You've probably heard the commercials where someone talks about how moms have the hardest job on the earth. You know, the ones where they have the laundry list of responsibilities that moms carry:
head-holder (when they are barfing)
And then, add chief of academic services and trainer in righteousness, and it's enough to give anyone a headache too big for a pill to fix.
My biggest frustration is two-fold.
First, I hate all the pressure and expectations that I put on myself and my kids. I have to fight it because it isn't what God wants for us. Not that He doesn't want us to do things with excellence, but He looks at our hearts and sees our motives.
Mine are not always good.
Like when I do things to impress others. Or to make them think I'm doing a good job when inside I feel like I am withering, and I wonder why I'm a mom trying to take care of kids when I feel like I can't take care of myself properly.
And like when I want my kids not to run around and yell or get into tussles with other kids at co-op, or backtalk, because homeschooled kids are supposed to be well-behaved and manicured, even if they aren't all dressed alike; right?
Second, I hate how others have this perception of homeschoolers, that they are all supposed to be of rocket-science caliber and ready to be the President when they finish 7th grade.
I hate how that motivates me to push my kids to finish curriculum we all hate; or to cram more lessons in of curriculum we love, and we end of hating it because of my task-master mentality.
I think both of these frustrations are rooted in a blanket application of certain verses of scripture.
(Disclaimer: Some people may not like what I have to say, but I'm saying it anyway. So there.)
Scripture #1: Proverbs 31:10-31
This is a long passage so I won't put it all here. But most women who claim to know Christ are familiar with the "Proverbs 31 woman."
I believe that this passage of scripture is used to pressure and torment, not only Christian women in general, but homeschooling Christian women in specific.
How many homeschool moms do you know who grind their own grain? Make their own bread from scratch, even if they buy the flour? How many get up at 6:00 am and have Bible study and start school way early, micro-managing their every minute for maximum output?
And how many times have you felt less-than because you do NOT do these things?
The key that is overlooked in this Bible passage lies here in verse 30:
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,I do not believe this passage of scripture was intended to condemn women, or to make them feel like they are losing it. It was written to show us that no matter how charming our home looks, no matter how beautifully organized we are, or how well we discipline our children, it is all meaningless if we aren't focused on God.
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."
Can God equip us to do more than we ever dreamed we could handle? Absolutely.
Should we feel worthless, if we struggle to just get through each day without ripping out our hair? (That's rhetorical.)
Scripture # 2: Proverbs 22:6
"Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Call me a heathen or apostate, but I do not believe this is a guarantee. I think it is a principle. I believe that training your children to follow the Lord is important, but our children will not truly have faith in and a relationship with God until they make that decision on their own. Until then, they are embracing our faith as theirs.
Some kids do turn away from the Lord. When this happens, many parents are confounded. And, fear of this happening causes many parents to fret over ever little word spoken or deed done in front of their kids that isn't saintly.
I think overprotective spirituality actually contributes to children turning away, because we lose sight of the forest for intense focus upon the trees.
Don't get me wrong—I completely believe that scripture teaches we are to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And I love the Lord; desperately, at times.
But I know I've been hyper-conscious of bringing scripture into everything, and turning everything to a conversation about the Lord—a WWJD mentality, I guess—and it has started to bug my kids.
That frustrates me. Because I'm doing it right; right? So why are they acting like this?
Oh yeah! That's true! They are flesh-and-blood sinners, like me. And they have a free will to choose how to act and react.
Which is exactly my point. And it frustrates me that we moms tend to carry a heavy burden of "saving" our kids, when that's what Jesus has already done. Our job is to pray, and to mirror grace, and to pray, and to show mercy and pray and model forgiveness. And pray.
And, one day we will hopefully say:
"I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth," (3 John 1:4).
These moms have things to say, too; so check out their blog posts for today:
Lorrie @ Life and Lessons Learned,
Selena (that's me) at Campbell Clan,
Kathleen @ Positive Adoption,
Audrey @ Everything Beautiful,
Charli @ WV Urban Hippies,
Tracey @ Building My House, and
Maria @ The Joyfully Frugal Home
Jessica @ Redeeming the Home (not pictured)
(All of these moms (except me, of course) are in my blog list at the right.)
And stay tuned! We'll be blogging on Tuesdays and Thursdays in April about these topics:
- How do I feel about socialization? (Tuesday, April 23rd)
- Blogger's choice (Thursday, April 25th)