I’m a second generation homeschooler. I’ve never been in a classroom and have no intentions of putting my children in private or public school.
But last week I seriously looked up the private schools in my area that I would consider sending one of my children to. At $10,000 a year the answer was a firm no. I think every family has that one child that stretches them and pushes all the buttons as a parent, and last week I was at that breaking point.
I had high hopes of our new house being perfectly clean and beautiful. My children have decided the living room is their favorite place to do school and by the end of the day it’s a royal disaster.
Dirty diapers, mounds of laundry, dishes and more dishes – the life of a mother is busy all the time!
After 14 years of being a mother I’m learning something more and more.
Motherhood is messy.
It’s intense and truly a battle. It’s harder than many paying jobs but you get no monetary reward.
Most of the time it doesn’t look like the fairy tales, or the lovely visions that Sally Clarkson so elegantly weaves together in her book. Homeschooling is not full of happy children sitting on the couch while mom reads aloud the Charlotte Mason books in a perfectly clean house and then afterwards go on the nature walk and watercolor.
That doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong.
I feel like I’ve written these posts before on the blog, but I keep hearing of mothers who feel like I do over and over again.
You feel desperately inadequate. You feel like no matter how hard you try, you fall into bed each night feeling defeated, exhausted, and not wanting the next day to come. Because you end each night so discouraged the next day starts late, and the nasty cycle goes on and on.
A scripture verse really stood out to me in Sunday school last week. We were reading in 2 Timothy 3 and one part made me really stop and think.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.“
Those verses made me stop and wonder if our job as parents are more difficult because of the perilous days we live in.
Children can be so very difficult to parent. It can be easy to cast blame on the parent when a child goes astray, but a parent can pour their whole life into raising a child up in the way they should go and they still choose a different path. I’ve witnessed it in my own family, my sister and brother and I were all raised the same but my brother has chosen a very different path than my sister and I.
If you feel defeated as a mother right now, trying to raise that terribly difficult child, stop and consider what things in your family need to change. Do you need to turn off the tv, unplug the gaming systems, evaluate what books they are reading and what friends they have? Or have you done all of that and you still can’t seem to get through to your children?
Then it’s time to simply pray and keep pressing on, trying to be the very best mother you can be. Yes, you will lose your temper at times. You will go to bed and know that you could have done better that day. But you also can rest knowing that your child is ultimately in God’s hands, and they have their own agency to do with what they will. You can’t force your 16 year old child to have a walk with God. They have to hunger and thirst after that.
Set rules, be firm on those rules, mother in love, pour into them time and attention but don’t do everything for them, and create an environment in your home that would welcome the Lord to be there. Have a vision of what type of adult you are trying to raise, yet knowing that they have their own vision as well. You can’t force your child to have a personality that is different then the one they have.
I’d love to share some of resources that are encouraging to me as a mother right now below.
Character Badges – Some parents desperately need to establish more routine in their home that the child can count on. Character Badges helps the parents train their children in good character and correct the poor behavior. Sean created it when our family needed help years ago, and then made it available for other families. This is good for children ages 3-12. Our youngest is so excited about starting this in the spring when she turns 3!
The Life Giving Home (and anything else by Sally Clarkson) – This book will give you a vision of what a thriving, loving home can look like. I highly recommend it!
Hello Mornings: How to Build A Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine – This is a brand new book by Kat Lee and I’m enjoying it so much! I was reading it during cello lessons yesterday and trying not to cry right there in front of my son and his teacher! I honestly haven’t even gotten to the point of how to have a good morning routine. The first few chapters about her journey into motherhood has touched me.
Why Motherhood matters: An Invitation To Purposeful Parenting – Again, I haven’t read all of this book yet, but you should be warned that I did cry ugly tears over part of this book. This one speaks to the heart and it’s very encouraging!
The Intentional Mom’s Toolkit – This is a new resource that I’m loving. Would you like someone else to tell you what meals to make, what your daily scripture reading should be, a home chart checklist (no more thinking up what chores need done each day!), and more? This is a monthly resource that is emailed to you, and I think it’s an excellent idea to help busy moms! It comes with 20 meals and the recipes, a budget page, and family connection ideas.
Blessings on your mothering journey as you press on!