Growing up, I was never that mom that was like, “I’m going to homeschool my children!” But then I had kids and we faced things like not being challenged to racism so after encouragement from my friends and family, we made the jump to homeschooling. I was determined to be the Pinterest homeschooling mom who came up with creative lessons and loved every moment of it. But I wasn’t. And I started to resent motherhood.
Homeschooling Made Me A Bad Mom
I love my kids. They are amazing little beings. They are funny and full of life and more than I could ever imagine in children that my body made. When many of us make the decision to homeschool, we picture our lives being all sorts of amazing and filled with adventure. But I didn’t have a lot of fun.
We Started Our Homeschooling At A Hard Time
Mini was in the first grade and we were preparing to move. We were downsizing in a major way so that we could begin to breathe again after a really hard first year of entrepreneurship for me–like really hard. Going from a spacious 3 bedroom home that had enough room for us to spread out to about half the size was tough. And then we found out that we were pregnant with BC.
Pregnancy was hard while trying to navigate the new homeschool lifestyle. I was cranky and in pain all the time. My girls were confused as of what to expect with learning. It was a clusterf*ck for lack of a better term.
It’s Hard To Motivate Kids To Learn While Motivating Yourself To Teach
Every week I would develop these super fun lesson plans that included field trips, hands on learning, and supportive Netflix documentaries to keep them engaged. And like clockwork, every week I would be met with push-back and general lack of desire to do any independent work so that I could do focused learning with one at a time.
Spoiler alert: I am an emotionally driven person. Trying to navigate their emotions with mine left me drained and filled with anxiety. There were a lot of days I struggled with just leaving the bed to teach and many of those days were filled with frustration and desperate texts to my husband to hurry to get home so I could be relieved.
I Stopped Taking Care of Myself
Like just the basics. The last time I went to the doctor I had my IUD implanted. At the time of writing this, BC is almost 2. Yes, let that marinate.
My stress levels from homeschooling have accumulated in my waistline and there are days that I look in the mirror seeing only a shadow of the person that I can truly be. I’m a person that needs more alone time to re-calibrate and homeschooling doesn’t account for this. I need a spa day, physical, therapy session, and more.
My Mom Guilt Was Off The Charts
I already struggle in a major way with mom-guilt. You want to be perfect for your children, your spouses, yourself and that can be hard. When you need more time away from your children, guilt can creep in because why wouldn’t you want to be around these little people you created? I felt like I was an awful mom if I didn’t nurture their minds, spirits, bodies, and hearts every day by myself.
Writing this out now, I do see how crazy this is. I talk often about the village yet I was trying to be the entire village for my children. It’s unfair to them and me.
Homeschooling Really Takes A Village
Speaking of the village, in order to really homeschool without losing yourself, you need more than just yourself. I don’t know if this looks like co-ops or just really good friends that also homeschool and love your children but either way, you need that. When I was pregnant with BC, there were a lot of days I just couldn’t get out of the bed or leave the house. I felt like an awful mom.
Our last year of homeschooling we finally stumbled into a group that I loved and felt like Mini was supported in. But there was nothing for abc or BC’s age ranges so our lives were literally devoted to Mini’s schedule. I would have really loved a co-op program for all the children so there was at least a day during the week that I could have had to get myself together.
Being “On” All The Time Is Taxing
From the moment that I woke up to when I went to bed, I was on. I was chef, maid, disciplinarian, teacher, mom, nurturer, chauffeur, mediator and more. By the time I took a breather, I had already spent the day away. This is what happens to most moms. You spend all your good hours of the day loving and nurturing everyone but yourself and your needs.
Multiply this by a hundred million (yes, a measurable number ha) and that’s how it feels to homeschool with 3 children that all still need you.
When Mini told me in October of 2018 that she no longer wanted to be homeschooled, I bawled. I think part of it was relief and part of it was guilt and maybe even resentment. But most of it was relief. Once I resolved my guilty feelings, I felt lighter and happier. It was almost as if she gave me permission to release myself from all these expectations.
Getting the kids ready for school has been a time but I’m confident they will continue to soar wow-ing the people they meet. And so will I.