Help! I Have Lost My Identity
I do not know about you, but becoming a homeschooling mom was exciting and let down at the same time. I was a mom with a career that I loved. A career that had taken me 6 long years of college to complete. Here I was giving up all of my hopes and dreams to stay at home. I was literally confused.
Since I was a little girl, working hard had been drilled in my head. My dad and mom were separated. My dad owned his own business and my mom worked two jobs and started her own businesses when I was a teenager. We had quite a few chores growing up, that included going to my dad’s mechanic shop to help sweep, hose off the parking lot, clean windows, weed or whatever other tasks my dad could find. Even though I would grow tired of chores quickly, I can say that we learned how to work hard and take care of ourselves.
So going to college was something that I had to do, in my mind. I wanted to go become a graphic designer at first, but I became pregnant at 18. So I decided to become an art teacher instead. I couldn’t stand my art classes. They took the fun out of doing something that I really loved. So one more time I changed my major and became an elementary teacher.
I went to the local community college and worked, while raising my daughter and trying to pay for our trailer that we lived in. I was still with her dad, but times were up and down, and up and down. When She was a year in a half, I moved out and got my own apartment. Trying to do college, work and raise an 18 month old kid was hard. Thank goodness for family that helped.
Eventually, I moved back in with her dad and continued to go to school. I had moved on to a four year school, but the drive was a little over an hour one way. It took me two and a half years to finish my Bachelor’s Degree, in the midst of working, raising our daughter, coaching her teams, and homework. I was exhausted to say the least. In May of 2005, I finally graduated with my Bachelors Degree in Childhood Education.
I got a job the following fall as a Kindergarten teacher in a very small rural school about 30 minutes from my house. I absolutely loved my job. My boyfriend and I had gotten married that July and were now husband and wife. We had just purchased a new home. Everything was looking up.
I started taking my Master Degree classes online in 2006. My marriage was literally becoming unsafe. I was trying to keep my now 6 year old out of it all, work full time and complete my degree. I was not only emotionally drained, I was depressed, at a loss for what to do and completely defeated.
We decided (I don’t know why), to have another child in October of 2007. I thought that it might save the marriage, but nothing helped. I left the following August and completed my Masters Degree in Reading and Mathematics in March of 2009.
After all of that work, God was asking for me to walk away from my career, that I had worked so hard for and JUST homeschool. I felt excited for something new, but, defeated and confused at the same time.
Becoming A Homeschool Mom
At first homeschooling was overwhelming. I was trying to run my home like I ran my classroom, when I was still a public school teacher. With times, schedules, everything so rigid. But it didn’t work. The more that I failed at homeschooling the more that I lost my identity. I wanted my career back. I wanted to make my own money again, instead, of relying on my husband for money. I wanted to feel important again. What I didn’t realize was that, GOD HAD GIVEN ME MY FAMILY TO PUT THEM FIRST!!
I tried to focus and be happy with just being a homeschool mom, but the drive within me, was going nuts.I felt depressed and worn down. I felt like I needed more. I wanted more out of my life than just teaching my kids, cleaning my house and being the stay-at-home mom. More, more, more. That was always the way that I lived my life. You didn’t sit and relax, there was always more to be done.
God Provided A Way
One day God provide the idea and way of producing my own blog. I asked my brother (who is an atheist, computer engineer) to help me create a Christian website. And of course he said, “Yes.” And the journey began. It took a lot of learning on my part to understand how to create the website that I wanted. How to blog effectively, how to send out emails and everything else that goes with it. But, two years later here I am. The problem is that I still wanted more.
My never-ending appetite for more was eating me alive. I never felt like I was doing enough. The house was never clean enough. I didn’t do a good enough job homeschooling the kids. I wasn’t the wife that my husband needed. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Why was I so depressed and down on myself, all the time?
That’s when I stepped back and took a deep breath. “OK, Lord! You wanted me to homeschool, I am going to give these feeling to you. I am going to start looking at the blessings around me and stop stressing all the time.” It was not easy. My body still wanted to go, go, go all the time. I still wanted to do more, more, more, but now instead of reacting, I started to pray.
God was going to have to help me see His vision of homeschooling, so that I could relax and enjoy it. And he told me, “I have given you a website to build, yet you do not even take care of that.” And He was so right. Here I was wanting more, to have an identity of my own again, and God had already shown me the way. I was so busy trying to do more that I was literally throwing away the opportunity that God had given me. How foolish of a woman I had become.
Enjoying The Ride
Almost everyday, I wake up before the kids and spend time in the Bible or working out. I start the day with time for myself. This has really given me a lot more patience and helped me to have a more positive outlook on homeschooling.
The other thing I do, is remind myself throughout the day of all the blessings that God has already given me. I have this beautiful family that He gave me. I need to enjoy my time with them. I need to make them the most important thing in my life.
Homeschooling is not a sprint to do everything right, within the first year. It is a marathon. Where some days it will go great, and other days it will be a complete mess. There may be weeks where it feels like nothing is going right. But, I promise you that if you sit back, pray and give your homeschooling adventure to God, He will make it an experience that will exceed your expectations.
I am currently getting ready to go into my fifth year of homeschoooling. This will be the first year that we continue to do homeschooling for the summer months. We have decided that we will continue to read and do math everyday. I will also be allowing the kids to choose one subject each that they want to learn about. We will then, go to the library and check out books on our topic. We will also be doing hands-on experiments, drawings, paintings, writing stories, or whatever else we can think of to help them learn more about their topic. I will be letting them lead the way this summer as we do school, so that I can have more of a break and this will allow them to take on more responsibility (my kids are 6 & 9).
Finally, my last tip is too just breathe. When you have a day or week that is just not working take a break. Go outside and go for a walk. Play a board game as a family. Put on funny music and dance. Don’t let homeschooling be an everyday check list. Have FUN. And realize that your kids will only be little for so long.
Dear Lord, I pray for all the moms and dads that are homeschooling their kids. Help us to have the patience, grace and love that is required when it come to this task. Give us the strength to continue on when we want to give up and the discernment in knowing when to take a break. Help us to raise our kids in your name. To model for them how to be more like Jesus. And finally let us rest. Let us know that it is okay to take a break for ourselves. We know that in you we will be able to complete our homeschooling adventure with a smile on our faces. In Jesus’ name, Amen.