By Judith Jolma
“I’m so tired,” I complained to Kristina, my Woman School mindset coach. “Everything about my job is rewarding,” I told her, “but I’m so resentful over having to be a working mom that my resentment depletes all my energy.” Kristina didn’t judge. After all, I do work two jobs, homeschool four children and manage the household all without a car. Of course I’m tired! Even the resentment is reasonable. Reasonable. Not helpful.
Compassionately and with incredible wisdom, Kristina offered exactly what I needed: a stratagy and a new lens through which to see my circumstances.
Mindset coaching is a critical tool for me as a homeschooling mom. The way we think determons our reality and let's be honest, often our thinking is unhepful. Sometimes our thinking can outright sabetage us.
After a short conversation with Kristina, my pity-party seemed silly. Could I really say, “I’m resentful that my children are safe, loved, educated and happy at home while I have opportunities to contribute my talents both to them as their educator and to the clients I serve while supporting my family financially”?
My goodness how the Lord has provided for us! Yes, this calling demands an enormous contribution of energy. Both body and mind become fatigued (and in the fatigue the mind plays games). But nothing worth doing is easy. I must remember that my struggle is an education for my children. They are observing, close up and in living color, how their mother meets real life in all its complexity. Will they see me answer it with resentment, depletion and defeat, or with strength, grace and messy vulnerability?
I know that I am their textbook and that our real life is their best education.
This is an example of just one mindset shift that transformed the way I showed up for my family this month. Requiring continuous sharpening, mindset is the tool most urgently needed by all homeschool mothers. Just pop in to any social media group and you will see the rampant depletion through the community:
“I’m so burned out.”
“I don’t want to homeschool.”
“My children will hate me for this.”
“My kids drive me crazy?”
All reasonable thoughts. Reasonable. Not helpful.
What our children need from us is strength, confidence and gentleness. These alone -- not a better curriculum -- are the building blocks of education. But we cannot show up strong, confident or gentle if we are burned out, insecure or irritable. You cannot pure from an empty pitcher.
The homeschool culture has dramatically shifted. Families used to be idealistic, choosing to homeschool because we saw an opportunity to create a truly beautiful life. Now families, who never would have chosen to homeschool, feel forced to do so thanks to the post-quarantine fallout. Everywhere I go I see depletion, confusion, anxiety and resentment surrounding this new homeschool culture. Yet everyone continues to ask the same question, “What curriculum will solve this for me?” None! The tool most urgently needed is a mindset.
“Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture,” writes Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, in his book Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives “If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.”
Managing our thoughts may sound like suppression and white knuckles at first glance but it really is far more simple. Try this exercise:
Close your eyes and think of the word “textbook.” Instantly the image of a textbook appears in your mind so vividly that you could describe it in perfect detail. Associated with that image are all the emotions that you associate with textbooks. Suddenly, your whole body feels "textbook." That thought became a reality in your mind. The same thing is true with all words and thoughts. If I think “This is too hard. I can’t do it.” that thought becomes my reality and I will not have the strength to do the hard thing. The key is in realizing that we choose our thoughts. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do this,” I can think “I’m a woman of solutions.” Instantly, that thought triggers a neurological response and floods the body with creative energy rather than depletion.
Now we can imagine a solution to the toddler’s tantrum, the 2nd grader’s homework battle, the teenager’s rebellion. Now we begin to see the opportunities hidden in each obstacle.
Of course, there is nothing new in these ideas. The Roman emperor and Stoic, Marcus Aurelious wrote, “The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. What stands in the way becomes the way."
But let's be honest. Who has the skill to look at life's obstacles and not become discouraged? Similarly, what olympic athlete wins gold without a coach? We can't do this alone. Before I spend a dime on a textbook, you better believe I'm going to invest in my own training because at the end of the day, I am the ultimate textbook. Mindset is the most urgently needed tool because you are your child’s education.
Sophia Homeschool teaches parents how to homeschool. Learn more about our training at Sophiahomeschool.com
Learn how to create a homeschool method and environment based on your family's needs so you can thrive. My Foundations of Homeschooling Masterclass teaches parents to work with their budget, schedule, learning style, teaching style, and resources so each member of the family has his or her needs met— including yours! Learn to create a peaceful and joyful learning environment that lasts a lifetime. Identify learning differences and adapt your educational plan accordingly. Unlock the mysteries of teaching multiple grades at once. By knowing what your needs are, you will save thousands of dollars, time, and energy on methods that do not work. We will end homework battles and restore your relationship with your child.