Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm not perfect! Don't ooh and awe over me!!

I'm sure many other homeschool Moms have run into the same thing: the oohs and awes.   "You must be so patient!"  "You must be so organized!"  "How do you do it?"  "I know I could never do it."   (Yes, I purposely misspelled ahhh.)

I am always so uncomfortable when faced with this, because in truth I am not very patient and I am not very organized. I once was a very organized person, but then God gave me a husband and children who seem to defy all my attempts to organize them and make keeping an organized house rather difficult, too.  And now I am only semi-organized.  Especially in comparison to some homeschool Moms out there.  But our family seems to flow better with a more relaxed approach.  For one thing, it keeps Mom from losing her temper if she doesn't set out expecting super-organization.  And Dad seems to prefer a more relaxed approach, as well.

I told you I'm not very patient.  I had a big problem with my temper growing up ... although my family were the only ones to really see that.  I thought that I'd overcome that problem with my new maturity as a young adult.  Then I had children and it became quite apparent that I just hadn't had the right stressors to bring it to the surface.  God is continually working on me.  And I fail all too often. 

When I was pregnant with our fifth child, I had to attend a holiday party with my husband and his coworkers.  Well, the oohs and awes began.  And when someone said I must be so organized I laughed right in her face.  Looking back, I realize that was very rude, but it really struck me as funny.  I was probably in the middle of one of my "organizational crises" where I felt I probably should get our family on a schedule like those "good homeschool Moms" and feeling like a failure that I hadn't.  But I laughed and told her that I wasn't really that organized and Steve could tell them that.  Later Steve disagreed with me.  He feels I am organized.  I suppose to some extent, I still am.  Especially when I apply myself.  But when I look at our home, our children, and our homeschool we don't seem that organized to me. 

I've failed at applying MOTH (Managers of Their Homes) to my family several times.  In fact, I bought the book and sold it a few years later.  Then I bought it again this Spring.  I suggested selling it the other day to my husband and he laughed at me.  He said no because I'd only end up buying it again in another year or two.  He's probably right. 

I've failed at the Fly Lady several times, too.  And now I read at the Large Family Logistics website and blog ... I'm on her email list ... and I still haven't applied it. 

Our charts have all disappeared, since they sit ignored most of the time.  That includes the chore chart, the school schedule, the check-off sheets ... everything!  I even took down our discipline chart because alot of the time we would choose a discipline that wasn't on the chart.

My husband would say we have our own rhythm, and our own routines that are working just fine.  But they are very flexible routines.  For instance, in the past week, our children have been in bed as early as 9:30 and as late as 11 pm.  We weren't out any of those nights, either. 

My husband cringes when he sees me working on a schedule.  I still haven't decided if it's because he dislikes schedules controlling his time, if he dislikes the effect they have on me, or if he's cringing because he suspects this schedule is also going to be tossed out in a week or two.  We've been married nearly 12 years.  We've been homeschooling for 6 years ... and I still don't know exactly why he cringes.  But he does.

So you see ... I so often feel inadequate and as if I don't measure up to many of the superMoms out there homeschooling large families and writing books/articles about how they do it ... that I hate when people place me on a pedestal for having a larger family and homeschooling.  I know my faults.  I know my children's faults.  And I know we aren't "ooh and awe" worthy. 

How do I do it?  One day at a time, by the grace of God.  Sometimes flying by the seat of my pants, and sometimes with a little more careful planning.  Mostly by the seat of our pants, I think.  I only make lists and plans when faced with a very busy week or a big project.  Usually we just get up and do the next thing until we either run out of things to do or run out of time.  But our "do the next thing" has alot of distractions involved. 

Carol Barnier is a homeschool Mom/speaker/writer who has written two books I love.  How to Get your Child Off the Refrigerator and Onto Learning  about teaching active and distractible children ... and also If I'm Diapering a Watermelon, then Where Did I Leave the Baby? about how a homeschool Mom can overcome her own distractability.  I'll add her websites to my links.  I love what she has to say ... she makes me feel normal. 

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you of a phrase of hers ... "gloriously unregimented".  Our home is "gloriously unregimented" and "creative".  That's a much more positive way to look at it than disorganized and chaotic.  (I should add that our home is cluttered but not dirty, so please don't misunderstand what I'm saying here.)

Hmm ... I'm rambling.  But I did want to make a point.  I'm not perfect!  I'm not really that special, either.   Please don't "ooh and awe" over me.  It embarrasses me.  And I might laugh in your face.  I'm just doing what God has called us to do, and relying on Him to lead and equip me one day at a time.  I fail often in many different ways, and I'm always searching for the key to success.  I wish I'd just remember that the key is God ... not any schedules or plans I could create ... but relying on Him each day and seeking His guidance. 


  1. OOooo!! ahhhh (sigh of relief)...WOw! there are more out there like me! I was so blessed by your post! I am a mom of 3 under 3 with one due in Sept. I am the most disorganized person in this town! My hubby would tell you he has lost hope and faith in me. I , too, have attempted the flylady thing. I have several of Sandra Felton's books. (I think that is her first name!). People look at me with 3 under 3 and say, "how do you do it?" . I guess I dont' . organize, i mean. I believe there is still hope. God is working on me ; we all work better with order and organization. We all have better attitudes. I think things can really only get better from here. So, I ooo-ed and ahhhh-ed you...(not awed) thank you for your honesty and humility. it is an oooo and ah of excitement that there are mothers out there with even bigger families than me that are disorganized (or feel they are )

    Heather :)

  2. Heather, it will get easier from here on out!! I can't imagine having 4 under age 4. Mine don't come that close together. But I do remember when I was doing home daycare and had 5 children under age 5 -- five days a week. And a 6th child under age 5 a few afternoons a week. It was very stressful and hard. My own children were 2yo and 6 months old when I started, and then they were 4.5 yo, 3yo, and 11 months old when I quit. It was hard!!! I won't deny that. It gets much better as your children get old enough to become helpers. Hang in there!! And lean on God!!

  3. I once placed another homeschooling mom on a pedestal. She had nine children at home, they were all extremely well behaved and she seemed to have it all together. Her house ran like a well oiled machine. She was everything that I wanted to be. Then one day, she said that her daily prayer is "Oh Lord, PLEASE dont let me kill one of them today". At that point I realized that I could be everything that she is... I could be NORMAL.


  4. Oh, I loved this post! It is so me! I too feel very uncomfortable with all the "oohs" and "aahhs" and comments on patience and organization. I always give God the glory because it is ONLY because of Him that I am where I am, which is hopefully not on a pedastal!



  5. I just checked on the books you mentioned in your post and found out that the author is going to be at our hs convention in June!! Yeah!


  6. Go to hear her speak!! I laughed and cried through her workshops. Finally I knew there was a reason my children just fall off their chairs for no reason in the middle of supper ... and I knew I wasn't alone in it!!! LOL!! And it was a very trying time for me at that time dealing with one of my daughters and I so needed to hear her talk about finding the gift in your "challenging" children. She is one of my all-time favorite conference speakers!!


  7. Thanks! I have to do some soul searching..i hate that. LOL

  8. I found you by way of random blog, and loved this post. In fact I am making one of your links my link:

    This one.

    Looks great!



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