Monday, January 16, 2012

Further Reflections

Well, ahem. 

Apparently I forgot the caveats in yesterday's post!

So, listen up, guys and gals, but mostly mamas who currently homeschool or are considering homeschooling. There's something important I need to tell you.

Actually, two important things.

1. We are not all that amazing around here. Truly. We are a regular family with regular problems, and seventy five percent of the time we feel highly inefficient. In retrospect, maybe Friday wasn't a great day to pick, because I guess we were pretty productive, except for the piggie being thrown at the ceiling, and also for the moment when my darling daughter attempted to impress the boys at Book Detectives by saying, "I know a fantasy genre book! It's called 'How to Fart!'" ... and maybe that intimidated some folks. But honestly? It didn't FEEL like we accomplished that much ... until I wrote it all down.

I bet if you kept track of just how much you do in one day, assuming you're not sitting around eating bonbons (and really, who is?), you'd find it's more than you think.

And in balance, some days *are* lovely, overall. Lovely because they feel productive, or lovely because I've chosen to let go and let forts be built in the woods for an hour or two. And other days, it's uphill both ways to lunchtime, and I consider a solo drive to the nearest airport. I pinkie-promise.

But lately, the lovely days occur more often, and the airport days more seldom. I think that's partly because of things going on in me, but partly because my children are growing up. Slowly, slowly, slowly, we are gaining traction in certain areas that once seemed unconquerable.

Which brings me to ...

2. Life was not like this when I had toddlers around. Oh, no, my friends. If you have toddlers, or you're gestating or nursing a human being, all the more should you not compare your days to mine. Be happy if you can run a load of laundry all the way through and provide your family with a hot meal and few stories on the couch. If you get to the library or the woods for a good dose of fresh air, BONUS! It's simply not productive to hold yourself to high standards of academic accomplishments (you know, the stuff that "EVERYONE ELSE" seems to be doing) when your life is bracketed by naptimes -- if they happen. Do what you can. Figure out what matters most to you. Leave the rest.

I wonder about this pandemic tendency to compare ourselves to one another. Was it a mistake to post the details of my day? The funny thing is, I'm pretty convinced that there are mamas out there who cram a lot MORE into their days than we do. I'm a slacker compared to a couple of my friends, or a few moms in my homeschool co-op, for example ... but then, what do I know? Impressions can deceive. Everyone has private struggles. As I tell my kids often, "It's not a contest."

Take grace, spread it around, rest, and be happy.

You're doing just fine.


  1. "Take grace, spread it around, rest, and be happy."

    Okay. :)

    (lovely post)

  2. You've obviously been through the toddler stage, summing it up here so accurately :) Just to be an encouraging voice--I loved yesterday's post! I took it as an encouraging word of things to come. Your kids and family are so fun to hear about and "get to know". Love you, Hannah!

  3. I learn so much from how you homeschool . . . and it encourages me to no end. I enjoyed yesterday's post so much, and today's is equally good seeing as how I nurse a girlie who's entering that toddling age (who still wants to nurse at night!). ;)

    I'm (slowly) learning to let go of so many things I think I should do in a school day and I work very had not to compare myself to my highly-achieving homeschool friends. You know, the ones that get a whole lot done every day with just two productive kids and then you think you forgot to do anything at all. Instead, I'm happy for days that are more-peaceful-than-not and some enjoyable learning snuck in rather than forced in.

    So your post yesterday was helpful - I didn't feel compelled to compare myself at all - instead I felt good about where I am and where I want to go. Thank you! :)

  4. I might never home school my kid(s), but I enjoyed reading today's post and also reading (browsing through) yesterday's post. (Since I'm a mother to one of those toddlers, sometimes I have to quickly glance over the longer posts.) :) That being said, I wasn't discouraged one bit. We're all different moms with different strengths and capacities. (If I were to rename my blog with myself in the title, it would probably be called Minimalist Mom). HA! I'm joking, but sometimes I do feel like I'm merely covering the essentials due to my own situation. But it's comforting to know if I ever do take the home school plunge, I have you and your blog as a resource!

  5. I was not discouraged by the Sunday's post either! I know we'll have days up and down too and it's always great seeing what other people do, since I have learned to stop comparing myself! I used to...especially too the moms with 6 kids who seem to be accomplishing so much more..but then I realize we all accomplish different things and it's okay! I love the days too, when it seems to go more smoothly, but we have the bumpy four wheel drive days too. I love your posts and that your honest that things aren't always perfect...that helps to know too, so I feel "normal":) Thanks for being such a wonderful resource for all these books and ideas!

  6. I absolutely love your blog! It is great to see that you guys are just a normal family, with normal things happening every day. I am in the toddlers stage, and enjoy every minute of it. We still have to be home for naps, but I enjoy it as I get a bit of me time still, which I know will be over once they are bigger. I love all your posts! Keep it coming!

  7. Yes, yes, yes. I loved your post yesterday, Hannah. I know from experience that each day is different. Some days are more productive than others. I agree with your assessment that lovely can be a productive day, but it can also be letting go, having special moments, and building relationships rather than being "productive." I also know that each family is different. We have different goals, different strengths, different weaknesses, different personalities, different dynamics.

    I also agree that writing down what one's day is like is an eye-opener. It is a good exercise as it makes you realize what you do accomplish, but it also makes you aware of how you spend your time (for better or worse).

    And, oh, the gestating, lactating, wild hair toddler days.... I'm trying not to wish away this time. But it is SO HARD some days, because I don't want to short-change my boys education. I realize there is so much more to life than lessons, but one of the big reasons we homeschool is for academic excellence. It is a struggle to find that balance. But there is no other place and time that my boys could have this magical experience of being so in love with their baby sister and being active in her daily life.

    1. So well put, Heidi. It is indeed a struggle to find that balance (and for the record, I think your monthly learning records you post attest to the fact that you really do pull it off -- and your recent "day in the life" posts balanced them nicely:-)). Often I wonder if this whole home education endeavor is a little less about my kids' development and a little more about the Lord seeking to expose my natural tendencies toward BOTH perfectionism AND laziness, so that I recognize I can only find that true balance in Him.

  8. Isn't that so true! There's a subtle pull in the overtired, self depricating mommy to always wonder why she can't accomplish as much as the next person...haha, but I learned a long time ago (as in 4 years ago when my son was born NOT to compare myself to other moms and hopefully not to give a false impression to other moms that I feel qualified in this calling as a mother...either that or the other extreme of feeling especially inadequate as a parent (ok still learning...haha) Anyway, I think we could all get a good laugh out of the events of my day if I ever had the time to write it out. I may one day get back to blogging, but for now my hands are FULL! I was actually encouraged by your post to think that once I eliminate the 25-30 diaper changes in a day, the trips to the potty, the dressing, re-dressing, redressing, catching the naked toddler and redressing, the nursing, the napping and the 1 hour stretch to make it out of the house with everything we need...I may just feel a bit more on top of life...but for now, thank you Lord for all the details of my life that make me desperate for more always inspire me to write more and want to blog...sigh...inspiration will have to wait a while though. Thank you for your honesty and genuine care for your readers. You also take grace and get some rest my dear! :)

  9. Hannah, I know that you are expressing nearly 12 years of learning those lessons.... the voice of experience. Well done and well put!

  10. I enjoyed Heidi's posts and yours as well. thanks for recording all that. :)