Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lie #5

**This is the fifth post in a series that I have been writing from the book Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, by Todd Wilson. (If you haven't read my other posts on the topic, you can find them by clicking on the link in the label at the end of this post.) **

"I just don't know how you do it all!"

If I had a nickel for every time someone has said this to me, I'd have enough money to buy next year's curriculum. I could double that amount of money if had a nickel for each time I respond, "I don't!"

When my kids were toddlers and preschoolers, I told my husband the following: "If you ever come home from work to a perfectly clean house, with dinner on the table and see me looking fabulous then you'll know I didn't spend any time with the kids that day." Well, he got the point. Not that he needed to get it, really. He knew, and he didn't care if the house (or his wife) was perfect.

I had made quite a journey to get to that point, though. I wanted the house to stay clean (or at least "together" enough for someone to drop by and maybe even wonder to herself about what a great house I had!). I wanted to look like the moms on the magazines or commercials who were playing with their kids or cooking while in coordinated, stylish outfits (and skinny!). I wanted the spiritual insight of Beth Moore, the mothering instinct of Elisa Morgan, the educational acumen of Charlotte Mason and Susan Wise Bauer, and the decor and cooking of Martha Stewart (or at least her staff!). It's what my family deserved.


Why did I want that? Why did I think I could DO that? Because in my mind I was convinced that other women had. I had subconsiously believed...

Lie #5: Everyone else can do it all.

I had to realize that in order to be all that, I would have to be able to do it all. All of it. Whatever "it" is. The "it" that makes perfect meals, organizes a beautiful home, and always looks cute. "It" would be the time it takes to always be studying the Bible while simultaneously providing enriching and age-appropriate activities for small children. The "it" that keeps you in shape and always looking great for your husband. (Oh, and in the midst of "it," did you know you could be earning hundreds of dollars from home each month? Wouldn't you like that?) You know, IT! Lots of women do it all, why couldn't I??? First of all, I had to realize that (and here's the biggie) they don't. No one does. The Bible itself says, "No one can serve two masters." Or three. Or ten.

I think the power of knowing that no one else can do it all is that it releases me from trying to. There are certain things that I know that others have done that I don't have a desire to do; like climb Mt. Everest. Drive a race car. Run a marathon. Catch a boa constrictor. I'm impressed that they do it, but it doesn't make me think I should. But, put it in the "mother" realm and I either take it as a challenge or become burdened by it. Why is that? I think it's because we somehow think our families deserve "it all" and that would make us (as the mother) the one to do "it all." The fact is, there are only 24 hours in a day. If you spend those hours scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush, you're not reading stories to your children. When you're reading to your children you're not scrapbooking. If you're scrapbooking you're not on the treadmill. If you're on the treadmill you're not redecorating the living room. Etc., etc. If you're doing one thing, by definition you're not doing another. And that's okay!

So while the root of the lie is in thinking that others do it all (which they don't) we are tempted to think that our families need it all (which they don't.) God sovereignly gave you to your husband as a wife, just as He brought Eve to Adam. God could've given your children to anyone in the world at any time in history, but He gave them to you. Here. Now. He gave you your family knowing your gifts, talents and interests (also given by Him.) And He did that, knowing their needs full well! Besides, to think that it's up to me to BE it all and do it all, sort of puts me in the place of God, right? Well, I've seen that job and I don't want it. (Not to mention the fact that I can't do it!)

As homeschooling mothers, we have taken on a ginormous task. It is filled with blessings beyond measure (some of which we won't see this side of heaven) but it is HUGE nonetheless. The fact is that in this season of taking on the full responsibility of educating our children, other things will have to go. For many of us it was a career that had to go. For others it was the tennis league. I've made exactly nine scrapbook pages ever because after homeschooling all week if I had to put any more stickers on any more paper or glue one more thing, I thought I might set my hair on fire and run down the street. (The point being, during this season I'm not scrapbooking!) Even those with a passion for cooking may need to put that on the back burner (ar, ar) for a time and make dishes that aren't so time consuming or expensive. Who knows? The fact is, you don't have to do it all. Especially all at one time.

No one does it all. I certainly don't. And thankfully I serve a God who doesn't expect me to.

Don't believe the lie!


Jenny in Ca said...

bravo Cyndi!!

I'm standing in front of my computer screen waving a candle towards your post.

Seriously, great post, you spoke so many truths. I have always wanted my house to be presentable in case anyone just stops by...and I'm not a great cook, I was just feeling bad about that the other day...

loved the post, indeed-truths we homeschool moms need to hear.

Panda-Mom said...

Hi! I found you via "Lifesong". Both of your blogs make me want to homeschool!!!!! I am very seriously contemplating homeschooling my children. Right now I have a four year old daughter adopted from China and hope that the Lord has more children in store for us. I taught in a Classical school for a while and when I saw that you had Latin in your sidebar I knew you had to know about it as well. I can't wait to come back and search through this blog even more!!! Thanks!

Amberly said...

Once again, wonderful thought-provoking post! Hope you are feeling better soon!


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