One of the biggest downsides of homeschooling is taking all the kids everywhere you have to go. Mine are getting old enough and responsible enough that I can leave them for short bursts and they do fine. But today wasn't a day that I could leave them, so I packed up my black 4square backpack with tons of paper and markers, some candy, a few deck of cards, and the iPad and we were off.
After 1.5 hrs of speech appointments and then driving 15 minutes for Bruncle's (as in brother/uncle, 14) appointment with the developmental ped and waiting nearly 25 minutes after our appointment time at which point my children were all overly cranky and whiney and fighting--admittedly I was d.o.n.e by that point too--I panicked when the Dr said, "Just mom and patient back in the room please." I quickly handed my iPhone over to baby girl (7) and reminded the bb bandits (twins 9) and oldest brother (11) to 'just behave' and said, "Please come get me if there is a problem" to the sweet girl behind the desk. I said silent prayers all through our meeting with the dr that the kids wouldn't fight or break anything or drive the desk girl crazy. When all was said and done, 45 minutes later, I asked the girl at the front desk if they were ok. "Ok?" she said, making me a million shades of nervous, "they were the best kids I've ever had in here. The world needs more well behaved children.... actually, the world needs more children who are as well taught as these. They were excellent. Can they all have suckers?"
Score one for mom! And a round of suckers for the kiddos.
But what the girl said has stuck with me all evening, keeping a little smile on my lips. I am not the type to brag about myself or my children, so I don't want this post to come across that way. However, today was a tender mercy, a miraculous validation for me as a mom that what I am doing in my home is paying off and that it's important and has value in society.
As a stay-at-home mom, and a homeschooling one at that, there are two battles I am constantly fighting: the first is with myself--am I doing what's right for my kids, am I do enough, am I an effective teacher, are my kids going to be royally screwed up because I can't seem to go 5 minutes without completely loosing my grip; the second is with society--not everyone thinks mom's are qualified to teach their children, or raise them for that matter, even in the Christian community there is always someone questioning my motives and my qualifications. So again, today was a win on both fronts. I got to see the fruit of my efforts, though in a seemingly small way, as my children diligently controlled themselves and behaved outstandingly well during a time when they could have so easily fallen apart. All those countless hours of dealing out consequences and teaching them self control and good manors actually sunk in!!! And also today, my faith in society was given a little boost. Someone saw me, a simple mother, saw what I was trying to accomplish and appreciated it. There are people out there that do value the role of the parent. That do believe parents should be the ones raising and teaching their children. And I'm not talking about homeschooling, just plain everyday how-to-function-in-the-world teaching. The sweet girl saw the good I am trying to develop and nurture and she appreciated it, she appreciated me and my children.
So, no matter what type of mom you are, take a big deep breath and know that you're doing good, that someday all that you are teaching is going to sink in and shine through and that there are people in this world that see the good you are doing and appreciate you.
*disclaimer: my children have also broken furniture, flooded toilets and throw glass-shattering tantrums in doctors offices over the years, do NOT think that they must just be mild children. Today truly was miraculous. And don't despair that you will never have these little triumphs... good things come to those that work unceasingly for it!
p.p.s. every first she has is one of my lasts and I can physically feel the mommy doors closing behind her. #myhearthurts