Homeschool Mom, Do You Care Too Much?
by Lynna Sutherland
All moms feel the weight of responsibility of caring for and raising their children. Homeschool moms also carry the weight of responsibility for their children’s education. It can be an overwhelming burden that causes some homeschool moms to quickly burn out. I once heard a veteran homeschool mom counsel that homeschool moms need to be careful not to care too much. While the spirit of the message struck a chord, I wanted to know more. Can a mom care too much? How does a mom set a limit on her caring? Is that even right?
As I thought more about it, I realized that it’s not so much the degree to which we care, but the way in which we care. Here are some ways in which moms can care “too much” – ways in which moms invest their energy in the wrong places and burn out.
Sometimes homeschool moms invest a lot of energy and care into future problems and dangers that may never happen. Of course, it’s wise to plan ahead and to have a sense of vision and purpose. But we have enough to care about right in this moment to keep us motivated and moving.
It’s enough to know that you want to support your struggling reader. Research options. Try different things. Find people to share ideas and encourage you. These are all worthy of your care and energy investment.
You do not need to invest energy in imagining what will happen if he never learns to read, can’t get a job and is still living in your basement when he is thirty. Those are cares that can burn you out and won’t help you to fully and effectively invest in what’s in front of you right now.
Things That Aren’t Our Job
Sometimes we burn ourselves out by taking on responsibility for things that aren’t actually our job or are out of our control. Homeschool moms can provide rich experiences and access to a wealth of resources. Homeschool moms can make home a safe place for discussion and exploration of new ideas. Homeschool moms can be willing to tackle learning challenges and make personal sacrifices to support struggling learners.
Homeschool moms cannot make their children love learning. Homeschool moms cannot make their children choose to read for fun. Homeschool moms cannot drum up curiosity in a child.
There are times for troubleshooting and course correction. There are times for asking others for some input and accountability. But there are also times for doing what is your job, and leaving the rest to the Lord.
When Caring Hurts
It seems that moms come preprogrammed to put their children first. Homeschool moms are strong contenders in this field. But sometimes we forget that the best thing for our children and families might not be to squeeze out just a little more giving or to make one more sacrifice.
Sometimes our children need the opportunity to take on more responsibility – to do it for themselves, and even to fail for themselves. Sometimes they need to learn how to be content without an opportunity or experience that “everyone else” has. Sometimes they need to learn how to make sacrifices for the good of the family, too.
And finally, homeschool mama, you have to remember that caring for your children includes caring for yourself. A burnt out mama isn’t a benefit to anyone. Failing to take care of yourself, to give yourself seasons of rest and refreshment, and to take time with your husband to maintain the marriage bond is caring “too much”. When it comes to motherhood, the Nike slogan “Just do it” is not the best game plan!
Lynna Sutherland blogs at Homeschooling Without Training Wheels, where she loves to remind moms (and herself!) of the freedom and flexibility that come with homeschooling! Lynna and her husband have seven children. The motto of their homeschool is “Wisdom Is the Principal Thing” from Proverbs 4:7. You can follow Lynna on Pinterest.
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