I am probably the wishy-washiest, most disorganized of all the Motley Moms. My house is mostly messy (I'm not just saying that...it's really true) and I let my kids dress themselves. Partly because I'm too lazy to assert any control over what they wear and partly because it's good for them to be in control of something in their lives...I can relate. Some days I feel like the outfit I choose to wear is the only thing I've been truly intentional about. The rest of it just happens. Other days, I'm totally in control, confident, and on top of things. Those days are pretty rare. I should start putting a shiny star sticker on the calendar on days when I feel in control, just so I can say for sure that it's hormonal or not.
I do a LOT of activities outside of my home, mostly things that directly or indirectly benefit my family. MOPS, Sunday School, Girls' Nite Out, Once A Month Cooking, playdates, etc. I love it, but it all comes back around to the good of my family. None of it is purely selfish.
We have recently made a huge decision, something that has been weighing me down for months...maybe even years. I've been so conflicted about which course would be the right course for our family. The question: Should we send them to school or homeschool them? Seems relatively simple. To many, the answer is obvious and simple, but for me, it has been severely complicated. I want to do what's best for my kids, and I often feel that I can personally provide that for them. I do provide that for them every day, with the support of my husband, who works so I can stay home with them. I'm creative, energetic, and I love spending my days with my children. It's fun! But it's also extremely draining.
If I homeschooled them, could I keep up this energy and enthusiasm for years while happily living on a painfully tight budget? I don't shop. I wear hand-me-downs. I cut my own hair sometimes. I cut my husband's and son's hair. We share a car. I clean my own house (or just let it be dirty for a few days until I feel up to the challenge). I walk everywhere that I can with the kids and only do activities that are free or dirt cheap. I don't get my nails done, I don't have massages, I don't wear brand names, and I don't pay for childcare.
But the car will soon need replacing. And our son just turned five, which means he needs to start Kindergarten in the fall. Change is on the wind here, and change can be good. We've had a long discussion, an ongoing discussion that we pick up during quiet moments when adult conversation can happen with only a few interruptions. He says he knows that I am capable of homeschooling the children, but is concerned that I will not do well personally. We feel we can supplement their education as needed and perhaps it is time for me to contribute to the family budget...that's hard to hear when you've been planning to be a stay-at-home mom indefinitely. But I want to get serious about my writing. I really think I have a book in me that needs to come out. Probably a book for adolescent readers, maybe teens...not sure yet, but I am so excited at the prospect of having some writing time. Wow...time for me to just think about ideas, be creative, and pursue a dream.
Now I'm asking myself, Is that selfish of me to want some time to myself? To prefer sending my child to a stranger for his education when I can provide an individualized education right here? Is this really for the good of the family? My husband thinks it is, and this is one of those times when I will happily defer to his judgement. He sees what a mess I am by the end of the day. I have nothing left to give. I don't want to be like that for the next 10 years!
So, after a sleepless night last night for both of us, we have concluded that a public education is truly what is best for us, as a family. I am relieved, but oddly disappointed at the same time. Kind of similar to the way I felt a few months ago when we officially decided that we are done having babies. If I could miraculously give birth to a 9-year-old, that would be great. We love having our 9 1/2-year-old niece over to spend the night...she's the perfect age to play with the kids without competing with them, she's extremely helpful, and completely verbal and potty trained! But, alas, popping out a 9-year-old is unheard of and probably not good for me...one can dream, though!
The thought of sending the kids off with the majority of the population for their education is somewhat soothing, yet scary at the same time. Conflicting, I know. But maybe I have to get over my over-achieving tendencies and give up a bit of control to God. He will provide. It's soothing me just to type it out and read those words. God WILL provide. I just need trust in Him.
My children will learn what they need to know and God will equip us to provide whatever they don't learn in school. God will guide us as we tackle the tough lessons they will learn from their peers, and our family will be their backbone and their faith will give them strength when they feel lonely and afraid. It will be hard, but I'm already excited about the possibilities in my future. And I have a short story that's just begging to become my first novel.
Now, which school should we send him to?...talk about Pandora's Box!