Dear homeschooling husbands,
(And by homeschooling husbands, I mean not necessarily that YOU homeschool the kids, but rather you are the husband to a homeschooling mom.)
I am convinced that motherhood is the hardest profession out there. I am also convinced homeschooling, as wonderful as it is, places second in degree of difficulty. So when you mix the two hardest jobs in the world together, every minute, every day, well there is just not a word that fits the job description or requirements.
You know how you feel when you first come home? You just left the cozy quiet of your truck or car, walked all by yourself to the front door and then WHAM! One kid grabs your leg, the other slams you with questions and the other is quietly taking the vacuum cleaner apart?
Yes, well, this has been our day. All. Day. Long. Minus the solitary walk from the car to the front door.
In homeschooling there is no teacher’s lounge where fellow sojourners bring extra muffins to share.
There are no teacher in-service days where the homeschool mom gets to work on the room – cleaning, decorating and looking ahead, preparing for the next month’s curriculum.
There are no conference periods to catch up on backed up grading or other work. No eating lunch with other teachers, refilling the coffee thermos together and sharing student stories that make you feel like atleast someone understands.
No parent-teacher conferences, unless, well, we won’t go there.
It’s just loud, organized and unorganized chaos all day. And we feel as if we’re supposed to always be cool about it. Like we can become spiritual enough where it doesn’t bother us. We’re to always have gentle answers, right answers and smiles. We’re encouraged to relish this time for it will be over soon.
I never have liked relish.
We often feel as if there isn’t enough of us. When we pour our self out into homeschooling, which we’re encouraged to do, we are often empty in mothering and wifing (yes, that’s the act of being a wife) simply because there isn’t enough of us to go around. Our tank runs empty and we’re sucking on fumes. We have nothing to love you with, nothing to love our self with, nothing to love others, even God with.
People say chores and a clean house can wait. Our children are most important. I agree. But after awhile, my family is ready for dinner and then clean socks. Someone will need to find a pencil and since it wasn’t put back in the pencil holder, we’ll have to clean up a bit to find it. Then when we want dinner we’ll find, no one went to the grocery store.
Have you gone to the grocery store recently with all the children? It’s not exactly the re-fueling, feel-good movie kind of event. So these chores can only wait so long.
On top of all that are the expectations we put on our self. We expect to be the perfect homeschooling mom that’s fun and gets the job done right. We think our children should do their work diligently, with joy, without complaining to us or arguing amongst themselves.
We think we should be able to handle it all and feel ashamed when instead, we feel crushed beneath the weight of the responsibilities.
We think we should to be able to teach our kids, manicure the lawn, our fingernails, clean the house, buy the groceries and have a spoon-full of sugar to help everyone’s medicine go down.
We know we should ask for help when we’re struggling, but it’s so hard. We want to be able to do all of this. By the time we realize we need help, we’re already drowning.
Does your brain hurt yet?
I have shared all of this to my husband many times. We’ve come back to the point that the mom is a person too. Yes, she can be called to homeschool and put some of her ambitions aside for a season. But, she is still a person and needs to be a whole person or the whole Jenga tower could topple over when the right block is removed.
So dear husband of a homeschooling mom, make sure your wife is not drowning inside. Homeschooling is such a noble task, and it can be done. But please, make sure she isn’t putting on a happy face, telling you she’s OK, when she’s one block shy of toppling over.
She needs you to know her better than she knows herself. She needs you to be available for her to talk things through, to cry on, to speak truth to her. She needs you to lead her, and lead her family. She needs you even if she’s tough and strong willed. These two jobs, or callings are the hardest ones out there. And as homeschooling families we want our marriages to still be intact when our children leave.
Can I encourage you to be proactive in this? Make sure your wife has times of quiet. Times she can do things that refuel her, regularly. Take her out on a date, give her a day off, purchase tickets (so she doesn’t feel guilty for asking) for a ladies retreat or back massage.
She loves you. She loves her family and would willingly lay down her life for it all. Make sure she doesn’t though. Make sure she knows you are her #1 cheerleader and you value her as a person.
This letter is based on my experiences and my opinion. If you do not share my point of view or disagree with my assessment, that is OK. But I think there are many moms that feel they are alone in this journey and are the only ones that struggle. To them I say, I understand!