Yesterday I was at the dentist with my two younger ones, and I had something happen that has never happened before. The dental assistant was asking the kidlets what grade they were in and where they go to school, and they answered that they were homeschooled.
She looked at me and said, “Wow. You homeschool two at once?”
I told her that it was actually four. She just nodded and was quiet for a while. Then she asked the question that completely surprised me: “Homeschooling is probably tougher than it seems, huh?”
Yeah… that’s not the usual reaction that I get.
I just laughed a bit and then said, “It can be.”
But I absolutely loved her honesty. She had some idea of what she thought homeschooling looked like but then realized that maybe there was more to it than she thought.
And – just keeping it real here – sometimes homeschooling is really easy. I don’t have to rush to beat a clock in the morning; clothes don’t have to match; we have a whole lot of freedom; and parent-teacher conferences are ridiculously simple.
But yes, sometimes it is tougher than it seems.
I loved her whole attitude though, and I think it is one that we all should try and have.
(Okay– keeping it real again – this is mostly an issue for women. I mean men don’t seem to be as snarky or just strange about this type of thing as women are. They have their own issues, but this doesn’t seem to be one of them – usually.)
Anyway, how about looking at other women and instead of judging their life choices and thinking they took the “easy way out”, figuring that their choice in life is probably tougher than it seems.
Choosing to be single? Tougher than it seems.
Choosing to get married? Tougher than it seems.
No children? Ten children? Adopting? Foster kids? Four-legged children? Tougher than it seems.
Working full time? Tougher than it seems.
Stay at home mom? Tougher than it seems.
Working part time? Work at home mom? Tougher than it seems.
Strong marriage? Struggling marriage? Divorce? Tougher than it seems.
Pregnancy? Tougher than it seems.
Pregnancy loss? Tougher than it seems.
Difficulty conceiving? Tougher than it seems.
All organic cooking? Fast food every night? Personal chef? Tougher than it seems.
Homeschooling? Tougher than it seems.
Public schooling? Tougher than it seems.
Unschooling? Tougher than it seems.
Strict parent? Permissive parent? Tougher than it seems.
Let’s treat other women with compassion, rather than judgment. Let’s know that beyond what we see on the surface are hidden struggles, thoughts, worries, and doubts that we don’t even know.
Let’s realize that if someone is making choices that make no sense to us, there is most likely a lot going on behind those choices that we don’t understand. And it isn’t our place to say how they should live, unless they have specifically asked us for advice.
But even then, let’s have compassion and be gentle.
And just so you know – I am not good at this.
Just yesterday, after seeing how great it is to be given the benefit of the doubt, I was snarky about other moms and their choices.
And for that I am sorry.
But you know what? This whole being gracious, loving, and supportive thing? It is tougher than it seems.
But I’ll keep trying.
See you soon.