It is a classic move for women to undervalue themselves in their work no matter what they do. Last year I began unraveling many lies I had begun to believe about my value and worth as a wife and mother in my own little family. Instead of questioning why I didn’t shop at thrift stores, or grow an entire garden and can all my own fruits and veggies, do every science experiment with my kids or be the perfectly patient mom, I began to see everything I was doing and put aside the need to be the Everything Mom. What value I did add to our family was huge when I started looking at it with a new perspective. What are some of the things I personally do that add value to our family? I cook homemade meals almost every night, clean our house top to bottom every Friday and have been through countless periods of time supporting my husband while he worked from dawn until well past dusk.
Oh and just one more tiny thing, I home educate my littles.
Probably not tiny then and instead absolutely huge. This is easily the equivalent of a part or full time job then you add Motherhood duties on top of that. Because, many of us have babies or toddlers to care for while we are teaching our school age children. What can I say? We love kids and like having a whole bunch of them! You combine the two and it is easily more than a full time job.
People have actually commented to me before that I wouldn’t understand how busy they are because I am home during the day. Hilarious. On the outside I smile and nod but on the inside I am laughing hysterically. Just because I am physically in my home doesn’t mean I am able to actually DO or even think about any of the things you are even talking to me about. Those things sound like frivolous uses of time compared to the many immediate needs of the small people I am taking care of. The diapers to change, mouths that need feeding, owies that need kissing, laps that need to be filled with snuggles which will fill the small ones heart, laundry that never stops, the insurmountable cleaning that takes place and then only the very huge task of educating my children. Did I mention I love them? Because I absolutely do, but it is still a lot of work!
I can already hear the naysayers from a mile away.
Don’t even get me started.
Just because we chose this lifestyle doesn’t mean us homeschool Moms need to pretend our calling is anything less than a full-time job. We are causing ourselves unbelievable stress by choosing to carry the weight of the workload that comes with raising a family, educating them as well as pretending like we have all the time in the world to those who don’t homeschool or have children.
Let’s talk about why this is so important.
5 Reasons Homeschool Moms Need To Accept They Are Working Moms
Can’t Do Everything
God might have called you to homeschool but he didn’t call us to say YES to everything. In an effort to appear like homeschooling isn’t that much work I would find myself saying yes to things that needed to be a no. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we shouldn’t serve. One of my favorite service opportunities I have as a homeschool mom is to deliver meals to families in need. The difference is that I can do it as I have time, it doesn’t interrupt school hours and I can usually involve the kids as a way of serving. I am talking about the things that disrupt our school hours especially in the morning when the littles capacity for learning is at it’s best for the day. Could be too many classes, GASP, I know right? Who knew homeschoolers could be too busy out doing things in the actual world? It’s a thing, people. Maybe you have a child you babysit for regularly that sucks a lot of your energy before you’ve even started with your own kids? Don’t over commit yourself. Stay focused on your job, teaching your littles.
If you were a woman in the workforce you would take the education for the job pretty seriously. How does this apply to our job as a homeschool mom? Well stop telling yourself you don’t have time to learn your educational philosophy, or your child’s learning style, or read a book on how to have a pleasant atmosphere in the home. Invest financial resources in the books you need or get them from the library. I only take about 20 minutes a day for this and it makes a huge difference. We want our kids to grow up to be readers and continue a lifetime of education then we stop because our hands our too full? No, take the time, read the book, learn something new, educate yourself. They will follow our example!
Care For Yourself
I am a good example of someone who does NOT follow through on this, but am discovering at a snail pace, how important it is. How tedious is it to get through the day when we stay up far too late? We wake up with a night owl hangover that would never have gotten us through a day of work, but expect ourselves & insane amounts of coffee to get through a day teaching our littles. My toddler is more demanding than any boss I’ve ever had and I’ve had some pretty miserable bosses. So getting a good night of sleep should be one of my top priorities to maintain success getting through my homeschool day. For those that have babies that still wake you in the middle of the night, you have my condolences! I imagine you are already getting as much sleep as you can.
If you are getting good sleep and still feel terrible, go to the doctor. I was feeling awful a good part of last year and kept putting it off, because well, why we aren’t as important as our kids? I’m sure you’ve all heard the oxygen mask illustration a dozen times. After all we whisk our kids in for most anything but we don’t have time to get ourselves in. My issue turned out to be a Vitamin D deficiency, an easy fix I waited far too long to address. Many of us deal with health problems far longer than we should. Just get to the doctor! Once I was able to address my vitamin deficiency I felt so much better!
Dress For Success
I get it. Lots of days we don’t go anywhere. Sometimes I just want to wear my long tunic sweatshirt with a pair of leggings, I might even be wearing it right now, but we don’t need to dress like that every day. Before you go to bed at night, decide what you want to wear the next day. I just feel better when I pick something that won’t have me feeling like a nap all day. If I wait until morning it’s most likely going to be that pair of yoga pants however at night I make better choices for something that will have me feeling good throughout the day. Put on a scarf or a necklace even if you have nowhere to go, even my kids notice the difference and I know my husband appreciates the effort. You’d pick a good outfit for work, so pick a good homeschool mom outfit! It has an entirely new meaning than it did 20 years ago.
Take It Seriously
Education is a huge responsibility. I’ve never met a homeschool mom who doesn’t want the best for their kids. Let’s remember the responsibility in these small decisions every day. Let’s acknowledge it’s the equivalent of a full time job and properly treat it as such. Someday my kids will look back and talk about our years homeschooling and I want them to know it was my top priority. We would take a job seriously so let’s take this seriously too!
Believe it or not we carry a lot of the same insecurities and frustrations as working moms.
We wonder if our toddler is getting enough attention while we are busy teaching the older kids.
We wonder how we are going to get dinner on the table while we have been busy juggling our job all day long.
We wonder if we will ever stop focusing so much on our job teaching and focus on being a more loving mom instead.
We wonder if our friends will understand why we made this choice instead of secretly judging and saying we should have chosen the easier way out.
Because balancing both is difficult whether you are in an office or surrounded with tasks at home. I’m not sure there is a heavier responsibility in our lifetime than making sure our kids are well-adjusted, educated adults filled with character, who love Jesus. Homeschool Moms don’t have any “system” to blame at the end if we don’t get it right.
And we are willing to risk it all to obey God in our calling.
But meanwhile it isn’t just a quick thing we do every day.
We are working Moms too.
Working the best out of our children every day.