74 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, this is SO, SO good…This was really encouraging to me: “So I’ve come to the conclusion that I should have given myself a dose of grace a long time ago. I’m so much more relaxed now than I was just a few months ago. I feel like I’ve had a fresh start.” That is very appealing! I need to be refreshed and having more grace for myself (and digging out my sewing machine) seem like great places to start 🙂

    Dawn from http://www.ithinkwecouldbefriends.com

  2. I never tried homeschooling with my children but expect it can be quite challenging at times. Give yourself a much needed break once in a while. As you’ve seen, it works wonders for the busy lives we have.

  3. Although I am not a homeschooler, I am an active teacher to my kids, I take their education very seriously and since only one is actually old enough to be in school I spend hours incorporating educational play into my day. And it can be hard. And Grace is a necessary component daily! I tend to need to carve out time to read, which is what I blog about. And there are times when I just let it all go, just go with the flow for a couple of days then play catch up when my energy allows. It is all alright. I know that I’m loving on my kids and giving them healthy meals and trying, and that is enough. Thanks for sharing your struggles…

    Marissa
    http://forfunreadinglist.blogspot.com

  4. After homeschooling (for three years) my 17 year old daughter with moderate cerebral palsy, she just went back to public school. It was a heartbreaking decision. I knew I could do better for her academically and preparing her for life in general, but I knew she was losing out socially and in preparing for life with some sort of job. I needed to constantly show myself some grace when we homeschooled those three years (which we loved!). But, I find myself reaching out for grace even more now that I sent her back…back to the lions of public school. Thanks for the permission to give myself some grace today. Blessings!

  5. Marissa, you’re right. My husband keeps reminding me that if the children are fed and happy we’ve had a good day. It’s hard to remember that if you’ve taught your children anything that day you’ve done your job even if everyone thing else didn’t get done. 🙂

  6. Kereith, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that decision was for you. Sometimes parenting just seems way too hard – hence the need for grace. Trusting all goes well for you and your daughter.

  7. Wow, 8 kids, I take my hat off to you. And I’m also a little jealous of your fertility!
    I am glad you had a summer break, you needed to re charge your batteries, I used to be a teacher and I needed my holidays.

  8. I can’t imagine being a mother of 8. Then again, I’m a public school teacher and know the effort it takes to teach a lot of kids at different levels of learning. We all need grace.

  9. Wow, yes, you need to give yourself grace. 🙂 I homeschooled our two until high school, and regret sending them to public school at that point. I was burnt out, and didn’t do it for the right reasons. But God is our Redeemer, and I have to keep reminding myself that He will redeem the situation. 🙂

  10. boltoncarley, all the levels are challenging but I have developed a system for coping that I keep refining.
    Sheila G., I think I caught my burnout in time. God does have a way of turning difficult situations into something good.
    Lisa, thank you for your kind words about the size of our family. Not everyone is so positive. We love all the noise, love, busyness, etc. that comes from having so many children.

  11. I don’t homeschool, but I can totally understand the burn out. We have burn outs in all aspects of life…and it’s always good to take a “grace period” for yourself. That way you come back refreshed and ready to tackle it again!

  12. I’m not a home schooler, but I like your idea of a dose of grace. I retired in June and tried to get through a long list of projects. But I broke my foot last week and I’ve had to give myself a dose of grace, and somewhat surprisingly I am really enjoying my less active time. I focus on writing and am loving it.

  13. Britton, yes that’s how it happened for me. I was refreshed and ready to teach again.
    Carol Z., it’s surprising how much we can learn when we slow down. We can learn new things and focus ourselves in other ways. It feels good.

  14. I don’t home school but certainly applaud the parents who do this. And you are able to use God and the bible in your teachings. I am happy you applied some grace in your life and allowed refreshment to enter. Sometimes we just have to stop and breathe.

  15. Cee Collins, yes, taking time to breathe…to step back and evaluate where priorities need to be. This summer has been so good for me to see how I was making life unnecessarily hard for me and my children. It’s been good to slow down and refresh.

  16. I just started homeschooling my three but I totally understand what you’re saying. Before I started this adventure, I would still read blogs and news articles and see all the amazing things these people were doing. I read Todd Wilson’s book, “Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe” as I was researching this fun adventure and it prompted me to write about my own failures on my blog, just to show people what *doesn’t* get written. (If you want to laugh at me for a few minutes, take a look at the unfilitered me over here: http://wandawhoopiecushion.blogspot.ca/2013/03/best-foot-forward.html

    Anyway, we all need to extend a little grace to each other and to ourselves. Thanks for bringing this to light. I’m sure it’ll come in handy over the next few days/weeks/months/years. 🙂

  17. I don’t know much about homeschooling, but it would seem you need a break or some grace. Teachers at everyday schools get summers off, so why shouldn’t you? It refreshes you and it’s obviously something that helped! Give yourself that time as it’s needed!

  18. My sisters homeschool, but I don’t. I have 5 children, and I can only imagine how you felt. You need to take breaks and just enjoy the family for a while! Good for you! The kids will remember this past summer and how they had a relaxing time as a family. Keep it up!

  19. I can’t even imagine. Just reading that made me tired. But I think we all need to allow ourselves to step back regularly and take a moment for ourselves. (even if that moment is a couple months long because its so overdue!!!)

  20. We moms can be extremely hard on ourselves, homeschooling moms are no exception. A little (sometimes alot!) of grace is just the prescription needed. Thank you for the reminder. And thank you for being so courageous as to open up and let us see it in your own life.
    I’m a homeschooling mom, we’ve just started our 23rd year! We also have 8 children, but schooling just the youngest 4 now.
    Oh, yes, I’ve had those burned out times. Letting things go, as you described has always been a big help. I sometimes put unrealistic expectations on myself and my children, or I get caught up in the ‘supposed’ perfection I see in other families. Remembering why we do what we do, and what our ultimate goals are help me get back to where I need to be.
    I pray you have a wonderful school year!

  21. Wow…you’re doing a great job! It’s so wonderful to hear about big families…and homeschooling at that! I completely understand your need for sewing. I just feel happier when I’m making something with my hands…so rewarding!…especially when I get overwhelmed with the tasks around the house that never end!
    Good for you to give yourself that much needed, much appreciated extra grace!

  22. I love your expression of giving yourself grace. It’s an important thing to remember as a mom as we are always so busy giving grace to others, we sometimes forget ourselves. I don’t homeschool, but I am a teacher and it is a hard job. There have definitely been years that I have been burned out by June. I’m so glad the summer refreshed you and you gave yourself grace. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Sounds like a break this summer was just what you needed. Us mom’s are too hard on ourselves!I agree that grocery shopping can be a date! Glad you are facing the new school year refreshed. Your children are beautiful BTW!

  24. Lisa, Why is taking time for ourselves so hard even when it’s what we need so badly? Hopefully I’m learning this lesson.

    Linda, It’s so nice to hear from another mom with 8 children who homeschools – 23 years! I’m just taking it a day at a time right now. If I start thinking about all the years I have left I think it would scare me. 🙂

    Monica, Yes, doing a sewing project that ends is rewarding so many mommy jobs – feeding, cleaning, laundry, etc. never end. Sewing projects are tangible results.

    Keepingthemeinmommy, You get into such a mode of taking care of everyone else that sometimes I forget to take care of me. Hopefully I’m learning.

    Amanda, I think my children are beautiful too. Thanks for the comment.

  25. I could never imagine have 8 children! Your are a strong woman! I also couldn’t imagine sending 8 children to school everyday! I can imagine getting burned out but you are doing the right thing!

  26. How lovely! I’ve been learning myself, as it sounds like you have, not to just force myself thru the burdensome times but to stop, ponder, and listen. Grace can be hard to apply to ourselves, can’t it? We gave ourselves the summer of grace you’ve mentioned and our fall homeschool has been better than ever. Blessings to you!
    :)Wren

  27. I don’t homeschool nor do I plan on it. But it’s what works best for our family. I do a lot of home activities to encourage learning. But if I need a day off, we just have fun. And I don’t feel guilty about it. Fun is important in kids’ lives too 🙂

  28. Amy, Eight children is a lot of work, but I added them one at a time so I gradually built up to it. 😉

    Finchnwren, Making myself stop and not just push through has been a hard lesson. I think having to slow down in my last pregnancy started helping me see the value of this.

    Heather, I agree. I want my children to have fun memories too.

  29. I’m not a homeschooler. My children are all adults and they went to public school. I do teach at our community college and have learned that I need a break during the summer and I take it. A couple of weeks before fall classes start I get back into my teaching frame of mind. Having young adults and some older ones is more of a challenge than I envisioned when I started. Hats off to you for keeping it all together.

  30. Oh my gosh, I don’t even know what to say. You amaze me! I am a stay at home mom to two first graders who are not homeschooled. And I complain. Alot. I complain about being tired and not having enough hours in the day and being too busy. The next time I start to complain, I’m going to remind myself of your post and stop complaining. Have a wonderful school year!

  31. Janine, It was the perfect solution. I wish I had done it long ago.

    Sandra Lee, Moms are always teaching whether we homeschool or not so I think that’s one reason why I truly needed to give myself some down time. Teaching is hard work.

    Cindy Howell, I think it’s all a matter or perspective. I admire moms who send their children to school every day. I can’t imagine having to have everyone ready in time for school with homework in their bags and lunches not forgotten. 🙂

  32. I don’t homeschool, but I stay home with my kids a few days a week, so I know a little of what you are talking about. I completely agree with you – we all need to give ourselves a little grace every once in awhile. It is so easy to get caught up in everything going on and it’s always good to step back.

  33. I’m not a homeschooler, but as a mother, it’s hard to give ourselves grace. Our families rely on us so much, but sometimes you do have to step back and make sure you spend a little time on your own interests. It’s good for you and good for the kids to see. Sewing is one way I get my me-time too.

  34. Homeschooling with 8 children! My hat goes off to you! I only have 3 and after much prayer and speaking with other moms I just couldn’t do it. At least, not yet. The overwhelmed feeling I had to struggle with a lot like you when my youngest was born, I had two back to back, and it really did me in, there for a while. We don’t meet our expectations, and we kind of get hung up on that. Wonderful post, thank you!

  35. Michelle Jones – I think as mothers we set the standard for ourselves unrealistically high. It’s hard to not be “perfect”, but I think our families our happier when we lower our expectations a little.

  36. I’m very intrigued by homeschooling. I was a public school teacher, and know what it feels like to be burnt out. We all need a break to get refreshed and centered. Glad to hear it helped set the new school year off right! You are amazing!

  37. Wow…I’ve never homeschooled my kids…All went to a Public School, graduate with great success my daughter in a RN, my son 2nd year med student and my youngest 1yr law school.

    I couldn’t even imagine a day yours…I commend you for raising kids and teaching.

    I’m not a believer in homeschooling. I feel children should have the interaction with other students and the involvement with school activities such as sports, music, art etc.

    So again I commend you you are a real supermom because I could never have done the things you are doing.

  38. Sarah – This year is going better. I think because I’ve been refreshed I can handle all the little problems that come up.

    Kelly Joseph – I love teaching so homeschooling was a given for me. 🙂

  39. You have your hands full to the brim and as many persons have agreed, you needed to do something for you, and it made a huge difference to how you felt.

    You are giving all the time so it’s good to be able to find a balance where you step back and rejuvenate yourself. You sound like a wonderful, loving mother and wife!

  40. I am planning to homeschool but that is still a little while out for us. However, I do know the feeling of pushing myself too far in the pursuit of perfection. It is very true when they say “If Momma isn’t happy, nobody is happy.” I’ve learned to take time for myself and my needs, even if it occasionally means that my children’s needs wait an extra moment or two.

  41. Yvonne – Finding that balance is so hard, but I keep trying.

    Andrea – It’s true. If I’m cranky it trickles down to everyone, and since one of my children’s needs is to have a happy mom I shouldn’t feel guilty about taking some time to make that happen.

  42. Hi Jennifer. Great post. My only child, a daughter, is now 32 years old so I have no little ones in the house to home school. When she was very little, I wanted to home school her. However, we lived in California at the time and, by law, you had to be a certified teacher in order to home school. Well, that left me out.

    I heard something this weekend about facebook, and I would probably add pinterest, being the cause of depression. As I read your post, I can see how that can happen.

    It was bad enough when we, as women, compared ourselves to another sister at church who seemed to have it all together. I say ‘seemed’ because we never know what is going on behind her closed doors. Now, we are comparing ourselves to millions of other women by a tiny glimpse into their life. We look at their great recipes or housekeeping ideas on facebook or pinterest and think that they have it all together. Guess what. They probably aren’t any more all together than we are. So, yes, Jennifer, I agree with you that we need to give ourselves more grace and do it often.

    We will never win the battle if we compare ourselves to others. We do not know what is going on in their lives. We cannot assume because they make this one perfect recipe that everything in their life is perfect. It isn’t. They have problems just like we do. They have challenges that try them, just like we do.

    So, we only need to compare ourselves to ourselves. Are we progressing? Are we living a Christ centered life? Are we caring for our families with love?
    Are we doing the best we can under our current circumstances?

    These questions can help guide us as we move forward. And then, of course, we must ask our loving Heavenly Father for his help to do those things that he would have us do.

    Thank you Jennifer for this great post and reminder.

  43. Regina – It’s so true what you said. We need to just make sure that we are doing what the Lord wants us to do and that we’re doing the best we can at that. I pray so much for wisdom. I truly underestimated how difficult motherhood would be, but I still love it.

  44. I admire you. I can not imagine homeschooling just my one child, let alone eight children all at different ages. I know that I could never do it.

    I considered homeschooling for about 30 seconds and realized that it was just more than I could handle.

  45. I agree, we know it all before we are in it. I too loved kids and babysat since a very young age. I wanted 5 boys and 1 girl. I had my first baby and she was a very difficult infant. Not at all the experience that I expected but wouldn’t change any of it.

  46. http:/dogtrainingathometips.com

    I have homeschooled my two boys from the beginning. They are in highschool and college now, both still being schooled at home. I have loved it. However, over the years, I would have worries that I wasn’t doing enough, or teaching them what they were supposed to learn at that particular time. I really had frazzled moments. But I have learned that I worried for nothing and that my boys have become very mature, respectful, intelligent, God fearing young men. I thank God everyday for them and the opportunity he gave me to homeschool them.

  47. I enjoyed your post! I think we as moms all do this – place WAY too high of expectations on ourselves sometimes. I know I do. I love to paint and create, and I get that frustrated feeling, too – when there’s too much housework or homework to have time to do it. It helps so much just to give myself time to do something that I enjoy. Have a great school year!

  48. dogtrainingathometips – That is my prayer that our children grow up to be God-fearing, honest, productive and happy. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Kristen – I think that’s why sewing is such a good hobby for me because I can do something for me but also for my family – it feels good.

  49. Grace is such a beautiful thing and one of the best gifts offered by the Lord. I am always in awe of women who home school. It takes a certain type of woman to be able to do that. From what I read, I bet you are a great example of a proverbs wife. It’s one of the best compliments I can give someone. =))

    craftingafairytale.blogspot.com

  50. I was homeschooled from 4th to
    11th grade, and I LOVED it! Yes, there were days that my Mom was really tired, and we were all ready for the school year to be over, but I would never want it to be any different. 🙂 Thank you for posting!

  51. Nancy, Thank you for your kind words. It is easier to be gracious if we’re not worn out because we took a little time for ourselves.

    Ashley, What a great testimony. I know for the most part my children enjoy being homeschooled. After all what’s not to like about wearing your comfiest clothes to school and not worrying about what your hair looks like. 🙂

  52. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It’s always interesting to me to hear about families that home school because that isn’t what my family did and I know very few families that had home schooled their children. It sounds like you did need a little bit of a break though and I’m glad to hear that you allowed yourself to have it!

  53. Grace is something we all need to remember to give ourselves daily. It’s easy to look at some moms and think they have it together and get down on ourselves because we feel like we don’t. We need to be reminded that we’re just doing the best we can and that’s all we can do.

    And, as I recently learned, you may think you look like a mess (which is totally fine) but to someone else, you look like you have it all together.

    Perception is an amazing thing.

  54. My husband and I don’t have kids yet but I still need to remember to give myself grace sometimes too. No one can do it all and that is perfectly okay! I’m glad to hear that you have found a way to relax more, you deserve it, especially when you care for your kids so much.

  55. YES! We need to give ourselves that grace. Reading this made me a little nervous though. We’re switching to year-round homeschooling in May. I’m doing it to give us some breathing room within the year. I guess my reasoning is similar to what you expressed… I need to give myself grace but often we’re under strict deadlines to get everything done for the summer. I hope it ends out working well for us because I really feel like I/we need it.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…SHINE Blog Hop #36My Profile

    • JenSchon

      I think every homeschool family has to find the rhythm that works for them. I’m sure you’ll be able to do that.

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