Some time ago, a friend asked if I would be on a panel that was made up of homeschool moms to help give a bird’s eye view to people considering homeschooling and for encouragement for the weary homeschool mom.
As I was preparing for it, I kept coming back to the same question for myself and one that I wanted to challenge other moms as well. This question also applies to moms that aren’t homeschooling and actually it applies to each of us in whatever life season we are in…
Here is the Question:
“Am I enjoying the relationship as I teach/ parent the children? (You can fill in the blank for your season of life.)
What fun will it be if the kids grow up and say “Well, we never missed a language arts worksheet, we did all of our math problems, the house was perfect, etc.”
It goes without saying that I don’t mean never having a hard day, but what is the general pulse of my attitude with the kids?
One of my personal struggles are the occasions when it’s time to load up and go somewhere.
It seems far too often that two kids get into an argument as we’re trying to load, one can’t find his shoes, one is out feeding apples to the cows, another one is doing his ninja course at the back side of the barn and one decided to take a little boat ride despite US HAVING TO LOAD UP AND LEAVE.
So at this point I have one of a few choices:
1. Raise my voice until they all listen. Then proceed to gripe and complain all the way to town about how they made us late.
2. Assess the triggers for my frustration and learn how this process can go smoother next time.
I have chosen choice one far too often…..
“Why can’t you find your SHOES?” Me
Several minutes later, “Here they are. I wore them in the ditch after it rained yesterday.” Child #5
They were literally dripping with water.
“Ugh!!! Go find another pair of shoes and your shirt is filthy! I am pretty sure you have had it on for days now. We are late.”
I then loaded the car and honked the horn to get the child to come on. In the meantime, another child goes back inside to get some crayons and I am like “Where are YOU GOING?” Then child #6 doesn’t want to get buckled up as if today is a good day to just walk around the van while I drive. I hastily strap him in which causes him to cry. The no shoes kid comes running to the car with clean clothes and shoes all in his hands (NOT on his body) -dropping items along the way. I promise I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
As we pull out of the driveway, I begin to explain (Ahem- gripe) for a few miles before child #2 says, “You keep repeating yourself over and over about why you’re upset, Mom. Can we stop talking about it now?”
At other times I have chosen the second option above and had a pretend “load the car moment.” We practiced, drove around the circle drive, and I remained calm making helpful pointers along the way. The stress was gone since we didn’t actually have to be somewhere and they learned that it matters to obey when I say let’s prepare to leave. I am also trying to learn how to start the process of loading up way in advance of when we need to leave.
So back to the having fun question. I have the opportunity each day to enjoy the kids and make choices to help enjoy them. I also have the opportunity to make choices that lead me into a spirit of contention. Training and practicing obedience is a far better option for me than griping and complaining.
Friends, may we be known for having fun with our kids, trouble shooting how to make our days run smoother, and griping a little less.