Hey homeschool mom,
You could not possibly be busy right now. (snort) So get up, drop the bonbons, turn off the soaps, and go look in the mirror.
Now, tell me what you see. Too shy? Alright, fine. I’ll go first…
When I Look in the Mirror
I see a woman in black yoga pants who should get some hair product and tame that blonde rodent on her head. She really ought to think about actually doing yoga in those pants. Maybe then she could whittle down that waistline she still blames on her soon-to-be teenage twins. Muffin tops are never going to be the new thing, though she keeps holding out hope.
She probably needs to tweeze between her eyebrows, but I cannot be sure without putting on the glasses that I am afraid are no longer only necessary for reading. (puts on glasses) And now I am looking at this woman’s blotchy face and into her tired eyes. I lean in a little closer and groan at the gray hairs sprouting at her temples.
Sigh. Backup. Hang head in defeat…Oh good gravy, who’s feet are these!? Scales are for science labs, fish, and those inconsiderate doctor’s offices.
I could go on for several more minutes about my deficiencies in upkeep and appearance. But why stop there!? I don’t even need a mirror if I move on to all the ways in which I fail as a mom, wife, friend, Christian, cook, teacher, writer, laundress, (ahem…) yoga enthusiast etc. (Seriously i have not done real downward-dog yoga in at least 2 years. But I’ve got the outfit in case the mood strikes.)
Why Do We Only See Our Faults
Are you taking a personal inventory of your own faults as I list mine?
Running ourselves down seems to come so naturally that sometimes we do not even realize we are doing it. We cannot even accept a compliment without explaining it away. When someone tells me they like my short haircut I often respond, “Oh it is just easier keeping up with three boys. It used to be really long and curly.”
What I should have said was simply, “Thank you.” Why is that so hard?
Maybe because we do not want to seem prideful. I mean truthfully, I think my hair rocks and I couldn’t care less who thinks otherwise. (Like my mother-in-law who never passes up the chance to tell me I should grow it out again. Love ya. But no. This is the new me. Vogue with a side of mom-ain’t-got-time-for-hair.)
Not only do we refuse compliments, we sometimes direct other people’s attention right at our shortcomings.
Recently, I met another homeschool mom who introduced herself and then immediately told me she “rubs most people the wrong way.” Now I try very hard to form my own conclusions whenever I am around new people, but I can’t help but wonder each time I see her if this is the day she is going to “rub me the wrong way.”
What exactly did she mean anyway? Was she trying to be edgy or mysterious. Maybe she meant to apologize in advance for her uncontrolled bluntness. Either way she had me focused on her perceived faults from the start.
Imagine if we had to introduce ourselves to people by name and an unflattering characteristic… Hi, I’m Jennifer. I feel inadequate and full of anxiety in large groups of religious woman, and I’m fairly sure you could draw constellations in the spider veins on my legs.
What Do Your Kids See When You Look in the Mirror?
Chances are, your kids see you very differently than you see yourself.
- You see bags under your eyes. They see a warm caring face after a hard day at practice.
- You see cankles. They see mom in her Reeboks ready to go for a bike ride on the fun downhill route.
- You see the mom that has no life outside of the house. They see the mom who is always there for them.
- You see no way to get it all done everyday. They see a hard worker who has time to stop and listen.
- You see an older, saggier version of your former self. They see love and comfort.
If another kid on the playground told my boys that their mother looked like the wildebeest I described earlier when looking in the mirror, I sure hope it would anger them and that they would feel the need to throw down, or at the very least, yell something like, “Oh ya? Well, she sure knows how to make a good chocolate cake!”
We do not want our children to see us as the bearded goat lady, so why do we talk about ourselves this way?
Teaching Self Confidence Requires Having Self Confidence
We homeschool moms have our own little audience with 24-hour front row seats to view our display of confidence, or lack there of. Sure, most of the time it seems like our kids are never listening. Oh, but they are! Just pick up the phone, tiptoe into another room and whisper into the receiver the words “surprise day off,” and wait for it…
They are also listening and watching and learning from how we judge ourselves and our abilities. If our kids are constantly overhearing us refer to ourselves as old, tired, fat, stupid, not good enough, not smart enough,etc., what are they to conclude, but that it must be so? And they will learn to turn these judgements on themselves.
Already we have taken the position of authority in their education. We have their trust and respect cause we hold the answer keys. So we must be telling the truth all of the time, right? If I ask them to believe me when I say Ptolemy was wrong, the earth isn’t the center of the universe and neither are they, then I must conclude that they will believe other things I claim as well.
I am guilty of whining that I am not smart enough to learn computer coding, when really I am just not interested. But by saying I am not smart enough, I am giving my child an easy excuse to give up and claim he too is not smart enough when things get a little difficult.
Be the mirror:
We must reflect confidence if we want to instill it in our children. My boys get tired of hearing me say silly things like, “Can’t never could.” But that does not make it any less true. If we do not believe that we can do something, then we probably cannot.
Laziness and fear are our enemy and, when combined, often lead us to point out our weaknesses as an excuse to not even try. I think most homeschool moms would agree that this is a formula for disaster when trying to raise kids with the confidence to go after their dreams. We have to go after our own dreams as homeschool moms, to raise adults with enough grit to keep trying despite their shortcomings. Therefore we have to be confident in our own ability to keep going when things get tough.
Chin hairs or no chin hairs, we must hold our heads high, ignore the marks of time and too many glazed donuts, and teach our children that we value ourselves beyond appearances. And despite the fact we may never find the time to actually do yoga in our yoga pants, we totally can if we want to.