It happened over our Astronomy study, something about the lack of a magnetosphere on Mars did us in.
Two kids not listening: One was daydreaming and the other was just defiant. A few glazed looks and grumpy attitudes later I was finished.
I did not yell or put up a big scene, yes THAT kind of mad. Like that silent wide open mouth before a toddler unleashes their loudest fury, as parent waits for the silent cry to turn deadly.
That Mama fury that rises up after a built up, morning upon morning, of disrespectful attitudes for months on end is better battled and problem solved in the quiet solitude.
My kids sat with mouths agape as I quietly closed our books and went upstairs to my room, Mama needed a time out. I had to think about what was really going on; this recurring, problematic morning rut we were in.
Was I keeping the lessons short? Yes.
Keeping things relatively fun? Yes.
Hands on activities? You bet!
Time to make connections? Yes.
Then what was it?
An issue of respect.
So I fired myself from Homeschooling.
Instead of heading back downstairs and yelling and demanding my kids give me the respect I deserved or they’d be thrown on the yellow bus, I thought a bit more creatively for once. I did not want this to keep happening. It was going to take something bigger so I prayed for wisdom and headed back downstairs to face my kids anxiously awaiting my return.
Here was my best creative effort at turning this around…..
Mama: Hey you guys know I love homeschooling you right?
Mama(reluctantly): And do you still like being homeschooled?
Mama: Well if Mommy is going to take the time to teach you, you must learn to respect the time I am taking to do that. I do not want to keep reading the same thing to you again and again simply because you will not pay attention or are acting grumpy. So Mommy is going to take the day off. You must still do your assignments but I will be upstairs in my chair, see I like learning too and have books I would also like to read! Usually I put those aside to teach you but today I am going to read my own books, you are going to teach yourself and if you want to earn my time back to read to you, you will have to help out in some other way. You can make yourselves lunch too and take care of all the other things Mommy would usually do today.
There was no argument then, they knew they had crossed this line too many times and were getting what they deserved. I love to extend grace upon grace to my kids but as parents, we do need them to learn how to appreciate others as well and I had already extended too many graces.
Did giving up my job have any impact?
My kids were in absolute tears when they realized this meant I wouldn’t be reading them their read aloud book that afternoon. Right away they got to work on the assignments they knew they could do without my help. Dreaming Daughter made everyone lunch. Tenderhearted Boy started thinking of ways he could help me out with extra jobs. They earned the read aloud time back but this time they listened with grateful hearts. My littles got the chance to see what I would do if they were in school all day, and that…maybe Mom really wouldn’t be as bothered by the idea as they thought.
On top of it all we didn’t have power that entire day so I couldn’t do laundry or cook so I did just take care of Little Brave as well as sit in my chair and read.
Around 4pm Dreaming Daughter suddenly realized that dinner wasn’t exactly going to produce itself, so I had her call Daddy to figure that out as well. It is so unusual for our kids to call my husband on the phone he had worried something terrible happened to me! Nope, but I did give up control of that day, something also highly unusual I hate to admit.
What did Mama learn?
Sometimes we are too afraid to give up control of our days. What would happen if you just stopped your duties for one day? We assume the whole world will come to an end, and maybe your families will, or what if you all learn something important in the process? Most often I am too concerned with getting through all our schoolwork or the cleaning getting done the right way. I was shocked to see that the house ran pretty okay without me. The kids did their school work and pizza hit the table at around the same time we’d eat dinner. I run a pretty tight ship but my kids are pretty capable of close enough.
What if the Copywork isn’t perfect?
What if they write their numbers backwards?
What if they read the wrong history assignment?
What if the laundry is folded wrong?
What if they just forget to do what you asked?
What if we are robbing our kids of opportunities to learn how to become adults?
I am happy to dedicate my days to homeschooling my children but I do not owe it to them. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed in motherhood and you know your family should do more to help? I encourage you to make that happen, with a kind and gentle spirit instead of waiting for the mom volcano to erupt. Get creative before you end up having a day like mine where you just quit everything at one time! It is up to us to give them the opportunity to care for us and teach them that empathy and working to help others, are crucial to living in joyful relationships.
What did my littles learn?
Since the day I quit homeschooling, I have seen dramatic change in the attitudes of my kids. During morning time, they listen right up without any prodding. If something fun is on the agenda, they do their boring work with diligence, knowing they may miss out on a fun project if they don’t contribute to the whole day! I have hardly heard a negative word spoken. More independent work has been done without me sitting right beside nagging them. They appreciate me and the work I get up and do for them each day.
Overall our days have become something to look forward to again.
A more pleasant atmosphere is on the horizon.
Have you ever had a day where you just give it all over to your family?
If so please share in the comments below! I would love to hear your story.