The Pinterest Perfect Homeschool Mom
I can close my eyes, see her smile, and hear her slightly breathy voice, “Oh! We’ve discovered Simply Charlotte Mason, and my baby girl loves it. Just loves it! How are things going with your boys?”
Was it my imagination, or did I hear a tiny sniff of superiority along with that slight emphasis on the wordyour?
I bit the inside of my jaw trying not to grind my teeth till they cracked. What was I to say to a woman who never, ever let me see her sweat?
While I imagined her children gathered around her gazing in wonder as they clung to every direction and jumped through flaming hoops for her on demand, I spent most of my days trying not to give up.
As bravely as I could, I told her our school days were hard. I didn’t tell her we spent many of them huddled on the floor in puddles of tears.
It’s hard to admit that kind of battle when the one in front of you seems as though she’s never known what it is to flounder, much less fail.
Life moved on and so did we.
I met more and more homeschoolers who were willing to meet me in the trenches of transparency. We cried together, commiserating over our failures and rejoicing over successes.
Before I knew it, I was mentoring newer homeschool moms and encouraging them along the way. Somehow, I never could quite escape her, though. She was always there in the shadows reminding me I’d never catch up.
Isn’t that the way we are? So hard on ourselves, thinking we will never be as good as . . . Wondering if we are breaking our kids and if we should give up because someone else can do it better.
A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a younger homeschool mom thanking me for a resource I shared on our local support group. “You share so many good things. The more I see, the more I want to do, and the more I feel I’ll never do a good job at this homeschooling thing. How do you do it all?”
“Oh, Darling,” I replied, “the answer is so simple: I don’t. I pass on lots of things I’d never do myself knowing different things work for different folks. Don’t think for a minute I’m some overachieving homeschooling super hero.”
I never speak to another homeschool mom without remembering how the Pinterest-perfect-before-Pinterest-existed woman made me feel.
Like deceased Paul Harvey of radio fame, I have a “now you know the rest of the story” moment to share.
After a decade of living in that poor woman’s shadow, I had the heartbreaking experience of watching her life blow up in her face. Her homeschool success was an exercise in smoke and mirrors. None of it had been true.
She had, I suppose, been too afraid or proud to admit frailty, much less failure. That I knew of, she never reached out for help. Her story ended up being the kind that makes traditional schooling families shake their heads and say, “See, I told you so.”
I had worn myself to a frazzle chasing the fantasy of someone else’s perfection.
So, today, when you find yourself scrolling through the wonders of Pinterest and begin to feel overwhelmed because you can’t keep up, remember my story of chasing a woman who never really existed.
It is okay to say we are doing hard work that often feels like a guessing game, because that’s the truth. It’s okay to say, “This is hard, and I want to quit. I cry. They cry. My house is never clean. Why was it I thought this was a good idea in the first place?”
Life is never as easy as Pinterest makes it look. Here’s the good news: Jesus meets you where you are. As amazing as it is, his sovereignty includes and covers our mistakes.
He has a plan for your homeschool that far surpasses anything Pinterest and the perfect homeschool mom down the street dangle in front of you. The only thing you need to chase . . . is him.
November 9, 2014