I remember walking down the streets of Indianapolis with a gaggle of homeschool moms, laughing so hard that our dear pregnant friend pleaded with us to stop (for reasons that are obvious to those of you who have experienced pregnancy). In that moment of camaraderie, we didn’t have a care in the world. Yet, far-away, at home in another city, we had all left our children and spouses to manage life and homeschool without us, for TWO WHOLE DAYS.
I think it was a stretch for several of us to be in close quarters with gals we didn’t know THAT well. We were all crammed in one hotel room, some on the floor. It was so many years ago, yet I fondly remember the whispers in the dark as we shared our insecurities, thoughts and fears, about homeschooling, hubbies, and motherhood.
Maybe you are thinking you don’t have those kind of close friends to feel comfortable in a close-quarters get-away. To tell you the truth, we weren’t necessarily close. We were moms from the same co-op who wanted to go to a homeschool convention on a tight budget. But after that weekend, we became closer.
You Can’t “Pour” from an Empty Cup
I discovered that get-aways were my sanity and joy restorer. Thankfully, hubby could see the difference it made and supported my once or twice a year a year “renewals.” So what do you need to keep your relationship tank full? A regular moms’ night out? Daily phone calls or emails to a friend? Or maybe you are one of those that needs a creative social outlet like a book club or knitting group.
And I need to ask, when did we, as moms, decide that all this self-sacrifice and not taking care of our own needs was virtuous? Trust me, it’s not. In order to be the kind of mother that God intended us to be, to exude patience, love, and joy with our families, we need to take the time to fill our own tank.
And the tanks of our homeschooling sisters.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
Are You Sharing Each Other’s Burdens?
I know, I know. Many days we feel like we can barely make it through with our own burdens. But not only is it pleasing to God, reaching out to others creates a caring atmosphere that benefits us in return. Looking outside ourselves is an amazing pick-me-up.
I will be forever grateful to one homeschooling sister who, many years ago, took the time from her busy life of littles to see that I was struggling. Just the year before, our two-year old was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. For the most part, we were doing well. We had learned to give shots, check blood sugars, count carbs, and calculate insulin. Life was moving on. But, I was periodically falling apart with unshakable grief. At times I was distraught, weepy, and kept wondering, what is wrong with me?!
Why do we so often, when asked, say we are “fine” when we are not? Well, I am so thankful that Susan didn’t take “fine” for an answer, as she could sense otherwise. She took the time to really hear me and explain to me that this was normal grieving. My bewildered response, “Grieving? But my child hasn’t died.” She then helped me to understand and accept that grieving “a normal life,” a life without date nights or spontaneous ice cream, a life with constant worry and setting alarm clocks for the middle of the night, is real grief too. That day was the beginning of my healing. We both moved away and I’ve lost touch with her, but I often wonder if she knows how much that day changed my life and relieved my burden.
You just never know when you will make a huge difference in someone’s life. I understand what it’s like to feel overwhelmed while homeschooling, but, dear sisters, let me inspire you to keep our eyes open, always looking for a sister in need or one that really just needs a caring friend. Two people in the same station of life can find tremendous relief and support from each other.
Many of us aren’t looking for that much; just a little connection with an empathetic mom can go a long way in easing our burdens. There’s nothing like coming alongside our homeschooling sisters and sharing little nuggets of wisdom that the good Lord has shown us. And perhaps the best way to do that is to make the time to actually be in the company of fellow homeschooling moms and be tuned in so that we will possibly see their needs. When I am feeling discouraged, there is nothing that encourages me quicker than uplifting someone else. Isn’t that an amazing paradox?
So whether it be a girl’s night out, a girlfriend get-away, a good book, or a tub soak for yourself, please…
Take. The. Time. It is not a luxury. Stop being a martyr. Do what you need to do to be the best homeschool mom you can be. Because the greatest gift you can give your family is your daily joy!