You could say I’m fairly well tuned to the beat of homeschooling and motherhood, at least for kids still in the elementary age. I am homeschooling and mothering every day. I read blogs by honest mothers trying to do the same things I do. I attend a homeschool co-op and listen to other moms chat in the breakroom. I even read books written by homeschool moms and dads. Well, in all the information and advice I’ve gleaned through these different sources, I sense a conflict. If you’re a homeschooling mom, you probably feel this conflict, too, even if you haven’t tried describing it. I’m just beginning to put it in words.
The conflict is one between taking care of yourself and giving of yourself.
Self-care. It’s important, right? I’ve recently added “Quiet Time for Mom” to the top of my homeschool daily schedule. My kids are old enough now that I can safely leave them with their breakfast and puzzles and Barbies in the downstairs while I take a few minutes upstairs to be alone, read the Bible, a devotional, pray, write in a prayer journal. Then I come downstairs to be Teacher-Mom. But what about at 10:30 am when Teacher-Mom is on her second can of Mt. Dew (because it has been a two-can day already), the grand scheme of the schedule has not been played out yet, and it seems easier to just let everyone play while I plan dinner and switch loads of laundry, which is more relaxing, and besides, Homemaker-Mom is feeling guilty for being non-existent all morning? Or worse, what about the times Grumpy-Mom shows up and refuses to go away? What then? Is it okay to go take care of these other sides of Mom?
Or must I keep going, self-sacrificing, refuse to notice that I’m grumpy, or tell myself that an education is more important than a load of laundry? Give of myself more and more. That’s really a Biblical concept, and that’s what I should be striving after, right? Forget about those selfish yearnings to make money of my own so I don’t have to feel bad about asking my husband for more when my wallet runs out. Forget about wanting some time to do art alone without a thousand interruptions (after all, we moms live in phases, and the phase for being left alone will eventually come). Forget about that walk the kids used to love but now don’t. Forget about trying to be rested on a Sunday afternoon (because that hasn’t happened in forever). My job right now is to Be There. To Live Here with Children. To Be Dependent on my Husband. To Be the One my Children are Dependent On. To Be in the Middle of All These Conflicts.
That’s my conclusion. Being part of this conflict means I’m where I’m supposed to be. It’s a tough job we moms have. It’s confusing. There are no books or blogs written to truly solve this problem. God is a solution, I guess, but God makes it pretty clear that following Him isn’t supposed to be an easy thing. He knows the answers, but I will never understand what I want to understand.