So today at the grocery store, did you see that mom with her three kids? Oh my gosh, they were terrible. She had one of those massive abominations of a grocery cart, you know the kind, with the extra 4 feet of length so they can fit in steering wheels for kids? One of those, which she couldn’t steer for beans. She was blocking the isles and moving slowly.
And the kids. They were awful. The little one kept standing up, and grabbing things from the basket. I think she threw a thing or two out of the cart as they walked. The little boy was screaming and shouting and carrying on. I even saw him knock over a mac and cheese display as she tried to maneuver the boat around the corner.
The other kid was trying to help, maybe… I don’t know, but he was constantly getting in the way.
The mom though, I don’t know what her deal was. Half the time, she was grumping at the kids in hushed tones. Her face was scrunched up, and they were all such a hot mess.
Did you see them today?
Yeah, That was me. Those were my kids screaming and crying and knocking things over. I thought the stupid giant cart would help me keep them content so I could grab the things I needed, but nothing really worked. We were doing okay….. Okay enough at least, until Mr. Man opened his mouth and screamed.
“I hate you so much I could just kill you”
What’s a mother to do?
It’s already bad enough to hear such ugly words come out of your child’s mouth. I am pretty sure our entire audience was convinced he must come from some sort of dysfunctional abusive home. He doesn’t. We’re really quite nice people.
But at that moment in the store, I had nothing. I started to cry in the check out lane as I attempted to get us out as quickly as possible so I could deal with my little monsters in private.
I wanted so badly to just quit. Just leave the cart. Walk out of the store. Get away from the glares, and the looks of pity, and the people shaking their heads wondering what kind of a mother I was to have a child who says such ugly things.
I wouldn’t even tell you this story, only I know a good number of people who know me in real life read this little blog. Some of them were there in the store today and witnesses this little meltdown. Y’all know me. This story, like many of my stories, isn’t picture perfect. It’s not going to get pinned and re-pinned on Pinterest. It’s not good “blog fodder.” But it is the way it is.
Motherhood is messy, y’all.
But as messy as it gets, you don’t quit. You don’t walk away. You don’t say, “you know what? I’ve had enough. Someone else can deal with you now.”
I put my head up. I wiped off the tears. I told the kids to sit down in the cart, again, through gritted teeth. I pushed the cart out of the store, and we pushed on. I didn’t even take the kids straight home. I bravely took my crew to the post office, where they continued their bad behavior. But we pushed on, and got all the errands finished.
Homeschooling is just as messy and just as hard.
Sure, we have beautiful moments. There are times when Mr. Man is curled up on my lap, reading me stories. He plays with my hair and tells me I am the most beautiful, most wonderful mommy, and he loves me. There are times when lessons come easy, and we accomplish amazing things.
And there are other times. Times where all the kids say things that make me want to crawl in a cave.
“I hate you”
“I hate school”
“I can’t do this”
“You can’t make me”
“This is too hard”
But you know what? You don’t quit homeschooling either.
Homeschooling is an extension of motherhood. You do it because you love those little munchkins, even when they hate your guts. Some days, weeks, or even months are going to feel like slogging through a mud pit. Some days you’ll want to light the math book on fire, and march those kids up the hill to the nearest school. Some days, you’ll just want to quit.
Don’t quit, Mama. Just push on.
Grit your teeth, know that even long division doesn’t last forever, and push on.
You love these kids. They need you, and you can do this. You are doing this. Keep doing your best. Give them what you can, and take a break when you need one.
You’re learning and growing together, even in the hard times, and it will get easier.