My name is Ashley.
And I've got a problem.
Today was rough. Not rough in the real sense of "my life has major and insurmountable problems", but in the stupid way of, "every day my kids don't want to listen to me and I'm beaten down by life and work and also, a little bit fat. That last bit is of course unrelated. But it's one of the stupid little things that just kicks me in the jello-y gut every time I'm already having a tough day. Missed a deadline at work. Also? A little bit fat. Car broke down for the seventy thousandth time. Also? A little bit fat.
So aside from the Unrelated ALBF issue, today I had LOADS of work* to do and, despite the fact that 75% of my children actually did the stuff I asked them to do, the remaining child ignored me. Hid. Lied. Repeatedly. Snuck around to avoid tasks. And threw long weepy tantrums when consequences showed up. Lying. Sneaking. Excuses. Crying. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
And despite the fact that really it was an overall good day please hear me say that first, it got me thinking. And the thinking was this: Summer is nearly over. The school year is supposed to start soon. And I really don't know if I can do this all again.
I don't know if I can plan out my curriculum, choose books, set academic goals, write plans, and draw up all my hopes and dreams for the year. Not when I'm also going to be in this particular Lather Rinse Repeat cycle almost all of the days of the year.
Because they're going to ignore me when I read those carefully chosen special stories. And they're going to reject all of my academic goals. And they're going to sigh and complain about my lovingly chosen curriculum. And cry. And sneak. and lie. Lather. Rinse. You've got the drill.
Now I know for a lot of you, the idea that I'm hung up on entering into our fifth year** of homeschooling seems, well, ludicrous. Because overall, it's this thing that you don't actually have to do. Like, we ACTUALLY have this whole school thing that someone built just a few blocks away. Plus another one a few blocks in the other direction. Plus like, 30 other elementary schools, just in the town where I live. And some are bad, sure, but some are pretty great.
But the thing is, I feel about as called to homeschooling these kids as I felt to adopt little miss tantrum pants in the first place. I can't explain it, I still mostly think that homeschooling is a BANANAS weird life choice and probably my kids will end up very weird and not very smart. But here we are. I deeply believe, good days and bad, that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
So where am I? I'm here. I'm a mom of 4 kids. And some days, I'm really scared that I'm not a great mom. Other days, I'm really scared that they're not great kids. But it's fine. Because it's true. None of us are that great. We're a weak and broken and entirely, incredibly fallible bunch. And that can be exhausting.
Through some great reading and a conversation with a friend, I've realized tonight that I'm doing this wrong. My kids are not interruptions to my schedule. They don't ruin my plans***, because they are my plans. If today has lying, what we needed today was a lesson on honest. If math takes longer than expected, then Longer Math is the new expectation. Because my calling wasn't to make sure they know their Latin verbs. My calling wasn't to make sure they all become mathletes. My calling is to raise the actual real life messy imperfect tiny humans that were placed in my home and in my heart. My calling is to raise them to love the Lord, and to help guide them down the road He has laid out for them.
So through it all, peace. Through it all, rest. And every day, choosing joy.
And every day, falling on my knees with 3 simple lines:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Those Alcoholics, man. They know what's up.
*This is the case more days than not, and if I try to say otherwise I am lying to myself.
** HOLY BANANAS HOW IS THIS THE FIFTH YEAR ZOMG.
***I mean obviously they DEFINITELY do but that's not the point.