Dear Homeschooling Mama,
I want to speak to you today about the danger of comparing. Does it seem like every other homeschool mom has it together more than you? You know the one I am talking about, the “super mom” who bakes her own bread, sews her own clothes, serves on all the committees at church, has perfectly behaved and groomed children, a spotless house, and the list could go on. Do you find yourself comparing yourself to the put-together mom at co-op class and feeling that you will never measure up? I want to let you in on a little secret. Every mom has her faults. Homeschool moms, working moms, work-at-home moms, or stay-at-home moms all have a problem believing that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I remember being a young wife and dreaming of having a family and staying home with my kids. We planned for the day when I would conceive and I could stay home and raise our children in an environment rich in love and faith. Finally the day came and I had our first son. It was a big adjustment for me going from working 30-40 hours a week in a hospital as an RN to being home 24/7 with a colicky, fussy newborn. I loved my son with all my heart, but I was not sure what to do to make him happy. There was no checklist to complete, no assurance of a job well-done at the end of the day and no paycheck to motivate me. I could barely keep my eyes open some days and the feeling that somehow, I was failing my son and my husband was difficult to face some days. I had no energy to cook or clean and nursing and soothing our fussy baby took all the strength I could muster. I had to get my “mommy legs” so to speak. From the outside, it looked like I had it all together, but on the inside, it was hard, very hard. I remember weeks of rain after my son was born and feeling like I would be so much happier if I could just see one day of sunshine. After a particularly trying day, I voiced this to my husband and I woke up to a smiley face similar to this one that my husband had cut from a Walmart bag and placed above the window over my bed. It really made my day. One simple, thoughtful act, that I remember to this day.
He was trying to bring a little sunshine into my life. After my son was 4 months old, I began to work once a week for 8 hours or so and then I began to feel the pull from both sides of the mommy spectrum. The stay at home moms envied me and would make comments such as, “It must be nice to get out and be around adults once in a while.” The girls at work would say, “It must be nice to only work when you want to work.” I felt like I didn’t totally belong in either world. As life marched on, I found a groove with mothering and working on an as needed basis and we made it work for our family. We went through a particularly trying time when my sons were 5 and 2 where my husband lost his job and I went back to work full-time while he stayed home with the kids. We thought this would be a short 3 month ordeal, but it actually lasted about a year. My husband and I learned so much about each other during this time. We learned to value the pressures each of us experienced and to care more about the jobs we each do. We learned to trust God and not listen to the criticism of others. We learned to work together and to pray together. I remember hearing people say things like, “You must be super mom” or “I don’t know how you do all that”. It used to make me mad. I wanted to say back to them, “If you only knew how hard it is to do all this” or “I am NOT perfect, you are just seeing the exterior things”. God gave me the grace to walk through the seasons of ups and downs, of trials and triumphs and through it all His hand has guided me.
I tell you all this to encourage you to:
- Listen to God’s voice and make sure what you are hearing lines up with the Word of God. If you are hearing things that bring you down or discourage you, go to the Word and see if it holds any water. If you are finding yourself comparing yourself to all the super women you know, realize that they have their own set of trials and they have needs and problems too. We are not really seeing everything that goes on behind closed doors. Some people have very polished exteriors and yet if you were able to see past the façade, you would see they are real people with real problems too.
- Let other mom’s see behind the mask. Other mom’s need to see behind our polished faces, our facebook statuses that only proclaim all the GOOD things that happen in our lives. We need to bear one another’s burdens in person, to be real with each other and let other mom’s know how we have struggled and share the things God has taught us along the way. Find a friend you can be real with and share your heart with someone you trust.
- FInd a godly mentor that can lift you up and speak truth into your life. You can make it on this homeschooling journey, but constant comparison can leave you feeling sad, depressed and make you think you will never measure up.
- Remember that we only have to please one person, and that person is the man, Jesus Christ. We can be the person God has called us to be, problems and all, we just need to live our lives waiting to hear His voice on that blessed day say,
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. -Matthew 25:21 KJV
We can make it on this journey if we join together and help each other, keep Christ first, and seek his approval only. My sisters be encouraged today that your life matters to our Father. He truly loves you,