Welcome, my Tenacious Homeschool Tribe!
Today, I’m going to talk to you about one of my pet peeves with homeschool–The Happy, Perky, Homeschool Mom Syndrome. Don’t let the Minnie-ears fool you. That’s not me. Okay? Never! Not me.
What do I mean by The Happy, Perky, Homeschool Mom?
Well, when you go to these homeschool groups, you’re going to meet some moms that always seem happy, always seem perky, and they talk about things like, “Did you work on your kids’ morning basket?”
Let me tell you what I was doing in the morning. I made sure that the kids have protein in the morning because, well, Andy has to take her ADHD medication. So, I was telling her to come downstairs, and she wasn’t doing it. So, even though I woke her up at 7:30 am, she’s still not dressed by 8:00am.
In the meantime, Dora… Ooh, thank God for Dora! She gets downstairs. She gets herself breakfast. She starts breakfast for her little brother. Andy still hasn’t gotten dressed! And I’m yelling at her to come downstairs and eat because I have to give her the medication. Because right now, we’re homeschooling with a co-op, so we have to start at 9:00 am. But for her to be ready at 9:00 am, I have to get her up at 7:30 am.
In the meantime, my “barkies” I have three Shih Tzu’s. One that belongs to me, one that is supposed to belong to Emmi, and the other supposed to belong to Bug. I say “supposed to” because they bark, bark, bark. I’m running around trying to take them outside in those triple, double leashes, to care of business so I can come back inside. Now, I’ve yelled at Emmi to come downstairs too. It hasn’t happened.
Now by this point, I start getting grumpy, okay? I can’t help it! Can’t help it! I’m getting grumpy. I don’t understand why I have to yell fifty times for them to get downstairs. And the thing is, I would love not to yell. I would love to go up and down the stairs but I was in an accident. I have bad knees. Going up and down the stairs kills me. It leads to a lot of pain. So, I can’t do that because I have to run around after a five-year-old. So, I yell, and I yell some more.
I hear Andy screamed back, “I’m coming!”
But Andy has been yelling that for the last hour now. And the ideal situation is for her to have breakfast and then take her medication thirty minutes later. But of course, she’s not downstairs. And lately, she’s been making her own egg because she doesn’t like my eggs. She doesn’t like the way I cook eggs. So, I can’t help but be a little bit hurt that she doesn’t like my eggs. I mean, I’ve only been cooking for her for twelve, thirteen years. She just started cooking. And so, I can’t cook her eggs. She will accept pancakes and sausage from me, which I do whenever I can.
Finally, after yelling for maybe an hour, I get the twins downstairs. I can honestly tell you this happens almost every morning—no matter what I do, no matter when I set the timer. It doesn’t matter if dad goes to get them up. It’s the same situation. So, morning baskets? I have no idea what a morning basket is! And regardless of what kind of mood I woke up in, most of the time, I awake in a great mood. An hour later, I’m pissy.
I’m pissy because I’ve been yelling for an hour, and then somebody has the nerve to come downstairs and say, “Breakfast is cold.”
Nooo… Really, Sherlock?! If you can come when you were supposed to, this wouldn’t have happened. But I don’t want to say that. I try really hard not to say that. Because just because they ruined my morning doesn’t mean that I should ruin theirs. I want them to be in the best mood to learn. But I’m not that happy, perky mom. Sometimes, I lose it! I almost say things like, “You’re the one that wanted to be in the co-op. Why can’t you get yourself downstairs on time?!”
Not happy. Not perky. So when I hear the other moms talking about the morning baskets and their relaxed mornings and all these things. I used to think to myself. I’m a terrible homeschool mom. I’m just terrible. Why can’t I be like them? Happy and perky.
Until I started spending more time with those happy, perky moms. I discovered that the majority of them get just as frustrated with their kids as I am with mine. They lose their temper as much as I do. They just smile more about it. I don’t know. Maybe they are a glass-half-full rather than a glass-half-empty kind of people. Great for them! And I mean that without any sarcasm. But I’m not just that person.
And what I really want to say to you is, don’t feel guilty if you’re not that person either, okay? Don’t. The thing about being a mom is number one: you don’t have to be perfect. And the thing about being a homeschool mom is number two: you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be you, and you have to love your children. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. That’s what creates perfection.
So, I try. I do want you to know that I try every day. I try not to let my frustrations with Andy drive me up a wall, which is kind of hard because I’m a Type A personality. I know she’s not, and I keep that in mind. I also keep in mind that she doesn’t have very good executive skills, and that’s part of her ADHD. I have to begin to allow her to learn to cope with the challenges that she faces.
The other thing is that I often hear from these happy, perky moms that they never get tired. They take their kids on field trips. They take their kids to a bazillion classes, never resented, and never get tired. Well, I’m really impressed by that. But again, that’s not me. I get tired. Not only am I a homeschool mom, but I’m also an older mom. I had twins when I was 40. This year I turn 54, and I have a 5-year-old.
Do you know how much energy a 5-year-old takes? Well, you might. But I don’t know how many of you know how much energy it takes for a 54-year-old with bad knees trying to lose the weight that she gained because of the accident that messed up her knees. But, we all have our situations. So I get tired, and sometimes my knees get this really dull ache that just seems to get into my bones like it’s trying to dislodge them. I don’t feel perky. I don’t feel happy. And I kinda resent that I have to drive the kids around because it’s killing my knees.
I think selfish things to myself like, “Why am I doing this? My mother never did stuff like this for me. I turned out just fine. I should stop doing it.”
I think it. But I don’t say it. And the reality is that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I complain inside my head, and sometimes I complain with my friends, and sometimes I complain with the other homeschool moms. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue taking my kids to their classes or to the field trips, so on. I’m just not that happy, perky mom.
I tried it; to be honest with you, I’ve tried. You know that old saying, “Fake it till you make it.”
I’ve tried in the past, but it’s hard. It’s hard. You’ll know what I mean, or maybe you already know because you’re already a homeschool mom. But at least in our homeschool community, I meet a lot of happy, perky homeschool moms. And I’m thinking, “Is it something in the water? What is it? What is going on here? Am I drinking the wrong water?”
So, I tried faking it. I tried being happy. I tried being perky. It doesn’t work. The tragedy of tragedies! It doesn’t work! It’s exhausting! And it just makes me “Grumpy Mom.” That’s what it makes me. Trying to be happy and perky when that is not me makes me very grumpy.
I started looking at my kids, wondering, “Hmmm. What was I thinking when I had the twins? What was I thinking when I took on two more? Oh, but I do love them, but life wouldn’t be so bad if I could go back then, and I could say…”
Nope! As soon as I started thinking, “If I could go back and…”
Nope! I was over feeling sorry for myself because I love my kids more than anything in the world, and I really enjoy being their mom. I absolutely love all of this time that I got to spend with them because I’m a homeschool mom. But I’m still not happy or perky! Just not my natural state.
I do seem to surround myself with happy, perky moms. Oh, my friend Marina shout-out to her in California. That woman always seems to be in a good mood. She is just bubbly! I love being around her because she fills me with joy, and she brings out the best in me. I miss her. I wish she hadn’t moved back to Cali, but she did. She left me without a happy, perky mom here in Florida.
Ironically, Marina moved to California, where I met my original best friend, another happy, perky mom. She was never a homeschool mom. But a shout-out to Renee, because I often think that she’s the model I should follow. You know, she was happy, perky. She brought up very strong and independent children who are following their own path. They are happy and successful in what they want to be and live their lives the way they want.
Why can’t I be like her? And it makes me wonder, why do I surround myself with these women?
And, of course, I’m going to give a shout-out to North Carolina, where Sherri lives. The ultimate happy, perky mom! And this year a homeschool mom. Now I thought maybe she gets a little grumpy here. She does have a teen daughter. And boy, am I learning that the teen years can be challenging! But no! She’s still happy and perky. Ugh. That is such a downer! It’s such an absolute downer. How can she be so happy and perky? She has a teenage daughter. She’s homeschooling, and she’s homeschooling in the worst possible situation because homeschooling right now is not the same thing as homeschooling was a year ago.
You don’t have all the activities, all the socializing, all the wonderful things that we used to do. Let me tell you, I miss being around homeschool moms. It’s not just that I miss the kids participating in the activities. It’s that I miss the moms.
How is it that Sherri has embarked on a journey that she didn’t choose, with a teenage daughter, Sherri’s happy and perky? How?!
And you know, the worst part is lately I’ve seen a lot of these T-shirts that say, “I homeschool, so I drink.”
Not all my friends drink. Neither do I, for that matter. And they’re still happy and perky. So, I know it’s not the alcohol. It must be in the water. It must be in the water.
The thing is, don’t feel bad. Don’t feel that you have to live up to this expectation of a happy, perky mom. Don’t feel that you have to be the perfect homeschool mom, the one that can juggle everything. And if you start feeling bad, think about me,
My morning routine. The fact that while I’m homeschooling, I’m also doing laundry. Trying really hard not to make lunch for anyone but Bug. Because my children need to become more a little bit self-sufficient and independent. The fact that when I’m done homeschooling, I’m going to take a forty-five-minute nap with the dogs because I’m exhausted. And if I don’t take that nap, I’m not going to love my children that day. When I get up, I have to cook dinner. And then I have to prepare for the next day of lessons because I’m not that great at math.
Do not feel that you have to be a happy, perky homeschool mom to be a successful homeschool mom or to be a good mom because it’s not required. The only thing required is love. That’s what makes us perfect in our imperfection.
So, if you belong to the Grumpy Mom Club, join me on another episode of Homeschooling with Dr. B! If you enjoyed our content, please subscribe and share. We need more grumpy moms in the club! You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Remember, life can be overwhelming. Homeschooling doesn’t have to be. Join us for our sometimes challenging, always wonderful homeschool journey. For links and resources, please visit our website. Till next week! Enjoy your kiddos!