Get out of the boat!

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When I first felt God calling me to homeschool in the spring of 2013 I laughed. It started as something mentioned by a good friend. She and I both had our children in a local private school that we loved. We also both had brand new babies that prevented us from working outside the home which made affording the school a challenge. I was determined to afford it, however, because in my mind I was not a homeschool mom. I didn’t have the patience.

Still, God kept whispering to my heart. Finally after a few weeks of the Holy Spirit tugging me, I mentioned it to my husband. He laughed. He knew what I knew, I’m a bit selfish with my “me time” and I enjoy the time the kids are at school. We both felt fairly certain that I wasn’t cut out for it, especially with a 4 month old who had just entered the worst sleep regression known to man. We put the idea out of our minds. We were hoping my husband would get a promotion soon and that would take care of our ability to afford private school. We would wait on God.

Funny how waiting on God works. It’s like waiting for the bus and then along comes a taxi. Not what you expect but hey, it’ll still get you where you need to go right? The last week of May came and the promotion we hoped for didn’t. While we fully trusted God we were still worried, well, I was worried. My husband never worries. He’s amazing like that.

That night we started talking about homeschool again. We started reading a bit and I felt God tugging at my heart even more than before. John didn’t feel the tug but trusted my instincts. We decided we’d pray about it, and we’d talk with our parents to get some opinions. Do you remember the first time you talked to your parents about this crazy thing called homeschool? I bet your conversation went better than ours did! My mother wasn’t for it or against it, she trusted me and would support me in any situation, but my dad… my dad was a different story. He was dead set against it. He comes from the generation where homeschooling was looked at as weird and anti social. He was scared to death that our 2 social, outgoing, confident boys would miss out on something. That they’d become introverted and struggle socially as adults.

I’m one of those women who need their Dad’s approval. I know it’s silly but I trust my father. He’s always been there for me and for my family. He’s always got our best interests at heart. He’s a good provider, a very wise man. But he’s not God. God knows things we don’t know. I felt as though God was calling me out of the boat onto the waters with Him, but my family was telling me “Please stay in the boat! You have to stay in the boat!”

It was a struggle for me. We decided to press ahead and we ordered our curriculum. We were going to homeschool our kids! It was exciting to make a decision where you know you’re following God’s heart but you know what happens when you follow God? The devil will do everything in his power to distract and derail you. And that’s exactly what he did. Towards the end of the summer my fears took over. My daughter was up all. night. long. Every night. She never slept more than 45 minutes at a time. We felt like our house was where sleep went to die. In my weakest, exhausted moment I went to a friend, a fellow homeschool mom. When  I asked her for advice she surprised me. She told me to quit. She told me that I had an infant and kids who were thriving in private school and that I shouldn’t put myself through this if I didn’t have to. She gave me an excuse, a way out. I started rationalizing with her and with my fears. I started rationalizing with God. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that my kids went to school that year. We returned the curriculum, I packed their little backpacks and lunchboxes and drove them away every morning and picked them up every afternoon. We saw each other for about 3 hours a day after homework and most of that time was doing what I call the “hurry ups.” Hurry up and get dressed, hurry up and eat your breakfast, hurry up and do your homework, hurry up and get your bath so you can hurry to bed and we can hurry all over again tomorrow! The hurry ups are stressful, and you know what? When you are living outside of God’s will, you don’t have peace.

As I began praying towards the end of that year, looking for guidance, I began to hear God whisper again. Then he started yelling. It got to the point that my husband I would be talking on the phone about homeschooling the boys and whether or not we should and the Abeka rep would call in while we were on the phone! I’d get daily emails and every single devotion was about trusting God to do the impossible in us and be assured, me being a homeschool mom seemed to be the most impossible thing in the world! Something else hit me during this time, I realized that the promotion that my husband didn’t get was part of this plan. If he had gotten it we would have had the money to send our kids to the school we loved and I would have never looked back. Homeschool would have been something we thought about doing once, but never did. I wouldn’t have stepped out on faith. You see, God knew I needed this. He knew I had never had a time in my life where I needed him daily. I grew up in a good home, we had everything we needed and most everything we wanted. My father was my provider. We didn’t experience want. Homeschooling my children makes me come to God daily. I rely on His strength, His patience, His grace, every day. Without fail, He restores me.

Here we are, with our first year of this homeschool life under our belt and we’re gearing up for number 2. My boys and I are closer than we have ever been. My husband has a new respect for me and I for myself. My daughter knows her brothers in a way she wouldn’t have been able to had they been at school for 75% of their day. We are a close family. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always pretty. There are good days and bad days. Any homeschool mom who tells you that it’s easy is lying to you! Being at home with little children all day and trying to teach them something should bring you to your knees on a regular basis. However, the relationships that are built between you and your children are worth more than any amount of “me time” you can squander away. I am so thankful that I finally got out of the boat.

Finding Joy in Being a Stay at Home Mom

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Being a SAHM is a calling. It’s not for everyone and it’s not easy. Childhood is messy and keeping little people alive and happy day in and day out takes a toll on a woman’s sanity. A few weeks ago I documented my day, the good, the bad and the crazy. I shared it on my personal Facebook page and the feed back I received really motivated me to start this blog. I had so many moms message me, telling me how their crazy days wipe them out too. How they stay stressed and exhausted. I know the feeling, STRESSED is my best accessory. Here is my original post…

My day:
Olivia crawls into bed with us at about 3 am. Asks for her sippy cup around 4. I closed my eyes for 5 minutes then John wakes me up asking if I know where his navy blue slacks are. I don’t … it’s 7:10. I’m supposed to be up at 6 but I am glad to sleep in
Got the kiddos up around 8, made more waffles than I can count, Olivia can’t decide what kind of waffles she wants. She changes her mind 3 times. Ends up eating the first set of waffles I made her.
School starts at 9, after telling the boys about a dozen times that they need to get dressed and brush their teeth.
Find that Kaden has neglected a few science questions so I start him there. Collin has a spelling test, Olivia needs to potty so we pause the test so I can take her.
The dog wants out (has to be the 15th time today)
Resume spelling test.
Kaden has a science question…
Finish test.
Dog wants back in.
We head to the mail box. The boys race, Liv tries to keep up. Much needed energy release.
Get home and everyone wants a snack.
Dog wants back out.
Liv doesn’t want a yogurt, she throws it on the floor and asks for goldfish.
Dog wants back in, eats yogurt off the floor (victory)
Clean up snacks and give Collin his math test, Kaden does his reading. Olivia has to potty.
Dog wants out again, send snide text to John about the little dog.
Collin starts seatwork, Kaden is still reading… laundry time
Fold laundry get half way through and Olivia wants to read a book…
Read to her, play for a few, resume laundry. Make sure all baseball uniform items are laid out and accounted for. (something will disappear between now and 4 pm)
Collin is still doing seat work so I start language with Kaden, Olivia has to potty again.
Take her, then we start language again.
Dog wants in.
Back to diagramming sentences. I write them on the white board, Olivia scribbles below me and “teaches” Kaden too.
I NEED COFFEE!
Make a cup, take a couple of sips and move on to math with Kaden.
Collin should be reading but he’s caught up in the Yo Gabba Gabba episode that Liv is watching… I get him refocused and throw lunch in the oven…
Dog wants out…
Check Kaden’s math problems and correct them together.
Switch out the laundry and put the clean stuff away.
Collin tells me a random fact about beavers, we aren’t learning about beavers
Run and grab a shower while the boys take a 15 minute break with Olivia.
Get out of the shower before I’m finished because Olivia has to potty again and we don’t want an accident.
Hop back in, rinse my hair and rush back out to make sure the boys aren’t killing each other.
Dog is barking to get back in. Seriously, what’s wrong with this dog??
Switching out laundry again
Collin is having “Olivia time” with her, playing in her room. She manages to pour an entire water bottle of bright red fruit punch crystal light onto her bed.. Collin must not have been watching her very closely.
Explain to him the importance and responsibility of helping with a 2 year old. Strip her bed and throw it in the wash and serve lunch.
She doesn’t want chicken, she wants waffles. This time the answer is just “no”
After lunch, we finish up Kaden’s school and run to the mailbox again to tire Liv out before her nap…
Is it naptime yet?? , uninterupted coffee and more house work…

Moms have two choices. We can let every interruption frustrate us, let every task become mundane. We can long for the days when our kids are grown and independent. We can wish childhood away, like these are just inconvenient miles on the path to our lives.
Or we can choose to relish this time. To count these messy steps as joy. To make memories that will carry us through when our nests are empty. I will miss these days. I will miss the mess of childhood. The long school days, the late nights at the ball field and the slushies on the drive home, even though Collin spills his every time. I will long for their tiny faces.
Not everyone’s calling is glamorous or prestigious. My calling is to be Mommy. To have my kiddos here with me. To teach them and help them grow to be godly, productive people. I’ll miss them when they’re gone. Enjoy them while they are here, little and needy. I love knowing that one day, they’ll be grown and gone and I’ll have these memories. They are etched in my heart forever.