Dear Homeschooling Momma that’s had it,
I see you. I see those tears you’re trying so hard to fight back. Yet, no matter how hard you fight them, they slowly slide down your cheeks and drop onto your lap. A quiet reminder of how inadequate you feel.
I see you reaching to your chocolate stash hidden in that back drawer. This is just one of those days where you feel like you can’t make it through without some chocolate, right? Somehow the simple act of opening that Andes mint or that Dove chocolate calms your nerves. Taking a moment to enjoy the chocolate gives you that moment you need to take a deep breath. (And it gives the chocolate enough time to melt so your kids don’t realize you’re eating something they can’t have before you start talking with them again!)
I hear those 4 different voices all calling out to you on top of each other and all at the same time. All of them wanting you, needing you. Needing something different and something specific and something only momma can give. And it’s loud. And it’s annoying. And you can’t understand anyone. And you try to help but since you can’t have 4 different conversations all at the same time, everyone walks away and no one does what you asked them to do.
I hear you. The voices screaming so loud in your head right now that you’re not enough. That you’re not good enough. That somehow you’re not cut out for this. That you’re messing up your kids.
I hear your heart as it cries out for your child. You know, that one child testing every nerve and pushing every button. That one you’d love to scream “Why don’t you get this? Seriously! You understood this concept yesterday!” And yet somehow because this is a new day, they forgot the concept and it leaves you frustrated beyond words.
Frustrated beyond what you think your mind can take…
Your heart hurting because you feel like you should have more patience but you don’t…
Your heart aching because you want to see your children succeed and not struggle…
Your nerves frayed because in your child’s struggle to learn, they are taking you with them to crazy-town…
Your head pounding because all of this craziness and drama that has somehow erupted in your house and in your head has combined to give you the headache of the century…
I see you…
I hear you…
I’m standing right here with you.
Crying with you.
Frustrated and overwhelmed with you.
These Are The Days…
These are the days. These are the days that test us. The ones that stretch us. They are the ones where we learn the most…if we choose to listen. If we choose to learn from them.
I know you probably don’t want to hear this – I know I don’t want to hear it! – but these are the days when our true character is revealed. And when our true character is revealed, it shows us where we need to change. Where we need to learn.
But you know what? Grab your coffee. Grab that chocolate. I’m so glad they taste so good together, aren’t you?
Right here, right now, you need to take a deep breath.
Give Yourself Space
If you haven’t already, give yourself a little space. Make sure you little ones are safe and give yourself the gift of a little bit of physical space – put yourself in the baby gate area if you have to!
It’s so easy to get caught up in the drama. In the questions. In the constant demands on your time, energy, mental powers, and attention that you can feel lost pretty quickly.
And when all those demands pile up and get heaped on your lap, it can feel daunting. Heavy. Overwhelming. It can even start to feel like a massive pile of everything has been dumped on your head and you’re trying to bear up under this weight of a mountain sitting on top of you. Or maybe you’re trying to escape out from under that mountain…
Or maybe that mountain is just Mount Saint Laundry trying to attack you… that’s another story for another time, though.
When you start to feel this crushing feeling of overwhelm, you need to give yourself some space. I’m no neuroscientist, but I know that when all these overwhelming emotions start taking over, there are automatic responses that happen in your brain and in your body. These responses are there to protect you, but they can also make it much more difficult to get perspective and make wise decisions.
The best way to get these automatic responses in your brain to stop working against you? Give yourself a little bit of space and breathe.
Take 5 slow, deep breaths. Make yourself a cup of coffee and really enjoy it. Turn on some music that feeds your soul. Walk outside and look for something beautiful while enjoying the fresh air. Do what calms you and gives you space, but whatever you do, give yourself some space. (If you need some more suggestions, check out this post.)
The Good and The Bad
I know you know this, but sometimes we all need to hear it: There will be good days and there will be bad days. There will be stellar days and there will be horrific days. I don’t know about you, but today feels like a horrific day.
Start by acknowledging that there will be all kinds of days. This isn’t to excuse the bad days or put the good days on a pedestal, but to accept reality.
In life, we all know that things don’t go as planned. We all accept that there are good days and bad days. And there are days that start out wonderful and then some sort of curve ball comes and derails this wonderful day with the potential to throw the day – and us! – into a tailspin.
Homeschooling is life.
There will be good days. There will be bad days. There will be curve balls. There will be attitudes that are incredible and there will be attitudes that you want to banish from your house!
But let me tell you a secret: If you simply try to avoid the bad days and the horrible attitudes, you’ll spend all your energy trying to get away from something you can’t avoid. It’s a waste of time and energy!
There’s a better way. Do you want to know what it is?
Accept the bad with the good. Accept that everyone has emotions and attitudes and opinions. And just like your emotions, attitudes and opinions aren’t always the best, it’s the same with your children.
Instead of denying reality, make it your goal to choose the right thing, the wise thing to do when the curve balls come your way. Oh, the right thing to do on one day won’t be the right thing to do on another day, but in that moment… In that moment when you see the curve ball coming, pause and take a deep breath and think: What is the wise thing to do right here and right now?
Give Yourself Grace
Give yourself grace. This seems like such a simple phrase but it’s so hard to live out, isn’t it? But what does it really mean?
According to dictionary .com, grace is “to lend or add grace to; adorn; an elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion or action.” In other words, when you give yourself grace, you are putting on beauty. Beauty in your manner, in your actions, and I would add beauty in your attitude.
It’s stopping before you say something and thinking through it. It’s keeping your mouth shut so you don’t regret those words.
It’s slowing down and thinking through what you’re doing. Picture a couple ballroom dancing. Now, I’m not talking about your kids attempting to waltz onstage for a community play. Think more professional dancers in Vienna who has spent years learning how to waltz for the New Year’s Eve Ball. As they dance, there are some faster bits, but there are also times when the dancers slow down. Sometimes they even add a dramatic pause in the middle of the song for effect. They never stop dancing when they pause, but they gracefully and artistically slow down to match the music.
Now, I’m not saying you need to run out and buy yourself a ball gown with a full skirt and learn how to waltz! A ball gown would probably be rather impractical as you homeschool day in and day out! (Although, if you want to learn how to waltz, go for it!)
What I am saying is that sometimes, just like the dancers, you need to slow down and pause for a moment. You need to allow your pace, your attitude, and your actions to reflect the mood of the music.
If everything is going haywire and emotions are running high, it might be the best thing to slow down and take a breath and realize you don’t have to get everything done right here and right now.
If you’re trying to get a list done that no human would reasonably be able to accomplish, it might be time to scale back a bit.
Go Back to Your Inspiration
On those days when everything feels so hard. When you’re so close to despair. When you’re overwhelmed and frustrated. When it feels like everything and everyone in your life is conspiring against you to beat you down and discourage you in your homeschooling, those are the days you need a reminder.
You need to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.
You need to remind yourself why you chose to homeschool in the first place.
You need to remind yourself of your inspiration.
What was it that inspired you to make the decision to homeschool? Why are you doing this? Why is homeschooling important to you? Why does it matter?
Now, your answers to these questions will be different than mine. And my answers will be different from someone else’s. You see, even though we’re all homeschooling, there are different reasons, different motivations, different inspirations behind why we each chose to homeschool. And that is such a beautiful thing!
On those days when you feel run over, beat down, and ready to give up, you need to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.
You need to remind yourself why this matters.
And when you do, you’ll find encouragement and inspiration to keep going. To not give up. To get some perspective and take the next step in the right direction.
Know You’re Not Alone
You know something? You’re not alone! You’re not alone in getting frustrated. You’re not alone in being overwhelmed and stressed out and ready to scream. You’re not alone in reaching for your chocolate stash a little more frequently than you may like. You’re not alone in needing and wanting time alone to shower – or even 2 minutes alone to go to the bathroom!
Do you want to know how I know? Because I needed to hear every word in this letter.
I needed to be reminded to breathe, to give myself grace, that there are good days and there are bad days. I need that reminder to refocus on why we chose to homeschool our children.
We all hit preverbal walls. We all have bad days and bad attitudes and uncooperative children. To be sure, they’re at different times, in different ways, and to different degrees. But we all have days like this.
And yet, it’s in knowing that you’re not alone that you can draw strength.
It’s in knowing you can lean into your faith, that you can lean on your friends and you can draw strength from there. Sometimes we need to be reminded of things we already know. Sometimes we just need to hear it once more. Many times you just need to pour out your heart to someone who will listen.
You’re not alone.
But here’s the key: Even though you know this, don’t act like you’re all alone! Start praying. Text a friend. Pick up your phone and call someone. Remind yourself by these simple acts that you are not alone. You have people walking this road with you.
And while I know that you’re fiercely independent (yup, me too!) and you’re more than capable, many times we need to reach out to others on this journey and know that we’re not alone.
Always Remember, You Are Enough
It’s tempting to give up some days, isn’t it? It’s tempting to think that you’re not enough for who your kids or your family needs you to be.
But I want to tell you some truth. Are you ready?
You are enough!
You are you and that is more than enough. You love your family and your children with the fierce, never-ending love of a momma, and that is a spectacular gift. You have a vested interest in your children learning and succeeding, and that is one of the best qualifications you can have to teach them.
There is no accident that your family is your family. You are here in this time, in this space, in this family, in this homeschool for a purpose.
Yes, the days are long. Yes, there will be bad days. Yes, you will get discouraged. Yes, you will feel like giving up. Yes, you will feel overwhelmed. But this is a part of life.
Don’t give up! Accept the days for what they are, good or bad, and make the choice to do the next right thing, the wise thing. Rest when you need to. Take a step back to get perspective when you get overwhelmed. But know this:
Without a doubt, you are enough!
I truly believe that, my Friend. And you can do this.
- 7 Ways to Pause and Gain Space in Our World of Chaos
- The Importance of Knowing Your Homeschooling Inspiration
- Finding Perspective When You Feel You Have None
- Improve Your Focus with Purpose: Lessons from Sunflowers
- Unravelling the Truth from the Lies: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Elizabeth Tatham, founder of Inspiration in the Everyday, is a homeschooling momma of 5 who loves helping other homeschooling mommas create a unique homeschooling adventure your kids will love…without the overwhelm! Join in on the journey with 7 simple steps to make your homeschooling day go faster, easier, and with less tears here.