I recently finished “Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit” by Teri Maxwell and heartily recommend it to you, whether you are homeschooling or not. I hope to homeschool part-time, and this book was very relevant to me. Although there is some content in the book related specifically to homeschooling, it just as well could have been titled “Parenting with a Meek and Quiet Spirit.” (You may want to see my earlier post on the first half of the book.)
In her chapter on “Hard Work and Dying to Self,” Maxwell emphasizes that as mothers, we should not expect much time to ourselves. This is a tough one for me. In the past, I have identified myself as the type of mom who needs time away from my kids. Lately, God has shown me that this is not a need, it is a desire. He supplies it often, but I should not demand it. And I should not grow resentful when I don’t think I’m getting enough of it. Every minute that I’m with my kids is an opportunity to share the Gospel with them, train them in righteousness, and love them. I should not wish that time away.
Another great point in this chapter was that if you were not homeschooled, you should be careful not to compare your life to your mother’s. In most cases, your mother had five days each week while you were at school to complete housework, work outside the home, or accomplish other wonderful things. She probably spent evenings and weekends relaxing with her husband and family. If you are homeschooling, your life will look very different. I know that once my kids are in school part-time, it will be difficult for me to not compare my life to my friends whose kids are in school full-time. I’m sure I will sway back and forth between insane jealousy and self-righteous pride in our choice–both sinful attitudes. I pray that God will keep me humbly obedient to what He has called us to do.
Another great point that Maxwell discusses is our role as a helper for our husband. (See Genesis 2:18.) She writes that we are not to view our husband as our helper (although he hopefully will be from time to time!), but we should be looking for ways we can help and support him. I am definitely guilty of thinking, “What can my husband do to help me today?” After all, he has been idly sitting around operating on people’s hands while I slave away at home all day! I cringe at the thought of serving him–do I seriously have to add one more person to the list of people who demand my help and attention? And yet, Genesis 2 tells me that this is my role. I was created to be Noel’s helpmeet. And God will provide the strength to fulfill this role.
One last thing I loved in this book was her reminder that we need to smile more at home. I wish I could see myself through my kids eyes, or walk around with a mirror in front of my face. I suspect that my face shows annoyance, exhaustion and frustration more than it shows joy. Maxwell suggests that making an effort to smile more will go a long way toward creating a more joyful atmosphere in the home. Surely I can handle that!