How long have you been mothering now? Two years? Five years? A decade? Since Clinton was President?
I feel like I’ve been homeschooling for. ev. er. It’s been over thirteen years of teaching my children, plus my own years as a homeschool student.
I should know this stuff by now.
But you know what?
I am not a professional.
And neither are you. Years of homeschooling, parenting, or living doesn’t make us experts. We aren’t flawless, we don’t have the answers, we don’t perform perfectly.
And that’s ok.
I forget that some times, I don’t know about you. I think I should be awesome every day of the week, that I should always be beautiful and fragrant (in the right way) and patient and wise. Instead, I turn out messy and smelly (in the wrong way) and angry and foolish.
But that’s just me.
When it comes to mothering and homeschooling and family living in general, there seem to be four reasons to be stuck in amateur hour.
Four things God uses to keep us humble
1. Children are growing.
Just when I think I have a handle on one stage, another one is beginning. It’s madness trying to stay on top of it! The motherhood game keeps leveling-up before I have found all the hidden coins.
Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I believe in my heart that my children are still between the ages of one and ten. That stage of life is seared into my psyche, defining who I think I am and how my family exists. I don’t know for sure why. Maybe because that was such a happy time, a moment in which all my children were here and young and fun and the house was new-ish and life felt right.
Maybe it was because one day that year I “Mom’d right.” It was a miracle that never repeated again.
They moved beyond me the next day, rushing ahead to the next chapter when I had just begun to comprehend the page I was on yesterday. So now, seven years later, I feel completely lost most of the time between childhood and puberty and teens. It’s madness over here.
2. Children are different.
Ok, so I still have more of the one-to-ten-year-old phase left in one of my children. I can totally get it right for him, right?
Wrong. Instead, I have a brand-new opportunity to mess up all over again. In new and awe-inspiring ways. Just watch me.
These children, even the ones that are all the same gender, find new and extraordinary ways to confound my mothering and teaching abilities. They develop different learning challenges, attempt different death-defying feats, and possess different propensities to boggle my mind. I can never get it exactly right.
3. I am still learning.
So I go buy books and check more books out of the library. Books will tell me what to do about the different learning challenges and what death defiances to anticipate and how to untangle my mind.
But the more I learn about learning and teaching and mothering and living, the more I realize I know nothing.
4. Life keeps happening.
Ok, so even if I can’t get completely on top of the new stage of life my children have flung themselves into, maybe I can catch up for one moment? Maybe hang on by the skin of my teeth for one day or week or even month?
But just when my catch-up plans start to unfold, life tears a page out of my planner. A car accident, a family-wide flu epidemic, a trip, a setback, a struggle, and it’s back to being out of control.
Like I ever was in the first place.
Maybe that’s the point.
I’m not supposed to level-up with confidence. I’m not going pro.
I’m going dependent.
When I am at the end of my ability, at the edges of my sanity, at the thread of my existence, that is where I reach out to God. If I am sincerely praying, “Draw me nearer, nearer, NEARER precious Lord” that is right where I need to stay — teetering on the edge, reaching out, wildly flailing toward God.
I can’t walk on the seas. Sinking is the point altogether. I drown in fear to instinctively raise a chocked cry and desperate hand upward, “SAVE ME!”
God save me from professionalism.