Here's what I know. Motherhood is hard. Specifically, homeschooling motherhood is hard. You've got the expectations of society, to turn out responsible citizens of the country who can read, write, drive, hold a job, pay their taxes, pay their bills, etc. You've got expectations from family, who want to make sure they are socialized, well-rounded, and well-educated. You've got your own expectations and desires which often FAR exceed those of anyone else, and they constantly nag at you and cause you to doubt if you're doing it right. You obviously want them to read and write and know a thing or two about history and science. You want them to love the Bible and have it hidden in their hearts. You want them to be disciplined, healthy, confident, and balanced. You want them to know how to do their laundry and balance a checkbook. That's just the kids you're raising. Never mind the house you're trying to keep somewhat organized and basically clean, the laundry that's constantly needing to be done, the meals and snacks that hungry babes are always waiting for. The nagging, whining toddlers who didn't get their way. The arguments over who had it first. The complaints about what's for dinner. The baby that kept you up all night to nurse, or to be comforted, or to throw up all over their freshly laundered sheets. I get it. It's tough.
It's even tougher when you have more naysayers than encouragers. When your family doubts. When your friends say they're not sure they would do it that way if they were you. When society shakes their head and says, "You've sure got your hands full. Better you than me." When Pinterest says you should be doing more art projects and you need more chevron print in your home. When the cooking shows say you should be spending hours preparing better, more exquisite foods.
You know what I think a mother needs? Support. Encouragement. Someone who says, "You're doing an awesome job. You just keep up the good work. I know it's tough but keep that smile on and keep going. Great, great job, Momma. Kudos to you." That's what a mother needs. Not another critic.
Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly starts off with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that SO resonates with me right now:
"It's not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs; who comes up short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. . . "
You, Homeschool Momma, who got up early this morning to stumble to the coffeepot and try to get a little insight from your Heavenly Father that would help you in your parenting today, who sat with your daughters patiently as they sounded out "Jill can run fast" and who made sure your students completed their work even when they rolled their eyes, YOU are daring greatly. Your critic does not count. You keep striving valiantly. Do not quit. You are doing a great work, and you cannot come down to your critics (Nehemiah 6:3). These are the days of your prime, when the friendly counsel of God is over your tent, the Almighty is with you, your children are all around you, your steps are bathed with cream, and the Rock pours out rivers of oil for you (Job 29:2-4).
Your life doesn't look like your neighbor's or the lady's on TV? Awesome! You are raising children who stand out, right? Who are above the status quo? So it would stand to reason that your life SHOULD look different! Don't fret- it only causes harm! (Psalm 37:8). I was fretting the other day about some of society's standards and feeling like a weirdo hippie out here on Freedom Farm. God very clearly spoke to me and said, "That's awesome that your life is different! I have a different calling for you! Celebrate that, don't despise it! I don't want your family to blend in with everybody else!" Sweet Momma, God has a unique plan for your family. Embracing that uniqueness despite what the critic says, that is daring greatly. Don't let it make you fret. Let it be what drives you on instead.