So you just finished reading about how THAT homeschool mom employs a perfectly laid-out schedule, feeds ten children a hot cooked breakfast, sees hubby off with a smile each morning through freshly-brushed, pearly whites as she bakes homemade wheat bread in a dress covered by a handmade apron. And that’s all before 8:00 a.m.! So what’s not to like? Glad she has it together. Great for her!
What’s that? That wasn’t what you were thinking?
Ah…there is the rub. Maybe your household doesn’t look anything like THAT homeschool mom’s household. Why is that a problem? Why would your household look like anyone else’s household? Why should your household reflect someone other than you?
If the tales be true, this comparing ourselves to other homeschool moms has been around as long as homeschooling itself. (Yes, it all started way before that!) Mom, I’m here to tell you — extend grace to yourself. God did not command that you should homeschool, homemake, home-love or home-bake like any other mom. In fact, He gave you your family and your family you for a specific purpose.
Tips for extending grace to yourself:
- Fill up daily. With His grace, that is. The God who knew you before you were born, and knows the number of hairs on your head also knows the stuff of which you are made. He already knows your strengths and weaknesses. He already knows how you are fashioned. Did He make a mistake in your case? I don’t think so. Rest in Him.
- Check the Word. We are to be Bereans checking everything we read against Scripture. Just because a well-meaning person says it is so does not make it so. If something you read or hear doesn’t sit well with you, read what God has to say on the subject. Talk to God about it.
- Confer with your spouse. Usually when we get defensive about the way we do things, it is because we fear (rightly or wrongly) that there may be a grain of truth in the accusation. Ask your husband. Have him point out the good…and the bad. Perhaps he has suggestions. He may be more aware of the things you do “right” than you realize! Perhaps some of the “extras” that you don’t find time for are things he cares little about, or at a minimum wouldn’t want to trade for the things you do make time for.
- Watch what you read. Only read that which is edifying. If you are reading articles, books, and blogs that you find discouraging, or are finding yourself envious of that frequently pinned interest on Pinterest — stop!
- Take the best and leave the rest. Only apply to yourself what applies to you. If someone is extolling the virtues of a Classical Education and you are more relaxed in your methods — forget the guilt! Take the tidbits that you can use and leave the rest. If someone is extolling the benefits of an unscheduled life and you need a schedule to keep on track — forget the guilt! Pull the nifty ideas that you can see working in your home out of the mix and forget the rest.
- Don’t cast aspersions. Extend grace to the person who may have offended you. Don’t assume the other homeschool mom has a holier-than-thou attitude. Assume she is extending help to those who, like her, use her system and methods. Don’t misread her enthusiasm for condemnation directed at you.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled….