Today I saw a woman who encouraged me during my first “holy guacamole, what did I get myself into?” day of homeschooling. I had, at the time, four kids under the age of six. I was maybe two months in after pulling Gabriella and Hayden from school. A sweet friend of mine told us about a homeschooling day at the library. It was our first time attending any type of homeschooling event.
It was one of those morning I just muscled through to get us up and out the door. I wasn’t feeling amazing and had lost a baby just a month before. I was irritable, hot, (Because October in Texas is still hot.) and worried about how my kids would behave. Would they decided to redecorate the bookshelves? Would the sit and listen, or would they get up and show off their track skills?
I was acutely aware of every little move and noise they made. All of the other kids were able to sit through the story! None of the other kids had to use the bathroom three times! Ryder was still just a toddler and wanted to touch everything, and didn’t understand how to use a quiet voice. Lylah was three, and didn’t care at all about anything that was going on.
I just wanted to “fit in”! This was possibly the new community I would become a part of, and even though the kids were just being kids, and not doing anything out of line, I was frustrated. And hot. I remember being hot.
The truth is, my kids probably weren’t being as ‘bad’ as I remember.
Halfway through the activities the whole group got up to move to the other side of the library to use the tables and I used the shuffle to duck out. I, as discretely as possible, (which is not at all with four small children.) snuck out the side exit.
Before we could even make it into the parking lot my friend and the sweet, sweet woman I had just met caught me. I was doing everything possible to hold back the tears of frustration that were swimming in my eyes, and trying to remind myself of all the reasons why we chose to pull the kids in the first place.
My friend sympathized with me, and asked me to come back in and the amazing woman I’d just met touched my shoulder and told me the kids were fine. That they weren’t disturbing anyone, and things weren’t as bad as they seemed to me. She told me that when she saw me walk through the door with my hoard of small children that the Lord had told her to pray for me and to encourage me on my journey.
I honestly don’t remember if we went back in. I think we did, but that was kind of a turning point for me. It was the moment I realized that my homeschooling (turned unschooling) journey wouldn’t ever look like another. That having other mama’s to turn to when things get rough, or just for random conversation to fill your cup is important. And being able to admit that you’re having a rough day is just as important.
Just because you have a bad day doesn’t mean it’s time to ship your kids off to school. It doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for the job. You love being a mother, but you don’t love having a bad day. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. Same for homeschooling. One bad day does not define your journey.
Bringing your kids home after being apart from them is something that’s not often talked about. Being with anyone all day every day, after spending hours apart is challenging. I even have moments of frustration with my husband when he stays home from work for an extended weekend or holiday. (Haha, no judging!)
If you’re new to homeschooling, especially if you’ve pulled your kids out of school to keep them home, find your people. You will need them. And please know, you are not alone. Your kids are not as wild as you think, and if this is what the Lord has called you to do, you’ve made the right decision.
We always tell our kids no one is perfect, but sometimes forget that includes us. We’re not perfect parents, spouses, or friends. We can correct our kids until we’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day they’re still just kids. Tiny people trying to find their way. And, if they’re new to being home with you all day, there’s a chance it’s going to be a challenge for them too.
The subtle changes can be just as hard to navigate as that first leap of faith. But you can, and will make it. The point is, give yourself grace and find others who do as well. ❤