Can I tell you something that’s hard to admit? I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year being a miserable homeschool mom.
Countless hours of training have gone into perfecting my craft. I’m excellent at complaining about parenting struggles, whining through hard days, and generally being difficult to be around.
After our most challenging homeschooling year yet, I have it down. Here’s how you can be a miserable homeschool mom too!
Deprive yourself of a break.
A trip to the grocery store alone does not count. I repeat. Grocery stores do. not. count.
It took a long time (and more than a few therapy sessions) for me to realize that I was burned out. Done. Fried. I learned the hard way that me not getting a break only affected my family in a negative way. Loving yourself = Loving your family.
Compare your curriculum choices to everyone else’s.
There are a thousand and one curriculum choices out there. Use what gets the job done in your home and feel good about it! In the end, math is math and grammar is grammar. It’s great to get feedback from other parents and hear about what’s working for them, but just because XYZ curriculum is working wonders for your friend’s family doesn’t mean you should switch things up in your home.
Try to be a nature walk educating kind of family when you’re just not.
As much as I tried to get my kids to love field trips to historical museums, nature walks, and “learning through doing”, they would both rather just get their work done and forget about school for the rest of the day.
Believe that your child’s struggles are a direct result of your decision to homeschool.
I don’t know if there’s anything worse than watching your child struggle and not be able to “fix it” immediately, but beating yourself up with mom guilt over all the ways you’ve screwed him up isn’t going to help. Whatever struggles your child is having are likely hardships they would face no matter where they went to school. Instead, focus on the fact that homeschooling has likely provided some flexibility at a time when your family needs it most.
Take it personal when your child doesn’t love school.
My youngest would rather be doing anything other than school work. Inspiring him or getting him excited about school feels next to impossible most days. It’s hard to admit that he doesn’t really like school. What kind of homeschooling mother does that make me? We’re past the stage of making things crafty and fun. Five paragraph essays don’t learn how to write themselves. He doesn’t love it, but it’s his job to do it.
Care what others think about your choice to homeschool.
Even after eight years, I still find myself falling into this trap. Eight years! You’d think I wouldn’t care anymore, but every once in a while…I do. Just yesterday I was at an appointment with my son and I felt that judgment. Let.it.go! There will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t get it.
Cut yourself off from support.
If there’s ever a time we need to be able to “phone a friend” it’s now. I wouldn’t have made it through some really horrible homeschooling days without the encouragement of dear friends who get it. Find your tribe. Call them.
Forget that you are more than a homeschool mom.
This job can be all consuming. There are days when I feel like I eat, sleep, and breathe homeschooling. People say that mothers never get a break. It’s a 24/7 job. Throw homeschooling into the mix of motherhood and parenting and the lines that define our responsibilities to our families are so easily blurred.
We need to do things that don’t have anything to do with our job. I wasn’t always able to say this, but I found things that help make up the definition of me that don’t have anything to do with my kids or schooling them. When I’m not wearing my homeschool mom hat, I love running, yoga, and reading books that don’t have anything to do with homeschooling.
Neglect prayer and quiet time.
Last year was probably the most challenging year our family has ever endured. In fact, I take that back. It was the hardest. Hands down. One thing that made it even harder was neglecting my time in God’s Word and prayer. Some mornings I read my bible and I’m not sure what the take away is until the day progresses. I begin to notice things that were once hard-aren’t. Situations that are usually stressful don’t get the best of me and I have a perspective on the day that’s not mine. That’s good. God’s Word is alive and active! Do what you need to do to carve out that quiet time for yourself.
What makes you a miserable homeschool mom?
I’m guilty of all of the above. Here’s to doing less of the things that make homeschooling harder than it has to be, moms!
(I’m excited to come back to this space in 2017! Are you still here? Bueller…Bueller…If you’re still interested in a real life look at homeschooling then stick around. Better yet-get crazy and subscribe for updates.)