Hey Moms! You’ve got this…

I became a mother nine and a half years ago.

For the most part, transitioning into motherhood was a very natural thing to me. I wasn’t overly cautious or concerned about germs and allowing others to hold my baby didn’t send me into fits of anxiety. I had no problem letting my infant cry it out when he needed to sleep and I never felt guilty leaving him with a babysitter or grandparent so I could sneak away for a date with my husband.

But there was an area where I felt almost completely inept as a mother, and that was in taking care of my child alone if Lee had to travel. Thankfully he did not travel often, but when he did, I almost always asked one of the grandmothers to come stay with me because I did not think I could handle solo parenting, even for a weekend.

I had no idea, friends, how easy it was back then. No idea! My child slept for twelve hours, napped twice a day and could not argue with me. What the heck was I afraid of?!

Last October, Lee began a new job. Yes…another new job. We like to keep things exciting around here. When he began this new venture, I knew he would have to travel more and the old me – the one who thinks she is incapable of flying this ship solo – had a slight panic attack.

But you know what? I’ve got this. I have got it.

Moving from St. Louis to Florida a year and a half ago was one of the hardest things we have ever done, but as we exit the fire and fog of the year, I see so many good things that have come out of it.

Our marriage is stronger.

Our family is stronger.

We are no longer afraid of risk.

We no longer feel confined by the trappings of comfort.

We have seen and experienced God in a whole new way.

And for me, personally, I realized I’m a heckuva lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.

We moved to Florida and in the midst of an emotional crisis, I somehow managed to band my little family together. Homeschooling the kids for that first year here, while by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, allowed me to fall in love with being with them. It gave me the opportunity to flex my mommy wings and see that flying this ship isn’t so bad after all.

And while I know that putting our children back in school was the right decision, there is a big (HUGE) part of me that really, really misses homeschooling. I miss being with them every day. Yes, I like the time I have to myself, but when I put my kids back on the bus this morning, I had to swallow hard over the lump in my throat.

They make me happy

Lee’s been at his new job for three months now and I have never seen my husband so happy in work. In all the years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen his eyes light up the way they do with this job. He loves what he is doing and I love how happy he is.


The travel is intense – for right now, anyway. For the next three months, Lee will likely be traveling three-five days every week. Is this ideal? No, not in the slightest, but this type of intense traveling will be temporary and so, once again, I am digging in my heels, clenching my teeth and pep talking my way through the days.

Nine years ago I couldn’t have done this – I couldn’t have handled him being gone this much.

Five years ago I couldn’t have handled this.

Three years ago I couldn’t have handled this…not emotionally. I would have been a basket case…and I probably would have gained a rather unhealthy dependancy on Nutella to get me through my days.

But God has walked us through the fire and prepared us, prepared me, for such a time as this. Do I like flying solo this often? No. Does Lee like traveling this much? No.

But I’m stronger than I give myself credit, we are happy and thriving and we are going to be just fine.

And…I have a massive jar of Nutella if the days get to be a little too overwhelming. (Yes, my dad got us another twelve pound jug of Nutella for Christmas…because he loves me.)

So Mama’s, if you’re feeling weary and tired and alone, don’t forget – you’ve got this. You can do it. You’re stronger than you think. And a spoonful of Nutella always makes things a little better.

*wink, wink*

Homeschool 101: The Update

As we head into our second semester of homeschooling, I thought it might be fun to give a little update on how things are going so far. Fun for me, anyway. This has the potential to be wildly boring for you.

I’m kidding!

Please keep reading…

So after four months of homeschooling, we’ve got a few things solidly under our belts. Those things are, in no particular order:

– The kids can all read Latin fluently.

– I churn butter every night before bed.

– Tia knits daily. Yesterday she made me a sweater.

– Landon is reading Socrates.

– Sloan split an atom just before Christmas.

– We survived.


Okay, so maybe only one of the above statements is true. Although Sloan did receive a microscope for Christmas and I’m quite certain he’s on the path to atom splitting. Or, you know, he may just continue to look at boogers under the contraption. Hard to say at this point.

There are many, many aspects of the homeschooling journey that I have really loved, the largest one being freedom. I really, really love the freedom we have to follow our own schedule. I love that we are still on break this week simply because we can be. I love that I can stop lessons for the day at 1:00 in the afternoon and we can just read books the rest of the day. I love that I don’t have to have them all up, dressed and ready to go for the school bus that comes rolling through here at 7:15.

Lawdy that’s early…

On the other side of that coin, the freedom sometimes freaks me out. For example, many times we are through with all our lessons by 1:00-1:30 and I find myself twiddling my thumbs and worrying that maybe I missed something. That leads to a whole train of thought that eventually has me picturing Sloan sorting trash at a local dump someday because he couldn’t get into college because I failed him in the second grade.

It’s a vicious train of thought.

I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not likely going to destroy their education. We are learning every day and we’re doing it at a pace that works for them, so that has to be a good thing, right? Not knowing the standards for what they should be learning is what has given me greatest cause for stress, though. Am I doing too much? Am I doing too little? Sometimes it overwhelms me.

Then my four year old labels all fifty States on a map and names more than half of their capitals and I think, We’re doing just fine.

Or Sloan walks by and, just for fun, speaks to me in alliteration. Then there was the time he reenacted the entire sinking of the Titanic at the lunch table with two apple slices and a piece of bread. He is such a kid after my own heart.

Tia is still not reading fluently, but she gets a little better every day. As I mentioned earlier, though, she’s a bit of a whiz with the evil numbers and is well on her way to needing first grade math curriculum.

The hardest part of homeschooling, for me, has been the lack of alone time. There are so many things that I want to do and not having the children home all day would make accomplishing those things a frillion times easier. There are some days when I daydream about packing it all in and marching them to the local school so I can have two minutes of peace and quiet to think.

But in the end, I still know this is right for us and that it will be worth it. I will not regret this time I have them home. The kids may regret it but I will not.

The jury’s out on whether or not we continue homeschooling. At this point I would like to do it for a couple more years, maybe, but I don’t see this as a long term thing. I don’t know why that is, it’s just a feeling I get. We have joined a homeschool co-op for this semester, which I am excited about so I won’t be going it alone anymore.

I’ve felt like Ma Ingalls quarantined on the prairie these last few months as I’ve journeyed down this path all by myself. And yes, Little House on the Prairie analogies are totally apropos if you’re a homeschooler.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear my little budding scientist in the kitchen now turning on the stove and cracking eggs. Um…yikes.