(This is a reprint of a blog post from September 2011.)
The topic of our monthly homeschool support group meeting last month was "Myth Busters: Homeschool Edition", inspired by the Myth Busters television show and Todd Wilson's book, Lies Homeschool Moms Believe.
Our illustrious madame pres., Becky, who has very capably relieved me of my presidential duties this fall, created some great Power Point slides to introduce each Myth we addressed, complete with Todd Wilson's hilarious homeschool cartoons.
We talked about 4 Myths, or Lies that homeschool moms believe.
#2 Everybody else has a cleaner house and serves better meals.
#3 Everybody else is more spiritual than I am.
#4 Everybody else can do it all and is more capable than I am.
A different mom tackled each myth, sharing about what their homeschool was like and how we all get caught in that same trap of comparing ourselves to others around us who we just KNOW are doing a better job than we are.
I talked about Myth #4. As a veteran homeschooler with 4 graduates and as a support group leader, I know that I am sometimes put on that pedestal of "doing it all". And just like Gena Suarez, homeschool mom of 6 and editor of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, relates in this article, it just ain't so!
I may do a lot of things that you don't do. But I'm certainly not doing "it all". You see, we all make choices about where we will and will not spend our time and energy. We also all have different temperaments, skills, callings, and tolerances.
I have a friend who gets more done in a day than I do in a month - no lie. She amazes me, and wears me out just hearing about her day. She keeps a spotless house, has a speaking ministry, decorates to the hilt for every holiday, has grandchildren as well as a houseful of little adopted children, and paints her kitchen in the middle of the night after she irons everyone's shorts and tee shirts!
Another friend is homeschooling her youngest 2 out on a farm where she and her husband have been homesteading for the past 8 years. She has a huge garden, cans hundreds of jars of gorgeous fruits and vegetables every harvest, is nurturing an orchard that they hope will provide retirement income someday, is active in overseas missions work as well as ministry at her church.
These two busy ladies are doing very different things - neither is doing it all! And neither of them is doing what I am doing. Or what you are doing.
Many years ago, I heard a speaker at a homeschool conference talk about setting priorities, and at the meeting I shared something that she taught us then. That is, make a list of What I Do and another list of What I Don't Do - and realize that life is about choices.
My list of What I Do includes
homeschooling my 13 yr old son
keeping up with my grown children and their needs
serving in leadership of our homeschool association
teaching history in a weekly Co-op
hosting a monthly Geography Club for middle schoolers in my home
leading a Mentor Group for new homeschool moms, and talking to many, many people about homeschooling through email and on the phone
helping my husband in his role as director of our homeschool sports program
chairing the homeschool prom committee
serving on the homeschool graduation committee
attending my son's sporting events
baking cupcakes to help support my daughter in her ministry work
clipping coupons and trying to figure out sales and ways to save money on our grocery bill
blogging / facebook /
moderating our homeschool group's email loop
cooking healthy meals for my family
keep up with laundry and maintain at least a sanitary home
attend church ; try to have a daily quiet time
My list of What I Do Not Do includes
keeping a spotless house - heck, I don't even make my bed very often
working outside the home
teaching Sunday School
attending Women's Bible Study or Women's Ministry events
paying the bills ( my husband takes care of that, not me)
painting, drawing, calligraphy - all of which I enjoy!
singing in the choir or in church musicals
nature study, lots of hands on science experiments, big art projects
lots of field trips
shopping for fun
lots lots more.....
The point is, those things on my What I Do Not Do list are good things, things I would like to do, some are things I SHOULD do. But the reality is, moving things from that list to the DO list will require a) giving something else up, or b) sleeping less, or c) becoming much more organized, which is not something that comes naturally to me AT ALL.
When you look at me and see the things I Do, you are not looking at the list of things I Do Not Do. So take a look at your own list of things you Do, and realize that those are hopefully the things that bring you joy, that are important to you, that are your calling right now. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others. Look in your life for time wasters, and consider if there are things that need to be removed in order to allow time for what you have determined is important for YOU. Pray and seek God about where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be doing, and rest in that. Realize that priorities will change as the Seasons of your Life change.