My Neverending Story

Some homeschool mom on Facebook just announced her family started their first week of school. When I read those words, my heart stopped. No summer-loving homeschool mom can cope with this type of behavior on Facebook. I’m not saying she’s on my blacklist or anything. I still love her. I’m sure she’s completely unaware of the spike in my blood pressure, the pounding in my temples, the itch in my feet to bolt.

All year long I wait for summer. I think about it like a child thinks about a great big cloud of cotton candy. I salivate in anticipation of those two hot months of brain sluggery. I do this every year regardless of the reality that all my plans are gonna get sucked up into the vortex of camps and playdates and VBSes… and I don’t know what all I’ve been doing. I just know all my lovely teacher-free weeks are almost gone! Summer is going, going… And then this perky, plan-aheader mom announces, “Hey guys, we’re starting school! We’re so excited! We love us some maths! We’re all up in that earth science business!”

Oh no she didn’t. She did not just start her school year in the middle of July. There goes my fantasy summer, fading into the Nothing. I feel the Gmork of lesson plans and tests and endless “do I have to do this exercise?” whining breathing down my neck. And I’m not ready!

childlikeempress

Save me! My summer world is crumbling!

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My View As a Stay-At-Home Mom

I read Being a Stay-At-Home Parent Is a Luxury…for Your Spouse, and I could relate to a few of Chaunie Brusie’s thoughts.

I’ve felt I had to bake pies so that the world would know I’m not a worthless member of society.

Apple Pie By Len Rizzi (photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Realm and I chuckled over this one. Occasionally, he requests homemade goodies to take to work. His top pick is apple pie. I gather his coworkers like it, too. I love the compliments, but I never thought of it as my means of giving to society. I just like to cook, and I know what it’s like to get a treat amidst the monotony of the workday.

Well, of course, it would be a luxury to the spouse who works out of the home to have a partner who stays at home with the children. Someone who is always there to take care of the inevitable days of sickness, arrange the doctor’s appointments, make sure the cupboards are stocked, and [hey], to ensure that no one steals the FedEx package off of the porch.

At my house, the kids are like security guards with their checkpoints, investigating the mailbox and the front porch throughout the day. They take the letters and packages somewhere and promptly forget about them. It’s a wonder we find our bills and get our packages at all!

I realized, in a rush of amazement, that I had spent all of our marriage feeling just a tad bit guilty for being the one who “gets” to stay home…I realized, for the first time ever, that I didn’t have anything to prove.

The Petrie family of the Dick Van Dyke Show By CBS Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As a keeper at home, have I felt like I had to prove something? Definitely. Logically, I know there is nothing more important than nourishing my family’s mind, heart, and spirit. Emotionally, though, this society has made its jabs at me, and I’ve been brought low for what I do. The pressure is real. The pressure is toxic. It helped me that I realized the negativity is not inherent in me. It also helped me to make a conscious decision to refuse the notion that it is good for any society to be condescending to a wife and mother for choosing to stay at home to be…a wife and mother. I hold, instead, to the godly belief that my most noble and praiseworthy service is to my family (Titus 2:3-5). On the Last Day as I face my Creator, this is one thing over which I will have no regrets or guilt.

There are many things we sacrifice to live on one income. We don’t do family Disney World vacations. In fact, my son went to DW for the first time last year through the generosity of good friends. (The girls haven’t been there at all. It’s amazing how happy they are anyway.) My kids don’t wear what’s trendy, and I don’t, either. Eating out is a treat, not a habit.

That being said, we are so, so blessed by God that I don’t have to work for a paycheck to help provide a roof, food, and clothing for our family. We have all these things and many, many other luxuries. Yet, I think the greatest luxury is the time we have to be together.

Tackle the Task

Shhh! Guess who’s school librarian this year? Great Dewey decimals, I am! Think small school, small number of books… I should have this in the bag, right?

By Michael Holley Swtpc6800 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I have a tendency to overthink the simple task. My mind is chock full of ideas, most of which are, well, blown out of proportion. If you asked me how to paint a tall building, my first thought would be to use a hot air balloon. A fascinating visual, yes, but it doesn’t work.

There are four ways I check my overactive imagination:

I ask God to help me.

God should be my first line of offense, not just defense. He happens to be in charge of the universe, which means he has an incredible way of dropping things into my lap right when I need them. (Does He do that for you, too? It’s nice, isn’t it?) I find out a friend I’ve known for years knows all about a subject or skill that helps me solve my dilemma. A complete stranger walks up and gives me the piece to a puzzle I’ve been wracking my brain over. My mom calls and mentions the perfect solution to that niggling problem. I’m telling you, it happens all the time when I go to God first.

Years ago, when I was working at Dairy Queen, I left my planner in the bathroom. It had all my wedding plans laid out—which included the blank page with the word, “Cake: ?” A lady walked up to the DQ counter after the lunch rush and asked, “Who’s getting married soon?” She waved my planner in the air, I walked over to thank her for finding it, and guess what she said.

“I do cakes, and my prices are reasonable.”

Need a cake decorator anyone? Ha! Not only were her prices reasonable, I got the decoration of my dreams! No DQ ice cream on a stick for my guests. Coincidence? Yes. A lovely, lovely coincidence created by God especially for me.

I ask Realm for help.

He specializes in process design, after all. I’m amazed at how he can simplify the problem and address the big picture. I told him my plans for the library this year. His eyes gleamed. He gave me a method to break down the job into manageable steps. The steps all begin with ‘S.’ If alliteration is involved, you know it’s good. 😉

Finding someone to bounce my ideas off of always helps me! Most of the time I go to Realm. Sometimes I need a family member or a close friend to give me direction.

I set a due date.

It’s hard to grow a gigantic plan when it has to be done by Tuesday. When I see that day looming on the calendar, my mind leaps from possibility to practicality. The elaborate system I’m concocting will have to wait.

I don’t consult Pinterest.

Someone once said, “Pinterest is like crack for the creative types. You begin to spiral out of control, stealing tissue sheets out of gift bags and repurposing toilet paper rolls for wall art.”

Okay, maybe I said that.

What are your suggestions for an easily-distracted creative soul?

School Time!

Get out your paper and pencils—or iPads, as some schools have it. Time for a

POP QUIZ!

1. Which amendment in the Bill of Rights protects a citizen in criminal cases, specifying that the court cannot require or compel one to testify or bear witness against him or herself?

a. Amendment I
b. Amendment III
c. Amendment V
d. Amendment VII

2. A zebra’s stripes are its defense against lions and hyenas, two predators that have which fact in common?

a. Their females are predominantly 10% larger than their males.
b. They are both part of the cat family.
c. They can run up to 50 miles per hour.
d. They are color blind.

3. What is wn?

45 = 5/9 x wn

a. 81
b. 72
c. 40
d. 76

4. What prophet succeeded Elijah, asking that a double portion of Elijah’s spirit be upon him?

a. Noah
b. Elisha
c. Isaiah
d. Benhadad

5. Complete the sentence with the correct verb form and explanation.

“I wish I (was, were) finished with this quiz.”

a. was; singular verb form agrees with singular subject
b. were; ‘if’ or ‘wish’ changes verb to subjunctive mood
c. was; realistic wish places verb in indicative mood
d. It is a matter of hot debate.

 

The answers are:

1. c (That’s what “I plead the fifth” means.)
2. d (The zebra’s stripes were a dead giveaway, right?)
3. a (It took me forever to figure this one out. Math is not my friend.)
4. b (II Kings 2:9)
5. c (I thought it was ‘b’ until I researched it online. It’s a freebie if you went with ‘d.’)

Have you ever wondered what ends up knocking around in this brain of mine after a day of homeschooling? Well, there you have it.

And everyone needs their thirty minutes of aerobic exercise!