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Let’s be honest, ladies. Many days, I’m mean. I know this problem is not exclusive to homeschooling moms, but we are a unique group. Why does homeschooling turn us mean?
The first step is to acknowledge that we have a really, really difficult job. Homeschooling often means no breaks and small children mixed with older children. Since we’re home all day, things can quickly become messy in our homes. We can make great routines, schedules, and chore charts, but some days we literally can’t be consistent due to LIFE.
For me, the stresses I listed above have often made me mean. Sometimes I don’t hit the mean peak until 4pm. However, after being up all night with a fussy 4 month old, I have started off mean before the sun rises.
I yell at the kids. The mess and chaos steal my joy. I forget why I’m investing this time in my children and think about sending them to public school. Over the past year, I’ve recognized this is a huge problem and that my life isn’t going to change anytime soon. So, I’ve pinpointed triggers that frustrate me, and I *feel* things are much better in our homeschool.
There is always going to be something that makes our lives more stressful. Morning sickness, newborns, teenagers, toddlers, illness, finances, and the list goes on.
How can you stay steady in the storm and create peace in your home? Here’s what I did:
Dishes MUST be Done Before Bed
I just can’t wake up with a messy kitchen. My husband is awesome and helps since I have a fussy baby in the evening. However, once she’s sleeping better, I make sure my kitchen is pretty tidy for the next day. What’s your household trigger? Laundry? Legos everywhere? Toothpaste in the sink?
Pinpoint Each Child’s Needs
For a couple years I tried to educate our two oldest children the same. My 6-year-old son has been really frustrated lately, and it made us both mean. Turns out, he needs total quiet for certain subjects. He enjoys routine–totally opposite of me. We made him a quiet spot for his desk with a lock on that door. It’s helped tremendously. Interview your kids one-on-one. Ask what they like to differently in your homeschool. You may be surprised.
Don’t Expect Public School
I made this mistake for too many years, and it’s really been liberating to ‘let it go’ as Elsa would say. I used to have structured calendar time every morning, the Pledge of Allegiance, grade papers, etc. These are great things–but I gave my kids and myself no flexibility. I thought ‘If they were in school right now, they’d be busy–not watching cartoons!’ I felt so guilty if we weren’t on task 24/7 that I’d yell and bark commands. I’ve eased up and we still accomplish more than enough schooling daily. Let go of what you think this should look like. Love your kids first.
Remember Why You’re Doing This
If I wanted someone to bark at my kids all day and command perfection, I SHOULD put them in school. I want a great relationship with my kids and with the Lord (for them and me), and a strong sibling bond. I want to foster a love of learning and strong work ethic. Yelling and griping accomplishes none of this.
What if they whine and I go off the deep end?
Oh yes, this will happen. You’ll wake up all set to be Michelle Duggar and by 8:15 you’ve lost it. What do you do? Start slow. Give yourself grace. It took me months to retrain my brain and heart to be slow to anger. I still lose it, often.
What do I do when I lose it?
I apologize to my kids. I explain why I feel the way I do. I’m honest. If they are being disrespectful, lazy, or fighting with each other, I explain how that makes me feel and that’s why I turn mean.
This process has really helped my children with communicating their feelings and being able to trust me more. It’s been an awesome journey.
So, if homeschooling has turned you mean too, be honest with yourself. Own it. Commit to changing yourself for your kids and your home.
Have any other tips for how to avoid ‘mommy anger’ in your homeschool?