We had a plan when we first got married. My husband and I, a perfectly constructed well thought out-this life will be smooth and easy plan. College and career first, then add in some kids near the end of all that. You know, trying to make sure we were “established” before we had little people to support. Is this a millennial thing? Because I feel like my parent’s generation just jumped into parenting without even looking. Maybe this is why we made a plan?
The plan seemed so perfect, college, career, house, kids.
Then at the end of yet another college program I decided that I couldn’t possibly wait anymore (you know that ticking tock) and so we decided to tweak the plan. We had our first child and then I nearly died due to pre-eclampsia and complications after birth. Our plan was shaken a little. I didn’t finish my Masters degree but continued my career as a Registered Nurse.
Then life went on and our little baby grew into a toddler. It just seemed like time to add a sibling so along came number two. At the same time my oldest had some underlying medical needs (due to pre-eclampsia in utero) that exacerbated from a teeny tiny snowball to an abominable snow man. Then it seemed like our perfect plan just fell apart. It no longer was a choice for me to work and I had to stay home for my family-for her. I immersed myself into every book, every evidenced based article, every continuing nurse credit that I could take. I listened to other mother’s who had gone before me. My days became filled with doctor appointments and various types of physical and occupational therapy sessions.
When Your Child Suffers…
Even though I had already personally experienced my own near death, watching your child suffer is still one of the absolutely hardest things in your life. If you’ve ever watched your own child while they were in pain you know exactly what I am talking about. There were times that the emotional pain of watching such things was too much and all I could do is ugly cry in my bathroom. It was never anything I wanted anyone to see. Yet, I had to be strong.
I once read a Harvard study that said parents of children with different needs had the similar stress to soldiers in combat.
Based on my personal experiences I would agree whole heartedly. I love my children with all that I have and believe they are a gift from God. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that the different parenting and daily therapies done by me, was exhausting.
Now our plan was more like a broken down Oldsmobile rattling down the road and on its last leg. There was no chance I was finishing my masters. Our plan was for my husband to go on and get a better paying job so that I could continue to stay home and raise up the next generation. Yet, the program he was accepted into was 60% more than full time school/residency and he couldn’t work. That is ok, we are good at changing plans at this point.
Will save as much as we can, move closer to my mother, and I’ll do my best to work when he is home. If not, my mother can stay with my kids. She was the one of the few I trusted at this point. The new plan sounded great, it would work. I liked the new plan.
Homeschooling When You Should Give UP
Except planning doesn’t seem to work for us. Whenever we try to plan, God or the devil comes over and says, “Nope, this isn’t the plan.”
SMASH. SMASH. SMASH.
Right before my husband started this next program, mom unexpectedly and suddenly died.
Now the plan was a heaping pile of burnt up rubbish and I was (rightfully) an emotional wreck at best.
My husband put his head down and drudged forward. I tried to do the same, it just wasn’t as easy as it once was for me. Our plan, while I don’t even know why we bother at this point, was to live off of savings, cost of living student loans, and I would start a blog for any of the extras.
BAHAHA. SMASH. SMASH. SMASH.
Half-way through this program the university stopped issuing cost of living student loans. You know, on account of the student loan debt crisis everyone is complaining about. Never mind the impact it would have on actual families that are living on it while their sole bread earner is in a program that literally makes it impossible to work.
Now things got really hard. I mean really hard.
I felt like giving up so many times because these hardships were more than just a bad homeschool day. These were terrible and significant life changing events that happened in a short period of time- each one being traumatic.
I should just give up right?
I’ve heard this too that giving my children over to the school system and using it as a babysitter would be one less problem.
Wrong. My children are not a problem.
There is a purpose to all of this, our lives are not our own, it is the single most important living test until the day we meet God.
I’ve learned so much.
I learned how to be a different kind of mother than I ever expected to be. I’ve learned never to judge what you do not understand. To always love first and to be deeply empathetic. To approach most things soft and gentle.
In fact, when all of the therapy options were exhausted and little progress was made. That is when God led us into the forest. Where I began to understand and learn of the healing properties that God provides by just simply being in nature.
Through his creation he strengthened her body.
He soothed her soul.
He gave her comfort.
He gave us peace.
So she could learn to love…
Through his creation God Gave us joy.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to go play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the body and soul.” -John Muir
It wasn’t easy, every day was hard but it has been so worth it.
As far as the finances?
I’ve heard it before. “No one can live off of one income these days” or “No one is as privileged as you.”
How about little income or at least not enough to actually live off of?
I think every persons situation is unique but know that in 1970 the average size of a home was 1,400 square feet and in 2009 it was 2,700 square feet. There is a good chance if you’re the average person you can live on a lot less. In fact, if push comes to shove I have no problem with downsizing and using the equity in our home to pay for an apartment until my husband graduates.
We don’t actually need as much as we think we do. Most of us have more than we need and it is more about having what we want. However, we are not there yet, my husband isn’t a fan of that solution.
I can however sell my traverse and run with my littles in the jogger. I’ve been a long distance runner for 6.5 years and typically do this anyway just because it is practical. I’ve thought this out so many times. The grocery store is less than a mile, we have several parks within walking distance, and the library is only a 4 mile round trip. I see no issue in doing this out of necessity. Many families used to only have one car.
I could never give this up.
No one knows my children like I do. No one would, nurture, love, care, mother them like me. A school system isn’t a mother and no one could teach them like me. I would have to die before I gave the single most important job I have ever been given over to any one else. We have one chance at this and we should never give that over to someone else. God gave this to us. That is part of the point, in this whole story. That homeschooling is holistic and encompasses the whole child, body, mind, heart, spirit. The academics is just an extension of our parenting- It literally would be wrong for me to give that up.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
I’ve learned so much through all of these life lessons and I am honestly thankful for the hardships we have been given. It has taught me to stop making plans and instead allow God to lead.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Through each battle we have made it through I am growing stronger-we are growing stronger. The devil may have broken me down but God is molding me into something new. Something fierce, but gentle, strong yet loving, discerning and steady he is making me new in him.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”Romans 5:3-4
I think he has me just where he wants me, raising up his children to know him. To share my story with others. To spread an inspirational message and encourage you, if I can do this…. you can do it too.
Are you homeschooling when you should give up?
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12