The summer is ending and the school year is beginning.
Have you ever felt that things weren’t quite going your way? You have the best intentions, the plans, the ideas and dreams but in reality all of those things look completely different.
I understand that often the things we think out in our head or plan out on paper are different from what actually happens and I expect that things won’t be the same. I’m usually okay with all of that.
Sometimes, though, I have a difficult time of letting go, allowing plans to not go exactly as planned. Or letting go of the fact some things are left undone.
And then the guilt sets in.
And it builds up, sometimes without me even realizing it.
Finally, I experience a few days of a roller coaster of emotions and I cry and I’m angry.
I am in the midst of all of that right now and it’s not that anything bad is happening or that I’m overwhelmed. I believe it’s just plain mom guilt.
We moms seem to set such a high standard for ourselves and when we don’t meet our own expectations we begin to hear the voice of the enemy.
“You’re not keeping up with the house work, it’s not that hard, you’re not good enough.”
“You didn’t stick to your school schedule, you can’t be trusted to teach the kids.”
“You forgot to do xyz task for the ministry you lead, again. You’re a failure.”
This voice is the voice of condemnation.
And yes there are times when a voice says that you do need to work on tidying the house, or to come up with a schedule that will work for your homeschool, or find a way to delegate tasks.
The difference in this voice of conviction is that you’re feeling encouraged to do the right thing, not ashamed or belittled.
I’ve been struggling to work through these crazy emotions, even giving excuses as to why I’m feeling the way I do. “It’s just hormones.” or “It’s that time of the month.” or “I’m just emotional, but I’m fine.” Dear moms, if you are feeling this way too, it really is okay! Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. You don’t have to justify yourself.
Mom guilt is a huge burden we carry. It never starts off big. It builds. As one thing on our ever growing to do list doesn’t get finished and then another and then something else we grow anxious, we start believing those lies in that voice of condemnation.
And that voice can be pretty crippling. When we start to believe we aren’t good enough it effects everything around us. Our attitude, our family, and how we see ourselves.
We don’t have to carry this weight. I know I need reminding now and again that the only approval I need is in my Jesus and to know that I am loved. And did you know that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God? (Romans 8:39)
That verse is truly a comfort when I’m not feeling quite like I’m enough. But I am enough. And you are too momma.
As the summer is passing by I have been reflecting quite a bit.
I haven’t written much down yet (a mom guilt thing, I should have been able to do that… see these are the thoughts that have compounded and brought about all of these emotions) but I certainly have spent time contemplating the things I’d like to improve upon, and the things I’m looking forward to in the coming school year.
Our school year on paper is a year round schedule. In reality we got busy. We took our break, which didn’t really feel like a well deserved break or an official break.
It was time to start back in July but I wasn’t ready. I like to do something special to commemorate the beginning of the school year but I wasn’t inspired.
So I gave myself some grace and gave myself permission to start towards the end of August and have a traditional school year schedule this year.
We also didn’t finish the complete year of Ambleside Year 1. We will be doing Year 1 term 3 this fall and begin Year 2 in January.
We attend one co-op (which I have taught at a couple of times) and I run a small co-op. My son is seeing a speech therapist once a week. We do plenty of outings and field trips and playdates. Some weeks it feels like we are out of the house more than in the house.
This year I am working to honor our time in the morning (with the exception of Fridays) and reserve it for being home and doing lessons. Through reflecting on what time we spend outside the house I’ve decided that, at least for the fall, we will not be attending the one co-op.
There are so many opportunities around and the homeschool community is thriving in my area, it’s really a blessing to be where we are, I’m grateful. However, I am choosing to say no just a little more and slow down and enjoy these beautiful kids.
(I think I’m crossing that threshold between being a young mom and everyone saying to enjoy this time now with their kids to becoming one of those moms who tell others to enjoy this time now, because it really does go by so quickly.)
I have heard that whenever you say no to something you’re really saying yes to something else. I love this. I’m saying yes to slowing down.
Building relationships and friendships have also been on my mind. Connecting deeper.
Decluttering and clearing out our home of stuff is something I’m working on sporadically. I was able to get our bedroom under control and our clothes closet, next big project is my storage closet.
My physical health is on my list of reflections. For me personally it’s been a last priority, not even a priority. Not on purpose, just not something I have been intentional about. Exercise needs to happen and follow up check ups. Drinking more water, taking vitamins, oh I am so not good at all of this.
Other “grown up” things need to get accomplished.
Ha! Maybe this is growing pains, a new season is unfolding. I’m growing up again. Do you ever do something “adult-like” and just feel that much more grown up? You know, another stage or season of life is passing?
One big thing weighing on my heart this summer is our family culture. I would like to see us do more family, do more putting God first, do more praying.
In an effort to not let summer pass us too quickly I did make a quick list of family activities to be purposeful about doing together. Simple things like: going to play in the splash pad or go swimming, have a picnic, play in the river, have a bonfire, go camping, go bowling, mini golf, bicycling, go to the beach and go see a movie at the drive in.
Most of those have happened (I was sad to cancel the drive in movie last weekend though, I didn’t do my homework on the movie and last minute watching the trailer hubby and I were like um, no). Some things we have not yet done. And we will be going peach picking soon too!
I really enjoyed having this list and it really helped to make sure our days just weren’t passing us by. I’ll be creating a fall bucket list soon that I’ll share with you.
With all of these thoughts swirling in my brain and trying to really take the time to do summer I am honestly not quite super ready to begin this school year. We did officially start last week and celebrated with frozen yogurt and park time in the afternoon.
But I’m not crazy excited like I have been in years past to start, at least not yet. I wouldn’t change being home with my kids and having the privilege to homeschool them. I do love this job. I know that putting off starting until I felt excited would be unwise. Who knows when this feeling will wane.
So, it’s simply time to dive in.
All of this to say, dear friends, that you are not alone in your struggles.
As our school year starts, I will be taking it one day at a time. I will prioritize slowing down. We will have more together time as a family. Little by little the do to list will have more check marks and cross throughs, and then some things won’t get done, I’ll give myself grace and move on. Decide what is most important, like relationships, and focus on that.
All of these challenges carry redemptive power with them when they are placed in the hands of your Heavenly Father. –Heidi St.John in Becoming Mom Strong
Get in the Word, find your worth in Christ, allow Him to carry your burdens, no more mom guilt.