Someone in our homeschool group recently asked what fellow homeschool moms did to provide inspiration or renewed enthusiasm for themselves and the kids. Unfortunately, no one really had any ideas. Apparently, this is a time of burn-out for everyone.
I found something this week, however, that worked really well for me. It’s a little thing called perspective.
I just finished reading a really good book by Karen Kingsbury called Halfway to Forever. It’s about two couples facing loss in their lives. In one of the families, the wife has already lost her first husband and daughter and faces losing a second child. In the other family, a couple faces the possibly terminal illness of the wife. I was so moved, nearing the end of the book, because I found myself reflecting on the emotions these families must be facing.
I also found myself unable to forget a horrible dream that I had about two weeks ago.
In this nightmare, I had been asleep and awoke to remember that Megan, my youngest child, had died — every mom’s worst nightmare. I’ve known people who have lost a child or a spouse and I’ve always thought that the worst time would have to be the time right after waking. There are those blissful moments between sleep and wakefulness when you don’t remember where you are or what day it is. Then, reality hits.
I’ve always thought that those must be the worst moments after losing someone because it must feel like losing them all over again.
So, in this dream, I was waking up to the realization that Megan was gone. Then, I starting telling myself, over and over, that it was only a dream…but, in my mind, I knew it wasn’t.
I went downstairs to check on her, the whole way chanting to myself that this was only a dream. But, when I got to her room, she wasn’t in her bed. Her favorite blanket was wadded up on the bed, but she was gone. And, I realized that it wasn’t a dream
It was so realistic. When I really woke up, the relief I felt was indescribable. God must have known what I needed, because shortly after that, I heard Megan coming up the stairs. I met her with open arms as she climbed into bed with me. I watched her sleep for a long time. I thanked God, literally, every time I looked at her for the two or three days following the dream. It’s been about two weeks now and whenever I recall the dream, I still thank God that it was only a horrible nightmare.
Megan spent most of the day in bed sick on Monday, so, by the time I went to bed Monday night, I just missed her. I felt like I hadn’t seen her all day. Josh, who is still going through his season of needing to be with us, was asleep in our bedroom floor as I was finishing this book. I kept looking at his sleeping face and being so comforted that he was there.
When I awoke on Tuesday, I had such a feeling of thankfulness and perspective. I don’t mean that to sound “holier-than-thou” and I know that, even though we’re thankful for our families, they can still frustrate us to no end and we can still have those “blah” times as homeschooling moms. However, the whole thought process that I’d been having really changed my outlook on the day. I just wanted to enjoy my kids and let them know how much I love them and how very blessed I feel to be their mom.
That feeling set the emotional climate in our home for the rest of the week. Everything didn’t go perfectly as planned and there were moments when the kids were irritable, but there was a joy in being together that changed my outlook, and subsequently the kids’ outlooks, on everything we did this past week. I pray that we can hold onto that thankfulness and cherish our time together, realizing that this, too, is a season that will pass all to quickly.
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3
What practical tips do you have to offer a homeschooling mom who is feeling uninspired and “unenthused”…you know, for those times when you don’t have a nightmare and an emotionally-charged book to put things into perspective? 😉
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.