I looked my fellow homeschool mom in the eye. In the midst of ongoing side conversations, the words she’d just spoken suddenly quieted the room enough for me to reflect on them.
“You’re doing better than you think you are.”
It was her response to my first verbal confession of the doubt that consumed me. Like most homeschool parents, at times I’d wondered if I was doing enough—if I was doing a good job teaching my children. I glanced around the room at all the smiling parents attending the first homeschool meeting of the school year and wondered if their smiles masked similar insecurities. Or were they like me, attending this homeschool meeting hoping that what they learn will make them “better”—more adequate to take on the full responsibility of their child’s education.
“You’re doing better than you think you are.”
The comforting words of my peer followed me all the way home. I pondered on them, letting them marinate, hoping that one day I could receive confirmation that they were true. And then something happened…
“It was at this moment that I already felt like a failure.”
The following morning, my alarm clock rang like it always did. Rather than jumping out of bed I hit the snooze button and lay there. After thanking God for allowing me to see another day, I prayed for strength. I knew by the way that I was feeling that I would need it. It was at this moment that I already felt like a failure. Why didn’t I just jump out of bed with a Mary Poppins attitude and greet the day singing gleefully about my favorite things?
The morning was rather jumbled and I remember stressing out because we didn’t start our first homeschool class on time. After our morning devotional, I found myself trying to read The Tale of Jolly Robin to my children while scarfing down scrambled eggs and lukewarm coffee.
When it was time for my first grader to work on his writing journal, my three-year-old begged me to pull out all of his Ninja Turtle puzzles. Feeling defeated, I walked to the closet and pulled out all seven puzzles from the top shelf before running downstairs to rewarm my coffee. When I saw that both children were occupied, I gave myself a minute to sit down with my cup of coffee and regroup. “Today will be a good day,” I told myself.
I returned to the classroom and my three-year-old begged me to help him put his puzzles together. Still feeling defeated, I sat at the table and began helping him. My first grader saw all the fun we were having and tried to join us. Still freaking out about being behind schedule, I told him he could join us after he finished his journal. He did just that.
The next thing I knew, an hour came and went. My boys and I were so busy enjoying each other’s company that we hadn’t noticed the time. I was tempted to demand that we all get back to work, but my heart told me to “just be.” It was then that I decided to relax.
When we completed our very last puzzle, I relished in the delightful way my boys clapped their little hands and shouted “yay!” I loved how we’d all worked together, the patience they exhibited with one another as they took turns, and the way in which my eldest son taught his little brother how to work the perimeter of the puzzle first.
And then my first grader said this: “Mommy, you’re the best mommy that daddy ever chose. He could’ve chosen any mommy, but he chose you. I’m so glad.” His sentiments most certainly confirmed for me that I was doing better than I thought I was.
“Simply hanging out with my children—without an agenda—made me the best mommy ever in their eyes.”
You see, my boys didn’t care that I awakened on the wrong side of the bed that morning. They didn’t care that school didn’t start on time. They didn’t care that we fell behind schedule. And they certainly didn’t care that I wasn’t living up to my expectations of the perfect homeschool mom. Simply hanging out with my children—without an agenda—made me the best mommy ever in their eyes.
It became very clear to me that day that I was “doing better than I thought I was” because my children don’t hold me to the same standards that I hold myself to. That day, my boys learned lessons they won’t find in textbooks; lessons like how important it is to balance work and play, the joy of spending quality time with family, and that schedules are great but it’s okay to be spontaneous.
Of course, we carried on with our curriculum for the remainder of the day, but the atmosphere had shifted. Since I had given my children my undivided attention, they didn’t hesitate to give me theirs. The day was full of laughter and silliness, but also loads of learning. I was then reminded of something else; my goal was to encourage my children to love learning and I was doing just that. Regardless of how they “ranked” next to their peers or how I ranked next to mine, my goal was reached each time my boys exhibited how much fun they were having.
“I was doing better than I thought was.”
I want to pay it forward and pass on the encouragement that my fellow homeschool mom blessed me with—you’re doing better than you think you are. It’s easy to compare ourselves to our ideal mom, but to your children you’re irreplaceable. Rest in that!
What’s the greatest encouragement you’ve ever received? Let us know down below!