Do I Regret Quitting My Job to Homeschool?

Yesterday I went for my first “getting-up-in-years” mammogram.  (Everything was normal.)  But at the front desk, the checker-inner asked me, “Are you still a [slight, almost imperceptible pause] stay-at-home housewife?”

I could see she struggled a little bit knowing how to politely ask that question in such a way that it sounded, I don’t know, you know, nice and non-judgmental.  I wonder if the term selection is very, very mildly reminiscent of choosing the appropriate word for “black” colored-skin.  We want to choose a word that isn’t “loaded.”

I smiled graciously and said, “Yes.  That doesn’t entirely describe it, but I am.”

About four years ago I was asked that same question while checking in for a doctor’s appointment, and I squirmed and writhed so badly inside I thought my Medusa snakes would crawl out the top of my head.  (No.  I am NOT a stay-at-home housewife, I am a DOCTOR.  You know.  Just like the person I’m about to see…)  Yesterday, I didn’t even notice any Medusa snakes.  Nice, baby.  You’re doing great!

I do not regret quitting my job to homeschool.  I’m typing fast today, so I’m just going to list some thoughts in no particular order.  I’m letting the editor (that’s me) have the morning off.

I like my kids.  I honestly like who they are.  I like challenging them to grow as people in their world.  I like challenging them to express themselves and their gifts.  I love hearing their thoughts, and as they get older, it is even more and more fun.  They’ve learned things I don’t know and get to tell me about them.  They’ve grown into their sense of humor and make me laugh; each one has a different kind.

I love sharing.  I have lots of things I want my kids to learn before they leave my house.  How to cook.  How to fold towels.  Who Lucy Ricardo is.  Who Jean Valjean is.  What their mom thinks about marriage and friendship.  I have so many things I want them to know.  So many things in my head and heart I want to share with them.  This is my chance.  MY chance.

I love to learn.  Although with the toddler (18 months), I’m not learning alongside them as much as before, I still enjoy catching some Spanish, Latin, poetry, history and grammar skills.

This is it.  They aren’t growing smaller.  They’re growing older.  I want them to have the peace and security of our home and love.

But what about me?  This IS a hard part.  I am NOT my children.  My children WILL leave, and when they do, I do not want a shell of me.  I want ME.  So, right now, it IS hard to cultivate me.  I do feel selfish for carving out time to read and write.  (That’s what I like to do so much.)  I do feel like a babysitter a lot of times right now, chasing the toddler around and cleaning up the kitchen floor about six times a day.  THAT is hard.  (I’ve never liked babysitting.  Believe it or not, I’m not a kid-person.  I just like people.  To me, kids are people.)  I am giving up a lot of myself to do this, but I cannot even explain to you how I am growing.  When I recognize these feelings and emotions, I don’t sit on them and stew.  That would be so bad for me, my husband, and my kids.  Oh, no!  I go read what I can.   Find others who have been in this situation and what their perspective is.  Library books, Googling the topic, reading blogs, finding books on Amazon, and talking with other moms gives me so much insight to myself.  I never miss an opportunity to use uncomfortable emotions to GROW myself.

My husband rocks my world.  The house is my office.  My husband gets that, and he totally respects how I run our house and homeschool.  (Don’t think he ALWAYS thinks I do things right.  We have plenty of discussion on differing viewpoints.  I don’t always win.  We compromise together.)  He loves me and adores me, and I can feel that.  He is 100% part of this mission, and he makes that very clear to the girls and me.  We’ve learned to speak each other’s love language and we both make our marriage one of the “toppest” priorities ever.  With his love, support, and respect, I feel valued and legitimate.  I have to admit, without this exceptionally stable, supportive relationship, I think I would have trouble homeschooling.  (I also must mention, it was VERY difficult to transition to my husband supporting us 100% financially.  There were a lot of “what-ifs” in my mind, and being completely “dependent” on one person disturbed me greatly.  Even now, I make sure that if something should happen ever, I am ready to get back in the ball-game.)  I think working on a marriage is maybe THE most important gift parents can give children.  I’m still mulling that idea.

I’ve found an expressive outlet to pursue that I really, truly enjoy.  Discovering my joy in reading scientific literature, summarizing it, and my joy in just writing in general has given me an identity and outlet outside of my kids and husband.  The challenge, however, once I identified that, was/is finding time to do it and letting my guilt about it go.  That’s still a work in progress.

Learning to tread water.  Sometimes, especially when the environment becomes out of my control, I get in a hurry.  I want to rush on.  I want to do SOMETHING–but I simply can’t.  These are treading water times.  A friend presented me with this image of treading water.  She describes it as an important waiting time.  A time where the Powers That Be are tying up loose ends in other people’s lives so you can do what you’re supposed to do in yours.  So you just have to sit tight in this boring time–this time where you wonder what’s supposed to happen next.  Just tread water till it’s time to swim.  I’ve found when it comes time to swim and stop treading, I know it!

Finding ways to produce order.  Do you get a sense that I’m very much an orderly, controlling person?  Yes, I am.  A tidy house is important to me.  A well-run homeschool is important to me.  There are times when this all eludes my household, but I try to work with my kids, myself, and my hubby to find a rhythm and system we can honestly use to provide this needed security.  Sometimes we have to try several techniques before we land on one that works.  And then, a year later, that may not work anymore and we have to regroup.

I like who I am.  I like who you are.  I’ve become much more accepting of who I am.    I’ve become much more aware of my own insecurities and the insecurities in other people.  I’ve become aware of when I’m doing things for me versus doing them for some kind of show I think I’m in.  I don’t have anything to prove.  I’m simply here to learn to love, share, enjoy, and give, while also learning to preserve my own inner strength and core and draw it closer to God.

I will close now.  Mostly, we love homeschooling.  However, staying home all day, every day with the kids can grow tiresome; one sometimes starts “looking outside” the situation for what they’re missing.  Society’s disrespect for child-raisers and children can weigh heavy on a homeschooling parent’s heart, especially one who “fell” from a place of power and control and respect in the workplace.  Explore your heart.  Take on your deep thoughts, beliefs, and opinions.  Find out where you really stand, then move forward in peace.

Have an absolutely wonderful Thursday.

Terri

22 thoughts on “Do I Regret Quitting My Job to Homeschool?

  1. Jenni

    Have you got any researches how staying-at-home parents are childrens home care affect their development? Here in Finland there is an investigator from State Economy Researches Centre who claims that staying-at-home mums harm, not only their own economical situation, but also the whole economy in Finland and also cause short them harm in their childrens development which will be corrected when children attend pre-school. He thinks about the children under 3-years-old and says the goverment should stop supporting home care and children should attend the daycare as young as possible. He doesn`t see any benefits of childrens home care and denies that there would be any relevant studies of it`s benefits. I`m writing a post to show that he is wrong and if you have any researsches about homeschooling or home care for children under 6 years, it would be great to read them! I already have some, but the more the better 🙂

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I don’t have any research. And, HA!, yes, I’m sure that stay-at-home moms DO negatively impact the economy! Ha!

      This guy sounds like quite a guy. Quite an agenda.

      Here’s one: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11812

      I found others that looked at types of pre-schools and outcomes. I only quickly looked, though, Jenni. Sounds like a tough battle there in Finland for parents who want to buck the system. Why must everything become so big and so sterile?

      Reply
  2. myjourneythrume

    Ah the what do you do label. This has been an issue for me for a while. I like your idea about treading water. That is very helpful, I’m going to try and embody that, think it could do a lot for my contentment and calmness but overall I do like who I am now (even tho it’s not who/what I thought I would be) and I like who you are too 😊

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Do…do…doo. Doo…doo…doo-wop, doo-wop. What do you doo-wop, doo-wop? (Let’s always think of it as the “Doo-wop” question, then we’ll always smile strangely, and then they’ll never know how to take us. 🙂 Ha!) I sure do like you! My job was good, but I like life better now. My husband and kids like me better too. I’m much nicer. 🙂

      Reply
  3. EmilyMaine

    I love that trading water analogy. So true! And the thing is, being able to tread water is sometimes the safest route even if you are tempted to swim so it is worth doing as you need to be able to do it well when needed. Really interesting post as the transition for you must have been huge. I bet part of you is looking forward to the end of the toddler stage where your house stays cleaner for longer! Lol

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      “And the thing is, being able to tread water is sometimes the safest route even if you are tempted to swim…”
      GOOD POINT!!! GOOD POINT!!!

      Oh, man, Miss Em– My toddler has been fussing all week and clinging to my left hip like I’ve lived in Timbuktu or something! Someone suggested when I can’t pick her up and she’s screaming (like at the stove) to “send her love…” Oh, man. Hokie. But, seriously, when I do that I can’t feel love and frustration at the same time—so it works!!! Laugh out loud! Remember that one for your arsenal! Love thoughts block frustration! 🙂

      Be beautifully pregnant! 🙂

      Reply
      1. EmilyMaine

        hahaha I have to admit I did laugh out loud reading that but good to know that trick works!!! Hopefully you will remember to remind me when I am pulling my hair out at the roots! ha!

  4. Simple Days Making for Exciting Adventures

    Are you responding to my post? LOL! Yep, I love who I am as a person now. As you know, I am just trying to figure out how to also appease my extroverted self! And yep, I am in a beautiful clear ocean treading water. I may be treading for the next 9 years, but I will make sure that the view is nice while I am stuck in one place.
    Last night I went to a class on College Credits as you Homeschool. We spoke about college and degrees and the many different path options for higher level learning. Of course as at all of these classes, we are all on a level playing field. No one knows your background and it is nice. That is-until the question is asked, “Well, did you go to college and what did you go for?” I always seem to get the big-eyed, oh-response after I tell my past. Makes me laugh now because it seems like another world ago. Neither my husband nor I “use” our college degrees. Neither of us would change a thing though. We are right where we are supposed to be and we wouldn’t be here if the path had been different. (ok-I totally went off on a tangent. Maybe I need to go shower and start this day).

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      NO! LOL! (Someone else mentioned they were struggling with career/homeschooling and were at a fork in the road, and it came from that. 🙂 )

      Amen on the “tangent.” I mean, isn’t life tangential!? 🙂 I am every smile, person, and frown I ever meet. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Elisa | blissful E

    Here in Australia my current status is called “home duties.” Sometimes the form-filler will ask “no, no, what did you do before that?” My response then is “project management” which seems a lifetime (in fact, only a decade) ago, but I think it also might be a better description of my day-to-day than “home duties.”

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Holy smokes! I love “project management!” I might steal that one! LOL! Human resources would be good too!–And that’s interesting that it’s called something “different” in each English-speaking country! I love that! Here, it is “stay-at-home mom,” “housewife,” “homemaker” and maybe a couple of others I’m blanking on! I hope you have a good week! Can’t believe it’s Monday already! Whew!

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Loved this post – try “treading water” in the Washington DC area where most have multiple degrees and think they have the key to unlock the problems of the world! You could see their eyes glaze over when you answer the doo-wop question “stay at home mom”. Took me a long time to feel comfortable and confident in my new skin, but well worth the effort! It’s been a time that’s been good for my soul as I learned to “Be still and know that I am God” despite being surrounded by folks that thought they were God or his right hand assistant! And it’s given me time to read great blogs by people I like 😘 … My new GP just asked if I had a medical background – I don’t but thanks for helping me ask intelligent questions!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Ahaha! I’m sure when you get so many brilliant people together in Washington, DC it’s tough to shine! Agh. Throw me the life preserver; I can’t tread anymore…

      But seriously, as you say, the effort is well worth it! To be okay, “Just as I am (without one plea…).” [Old song] To find harmony in my own home, in my own spirit, with what I am giving.

      I’m glad you feel like you had a better understanding of something medical! Yay!!!! My pleasure to help–anytime!

      Happy Monday!

      Terri

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s