I said some really awful things during homeschool on Monday. About how our homeschooling time can be the worst part of my day and how moms like me have no business homeschooling their children. I think I just heard a collective gasp of disbelief from many of you, and maybe an equally loud collective sigh of relief from others because now you know you’re not alone.
What exactly led up to my crumbling behavior is a bit lost on me now. At the time I wanted to immediately pound out the details on my keyboard and share everything here but fortunately had the sense not to do that. I will often share my struggles with you, but when the struggles involve the personal, and individual struggles of my boys it just feels wrong to lay out their details. Part of me wants to, because I know so many of you could relate and maybe offer guidance to how to handle these specific challenges, but I shudder at my boys knowing that I spoke so specifically of our (their) issues so publicly. So … as a whole, I know my downward spiral was due a mixture of: me feeling disrespected, me feeling discouraged that I was still getting responses of “I don’t know” to concepts we’ve been covering for weeks (if not months), and me feeling frustrated that my presence was still so required in order for anything to get done…
I covered my face after I said my hurtful words (thankfully only one of my boys was with me at the time of my ugliest moment but all were present during what had finally led up to it), told him I was so sorry. I regrouped during lunchtime and we somberly read our history lessons together and then escaped outside.
They seemed unscathed by the ugly attitude I had during school, unfortunately probably because they have seen it before. It was a gorgeous day outside and the fresh air and sunshine would have been enough to simply wash away the feelings and emotions of the morning, but as I got busy pruning the rest of my gardens I forced myself to think about what had happened and why.
I do not want our homeschooling experience to be marred by my inability to control my frustrations. I do not want my children’s lives to be marred by that. I would have been easy to think that “This child did this and that angered me”, and “That child said that for the hundredth time and that annoyed me” … but man, the root of it all is so much deeper than their fleeting behaviors and always, I know, comes back to me and my attitude. My behavior. My tone of voice. My responses. My patience.
So rather than think about their behaviors from that morning, I considered all of my own behaviors leading up to school. None being excuses … but, being up a lot of the night with Kaden being sick. Hormones rearing their demonic head. Not praying together for our school day before diving in. Not using our Essential Oil routine before or during that day. Me letting myself and them get too involved with other things before starting school (so we were all still distracted). Me not settling into positive attitude about our day. The list could go on and on about just how wrong it all was before we even began.
I talked to each of the boys later that day about my behavior, and explained to them that my dissatisfaction with homeschooling is NOT because of them (though sometimes their behavior is not satisfying), but because of the inadequacies I have when it comes to knowing how to best teach them, help them grasp what we’re learning, as well as inspire them toward respecting me and forming a good work ethic. One of them wisely informed me that I need to pray about it more.
I knew I needed to do that, and also to spend this past week being very intentional with my time, mind, and actions. I had to stand still and let my muddy-puddle-of-an-attitude-settle so that all the muck could fall to the bottom and clarity could emerge. A muddy puddle will never become clear by continuing to stir, to be busy, to pick it apart. Only by letting it be still. That led to me not doing some typical things I do during my day like watching TV, social media, posting much on Clickin Moms, or taking photos. And blogging, because taking photos was pretty far down on my list and while I do love blogging, my posts sort of rely on photos. I spent more time reading with the boys, cuddling and caring for Tado, reading my Bible, updating old blog photos and finishing my Blurb photo book, being outside, baking bread, quietly. That may sound the opposite of being still, but for me it was very clarifying.
Being quiet, and being still, is so good for us. Even though the week progressed with a very sick kiddo, the week was overall so much more peaceful and clear and intentional when I forced myself to just stop. Stop always entertaining 34 thoughts and tasks at once. Look around me and not always 10 minutes, or 6 years ahead. Listen to what my boys are saying and not saying. Stop, look, and listen … it’s not just for crossing the street anymore.
We got through that day, through those sour moments that still very much make me cringe. And I’m so very thankful that days like that are not our norm or our standard because I don’t want to be the mom who just gets through another day. I want to be the mom who humbly, gracefully, and intentionally delights in it and joyfully anticipates tomorrow. So, Lord help me, because I know I can’t do that on my own. ♥
And this post has me realizing that I should really put together on one the joys of homeschooling because I seem to focus a lot on our struggles … that’ll be in the works!
And this little dude is getting better, though the week consisted of the nebulizer, fevers, vomit, and lots of rest. ♥ Prayers for complete healing are so greatly appreciated. ♥