Recently, while sitting on the grass at a local park, waiting for my boys to finish their PE co-op, I struck up a conversation with another mom. We engaged in small talk for a bit and proudly pointed out which kids were ours. When she saw my tall, lanky brood, she immediately asked me how long I had been homeschooling. I told her seven years and she asked, “What is one piece of advice you can give me?” I sat back and thought for a moment. Just one piece of advice?? How do I narrow it down?! My mind was swimming with possible “correct” answers. She was clearly waiting for my response, so I hurriedly babbled something about co-ops and friends and that was the end of it. Two months later however, I was still thinking about her question. I just couldn’t let it go. I began to think what I would have needed to hear had it been me in that moment. Would it have been a rambling about co-ops that I longed to hear? Would those words have calmed my worried heart? No. It was so much deeper.
We all know that one person. You know the one. We all have one in our lives. Perhaps she is a dear friend or a beloved family member. She is the one who always seems to have it all together. Her life looks like a page right off of her beautiful Pinterest board. She always knows the right thing to say, has answers to just about every question, and she always does the best projects with her kids. Her homeschool room and/or life is neatly organized and she always has a plethora of supplies and books. Not to mention, she’s probably a beautiful person inside and out. You look at her and you think, “I could never do that!” Or maybe “Why didn’t I think of that?” Perhaps it is, “Her child is so bright, and mine is struggling. I feel like a failure!” My friend, I am here to tell you that you are NOT a failure!! Do not let these thoughts of comparison take hold of you!
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
You were created by the Most High God! You are wonderfully made! Every thing about you! You were not designed to look and act like every one else. You are unique, my friend. You have different strengths, weaknesses, skills, and talents than anyone else. You are you. And you are amazing! It is so easy to sit behind device screens, scrolling through social media, reading all of the fabulous posts of others and feel like you are not enough. Like you’re not doing enough. STOP! You are wonderful the way you are. Look back at the verse above. You were knit together by God. The same hands that created the universe created YOU! There is only one you. You were designed for a specific purpose that is just for you! You may not feel like you have it all together, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. No one does! Your homeschool day may not look like your friend’s homeschool day, and thats ok. No one’s day is exactly the same. How do I know that? Because each child is different. They each have different learning styles, different difficulties, different strengths, and different interests. Sure, little Suzy may be only 7 and reading at a college level. But what you don’t see is that she can’t add 2 +2. People only post what they want others to see. Its a facade. Its not the true nitty gritty of every day life. Because the truth is everyone has their struggles. Adults and kids alike. Everyone has their insecurities. And here is the icing on the cake : NO ONE IS PERFECT!
So what would my one piece of advice be? Focus on your children, your family, and your day. Enjoy your time together. The days of childhood pass too quickly to waste time comparing ourselves to others. Do NOT believe the lies that you are not good enough! Remember Psalm 139 : 13-14. Memorize it. Hide it in your heart. And in those times of struggle, say it aloud to yourself. You are a wonderful creation of God! You are so loved! And you are enough!