September 16, 2011

Finding Me

Being a homeschool mom means that I am with my kids, every. single. one. of them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It’s not at all how I envisioned these years.
As my oldest finished up her two years of preschool with a wonderful teacher and loads of fun, I was looking forward to the coming years of peace and quiet in my home.  Doesn’t every SAHM wait for that day?  The day she will send her children to school sporting new clothes, shoes, backpacks and supplies.  It was quickly apparent that I would be one of those moms that can’t wait for summer to be over, or for the kids to be back on track.  I needed my ‘me time’. 
I longed for those days.  I just knew it would be a glorious moment each year as I sent the school aged children off to school.  Then there would come a day when I would be able to send every one of them off.  That is when I would have a life again!  Because as a mom, sometimes it’s hard to find your identity after having kids and investing so much time and energy into these little creatures.  We love them to pieces but we forget who we are in the process.

Maybe you are like me in that, homeschooling was never anywhere on my radar.  My mom had homeschooled my little brother during his 4th grade year {and has ever since} as a result of moving out of state, enrolling him there and finding out that they were not only poorly educating him but also reprimanding him {keeping him inside at recess} for silly things such as slipping his heel out of his shoe or not having papers signed.  My poor mom kept looking through his backpack for papers to sign every night and found nothing.  When she inquired about the papers, she was told that she was supposed to sign his homework.  Who knew?
It also got very frustrating that my brother would do his math homework, get the right answers, showing the work as assigned, but get no credit for it.  Come to find out, they were not giving him credit because although he was getting the right answers, he was demonstrating the work on his paper the way he had been taught here in Utah schools.  Because it was done differently than this particular teacher had taught her students, he was getting no credit.  Same answer, different way of doing the problem. Mom pulled him out to homeschool quicker than I could bat an eye.
I’ll admit, I thought she was insane!  This was an already ‘awkward’ kid, socially.  Pulling him out of school would be the worst thing for him.  People would ask what I thought of my mom’s decision and I would tell them she was setting him up for disaster.  Homeschooled kids were ‘weird’, ‘unsocialized’, and just plain WEIRD!  Did I say that already?
Well, come to find out a few years later, my brother has high functioning autism.  So yeah, he’s a little different.  He doesn’t pick up on social cues.  He was being picked on in school before Mom pulled him out and I thought that was ok because he needed to learn to stand up for himself, right? That was my mentality.  My oldest was 2 at the time and I was never going to do ‘that’ to my child.  I loved her too much.
Looking back, I realize what a fool I was.  It wasn’t until I had her registered at the local public school that something hit me.  This wasn’t right for us.  I needed to explore other options. Homeschooling was one of the options I delved into.  The library became my new best friend as I pored over every homeschooling book I could get my hands on.
I won’t go into too much detail here about how I came to my decision to homeschool.  Just know that once I had the facts straight, there was no looking back.  I had been wrong.  It happens once every five years ;).

At that point, my whole mindset had to change.  I would not be able to wait for the day that all my children marched off to school for me to have some ‘me time’.  These kids were going to be with me all. the. time.  I had to be able to find myself in a world full of kids and kids’ stuff.  And now, add on top of that, homeschooling them.
Well, you know what?  I am quite enjoying myself.  These children of mine are actually quite hilarious and fun to be around.  At first, it was quite the struggle to find me among all the new stuff I had just added to my plate.  To be honest, it’s taken me a few years to figure it all out.  This is the first year that I really feel like we’ve pulled it all together {as much as possible for our family dynamics} and started off so smoothly.  But I think I’ve finally found myself.

I found me in the form of WIFE, MOM, STUDENT, and TEACHER!  I am no longer the Brooke of 10 or 12 years ago before having kids.  I am no longer the teenager I once was, looking for a fun place to hang out on the weekends with my friends.  I am not the Shopko employee, the wannabe Prom Queen, or the girl with the Slug Bug {VW Beetle} that, despite it being a major rattletrap, everyone loved to ride in.

All of those describe the Brooke that I thought I would find again when my kids were old enough to go to school.  That’s the life I so longed for and yet, as I look back, I don’t want to be that ‘me’ again.  It was fun, and I’m glad that who I was has helped transform me into who I am.  I’m a different person now.  I’ve grown.  My education and the education of my children are what is most important to me now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Being involved in my kids’ lives, aiding them in their education and being an example for them as I gain my own… THAT is who I am today! 

Brooke is busy raising five terrific kids and a husband.  She can often be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes or trying to become a Domestic Diva and getting her craft on.  Although her ‘craft’ isn’t always so crafty.  You can find her latest babblings, family happenings, recipes and crafting attempts on her blog…….. Babblin’ Brooke.

8 comments - Add a comment below -:

Sherral said...

Thanks for this post!

shauna said...

Amen Brooke! You said it so well...homeschooling is an amazing journey for the mom as well. I know that I have discovered so much about myself that I wouldn't learn any other way.

Christina said...

How often these post make me take a good look at myself. Thanks for sharing. I needed that. I'm continually trying to find myself. ;). Great post!!!

Melanie said...

Thank you for this post! I relate so much to this. I'm still trying to really discover and accept my new me the same way you've found it. But I'm getting to that point... (hopefully, lol).

Anaise said...

I, too, feel that I have found myself through motherhood. I know there could be other versions of me, but this me, the me that loves and serves and teaches and learns all day every day is definitely a more Christlike me than the one I would have found if I had lots of free time.

I think that the scriptures are true-when we lose ourselves in Christ, we find ourselves!

Andrea said...

Great post! I never, in a million years, thought I would homeschool. But here I am, and it has taught me a lot about myself. Thanks!

Sallyseashell said...

Thanks for the Inspiring post, Brooke. I feel like I am going thru this right now, as I've just reached the landmark of officially homeschooling a kindergartener. Some days it's really hard to stay focused on my kids, but I am finding joy in who they are, and my divine purpose as their mom, teacher, and friend.

Karina said...

This is my story too. My son, who I butted heads with and couldn't wait to send off to someone else to deal with, stayed with me and I with him. He's the best! And today, 7 homeschooling years later, our relationship is stronger than ever.