The Homeschool Mama Comparison Game
I have met a few extremely self-confident homeschooling mamas in the thirty years since I became a homeschooling mama myself. I have met thousands of homeschooling mamas who wonder if they can ever do enough or be enough to do a good job. I am guessing that you are probably in that second category, wondering if you can ever do enough or be enough to do a good job. Do you ever look around you at other homeschooling mamas and then look back at yourself with feelings that you will never measure up?
Think about someone whom you believe is the perfect homeschooling mama? Do you know what curriculum she uses, what kinds of activities her children do, what kind of house she lives in, and what she feeds her family? How do you measure up to her? Why does that "measurement" matter? I think I know why. We women are masters at comparing ourselves with others. We learn how to do it when we are little girls.
As much as I want to be like Mary Poppins, "practically perfect in every way," I am much more like Jo in Little Women, "hopelessly flawed." I have a desperate need for grace. How about you? Do you feel inadequate, imperfect, hopelessly flawed? I’m not surprised, because you are, I am, and so are those other women we compare ourselves to. The fact that we are hopelessly flawed is the reason Jesus died. Do you really think you have to be perfect to do a good job with your children? God doesn't think so.
Stop for a minute and think about the woman God chose to be your children's mother. Out of all the women in the world, out of all the women in the history of the world, He chose you. Cherish your role as a mother. Don't let your feelings of imperfection keep you from being what your children need. Those feelings can rob your children of something they need very much--you.
Pray. Trust. This is God's work you are doing.
Remember that He understands all, He is able to help, and He loves you. You don't have to carry all the load. Give yourself grace.
If we play this comparing game enough, we might actually find people who make us feel not inferior, but superior. Do you sometimes look at other mothers, shake your head, and wonder why they do this or don't do that? Do you wonder why their children act the way they do? Do you judge some mothers because of how they homeschool and others because they don't homeschool at all?
We need to remember that we don't all have the same story. We don’t have the same challenges. Perhaps the women we are judging are doing the very best they can. They might be learning every day what "normal" is because they grew up in troubled families. They might barely be holding on in their marriages. They might be struggling to rear hurting children whom someone else has abandoned.
We only see part of the picture. Only God knows the whole truth. He is the perfect judge. Give grace to other mothers. God began giving grace in the Garden of Eden. Thousands of years later, when He inspired the last words of the Bible, they were these: "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen."
Think about that tiny word all. God offers grace to everyone who seeks Him: you, me, and all those other mothers, too. Let’s be mothers of grace--mothers who seek God with all our hearts, who have the courage to raise our children to be the people He created them to be, and who have the grace to let others do the same.
Whether you are just thinking about homeschooling or have already started, we'd love to encourage you!