For days my Facebook feed was filled with pictures of my friends’ kids on their first days of school. They were dressed in crisp outfits for the school year, posing with new backpacks and adorable signs which marked the new year and their current aspirations. It was so cute. I couldn’t believe how some of them have grown! As I scrolled through the pictures, though, I felt a sadness within me. It was the first week back to school at our house too, but I was struggling.
We had just returned from an incredible trip to Ethiopia but were battling jet lag and a bug we picked up on the way home. I homeschool and didn’t have time before our trip to prepare our classroom, so we had our school materials scattered throughout the house. I wasn’t feeling well, so I chose to just softly start school without the big fanfare I was dreaming of, and school was not going well. My daughter and I couldn’t find our groove, her ADHD was making it very difficult for her to focus, my son was being a little rascal, and my toddler was dumping out the school supplies All.Day.Long. It was a big mess – literally and figuratively. I felt like a failure every day. I questioned if I was doing the best thing for our daughter by homeschooling her and if it was the best choice for me. Half of the days found me sobbing uncontrollably – either in my bedroom or with my head wedged down into the living room chair. I wish I was kidding.
Things were not going well. And it seemed especially hard to accept this when I saw the beautiful pictures of all my friends’ kids heading back to school. A big piece of me longed for that experience too – to send my child off to school where someone else could keep them on track all day, manage what they needed to know, and free me up to do things that moms with kids in school do…whatever that is. It was really hard to continue walking down my path.
It’s scary to admit that because when I have a negative experience with homeschool, I worry people will say, “But you chose this! This is what you wanted!” I keep telling myself that no matter which job anyone is in, they have bad days or things they don’t love about their job too. Just because I chose this doesn’t mean I love it all the time, or that it’s easy. Our first week DEFINITELY was not easy.
This all got me thinking – perhaps if it wasn’t a rosy back-to-school week for me, maybe it wasn’t for others either.
Friend, if it was a hard week for you, please know that you are not alone. I’m standing there with you. Or maybe more appropriately I’m burying my head in the furniture and crying along with you. If you didn’t have the happy back to school picture, it’s okay. You – we – are not failures. We’re each walking our own path, and it’s impossible to compare that to somebody else’s.
Let’s try to think back and find a couple special moments we can store up in our hearts from this week, then shake off the crud and start new again next week. Promise me you’ll give yourself more grace, I’ll try too. Hopefully, that extra grace will spill over onto our kids. Let’s also make a point to give our kids an extra snuggle. I know I could use one and if I could, there’s a good chance they could use one too.
Chin up, friend. Eyes on your path. I’m cheering for you.