom was always stressed about something. The only thing I can point to is “But God…” Learning to relax a little and give myself and my family grace has changed the atmosphere in our home, and I enjoy being a mom even more now.

I have fallen short in staying mindful of the gifts God designed in me. I spent many years of our homeschool journey with the feeling that I wanted to be involved in something other than my role as Mom. Again, I love my kids, and homeschooling is a blessing; I just realized that when people asked me what I was good at, I didn’t have an answer…or, rather, I forgot the answer. “Mom” is not my identity, nor is it your identity; it’s one of the roles we carry in life.

Many stay at home moms fall into this temporary amnesia. We spend so much time pouring into our children and the home, that we put ourselves on the back burner. When our kids are little, it’s difficult to find those moments of alone time, and as they get older, it becomes easier. The time in between is when it’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of the gifts God has given you. Since time is precious and your focus is on husband, kids, and home, find ways to use your gifts within the home and your family. Utilize them in your community and/or church. Use them to reach other moms on social media and any women’s or moms’ groups you may belong to. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just something to keep your gifts fresh in your mind and active in your life, so that when the kids are older and when they eventually leave the nest, you aren’t at a loss of what to do next.

I fell short in shifting my focus too much, too soon.  Piggybacking on the above, I hit a point in my life when my kids were old enough for me to be gone or home in my office for a few hours a day. My husband is home by early afternoon, so as soon as school is finished, I have time to work on God’s plans for me. 

Several years ago, an opportunity for me to tap into something big outside the Mom role presented itself. I was excited to have something of my own. I enjoyed having time to spend with friends and other amazing women. I enjoyed the possibilities that lay ahead. But I dove in with both feet and my kids began to get the leftovers of my time and attention. This does not make for a pleasant or thriving homeschool environment.

I was back to the stress of each day, I was lacking patience with my kids during school hours, I tried to do a little of my new adventure during school time, and as soon as the books went away, Mom disappeared into her office or to a meeting. 

Enter Mom Guilt. It’s real y’all. I felt selfish and guilty that my kids weren’t getting the better parts of me. I didn’t like the fact that I was thinking about this new adventure from the moment I woke up to the time I fell asleep. I realized I was enjoying the idea of this adventure, just not enjoying the adventure itself. How could that be? It’s a beautiful adventure for so many people. What was happening?

What happened was I wasn’t allowing myself to see that this adventure was in my life as a tool to lead me to skills and unlock gifts I forgot I had. It wasn’t God’s goal for me or my family, He used it to get me to where He wants me.

Now, changes have been made and I am present during school hours. I am now utilizing the skills from my adventure to bless others in the homeschool community and beyond…yet not beyond the circles I’m already in, which melts away the stress and anxiety. I am flourishing where God planted me, and I am refreshed and energized for what lies ahead!

I fell short in being a fun mom.  Maybe it was tiredness, or maybe it was the striving for perfection. Whatever it was, there was a season when I was very involved in the day to day activities of our children, yet I wasn’t taking time to have fun with my kids.  Yes, I came up with some fun, creative ways to do school in our home, yet I wasn’t spending time just sitting on the floor with a game, or racing Hot Wheels down the hallway. It happened, but not very often. I choose to be a Mom that my kids want to be around, to have a relationship with, and to bring others around to our home. It’s important to connect with your kids. Home and parents should be a safe place for them. I believe that parents can and should be parents, and also grow into a sort of friends roleas their kids get older. There is something extra special about an adult child wanting to come home often to be with the family, or to go out with their parents and their significant other. I’m thankful God shed this light on my parenting and softened my heart to being a Mom that takes the time to play.

I fell short in my faith. While this is the final area I’ll mention here, it’s the most important area to be attentive to in your life. Like many people, my faith ebbed and flowed for a season of my born again life. I would be on fire and excited one day, and then barely touch my Bible the next. My husband and I enjoy serving in many capacities, especially when it comes to the church. Leading Bible studies and serving in different ministries can become just another task on the to-do list when your relationship with Christ is on autopilot. There will be days when you don’t open your Bible or spend some time in prayer, but this should not be the habit or the norm. I recently heard the results of a survey of over 400,000 people. When one reads the Bible once a week, trace evidence, if any, of a changed life is seen. The same is true for those who only read 2 or 3 times a week as well. When a person reads the Bible 4 or more times a week?? Remarkable, noticeable, distinctive life change happens! This happens because the Word becomes more ingrained in your heart and mind the more often you interact with it. Sweet, friend, the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your community, is to spend time daily in the Word. Get it on an audio app, set aside time to hide in your closet and read, listen to pastors and teachers on podcasts and YouTube; however you can consume the Word, do it! I promise you you will not regret it.


Pam Spinker

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!