You’ve met her. Maybe you’ve been her. Maybe you are her.
Some homeschool moms might scare you. Some homeschool moms scare their children. But I think we’ve all experienced another kind of scary homeschool mom: the one who scares herself.
Are you scary? Who do you scare?
Is it always wrong to be scary? If our fears are pointing us toward our weaknesses, and we then reinforce those areas, we can become scary in all the right ways: Scary not to our children or to ourselves, but to the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Listen to this post!
Feeling scary is a little warning bell, a pounding hammer, saying, “Pay attention! Pay attention!” If we hear the warning and cover our ears and whistle a tune and try to pretend that everything is normal, we’re not doing anyone – even ourselves – any favors.
If we secretly enjoy the noise, the feeling, and wallow in it, thinking that feeling badly – feeling scary, feeling scared, feeling guilty – is adequate, excusing us from consequences or actual change, we will do damage.
If we use those pings and pangs as opportunities to examine ourselves and be honestly open to repentance, change, and growth, we can experience the freedom and joy that is scary – to the world, our flesh, and the devil.
The scary homeschool mom is controlling.
Homeschooling is great for the controlling mom. She’s the sole authority. She gets to make all the decisions. She insists on perfect obedience and makes everything go her way. Homeschooling allows her to control her world, her children, and her life. That’s scary.
She scares herself with her own outbursts, sometimes. Where did that come from? It came from a desire to control that was threatened. She knows God’s in control, but He seems to let things get out of hand more than she would allow. So she tries to crack down, double-down. That’s scary.
There’s one thing about life at home outnumbered by children: It teaches us we don’t have the control we thought we did.
What kind of control does the Bible tell us we should have?
The homeschool mom who scares the world, her flesh, and the devil is the one whose self-control has been strengthened by years of resistance training, by years of being exercised rigorously. We’re living in that gymnasium, that training ground, right now. Feel like exploding? Breathe. Feel like giving up? Breathe.
When we control our impulses and our reactions, we become scary – not to ourselves or our children, but to the watching world that does not understand submitting our desires to God’s standards.
That starts with control – self-control.
The scary homeschool mom is critical.
Homeschooling is great for the critical mom. She gets a front-row seat to all her children’s floundering and failing. She gets to “help” them by pointing out all their mistakes and their misdemeanors. Few lifestyles are more fraught with material for the critical homeschooling mom. That’s scary.
If she catches herself, scares herself, with her tone and remarks one day, she can careen to the other side of critical: self-critical. Self-critical is not like self-control. The Bible does not command it as a fruit of the Spirit. Being self-critical is not the same as repentance. It’s simply turning the fire of a nagging, harsh tongue on yourself. That does not make it less damaging. It’s still scary.
The Proverbs has much to say about women with harsh tongues – and none of it is good. Rather, the law of kindness is supposed to be on our tongues – wherever our tongues, our thoughts, are aimed.
When we trade harsh tongues and critical spirits for patience and kindness (fruits of the Spirit – fruits God promises are available to us through His Spirit), we become a new kind of critical and scary. We are essential, decisive, potent in our home atmospheres, so when that tone is kind, gentle, and patient instead of disapproving and harsh, we transform our homes into havens – not by lovely decor or scented candles, but by our own treatment of others.
Then we become critical, scary. We have the “potential to become disastrous” to the world, our flesh, and the devil.
The scary homeschool mom is considerate.
Homeschooling is great for the considerate mom. She can customize everything for her child. She can set up a soft and easy atmosphere where her children never have to encounter their own faults. That’s scary.
It is when we encounter our faults that we can deal with them. We do no one any favors when we rescue, hover, and remove all possibilities of failure. If we’re doing it for our children, we’re probably trying to do it for ourselves. We’re working for the formula that will result in smooth and easy days, days where we don’t have to be flustered or frustrated, where everything can be Nice. That’s scary.
The considerate homeschool mom sometimes scares herself when she realizes she’s overextended, when she realizes that everything she’s done to prevent failure is, well, failing.
The truly considerate mom does not shy away from hard things, from hard truths, from hard work, from hard conversations, from hard lines held against stubborn heads. She wants herself and her children to enter the world strong and stable, and she knows that takes exercise.
She is considerate of her children (and herself) in the big picture, over the long haul, rather than considerate about momentary concerns and current convenience. She will make her children (and herself) increasingly scary to a world that loves instant gratification more than what’s good and right and true.
Let’s all be scary homeschool moms: Scary to a watching world that does not understand loving God more than self or selfless serving instead of pleasing and profiting self.
Get a Grip & a Game-Face
Do you spiral downward or upward? When you start to lose your grip on your situation, do you spin your wheels and devolve into chaos or listlessness? Or do you ratchet up and wind yourself up tight, stressing and lashing out and gripping control? Some of us simply bounce between these two extremes – a controlling tyrant one day to a zoned-out couch potato the next (control is exhausting, after all!).
Walk the narrow path between these two deep ditches with self-control instead of situation-control and purpose instead of panic. Exchange your apathy for liveliness and your sluggishness for stamina.