Do you ever get hit in the face with your own weaknesses as a homeschool mom? Here’s my truth: I'm not a huge fan of holidays. If I'm being honest, I'm not great at creating mind-blowing celebrations, whether it be for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Pi Day or Halloween. So, when I woke up last Valentine's Day morning, I thought: Uh-oh. It's Valentine's day. And I've got nothing.
Planning for celebrations is not a strength of mine nor does it light me up. I have felt so much guilt about this for years. Years. How was I supposed to be a good homeschooling mama if I didn’t celebrate each and every big and little holiday with food, festivities and fun? If my kids were in a traditional school they would be getting ALL the parties all the time. Was I ruining them for life?
I’m all about sprinkling magic and fun, but if I’m stressing myself out over things that don’t bring me joy, well, that will permeate through all parts of my life. This stress will spill over into our homeschool, my kids and more. And really, sour milk and sour attitudes don’t go well with cookies, right?
What did I do that Valentine’s morning?
I made a cup of my favorite tea, grabbed the gluten free angel food cake, a tub of North Carolina winter berries, candles, and red plates leftover from Christmas. The flowers were already on the table, as I had purchased them for myself three days earlier. I wrote their names and colored red hearts on our paper covered table. That's it. They were all still sleeping and I got to eat a piece of cake in peace and drink my tea while it was still hot (bonus!).
When they staggered down the stairs nearly an hour later, they smiled and gobbled up the goodies. I even got a happy grunt from my teen. I called it a win.
So, while I'm not a huge fan of celebrating holidays, I am a huge fan of my kids. I'm a fan of simple. I'm a fan of showing up in small ways. Small ways that show that I care and that show my kids that I am aware of my own strengths and weaknesses. This doesn’t make me a bad homeschooling parent. It makes me a real person who simply cannot do it all. Also, I don't want to set the expectations that I can do it all. That's exhausting, right?
Finding My FLOW
Last year, I was journaling about a challenging season of homeschooling. The concept of finding my flow and flowing through life had resonated with me after a session with my holistic health coach. As the words poured out across the page, I realized that I could embrace my Homeschool F.L.O.W.
Faithfully cultivating what matters most to me, my family and our homeschool.
Learning to love myself, my family and the homeschool season we’re in right now.
Owning my time and space.
Weeding out what’s not serving me, my family, or our homeschool.
This idea grounds me and keeps me from fretting over all things life and homeschool related—most of the time.
Combining my strengths, my kids’ needs, letting go of my flaws and weaknesses and just embracing some things as GOOD ENOUGH is enough in this season of homeschooling. Does that mean I will never go over the top for things?
It just means that I am honoring my personality and I am honoring what my version of magic or enchantment is.
It also means that I've stopped looking to make all the things exciting and fun every single day.
It means that I am focusing on subjects or skills that are important right now to me and my kids and letting go of other expectations that are not serving us at this time.
For example, my daughter often tells me that when she’s a mom, she’s going to throw HUGE parties all the time and that her house will be decorated for every single holiday. She wants a yard filled with Christmas blow- ups and flashing lights all timed to Christmas music.
I used to take offense at her saying this because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. And let me be clear, sometimes she flat out says this because she DOES wish I could be different. She’s 11 and I am happy she feels open enough to share her true feelings and desires with me. This is where compromise comes in to play. I give her small budgets to decorate certain areas (her room, her desk, sometimes a table) and we work things out that make both of us feel good.
Embracing what works for her, for me, for us right now as a 44 year old mom and very creative and visually-minded adolescent . This sometimes means that we have plastic Dollar Tree decorations adorning the front porch or that she creates streamers out of scraps of paper and toilet paper tubes. It also might mean I veto the blow-ups in our yard, but that I make sure to drive around at the holidays searching for over-the-top decorated houses for her to look at from the comfort of our car. It's all good and I've learned to just let her do her thing and keep my low key boundaries in place too.
You Are Enough. Right Here. Right Now.
Here’s the thing: you may be absolutely amazing at the big celebrations and the décor and the food and the themes! I LOVE attending parties and homeschooling events with friends who have this gift. I get to enjoy their creativity and see their joy and my kids have a blast. Winning! Perhaps you have the gift for creating focused one-on-one times with your kids, or elaborate unit studies or you run a fantastic co-op. You are getting your FLOW on, friend. You should celebrate yourself and your kids and your homeschool. Truly.
Homeschooling has helped me realize many things about myself. It’s a journey that I started for my children’s benefit, but it has also helped me grow in ways I never imagined. Homeschooling has given me space to dig deeper into my likes and my goals. So while my children are receiving an education and life skills, I feel like I'm getting to do the same. I can keep peeling back the layers and continue to get in touch with my authentic self. What a gift for me and my children.
I encourage you to find your F.L.O.W. and see if it brings you a sense of peace that you might be needing right here, right now.