A Mother’s Rant

Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Yesterday marked one of my hardest days yet as a mom.
My hardest day was not a trans-Atlantic flight with twin 1-year-old babies and all our worldly possessions crammed into 5 suitcases heading to the mission field for 5 years. Somewhere between England and Ukraine, we discovered that Tristan had broken out with chicken pox. That was crazy, but it wasnt the hardest day.
My hardest day was not the time Abi swallowed drain-O or the time Britain cracked her scull warrenting stitches and having to navigate ambulance and ER and prescriptions in a foreign language. It was awful, but there are worse things!
My hardest days as a mom have not been those consoling tearful children, or wiping feverish brows or rocking colicky babies all night long. Yes, there are times that the noise and mess and demands and complaints and quarrels and boo-boos and questions threaten my sanity. But, those arent my hardest days. Im quite comfortable with a baby in a sling and one on my lap and two or three jockeying for position beside me. That’s how I like it. All my little chicks under my wing!
Yesterday, I sat surrounded by a deafening silence while Izzy and Evie napped for the longest hour I can remember. There were no doors slamming or toilets flushing or papers needing graded or subjects needing taught. Just me. Two sleeping babies. And silence.
Yesterday, was Tristan and Abi and Britain’s first day of “real” school!!
Friends promised me I would be fine. They told me I’d love it.
They were wrong!
I sobbed my bloody eyes out leaving the school yesterday morning. Ill admit it, Im pregnant, hormonal, emotional and entirely too protective. That doesnt change the way I feel!
This is not a decision we have come to easily! I have LOVED homeschooling these three. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the lights come on and watching them learn. But mostly, I just love spending every minute of every day together. Several dynamics have forced us to prayerfully seek another option for the time being.
1) The reasons we chose to homeschool weren’t happening. We selected a highly acedemic homeschool curriculem. The kids have receved a great education, but we were working from 8-5 every day. Its been a bit rediculous! We’ve been so busy that we havent had time for museums, libraries and the “extras” that I so want to incorporate! If my kids are done at 2:00 every day, then we are free to do those things!!

2) We will have another nursing baby soon. Im feeling stretched so thin with the demands of keeping up the academics, that I feel Im neglecting Izzy and Evie. Not wanting to miss their childhood and carefree-schoolfree days, something had to give! I have struggled so much physically with this pregnancy too, that it seemed a prudent decision.
I write this all not because I feel a need to justify, but more for my own condolence. I need to be able to look back at the process God has taken us through. Im struggling with this one. Really struggling! But, know that this is a step of obedience He has asked us to take. For some, a harder thing would be to take their kids out of school and teach them at home. For me, its the hardest thing I can think of to let someone else do that. Im so jealous of someone else spending 7 hours a day with my amazing children. Im sick to not be the one to apply a bandaid when they fall on the playground. Im missing the “thank-you’s” that the lunch ladies in the cafeteria are getting instead of me.
C keeps reminding me that this doesnt have to be forever! We will continue to seek the Lord, reevaluate and take it year-by-year and child-by-child. Im very hopeful that we will be back in a “homeschooling” season of life soon, but this is the path the Lord is leading us down for today. It will be good. I know it will! We have already crammed lots of after-school activities and fun into our afternoons within these first two days of school. Aside from being weepy and watching the clock like a hawk counting down till pick-up time, I do enjoy my mornings with the babies! We’re reading lots of books and baking cookies for after school snacks with the big kids.
And Im so proud of these three. Im so excited to see what friends they make and the things they learn and the opportunities they have to be a light for Jesus in a new place!
You weathered moms will read this and sigh. I know it seems trivial. There will be many more difficult stretching/releasing moments. They will spend the night at a friends one day. I will get teary as I watch them drive away on their 16th birthday. It will be the hardest thing to watch them leave for college. And seeing them walk down the aisle…..oh my! Makes me so grateful that C provides so I can be a stay-at-home mom. I am loving every moment and learning to hold lightly these precious treasures Ive been entrusted with.
My very sleepy kiddos on their first day of school.

  • Sarah D says:

    You are in my prayers. I struggled with the same thing. But knowing my limitations with the PPD and the issues we had at the time… it was the best thing for all involved!
    I have four in school now, and its just me and my baby. I have been able to enjoy him in ways I was never able to with the others. And I feel strongly that the Lord is “redeeming the years the locust has eaten”. I will be praying for peace for you mommy heart, and for Gods hand to be ever with you kiddos on their new adventure. {{Squeezy Hug}}

  • katherine says:

    Tearing up seeing that picture! They look so old! Love you sissy

  • Oh Mandy! My heart hurts for you! I know I will cry a river of tears the day my babies go to school and I don’t even plan on homeschooling! I’m sure after being their school teacher (in addition to mommy teacher, of course) after these several years that it’s even more difficult.

    From a public school teacher’s perspective, I’m sure “big school” will be wonderful for them. 🙂 They’re wonderful kids and this will give them the opportunity to share that and influence others. They will be a light, I have no doubt!

    Prayers for you friend!

    And since you won’t be schooling all day, lets have a play date! 🙂

    Big hugs!

  • Lacey says:

    Oh man, I can’t imagine how hard that was. I remember sending my kids to kindergarten, bawled all day!
    I do think its good for them to see something different. And for you to have a break. Your right that you can go back to home schooling if you want. Sending hugs mama!

  • Danielle says:

    So sorry!!! Cake is definitely in order….and it will get easier….I love having my kid in school, but the first day they went without me being at the same school…was really hard for me! I remember driving away thinking really…that’s it..I just drop them off and leave! It gets better, I promise!!!

  • Donna says:

    Mandy, you are such a WONDERFUL mother!!! Your sweet heart is with your children at every step and they are leaving the nest in baby steps and growing…something that is good for them. They will always be the light of your life and you theirs. I remember when my boys went to school and it tore my heart out. That’s when I had their sister. I postponed that feeling for another 5 years. Warning: It happens again when they go to college. That was even harder for one whole year! Now, I’ve learned to just enjoy every step of the way and savor the stages of each and every one. Good luck friend!!

  • I get sad every single day that I send Kamryn to school. She’s been going for six years now and I still get sad. I cherish my time at home with Owen and we both watch the clock and get excited when it’s time to pick her up! We look forward to all her breaks and early release days.

    They’re going to love it at school. It’s harder on us than it is on them. I promise.

  • Crystal... says:

    HUGS…. I cant imagine either.. we are hoping to be able to homeschool when we get to that stage..and I pray that we will survive. I can not imagine not having her with me… wow. Love and hugs to you… as you walk this new path!!!!

  • JShaffer says:

    Sweet Friend, I thought of and prayed for you since the moment our fun dinner ended through the big first day. You have such a beautiful faithful heart – and family. I know that the Lord has incredible things in store of each of you and this is no exception or detour from His fantastic adventure for you. I love you so much! Your words are inspirational and make me a better mother and Christ-follower. I can’t wait for another and longer visit with you! … And I hope that T’s corn-dog nuggets were all and more than he hoped for!

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