Homeschooling Mom, Are You Stuck in the Comparison Trap?

A Bear Trap

 
Imagine a bear trap closing on a human leg, bone crunching, blood spurting, immeasurable pain.  Not to mention being stuck.  Stuck in pain.  Stuck in one place until someone comes and releases you from the trap.
 
What does a bear trap have to do with homeschooling?  What doesn’t work for me is the comparison trap.  It’s a lot like a bear trap.  It’s buried, you don’t see it, but once you get caught in it, you are stuck and in immeasurable pain.
 
Four of my children are adopted and had traumatic beginnings.  When they came home, their emotional ages and physical ages didn’t match up.  Their development was delayed and each of them had some learning challenges, all of that topped with learning a new language.  On a scholastic number line, they were in the negative.
 
Comparing a kid to a standard one size fits all is like walking around with a bear trap attached to your calf.  It drains the lifeblood right out of you.
 
#Comparisontrap
 

I Was a Late bloomer

One night at the dinner table, Rafal shared that a boy in his Royal Ranger troop isn’t athletic and the commander encourages him along.
 
“I wasn’t that athletic as a child,”  I replied.
 
“You weren’t?”  he asked incredulously.
 
He was surprised.  I roller blade, ice skate, swim, climb around on rocks with my kids. I’m still not coordinated, but don’t tell him.
 
I was a late bloomer.  While my sister was ready to train for the Olympics in gymnastics, I was doing what I did best at the time- stumbling and falling on my face a lot!
 
“What did you do back then?” he asked.
 
“Well, I was little and skinny.  So I RAN. AWAY, mostly from other kids.”  Laughter.

AGes and Stages

 
Kids are growing through ages and stages at different rates.  Who they are or what they are doing now does not determine who they will become unless we compare and verbally point out what we see as delays.  Get help for your special needs child if you need to. Talk to experienced moms, but don’t rehearse the delays in front of him.  I have taken classes, attended workshops on speech therapy and various seminars to help me teach my children.  I want my children to reach their potential.  I am saying CELEBRATE their victories.
 
  • If Susie next door wins the regional spelling bee and your child through equal time and effort can spell ten words, then don’t compare.  CELEBRATE!
  • If your child participates in the Social Studies Fair and speaks in front of the judges with tears streaming down her face because of social anxiety. She did it afraid.  CELEBRATE!
  • If all the high schoolers at Co-op are taking A.P. courses and your child took two years to complete Algebra I, but he conquered it. CELEBRATE!
 
Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap. It’s a painful place to be, instead enjoy each age and stage your children are in!
 
 

Get Intentional About Playing and Moving

Are you suffering from circumstantial depression?

Are you too tired to move?

Too worn out to play?

Or maybe you never learned to play as a child?

Some seasons of our lives, we just don’t feel like moving.

Why get intentional about moving and play?

One thing we have to get intentional about is playing and moving. We moms can get so caught up in the doing, that we forget about being. I’m not talking about vegging on Netflix or Amazon. I’m talking about intentional play for you and your children. Play builds brains, fuels logic, and gets bodies moving.

Play Therapy was developed in the 1970s to help families learn how to do intentional play with their children. It’s an important part of parenting. It stimulates brains and the relationship part of the playing grows the brain. Did you know that? Relationships grow the brain. So, the play I’m talking about is interactive.

  • A walk on the trail picking up nature and identifying it together.
  • A tea party.
  • Playing with Play doh.
  • Archery practice.
  • Board games.

All of these activities are work for children. We all have jobs. A child’s job is to find out how the world works -what the physical laws of nature are, how relationships work, how to get along. how to win, how to lose, how to build character.

These are all done through play/work. 

Have you ever thought of play this way before?

I’m not talking about “go to your room and play by yourself.” There’s a place for that. In fact, kids are more willing to play by themselves after their emotional tank is full. We mom are the gas that fuels their tank. If you have boys, the last sentence should hit your funny bone. We co-regulate with our kids, we teach them how to play.

YOu’re never too old to Play

Some of us don’t know how to play well as adults, because no one taught us or we think we are too old for play. We’re never too old to play. It’s okay. We can have fun. We can make a mess. Remember Moms, we are the boss and the employee. If the boss says we can have a water fight, we can. Then the employee can clean it up ( that’s us too).

One year, we had moved to a new town and didn’t know anyone. I was suffering some of my own circumstantial depression and God told me to do something fun with each child every day. It was hard. It was fun. We grew closer that year as a family, more than any other time.

We had squirt gun battles, game nights, roller blades on the driveway. Hiked. Biked. Did scavenger hunts at Cabela’s. 

The point is, don’t wait to want to. Do it when you don’t feel like it.

Moving.

Mamas, we have to move. We do a lot of moving with babies, laundry and dishes, cooking and the like, but with all of our servant appliances, we don’t work as hard as Moms of the past used to. We can easily become couch potatoes in between jobs. Couch potato-ing makes us feel sluggish. Our lymph nodes fill with toxins that don’t drain without proper exercise. We get headaches, backaches and cranky attitudes. We need to move. Guess what, it takes the investment of time and energy. You can do it! You can! Find an accountability partner. If you want to see your children grow up, graduate, get married, and have children, you have to start working on moving today. Not some day when you have the time. Now is the time to move and play.

Basics of Motherhood – You don’t need to fix your child.

This week on the podcast, Amerey and Kathleen finished up the Back to Basics Series with Basics of Motherhood.

Are you a mother?
Do you often feel isolated or alone?
Do you feel as if you need to “fix” your child so they are like everyone else?
Do you have doubts, struggles and wonder if other mothers have the same issues?
Then this is for you!

You don’t need to fix the child.

On the The Whole House Podcast  this week, Amerey and Kathleen talk about a lie that mothers often believe. What is that lie?
That your child needs fixed. From the time our child is an infant we encounter people who tell us:

The child isn’t sleeping – fix it.
The child needs to be rocked to sleep – fix it.
The child is not reading by the time they are 4 -fix it.

It’s a never ending list.
While there are guidelines and stepping stones of development, your child doesn’t need pushed through them. God made her the way she is. Your job as a parent is to meet her where she is, not to fix her.

Your child can’t be wrong in her makeup. She is born a certain way. You can’t say that a baby’s sleeping/eating/coping patterns are wrong. You don’t need to fix the child. Don’t stress yourself. Don’t say, “Her child is right and my child is wrong.”

If you just accept your child as she is then you will feel free. You will be free to parent the child the way she needs parenting.

Don't believe the lie that your child needs fixed

You have probably already found things that work for your child.

Don’t feel guilty for doing those things. Don’t look at other parents and measure yourself against their yardstick.  You’re not failing just because you aren’t parenting like another mother is. You are doing exactly what your child needs right now. That’s good parenting.

 You are doing a great job! Go YOU! Your job is to make them feel safe, secure, and cared for. If a child has a capital letter syndrome, then we make special accommodations for her (or we should).

Even if a kiddo doesn’t have a capital letter syndrome, we should parent her in the way she needs parenting. Cecilia is Amerey’s little one who has trouble sleeping. She doesn’t have a capital letter syndrome, but at age five, she uses a weighted blanket and needs melatonin to sleep.

Adults are picky. Why can’t kids be picky?

Our culture expects kids to conform to whatever we tell them to do. Kids are humans. Each child has a personality. They will have likes and dislikes just like adults. It’s okay. Don’t force your kiddo to like something because you think she should. It will backfire. Don’t try to shove a square peg in a round hole.

Eating Issues.

You want your child to feel comfortable at the table. So, if she doesn’t like what is always being served, don’t make it about the food. Make it about nutrition and relationship. Family dinners should be about connection.

Do unto other’s as you would like to be done unto you.

Listen to your kiddo when she is expressing a need, fear, like or dislike. That’s what adults want. Kids want the same thing. Think of your child as a person.

Motherhood is steeped in whatever is going on in the current culture.

When you’re born, whatever your culture is doing, we naturally do it. That is dangerous.

We have a family culture. A church culture. A culture.

Ask yourself these questions:

Why are we parenting this way?

What is my purpose as a mother?

What are my morals and values? What are my morals?

Am I living out those values.

Pause. Examine yourself. We should be laying up our treasures in heaven. Do we want to not invest in our children so when they grow up they are floundering. They are asking – is this the right religion? Is this the right religion?

Find a Group of Moms who support you.

You can feel isolated. You can feel like a lone wolf.  Then you isolate and the then hyper focus especially if you are a perfectionist.

Moms tend not to talk about the things they really struggle with. They tell poop stories and other things, but are often afraid to tell the truth about the struggles they are going through.

 You need to reach out to other Moms and find some who are going through similar situations.

Walk away from groups/friends that don’t encourage, equip and educate you! Friends who support your on your journey and don’t judge your child or want you to fix her are the kind to keep around.

Keep in mind your mission is to raise up a well-balanced child. Your mission is NOT to create a carbon copy of everyone else. Parenting a child as if she is “right” not “wrong” will help her navigate life with confidence. The end goal is heaven and a “Well done good and faithful servant” from God, not an “Atta boy” from the world.

Want the rest of the story? Listen to the podcast!

 

 

 

WHOSE JOB IS IT ANYWAY?- THE MODERN WOMEN’S GUIDE TO HOUSEWIFERY PART III

Thanks for following along for this super short series!

Whose job is it anyway? That’s the main question that started this series of articles. When it comes to the home, whose job is whose? In the first article in the series, I shared a few questions wives can ask their husbands to get some clarification.

Today, I’d like to focus on what a stay-at-home Mom (or one with a home based business) does. Here’s a definition from Wikipedia (so you know it’s true):

A housewife is a woman whose work is running or managing her family’s home—caring for her children; buying, cooking, and storing food for the family; buying goods that the family needs in everyday life; housekeeping and maintaining the home; and making clothes for the family—and who is not employed outside the home.

Hmmm. Two aspects of this job description stick out to me.

  1. That’s an awful lot of responsibility.
  2. Really?! You haven’t updated this definition since 1950? What about taking the kids to sports events, play practices, or the multitude of other things kids do nowadays-Occupational therapies, speech therapy, tutoring and the list goes on forever…

I googled stay-at-home mom and got all kinds of blog posts and some advice I wouldn’t repeat on here. I saw kids called rotten words that I couldn’t imagine coming out of a stay-at-home Mom’s mouth. Not only has most of our current culture devalued the purpose of Motherhood in general, we Moms are devaluing ourselves. YIKES. Just ask any Mom what they do for a living. Even if they have a part time job at Starbucks (which I wouldn’t mind if I got to drink coffee all day) they will mention that before “I’m a Mom.” Or “I’m a home administrator.”

Then I found this gem on forbes.com:

“…the typical stay-at-home mom works almost 97 hours a week, spending 13.2 hours as a day-care teacher; 3.9 hours as household CEO; 7.6 hours as a psychologist; 14.1 hours as a chef; 15.4 as a housekeeper; 6.6 hours doing laundry; 9.5 hours as a PC-or-Mac operator; 10.7 hours as a facilities manager; 7.8 hours as a janitor and 7.8 hours driving the family van.

Salary.com aimed to market price Mom in the same manner it prices a job. For 10 titles, a nearly 100-hour work-week and a six-figure annual rate, moms may be the most valuable workers in the country.”

That’s good news, right? We Moms have a monetary value and should be called the most valuable workers in the country. You want to know the real reason what Moms do isn’t valued like Forbes suggests?

You can't put a dollar amount on a Mom_

You cannot measure the value of what a Mom does in mathematical terms. It’s not dollars and cents. It’s not something you can plot on a graph. What Moms do is invest in relationship. Yes, she does all the work listed above. Those are important, but they are actually footnotes in the larger scheme of things. You can’t put a dollar amount on a Mom:

  • investing in a child’s character
  • teaching them how to navigate life
  •  teaching them the foundations of family
  • unconditional love
  • the value of grace and mercy
  • forgiveness
  • steadfastness
  • how to pray
  • reading great literature
  • baking together just because
  • sitting by the fire with hot cocoa and having an in depth conversation with a teen about life

The reason our culture struggles with valuing Mothers is that you can’t really put a numeric value on it. It’s an eternal value that can’t be seen. But when a Mother has not done her job, you see the gaping hole in a child’s life. When you see a child who can’t manage to navigate the world when he is older, who do you blame? The Mother.

So, Mama if you are reading this and you have believed the lie that what you do is not valuable, remember this- C.S. Lewis said:

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”

 

The Superpowers of Motherhood

Moms, did you know you have superpowers? Maybe you don’t feel like it today. We understand. Here’s some good news. Moms do have superpowers. One of them is the power of your powers is influence.

Influence is “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others,” according to www.dictionary.com

Moms have superpowers

Today, a congregation of women scream, “WE WANT POWER,” a cry of a hurting world.  Movies portray the powerful in the role of savior or destroyer. Super heroes rescue. Hobbits triumph over evil, hurling it back into the depth of the pit whence it came. Evil overlords pronounce supreme rulership over the world and wield destruction as their weapon.

And yet…it is the woman— the wife and mother— who wields the power of influence. She is that quiet warrior behind closed doors who scrubs bacteria from toilets, tucks wiggly bodies into beds, makes peanut butter sandwiches and judges Lego building contests.  She covers the words of the Lord with sticky-tabs and prays in the gray dawn for her husband, her children, and those sick in the church body, noticing those hurting souls. She makes the house feel like a home whether it is a trailer, an orphanage sick room, a suburban house, or a mansion in a gated community. She plants flowers, reminding the family that beauty exists when the money’s too tight to travel to a museum. She has water fights with teens in the backyard when the move to a new city just isn’t working out. She laughs at a child’s first attempt at a joke.

The mother holds the “flagon with the dragon, the chalice with the palace, the cup of poison” (The Court Jester, with Danny Kaye). She can share the poisoned cup and live in a negative environment, full of negativity and strife. She also holds the honey-flavored drink of kindness that she can dispense regularly for a sweet environment. It is up to her which one she drinks and shares from and which she throws out.

Our culture tends to look at the work of a mother with disdain and pity. She is viewed as powerless. The common belief is that mother must leave the home for a full time career to influence the world. But C. S. Lewis, in one of his collected letters, wrote, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only—and that is to support that career.”

Oh, she is powerful enough to turn the earth on its axis! Night can quickly become day, or vice versa, under her influence. The power I lacked in the orphanage was authority over medical issues and freedom of transportation. I was not powerless. In spending time with them, interacting, playing, I was answering the question, “Is life good?” My children needed a “Yes!”  answer. They needed to know there was more to life— a different life— than the neglect and mere survival they had experienced. (excerpt from A Positive Adoption Story: The Door from Theology to Reality)

Listen to this week’s The Whole House Podcast for more about the Superpowers of Motherhood! Subscribe on iTunes here.

Podomatic here.