SAHM? How to Not Be Miserable.

10 Ways Not to Be Miserable as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Welcome to the New Year!

Okay, so being a stay-at-home mom is no joke. Can we all raise our hand and agree?

I know, I know—we chose this lot in life. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get challenging. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge it.

So, here I am acknowledging it.

Miserable is a harsh word, but it makes for a great title. I am not miserable. But I do acknowledge that some stay-at-home moms are—and that I, too, have experienced those challenging moments.

I’m not talking about clinical depression or any mental disorder that requires medical attention. I’m talking about feelings of unhappiness, discomfort, and/or inadequacy.

Perhaps I can be of some help. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nine years to two boys, ages 5 and 9. On top of that, I also homeschool, run a business, volunteer, the list goes on.

I’ve experienced a season where I hardly saw my husband due to his job, where I had to care for a newborn and a toddler while battling the baby blues, where I didn’t live close to family or friends, and where I felt isolated, anxious, and alone. And that is just naming a few!

I may not understand exactly what you’re going through, but I have an idea. Won’t you stick around and read what I’ve learned during those seasons?

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or an old faithful reader of my blog, I know that at least one of these points will speak to you.

Note: I don’t mean to assume you’re a Believer, I can only write from my personal perspective. If you’re not a Believer and want to be, please refer to the bottom of this post.

So, without further ado, on with the blog:

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer for more information.)



10 Ways Not to Be Miserable as a Stay-at-Home Mom

 

 

1. Know Your Purpose.

Knowing your purpose is directly linked to knowing who you are. When you know who you are and what you’re doing here, you increase your sense of self-worth and wellbeing. This is essential because some negative opinions about stay-at-home moms can really hurt. But when we know who we are, and understand our purpose, those unsolicited opinions roll off our backs easier.

You are not “just a mom.”

You are not “lazy.”

You are not “outdated.”

You heard the call and you answered!

Many stay-at-home moms are called to this particular ministry to inspire people only THEY can inspire. And yes, I said “ministry.” In whatever we do, whether it’s working a corporate job or being a stay-at-home-mom, our primary focus should be to glorify God, love others, and spread the good news wherever we are.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart

There are stay-at-home moms in your city that don’t know Christ or who’ve fallen away from the faith—women only YOU can reach. This is why we shouldn’t only associate with people “like us.” I’ve made some of the best connections with people I’d never expect to have anything in common with.

So, stay on course and realize this lifestyle you chose has more significance than you think.

Your children are the future and they need YOU.

The stay-at-home mom community needs YOU.

And God is working through YOU!

 

2. Know it’s Supposed to be Challenging.

Being a stay-at-home mom is not for the faint of heart. You can’t be ready to quit at the first sign of adversity. If it’s truly a calling then, as with all callings, you can expect to face challenges. Challenges aren’t meant to break you, but to edify, improve character, and increase faith. Therefore, expect:

Frustration.

Tears.

Guilt.

The desire to quit.

Feeling like it’s not worth the trouble.

When these things happen, it can be tough. But remember, we aren’t operating in our own strength, but God’s. When we expect challenges, we eliminate making permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.

When we expect challenges... Quote, Meme, Inspiration

Even more? When we expect challenges, our first inclination will not be to get “sad” when they appear, but to armor up and fight!

 

3. Establish Your Village.

We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” No truer words have ever been spoken. We weren’t meant to take on the responsibility of childrearing on our own. It’s not healthy for us or our children. Children need to be exposed to varying personalities, perspectives, and environments to help them become well-rounded adults.

We need companionship and support to help edify us.

It wasn’t always this way but, these days, I’m fortunate enough to have the support of my family, friends, and community. But if you don’t live close to family or friends, sign your kids up for local classes and activities. The public library is a great place to start if you want to know what resources and events your city has to offer. They usually have pamphlets at their front desk, or you can ask a knowledgable librarian. Many events I’ve attended were not advertised online so a Google search may not be your best bet.

And dare I say, join a mom group?

I know, I know. It’s HARD!

You tried, and it didn’t work.

Or, you simply just don’t want to do it.

But hear me out, you will never find the perfect group of women. You, yourself, are not perfect. There will always be some women in that group you can’t stand the sight of. But I promise you, if you stick with it, you can establish healthy friendships. But, you must be determined.

Most women give up too easily. I, myself, gave up easily at one point. But by God’s grace, I was able to connect with other women. And if this introverted, socially awkward black woman can make friends in a 99% white support group in the Confederate South, you can do it, too.

 

3. Create an Income Stream.

Contributing to the household income can be a satisfying feeling. But you don’t have to leave your home to do it. Today, streaming additional income from home has never been more attainable. All you need is a skill you’ve honed and a computer with internet access.

Proverbs 18:16 reminds us that our gift will make room for us!

A mans gift. Proverbs 18:16

I know plenty of moms who’ve put their gifts to use to earn income. They have virtual shops where they sell one-of-a-kind crochet designs. They host webinars that help people manage their finances. They write ebooks and author resources. The possibilities are endless!

I, myself, create educational resources for teachers and parents around the globe, and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Earning money is just a bonus!

 

4. Make a Difference.

Some of the happiest moms I know are those who serve others. Ever hear the adage “the quickest way to get over your own problems is to help someone else with theirs?” Research shows making a positive difference in the lives of others increases our sense of self-worth and combats anxiety and depression.

I’ll be the first to raise my hand and attest to that. One of the reasons I continue to blog and create resources is because of the emails, DMs, and comments I receive from people who’ve felt I’ve positively impacted their lives in some way. Reading the words “thank you” and “this is just what I needed” never gets old for me!

Getting involved in your community is another way to make a difference. Find a cause you’re passionate about and go for it! That’s where it’s helpful to be a part of a mom group or club. When you belong to a community, it’s easier to be presented with opportunities to serve.

And I want to note that, above all else, you’re making a positive impact on the lives of your children when you serve your family. After all, your family should be your first ministry.

 

5. Step into Your Role.

You are the manager of your home. Yet, many moms stray from the true definition of “manager.”

But what does a manager do?

The purpose of a manager is to set goals, decide what needs to be done to achieve those goals, and delegate responsibilities to ensure those goals are met. You were not meant to do everything alone.

I’ll repeat it louder for the ones in the back:

YOU were not meant to do everything ALONE! 

Don’t you dare do all the housework if you have children of age who are capable of doing chores.

Don’t you dare not consider asking your husband to contribute to keeping the house in order.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Perhaps you have an infant or a husband that’s deployed. Perhaps your village is non-existent. But if you can help it, never do everything by yourself. Even children as young as three-years-old can pick up after themselves and wipe down a table using a non-toxic cleaning spray.

And there’s no shame in hiring help if you can afford to. Hire someone to do your lawn care, shampoo your carpets, or deep clean your bathrooms every week. I’m not ballin’ like that at the moment, but if you are, go for it! We must stop shaming moms who hire help and we must stop making overworked, worn-out moms the face of motherhood.

 

6. Count Your Wins.

Let’s forget about how many times we’ve failed. Instead, let’s remember to count our victories. One method that helped me in the past was taking inventory on a regular basis. Every so often, I would ask myself what I did right and reflect on those things. When I started this exercise, it suddenly occurred to me how much I focused on my failures and how rarely I thought about my wins.

Consider this verse:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

Whatever is true...Philippians 4:8

Let’s emphasize, “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” You can’t be doing it all wrong. There has got to be something you’re excellent at and is deserving of praise.

When we reflect on our failures, we start identifying ourselves as failures. Which is simply not true. Romans 8:37 tells us we are more than conquerors! Furthermore, we must remember we are what we think. For “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

 

7. Stop Comparing.

Whether you think you’re better or worse than the next mom, comparison is a joy stealer! I know it’s tempting, but please resist the urge.

Most people talk about comparing yourself to others in the form of feeling “less than.” I want to talk about the other type of comparison. It’s easy to see why feeling inferior to another mom isn’t healthy, but I would venture to say that feeling superior to other moms isn’t healthy either.

Consider this:

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3).

We must remember not to mistake arrogance with confidence. Arrogant moms tend to have a revolving door of friends because they depend on putting others down to feel better about themselves. But confidence doesn’t depend on the inferiority of other people.

Don’t be that mom!

I love this verse:

Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of (Galatians 6:4). 

It’s easier said than done. But it’s not impossible. What has really helped me to stop comparing myself to others was to live out Galatians 6:4 and focus on my own endeavors. Do you see why I recommended seeking volunteer opportunities and establishing healthy hobbies and friendships? You’ve got to be so busy enjoying an edifying life that you don’t have time to reflect on what the next mom is doing.

 

8. Monitor Your Self-Talk.

Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself.

Even today, I must still take heed and pay attention, lest I subconsciously fall into negative thought-patterns.

Why is this important?

Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others—including our own children!

So watch phrases like:

I’m not good enough.

Nobody likes me. 

I’m failing at motherhood.

My kids aren’t like those kids.

Remember when I said you are what you think? Whatever you meditate on becomes your reality. Of course, we must be real with ourselves if we need to improve in certain areas, but constantly putting ourselves down isn’t doing us any favors.

You are what you think. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

9. Practice Self-Care.

I’m going to repeat this airline cliché:

Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you assist others.

Self-care means different things to different people. For me, it means ensuring I’m pouring enough into myself so that I have plenty left over to pour into others.

Can I be real? I went an entire week without practicing the self-care habits I normally do. I was a complete mess! There are many excuses women use as to why we can’t put themselves first. But the reality is, we make time for what’s important. The question is:

Why don’t we consider ourselves important enough to make time for? 

Exercise.

Quiet time.

Fellowship.

Hobbies.

These things are not luxuries. They’ve been proven time and again to improve our quality of life. They are necessary. I know moms who get up at the crack of dawn just to ensure they have time to exercise, meditate, and work on their hobbies. It’s that important to them. I, myself, know that I’m a better person when I practice self-care.

I know it’s difficult to develop these habits, but all you need is to take one step at a time. Can you commit to seven minutes a day of physical activity? Ten minutes a day to do something you enjoy? One day a month to meet with a friend? Wake up just ten minutes earlier to pray and meditate?

It all starts small! You can increase over time.

Here’s a seven-minute workout routine I like to do when I don’t have much time. Here’s my favorite twenty-minute HIIT workout at the moment.

 

10. Appreciate Your Season.

I can say this, and still, most of us will not feel the truth of this statement until after the fact—savor the moment.

If you don’t stop and smell the roses in the spring, you’ll regret it and long for them in the winter.

Life is full of seasons. As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve gone through many of them.

When I was a nursing mom, I desperately wanted my body back. When I was a new mom, I desperately wanted my baby to sleep through the night.  I think you can see where I’m going with this.

I remember talking with a fellow homeschool mom at the local skating rink. After exchanging a few comical mom stories, she stared into the distance and said:

“If my kids went back to being small like yours, I would play with them more. Take long walks and crunch the leaves with them. I would steal more kisses, more hugs. I spent their childhood waiting for them to get older, be more independent. Now that they are, I realize they are never going to be small again.”

Wow! I absolutely loved every word she said! You will NEVER regret spending more time with your children. How fortunate are we that we get to spend even more time with our children than the average American mom?


I want to sign off by saying, your feelings are valid! This post is not meant to guilt-trip or condemn, but to offer a bit of advice that has helped me over the years.

Of course, I am not an expert. I don’t know everything. All I know is that being a stay-at-home mom is taxing. But what greater purpose to labor for than for the wellbeing of our family!

Until next time, friend…



Want to change your life and become a Believer of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Say this prayer with faith and conviction, and then find a fellow Believer who can point you in the right direction.

Sinners Prayer for Salvation.

Did you just give your life to Christ? Email me and tell me about it!

 

 

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Nike Anderson's Classroom Free & Affordable Educational Resources

 

 

20 Lessons My Boys Taught Me

20 Lessons My Boys Taught Me

I’m a mother to two wonderful boys, ages four and seven. As a mom, I never stop learning. I’ve made mistakes and had some triumphs. I’ve had days that I’ve felt clueless, and days I’ve felt like a pro. I write blog posts not because I think I’m an expert, but because I enjoy sharing the journey of motherhood. A journey that’s rewarding, yet challenging. So I’m sharing this post with all of you! Twenty invaluable lessons my boys have taught me so far. Here goes! 

1.    They need their dad. The older my boys get, the more I see how much they look to their father for guidance. Whether they’re learning to properly groom themselves, or how to make a woman feel appreciated, they’re watching my husband and taking notes. When my husband brushes his hair, I notice my boys want to brush their hair the same way. When my husband thanks me for cooking dinner, my boys mimic him and also express their appreciation.  They pay me nice compliments, help carry grocery bags into the house, they do all the wonderful things their father does. They are truly blessed to have such a great example to model after. 

2.    It’s okay to have a messy house. Let’s not confuse the term mess with sanitation. Sanitation is a must! But I know I’m not the only mom who can sometimes get so busy that tidying up goes by the wayside. I love a tidy home just like the next person but, honestly, some days it’s either load the dishwasher at 1am or go to sleep. I choose sleep! Sometimes, I send my kids to bed and forget to have them put away their toys. Sometimes the laundry piles up in the washroom. These are the situations that once stressed this neat-freak out. But I’ve realized that my children still think I’m a wonderful mommy even when the dishes are piled up in the sink. 

3.    Dressing boys can be fun! There’s so much talk about how fun it is to dress little girls. And rightfully so, the girls’ department is full of cute options. But as a mom of two boys, I must say I’ve had so much fun dressing them.  No, they don’t get to wear ballet dresses and pink bows. But, once I learned where to shop, I’ve found that clothing for boys can be just as adorable. 

4.    Our family is complete. Some families don’t feel complete unless they have at least one child of each sex. For this reason, some people often ask if I’ll try for a girl. But my boys have shown me that our family is perfect the way it is. My boys bring me so much joy. They have my heart totally and completely. I’m so proud of who they are and am excited about their bright future. No, I don’t have gender disappointment. No, I don’t want any more children. I’m getting more rest and able to be more productive now that my boys are older. I won’t start over for the sake of having a girl. My husband and I are content with the healthy children God blessed us with. 

5.    I’m beautiful. My eldest son always tells me I’m beautiful, even on the days when I’ve put zero effort into my looks. This led me to eventually ask him what he thought was beautiful about me. His reply? I’m beautiful because I fix him snacks and hang out with him. My son taught me a valuable lesson that day: Beauty is love. It is often reflected in the things we do for others, not in the effort we put forth to look a certain way. To my son, I’m beautiful because I love and take care of him. And I’m constantly reminded not to let my outer appearance take precedence over the beauty within. 

6.    I’m not better than other moms. Not that I thought I ever was, per se. But sometimes there were moments when I’ve judged another mom for something her kids did, and then found myself in the very same predicament. How humbling! It took my boys a time or two to have a public tantrum before I realized, no, that other mom’s kids weren’t misbehaving because she never taught them good manners. Perhaps they were misbehaving because that’s what kids do sometimes—test their boundaries. Let’s face it, every kid has had their moment. And if your kid hasn’t, then I’m gonna need for you to write a book about how you managed to raise such perfect children so I can buy it!  

7.    My words speak volumes. When speaking to my boys, I have to be careful of what I say and how I say it. At their impressionable age, what I say has the potential to become their identity when they’re older. If I say they’re ungrateful, they’ll believe they’re ungrateful. If I say they don’t know how to follow instructions, they’ll believe that to be true. One day I asked my eldest son why he didn’t put his toys away like I’d asked. His reply was, “I guess I just don’t know how to follow instructions.” What a wakeup call! Since then, I’ve learned to refer to the child’s behavior, rather than the child’s character when correcting them. 

8.    My actions speak even greater volumes. There are times when my words hold significance, and then there are times when my actions hold greater significance. I’ve learned not to punish my child for acting just like me. If I tell one child not to yell at another, yet I myself have a yelling problem, I’m teaching my children that being hypocritical is okay. Instead, I work on myself, and let my children know that I’m working on myself. That way, they serve as my accountability and we can grow in character together.

9.    Being transparent strengthens relationships. I’m very transparent with my kids, especially with my eldest. They know about my mistakes, my shortcomings, my faith, my victories, and much more. I don’t bombard them with every detail, as some things should be shared when they’re older, but I do let my kids know that I’m not perfect and still learning. I also apologize if I’ve wronged them.  Whenever I have these kinds of talks with my 7-year-old, I find we grow closer. In turn, he feels safe to share his feelings with me. It’s my hope that I develop this kind of relationship with my youngest son as well.

10.    They’re wiser than I think. I can’t keep up with how many times my kids have surprised me with their wisdom. Sometimes, I even think my boys are wiser than me. One day, my eldest son refused to eat a snack I gave him. When I asked him why, he replied, “There’s too much sugar in this. This isn’t going to help my kidneys. I need vegetables instead.” Likewise, my youngest son constantly asks me to draw shapes I’ve never heard of. Like seriously, what’s a dodecahedron? Ask my 4-year-old, he’ll tell you. 

11.    They’re different people. Just when I thought I was an expert mom, my youngest son comes into the world and sends me desperately reaching for more parenting books. He’s not a textbook child. I love that about him. When my children were babies, my eldest son took to the cry-it-out method like a pro. But, after two failed CIO attempts, it was clear that my youngest son felt the most secure sleeping with mommy and daddy. To this day, they require different approaches when it comes to parenting. I’ve learned that one approach is never better than the other, just more effective for a different type of child, for different reasons. 

12.    I can’t control them. My kids are their own person. They are who they are and they like what they like—even if I don’t like it. Either I can try and control them by not allowing them to be themselves, or I can accept that they don’t have to be exactly like me or fit the mold of who I think they should be. They are very strong-willed individuals. I’ve decided to focus on how to help them exercise this trait in a healthy manner, rather than trying to minimize it. 

13.    All kids learn at different paces. Having more than one child, I know this to be true. My youngest son walked, talked, and potty-trained much earlier than my eldest. Likewise, my eldest son’s fine motor skills were more advanced than my preschooler’s. It doesn’t matter how long it takes them to reach a milestone, they’ll eventually get there. Their achievements are not indicators of how intelligent they’ll be. When my eldest was a toddler, some were concerned about his speech delay. Now, you can’t shut the boy up! And his vocabulary is excellent. 

14.    I’ll never understand their bond. Sometimes I intervene when my boys are fighting, just to discover they’re both actually having a good time. Their arguments turn into laughter, and their laughter turns into arguments. Their hugs turn into body-slams, and their body-slams turn into hugs.  Most days, I can’t tell if they love each other or hate each other. But what I do understand is that they have a special brotherhood, and this is all a necessary part of the bonding process. 

15.    I need to take care of myself. As a mom, naturally I put my children’s needs before my own. But then I remembered what people are instructed to do in the event of lost cabin pressure on an airplane—place the oxygen mask on yourself first before you assist others. Of course, as a mom, this is easier said than done. But I find that when I put this philosophy into practice, I’m a better mom because of it. If I’m not eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, or releasing negative energy, I won’t be able to manage my household to the best of my ability. Instead, I’d be nutrient deficient, tired, and weighed down. A recipe for a disaster!

16.    I had a vision before I met them.  Some call it dreams, goals, aspirations. Whatever it is, I had it—before I met my kids. I’ve learned that being a mother does not mean you have to throw away your dreams. In fact, being a mother should give you the inspiration to pursue those dreams more fervently. I mean, what I do with my time now will impact their future, right? But before I packed my bags to travel the world, I had to learn my next lesson…

17.    There’s a season for everything.  Yes! Everything under the sun. As a young woman, I lived a pretty adventurous life. I spent a lot of my time on an airplane, and I got to visit many places both overseas and in-country. By the time I completed undergrad, I was tired of flying! I was ready to settle down and be a wife and mom. However, as my kids grew older and more independent, I noticed that I was still stuck in the season of being a new mom.  Now that I was getting adequate rest at night, it was time for me to enter a new season and start investing more time into my aspirations. Not all at once! Season by season. 

18.   I have a personality they should know about. You see, there are things about me that my boys should just know. My talents. Hobbies. Interests. I’ve met some people who don’t really know or understand what their parents do for a living—or even what their parents’ favorite color is. They have no idea that their mom can sing sweet tunes, or that their dad can tear up the dance floor. Sometimes, we can make our lives so separate from our children that we run the risk of them not really knowing who we truly are. So, yea, my boys are hip to many things about me. Especially the fact that I like to make a song out of EVERYTHING!

19.  They have a purpose. How great is it to know that we all have a purpose here on this earth! Before my children were born, I prayed constantly to know what wonderful things God would do through them. I understand that they are not here just to please me. Nor are they here to serve as my report card for parenting—to brag about every little thing they’ve accomplished due to my “awesomely perfect” parenting skills. While my husband and I enjoy being their parents, we understand that our boys are here for a reason and we raise them accordingly. 

20.  Live in the moment. Every night, I walk into my boy’s room and kiss them goodnight. I linger there for a few minutes and watch them sleep. I whisper a little prayer. There, in their room, I let go of all their offenses. The arguing. The yelling. The mess. The pee on the bathroom floor. The disobedience. The stubbornness. The tantrums. All of that and more. I do this because they’ve taught me how quickly time escapes us. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was doing this exact thing as each of them slept peacefully in their crib.  And, now, each night their legs seem to grow longer as they stretch across their beds. I like to remember them just like this, taking in every detail of their tiny faces every night. I know sometimes life can feel chaotic, but in these moments I remember to just live. Just breathe. Just enjoy it. Because I can’t ever get this time back. 


Now, it’s your turn! What invaluable lessons have your kids taught you? Let us know down below!

I Don't Fit In

10 Reasons I Don’t Fit In With Homeschool Moms

Everyone has their own idea of what a homeschool mom is supposed to look like—even homeschool moms themselves! I’ve come across many stereotypes of homeschool moms; some good, some bad. But all are generalizations nonetheless—an attempt to create a mold that makes others feel comfortable.

Oh if I could’ve just recorded the look on some of my peers’ faces when I introduced myself as the newest member of the homeschool community. I could only imagine what they were thinking. I look nothing like them and my story is nothing like theirs. Needless to say, it was difficult getting people to see past my differences.

Even more difficult? Learning to challenge “outsiders” who not only assumed they knew my reason for choosing to homeschool, but also assumed what kind of person I was based on past experiences they’ve had with homeschool moms.

This post isn’t an attempt to criticize homeschool moms who may fall under some of the following categories, but rather a way to illustrate not all homeschool moms are cut from the same cloth—an important thing to note for prospects and newbies who may feel like they don’t fit the “mold.” 

I remember feeling so out of place (still do sometimes) in my homeschool community. During that time, reading posts like these reminded me that there are no rules! So, without further ado…


10 Reasons I Don’t Fit In With Homeschool Moms

1.    I’m not wealthy.  Not yet, anyway. I may be rich in some areas of my life, but when it comes to finances…let’s just say it’s a work in progress. In fact, only about 16 percent of the homeschool population makes six-figures. The rest of us make a pretty modest income. So all that talk about rich people opting for homeschool only references a small demographic in the homeschool community.

I know that homeschool curricula, coop fees, and the cost of extracurricular activities can seem daunting for those of us with tight budgets. But I’m here to tell you that homeschool doesn’t have to cost you thousands of dollars. There are plenty of free/low-cost curricula available online, at your local library, and even your local secondhand bookstore. All of my children’s curricula are FREE, but I do pay for any additional supplements I may need.

For instance, my local secondhand bookstore offers materials like A-beka, Saxon, MUS, and more, for just a fraction of the cost—I’m talking under five bucks! I also have a homeschool membership card that offers awesome discounts on school materials.

Furthermore, you’d be amazed at how many free/low-cost opportunities there are to involve your child in extracurricular activities. If you are new to homeschool, please plug into your local homeschool group—they’re a wealth of information (notice my pun here).

2.    I’m not white. As if that’s not obvious. I can probably count the number of people of color in our local co-op on two fingers. However, contrary to my personal experience, homeschool amongst the African-American community is on the rise. In fact, reports from 2015 show that Black students made up 10 percent of the homeschool population in the United States. That’s compared to the 16 percent they made up in public school that same year. And while that percentage may not seem that big of a deal, consider that African Americans are the fastest rising demographic in the homeschool community. That means homeschool communities are growing in diversity every year!  (Source: The Atlantic)

3.    I’m not drowning in curricula and school supplies. As a budding minimalist, I’m always amazed at how much unused stuff is accumulated in homeschool classrooms. It’s understandable, shopping for your classroom can be fun—and addicting! However, I love how minimalistic and clutter-free our classroom is.

Listen, you don’t have to buy every on-trend curriculum, gadget, or office supply. Keep in mind that most popular bloggers and/or YouTube personalities showcasing this stuff are sent these materials for FREE in exchange for a favorable review.

If you’re new to homeschool, I suggest sticking to the basic needs of your classroom—age-appropriate school supplies, a curriculum that works, and a work desk. I found that resisting the urge to fill up my classroom during our first homeschool year really gave me the opportunity to see what our personalized needs actually were—and what we could live without!

4.    I’m not afraid to send my kids to public school. Rumor has it that homeschool parents want to keep their kids away from the big bad wolves that may negatively influence their children. I won’t negate that these so-called wolves exist, but I will venture to say that negative influencers are everywhere—including homeschool groups.

Kids will make poor choices regardless of their schooling. It’s all a part of the maturity process. Just as all homeschoolers aren’t unsocialized weirdos, all public schools are not bad news. While my experience wasn’t perfect, I’m a product of the good that public school can do. I was an honor student and a good (but not perfect) kid. I know many successful people who are also outstanding products of the public school system.

If you missed the memo in my earlier posts, I homeschool to give my boys a personalized education that comes with the flexibility and freedom to learn at their own pace and in a manner that best suits their learning style. I also homeschool to encourage a positive relationship with learning that isn’t solely based on memorizing facts and getting high test scores.

(Please also note I live in a district with good public schools, I may not feel the same way if I lived in a low-performing school district.)

5.    I hate sweats. I know this is random, but it must be said. One thing that hasn’t changed about me since I was a little girl is my love for dressing up. However, I’ve noticed in the world of motherhood that dressing nicely has a negative stigma attached to it. You’re often judged harsher by other moms, viewed as being selfish or a bad mom just because you don’t look like what you’re going through (pee on the walls because your boys wanted to see how far they can “shoot,” the hidden poopy diaper because pooping in the potty is “scary,” the bruise on your big toe after stepping on a LEGO piece…).

I digress.

Putting some effort into myself has always been a great practice for my emotional wellbeing. I like to listen to positive affirmations as I’m getting dressed and ready for the day—It’s my time to meditate and reflect while my husband minds the children. In short—it’s a part of my “me-time.”

6.    I wasn’t homeschooled. I’ve met quite a few moms (and dads) who were homeschooled growing up. Until then, it never occurred to me that homeschool was a family practice passed down from generation to generation—simply a no-brainer for some parents to carry on the legacy.

I’ve already discussed that I attended public school my entire academic career, but I didn’t mention that I never even knew that homeschool existed until adulthood. In fact, I was introduced to homeschool when I studied alternative modes of education during my master’s program. I was so intrigued with the idea that I just kept studying it—even long after I earned my degree.

Yet, even with all the studying, my knowledge doesn’t compare to that of former homeschoolers I’ve met. This can be intimidating if you let it be. I simply remind myself that, while I’m no homeschool expert, I am most certainly an expert in my own homeschool.

7.    I don’t believe homeschool is the only way. This is one of the common misconceptions—In fact, some friends and family members started avoiding me once they found out I’d be homeschooling my kids. I even discovered some of these beloved people unfriended me on social media (ouch!). I guess I was oversharing our wonderful experience!

I’ve found that some parents who don’t homeschool their children are automatically in defense mode once the subject of schooling comes up—as if they expect me to criticize their decision to send their children to public school. This inspired me to write this post on my Instagram…

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“Please don’t mistake my being a homeschool mom as a judgement against moms who work outside the home or send their children to public school. We all have different callings in life–unique, yet beautiful, journeys to experience. I respect moms, period, and I respect the decision you make for your family. Don’t get tripped up on my life. Homeschool may sound romantic, but it is hard work and will definitely test and strengthen your faith, character, and patience. But nothing of true value ever comes easy. 

Therefore, the challenge is what makes it beautiful. I share snippets of our life with you not to boast (or make you feel guilty), but to inspire you to walk your own path, no matter how outside of the norm that path may be. Believe me, people have their opinions, but in the end I always have the peace of mind that I’m doing what God called me to do at such a time as this.” (Words in parentheses added later.)

8.    I’m not that patient…really, I’m not. Probably one of the biggest deterrents for parents that are considering homeschool is whether or not they have enough patience to provide their children with a home-based education. My belief? Patience is not something you just have naturally; it is a muscle that needs to be worked continually.

Yes, I’ve gotten angry, raised my voice, sent my kids to their room, and had to do some serious “woosahs.” I can for sure tell you that I’m not the most patient mom, but the good news is that my patience grows every single day. Most seemingly “patient” people you know have probably had a series of unfavorable experiences to help them grow in that area. You do not have to be patient to be a homeschool mom, but you do have to be committed to grow in patience.

9.    I’m not a helicopter mom. I won’t pretend I wasn’t when my children were much younger. However, the older my boys get, the more I back off and give them opportunities to make their own decisions, and/or experience some of life’s “hurts.” I don’t homeschool them to be a helicopter mom. That wouldn’t be fun for any of us. There’s no way I can police their behavior for every little thing they’ve got going on. Soon, I’ll be dropping them off to sports practice, extra-curricular classes, a friend’s house, and much more!

Knowing this, I’ve committed myself to helping my boys develop good character that’ll enable them to make good decisions for themselves. I don’t believe in shielding my kids, but I do believe in providing them with a safe and nurturing environment to learn about—and interact with—the world around them. Unfortunately, though, some things about the world kids (as they mature) have to learn for themselves. I accept that.

10.    I’m not the poster child for motherhood. Some homeschool moms are like saints. They’re great at everything from planning, decorating, cooking, keeping a tidy home, running a successful business, and raising geniuses—all with a Colgate smile. And while I admit to being good at some of these things, I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that I am not a perfect mom and I do not run the perfect homeschool.

I remember seeing a quote on Instagram that read something like this: “Some days I amaze myself…other days, I look for my phone while I’m talking on it.”

Yep, that’s definitely me! Some days are perfect, some days are in between, and some days I just want to lay in bed and wallow in self-pity. There are so many wonderful things being said about homeschool, but not enough testimony about the challenges that homeschool parents (and students!) sometimes face. If you’re new to homeschool, just know that you don’t have to have it all together all of the time!