Where do we begin to talk about how out world has changed so much, overnight? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused, unsure of the future, know that you are not alone! Luckily for those of us who believe in God, we know He said times would be hard, but that He would remain with us always.
If you have become a stay home mom overnight and you’re struggling with it, know that I understand and that I’ve been there before as well. In 2011 I was a full-time classroom teacher who found joy and fulfillment in working. I felt I had purpose and meaning in my day and that I was bettering society. Perhaps you can relate. My husband and I had been in the adoption process and were awaiting the call that would change our lives. Knowing it was coming soon, I did not sign on for the upcoming school year. I did, however, go in the first week of August to help set up classrooms for the teachers that were returning. It was an exciting time to be in the classrooms as everything was new and everyone was looking forward to what the year would hold, but I realized that the upcoming year not be the same for me.
I spent the beginning of the school year subbing until we got the call. My children came home in October and overnight I went from being a free individual who could come and go as I pleased, volunteering wherever and whenever I wanted, even grocery shopping on my own, to a stay-at-home mom with a two- and three-year-old at home.
I pretended it wasn’t a culture shock. We had waited to be parents, and so I told myself this was what I had planned for. Our kids moved in on a Saturday and on Monday, my husband went back to work. I sat in our living room, asking him to stay longer, but he said he had to go to work and I watched as the door closed behind him. I sat wondering to do next. Following my productive nature, I just packed up the kids and went grocery shopping. Luckily Costco’s baskets had spots for two kids in the front and I lifted my little toddlers into the cart and headed into the store. I sent a picture to a friend and they were surprised I was even out of the house. I figured my extrovert nature needed to be. I figured I would feel better if I was out of the house.
Maybe that day it did make it better. Maybe I learned to distract myself and not address what was really going on.
Why am I sharing this story? To tell you that eventually — and I’m still sometimes surprised we decided to — but three years ago we decided to homeschool our children. Now with three children at home, our lives have changed in ways I never imagined. There were times when my kids were little, and I would dream of the day that they would grow up and be independent. I was the mom who was counting down to the first day of kindergarten, and went out to breakfast with girlfriends to celebrate the kids being back in school.
If you’re at home now and wondering how you’re going to survive being home with your children, I’ve been there and I can just share that being home as been a wonderful gift to me. It has made me slow down and take inventory. After weeks of no one saying “thank you” for anything, I realized how dependent I was on people’s validation. I still struggle with being affirmed but I try harder to look to God’s love to affirm me and find ways to affirm myself for my dedication.
My kids and I still have days of yelling and meltdowns. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Many homeschooling moms I know struggle with attitudes at home, but within that same day we get to watch our children read for the first time and celebrate with them. We get to learn alongside them and watch the light bulbs go off as a new topic clicks in their brains.
In our home, some days we all eat lunch together at the table, and other times we all take our lunch to our rooms and eat in there. We have daily quiet time after lunch where everyone separates. We all look forward to quiet time and it’s a much-needed time of retreat. It helps us all to take a break and reset.
If your days are crazy right now, just hold on. Routine will set in if you want it to. And if you’re not a routine person, maybe you just allow your free nature to guide the day. These are very strange times; please don’t stress about perfection in these moments. In our house, there are meltdowns over things that normally wouldn’t be an issue. Everyone is feeling the stress. If anything, I just encourage you to slow down and breathe in the rest.
What if we all looked at this as an opportunity to rest? For extroverts like me, resting is hard because for years I thought resting was not productive. But I’ve learned that resting is productive. Resting creates peace inside my heart and in our home. Resting creates calm. Resting is what we do when were sick, so that we can get better, right?
So let’s take this Lent to be home together. Let’s rest together. Let’s get to know our families again, or for the first time. Let’s continue to reach out to friends and family through whatever technology we can. Let’s be patient with ourselves and others while we wait to see what the state of the world will be in a few weeks.
If you’re home for the first time, know you’re not alone! I do promise that there can be fruit if you just allow it to penetrate your hearts.
Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Copyright 2020 Courtney Vallejo