Okay, I must start with a little confession: I don’t really have a cape.
I have an apron.
It’s blue, with a red polka-dot trim at the bottom and a red “S” right on front. My best-friend made it for me as a Halloween costume last year. That apron has been a huge reminder for me and I personally feel that every mom needs one. (The only thing I would suggest is that it does need a pocket, I get tired of finding Lego pieces and having to put them away immediately. It would be much easier to collect them as I clean and then deliver them back to their bin.)
The apron hangs along with all of my other aprons but I rarely choose to wear it. Sure, I like it, it’s really cute. I just don’t feel that it truly fits me. I certainly never feel like Super Mom. In fact, I often feel like I just can’t catch up. I feel like everyone or everything gets just a little of my time or attention but not enough. If I keep the kitchen and laundry up all day, the rest of the house is a disaster. If I keep the rest of the house up, the kitchen is a mess and we have no clean towels. If I work on this, that goes untouched. If I ... there’s no need to continue. I’m sure each of you knows just how I feel.
The truth is that ALL moms feel this way a lot. It’s not exclusive to homeschooling moms, stay at home moms, or working moms. We all have kids, we all have a home, and we all have other responsibilities. When we get a chance to take a break, we pick up the smartphone or sit down at the computer and pull up Facebook. (Can you imagine how boring our mother’s days must have been without Facebook? We can now communicate without the kids noticing, for a few minutes at least. No more talking on the phone with a toddler screaming in the background!)
We get a daily glimpse into the lives of other mothers doing the same thing we are. These moms seem to have it all together. They make their own bread, cook gourmet breakfasts, and serve a three-course lunch and a five-course dinner every day. Their little boys always look so cute in their white t-shirts and their little girls look just darling in their smocked dresses and matching hair bows. They get flowers from their husbands once a month, have regular date nights and a monthly mom’s night out. How quickly we find ourselves envious or even a tad depressed. You know why? It’s because we read these status updates one by one and compile them in our brain under the file name Susie Q. Every great thing that we read about another mom gets attached to Susie’s file, making us think that Susie is just amazing and we can’t live up to that.
Ladies, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we have such a hard time looking around at our lives and realizing how great we have it? Now, I know we all go through bad times, but think about it: We are homeschool moms, some of us may have a part-time job, some maybe even a full-time job, but the majority of us are fortunate enough to be married to someone that provides well enough for our family that we are able to stay home and raise our children.
We’re smart enough to pour over hundreds of different curriculum choices and decide which ones will work best for our children.
We’re lucky enough to be the favorite teacher of those little people that call us “Mommy."
We have beautiful homes (a beautiful home has nothing to do with what your house actually looks like), beautiful families, and beautiful lives. Our children may eat cereal for breakfast, but they’ll remember you sitting down and eating with them. Peanut butter sandwiches may be the standard lunch menu, but your children will remember the heart that you draw in the peanut butter before you put the other slice of bread on. Dinner may be a one-dish meal that’s been in the crock-pot all day but your kids will remember the smell of a home-cooked meal and sitting down at the table with their family each night.
None of us have the same life, we don’t have the same struggles, and we don’t have the same goals.
As moms, we have to stick together. We can’t let ourselves feel bad that we don’t have all that Suzie Q has. We can’t let ourselves get caught up in bragging all the time about all that we do have either, because that can lead to making another mom feel bad. As moms, we need to encourage one another, we need to be there for one another, and we need to share our REAL lives. What’s wrong with letting your friends know that you’ve had a bad day? What’s wrong with letting your friends know that you leave your kitchen a mess at night so that you can spend more time with your family. (That shiny sink thing sounds good in theory, but in reality? A shiny heart matters more and I get that from spending time with my family. I’d much rather do the dishes in the morning while the kids are still sleeping and I actually have energy.)
There’s nothing wrong with sharing these things with your friends. So many times we are guilty of making our lives seem so great that others think they could never homeschool their children. They think we must be amazing to be able to do it. They just smile and nod as we assure them that they would do just fine.
It’s like we want to keep it our little secret that we are human too.
We are not alone in this thing called MOTHERHOOD. Quit comparing your cape to others, embrace your life with a big ole goofy grin and enjoy the journey. It’ll all be over way too soon and all we’ll have are the memories.
Audrey McCormick starting homeschooling in 2011. She favors a Montessori-approach to education. Audrey McCormick is also the founder of David's Gift. You can read more from Audrey at her blog, The Homeschool Trail.