This is a bad title, I know. But I’m coming down from six weeks of cramming for the upcoming school year with five grade levels, home renovation projects that lead to more home renovation projects and a surprise visit from my mother in law. And it’s hot, what do you want from my life?
It’s September! Target is full of school supplies, streets are full of yellow school buses, and moms are, tearfully or gleefully, getting ready to send those kids off to their respective halls of learning for another nine months of academics, social awkwardness and cafeteria food. Hooray!
At this most wonderful time of the year, I like to pause and remind myself of a few things. Things I tend to forget in the whirlwind of planning and good intentions. Things I’ll need to remember come Thanksgiving, when I’m ready to throw it in. And since I have self-styled myself as a writer, it’s my moral obligation to share these things with you, my adoring public. (Love you, mom.)
Truth #1 – You cannot be all the things to all the people. You can’t be PTA president, coach soccer, write a cooking blog, and also direct the Christmas play. You can’t have a high-powered career and also stay home and do Waldorf preschool in your basement. You can’t be the crunchy, kale-eating, yoga-loving, all organic mama and also the laid-back, brownie baking mom. At least, you can’t do these things with out a schizophrenia diagnosis. Pick the thing you love and do it well.
Truth #2 – Life is a mess. When you’re doing that thing you love well? Other things slide sometimes. The mom with the gorgeous home probably orders pizza for dinner. The mom who cooks gourmet meals might have a messy car. Nobody’s kids, clothes, home and life look good all the time. Relax. We’re all busy. We’re all doing our best. We’re all living the same messy life, some of us are just better at Instagram.
Truth #3 – Messy can be glorious. Real life happens when you’re tickling your kids on the living room rug, or playing Uno for the eighty-third time, or building with Legos, or cooking together, not when everything comes together perfectly on the schedule you created. Embrace the moments. Also, realize that the moments are short. This makes them more precious, but it also is good to remember that there will be lots of moments that are not glorious and beautiful. Sometimes kids are cranky. Sometimes you have to do the dishes. These things are life, too. Don’t expect your whole life to be wrapped in a golden halo of awesomeness.
Truth #4 – This is the time of year when most moms are happily sending their kiddos off to spend 30 hours per week in the hands of someone else. Homeschool moms, on the other hand, are grabbing another cup of coffee and buckling down. When you see all those pictures of moms getting first day of school pedicures? You will be jealous. You will question your value system, your sanity, and the state of your heels. Stop it. Every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to lots of other things. Get off Facebook and be at peace with where you are.
Truth #4b – For those homeschool moms who don’t resonate with truth #4. If you’re the kind of homeschooler who would never dream of sending your snowflake to the evil, bad public school – stop it. Not all public schools are bad, not all public school teachers are bad and not all parents who send their kids to public school are bad. The vast majority of them are doing what we’re doing – their very best to raise their kids right. We’d do much better to band together than pull each other down. Get off Facebook and be at peace with where you are.
Truth #5 – Right now you’ve got everything ready. The schedules. The plans. Everything is perfect. You will get up at 5:00 to work out, pray and eat a healthy breakfast! The kids will love school! All the activities will be performed on time and with joy! Try to remember that a lot of this will change. Some of your goals will go unmet. When this happens, try to relax. Your value isn’t dependent on what you get done. On the other hand, don’t stop planning. Don’t stop setting goals and having big vision for the future. That vision is what keeps you moving forward, and forward is good. Just try not to get too wrapped up in the vision to enjoy actual life.
Here’s to a new year. May it be full of all the things you hope for; moments of wonder, days of peaceful reading, Instagram-worthy science experiments and a math book that the kids don’t cry over. And maybe a new crockpot.