I’m a homeschooler, so I guess I can’t be classified as a typical “stay at home” mom. But there are some similarities. And this week I am very burnt out. Extremely burnt out. I’m tired. And so I would like to give an ear shattering rant, if I may. Please understand this is mostly tongue and cheek, but I have to get it out of my system.
We stay at home because we love our kids. We have a vision for our family that includes us being there to raise our children. We see this as a calling, not a vacation.
Therefore, we don’t just sit around all day, doing nothing. We play with our kids. We take them to the library. We read books. We do laundry, wash dishes, mop floors, and vacuum carpets. We go grocery shopping with three kids in tow–and research how to cut our grocery bill. We go to the bank with our purse filled with books so we can keep the kids occupied in line. We learn how to cook everything from scratch. We are busy.
So just because we’re home doesn’t mean that we are always free. Those of us who homeschool also have schedules. We have things we have to get done. You can’t just call at any hour of the day and ask us to do you a favour (unless you’re my best friend Susan. This isn’t written against you, Susan ). You can’t just assume I can do something for you in the middle of the week since I “don’t have a job”. Do you know how challenging it is to teach a child to write an essay? We take this seriously, and we do want to get through our teaching goals.
No, I can’t always talk on the phone for hours on end. No, I’m not a bad friend if I have to say, “I have to go now”, because I do have to go now. I am home for my kids, not so I can talk for hours on end with my friends. I love you, but you have to think of me as being at work. I’m not just automatically available.
I do want to help at the church. I do want to help with community projects. I do care. But I do not have unlimited time. I’m really not that much different from some of the other women in your church who do work. I just work differently, and I happen to work at home. But what I do is important, and I have to get it done.
I am not boring because I don’t work. In fact, I probably know more about current events and social issues than you do because I spend a lot of my time researching things for school and keeping current on the internet. I am not a social recluse because I have a big network of friends I get together with who help me teach my children different things. But these things, too, are scheduled, and it seems as if those who are also stay at home moms and those who are also homeschoolers are much more cognizant of the fact that my time is precious than those who are not.
When I say I can’t do something, it is not because I am lazy or selfish. It is because I know what my calling from God is–to raise these kids properly, and to reach out where God has given me opportunities–and what you’re asking me to do right now doesn’t fit with that. I need to keep my eyes on the prize.
I know you’re in an emergency. I know you work and you need my help. But just because I’m at home does not mean that my time is always free so that I can be at others’ beck and call. I do have things I need to accomplish, too. Respect that, and it will be much easier for me to respect your requests. Understand that I have a to-do list a mile long, as well. Do that, and all of us, working moms and stay at home moms, friends of all types, church acquaintances and pastors, neighbours and friends, will get along so much better.