Today I listened to the fabulous Julie Bogart. If you know anything about me and my homeschool, you know Julie is a mentor who is full of wisdom about homeschooling and Awesome Adulting. She had many insightful thoughts, but the one that hit me – I mean really caused my heart to pick up the pace – was this one.
Power Differentials — It is rare that the person without power has as much permission to get as angry as the person with power. ~Julie Bogart
We can apply this quote to so many aspects of life. But, I’m a homeschool mom. So, I see it as my children – these tiny people I’m raising – are not allowed to get as angry as me.
What do power differentials have to do with anger?
I live in a house with three kids, three dogs, and a cat. There is always an argument to referee, or some destruction to fix, or a gigantic mess to clean, or a person who is hungry, or someone who can’t find [fill in the blank], or a bad attitude to adjust in this house.
It. Does. Not. End.
And some days I’m at my wit’s end.
Sometimes I can’t referee another fight over who gets the remote.
Some days I can’t pick up another sock, shoe, or pencil off the floor.
Some mornings I can’t stand at the kitchen counter for an hour and a half while someone decides what she may or may not want for breakfast.
Some afternoons I can’t clean up another pee stain from the new puppy.
Some days I just can’t. I can’t “adult.” I can’t parent at my best.
I can’t be the fabulous, loving, understanding, forgiving, got-her-stuff-together mom.
Sometimes I have a mom fail.
It’s in those moments I go to my friends. You know who they are. They’re the other mamas who some days just – can’t – even.
They’re the ones who have refereed their 1000th fight of the day. They’re the ones who have cleaned snot, poop, half-eaten lunches and chocolate off the walls and window sills. They’re the ones who have found half-eaten yogurts in the dresser drawers and snow boots in the toothpaste drawer (you think I’m kidding – I’m not).
They know what I need.
They know I need to feel like a person – a person who isn’t a failure to her children. They are my therapy. As one of them told me just today “Toss a $20 in the therapy jar.” Because we all know we’re doing something that will cause these poor children to need therapy for the rest of their lives.
Role vs. Identity
We sometimes mistake our role for our identity and they’re not the same. ~Julie Bogart
Wow, Julie. You keep getting me.
Yeah, I do mistake my role for my identity. Because it feels like that is who I am.
I’m a babysitter, nurse, housekeeper, cook (let’s not get crazy and say chef) and teacher. The problem with this role vs. identity crisis is that I have only one way to evaluate myself. I look at the cluttered house, the complaining children, the stack of papers on my desk and give myself a big F.
I failed as a mother. I failed my one big, hugely important job. My identity is so wrapped up in that role that now I’m a failure as a person. Because if I can’t take care of all my roles, then I must have failed my family. And you know, what? That’s a bunch of crap.
Life is simply not that simple.
It’s not a snapshot of this moment in time only. It’s all the snapshots put together in a slideshow.
It’s the snapshot of the puppy chasing the kids through the house while they laugh hysterically that comes before the one of the wrecked living room.
It’s the snapshot of the child experimenting with color and textures before the one of the green goo trails on the counter.
It’s the snapshot of me sitting at the table playing a board game with the kids before the one of the piles of papers on my desk.
It’s the snapshot of us snuggling up together for family TV time before the one of the piles of laundry on the floor.
It’s all these snapshots that make a life… that create an identity.
Today I got angry.
I got angry, and I yelled at my kids. I even yelled at the poor dog. It was righteous anger. I had had enough.
I was tired of the bad attitudes and the not cleaning the rooms and the chewing on my basket (the last one was the dog – in case you were beginning to wonder about my kids). But, mostly I was tired because I was working on some things that were stressful and required a lot of my brain power and, honestly, had nothing to do with my kids.
Today didn’t make me proud to be a mom, but it didn’t make me a complete failure. It made me human.
We all fail sometimes. It’s impossible to be perfect in all our roles at all times. The goal is to keep taking the snapshots. Keep trying to be the person you are proud to be. And know that some days you will fail, because really… this Adulting is hard.
What are your struggles? Do you sometimes feel like a failure, too?
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…
Joyfull Mom says
You are an amazing mom! We often measure our success as moms by what we have left undone at the end of the day. I started to realize that I did not give myself credit for all I did do like the 12 diapers I changed, the 100 conflict management classes I taught, the messes I did clean up that were forgotten, the hour it took to make dinner and the 5 minutes it took to eat it up with another hour of dishes to clean up…lol. All the times I didn’t yell when I wanted to. I started a 30-day challenge based on James 1:19 to help me stop and enjoy the snapshots of the good life! http://joyfullinspirations.com/2016/03/02/the-tickle/. I am in my last week and it has been an uphill climb with rough terrain and joyful moments. Read about my journey and know that you are not alone. You wake up each day and do it over and again. You are an awesome mom and you sharing your experience is an encouragement to others. Be blessed!
Thank you! Us moms need to stick together! 😉 Your challenge sounds great. I’ll check it out.
Joyfull Mom says
Yes we do! Parenting and homeschooling are the hardest jobs I’ve ever had to do and the most rewarding! Blessings 🙂
Mother of 3 says
Ugh! It really is!! But at the end of the day I do try look at all that I did manage to accomplish and ignore that which is still left undone.
Absolutely! We should make Got Done lists instead of To Do lists. It would give us a much bigger sense of accomplishment. Though, some days “Survived with everyone mostly alive” would be my accomplishment!
Leslie Wright says
Beautifully said my friend! I needed this today. Thank you.
Thanks, Leslie. It’s been a wild week!
Thank you for sharing this. My favorite part is when you said yelling didn’t make you a failure, it made you human. I actually wrote about hitting my brick wall and yelling at my kids. I wasn’t a proud mom that day. I wish I had your insight to realize I was human. Yes I apologized and this lets the kids know mom messes up too, but human is a nice way of looking at it 🙂
I’m glad it helped you. Honestly, the insight never comes when I need it…only after. I don’t know why we think that we can be human in other aspects of life, but not in parenting. Hugs to you, Momma!
I’m so glad I found your article on the Homeschool Nook. Phew! Parenting is a stretch a lot of the time. I try to enjoy it and forgive myself for not being as cool a parent as I’d like to be, but on those days that I’m down on the flaws, I’ll remember your encouraging words.
I’m so glad! Try not to get down on yourself. We’ll never live up to our Instagram feeds. Some days are picture perfect and some…well…you hide in the closet with chocolate!
We all have these moments. Try to give yourself grace sweet mama! Adulting without kids is hard, adulting with kids is harder, and adulting while homeschooling kids, seems to be an impossible task Which is why we have each other. Thank you for humbly sharing what it REALLY means to be a homeschooling mama. There is a lot of fluff out there and I appreciate your truth!
It’s the most rewarding and most difficult job I’ve ever had…just like parenting. And, you are right. We have to be there to support each other. Thank you!
Let's Homeschool High School says
My goodness, it certainly is way too easy to mistake our roles for our identity and to get down on ourselves because of that. It’s something you’re doing, but that in and of itself it not the entirety of who you are. Such a great reminder. <3
You’re welcome! I need to remind myself of this often.