A Homeschooled Son Speaks Out

Today, I am honored to have my firstborn and oldest son posting here. Michael is directly responsible for the existence of this little blog. I well remember the day he called me on the phone and said, “Mom, I think you should start a blog.” I believe my exact words to him were, “Go away and leave me alone.” I felt called to start writing, but I was afraid to do so. Michael got this blog set up for me and taught me how to work it. But above all that, he has been a constant source of encouragement to me.
This post came about due to the things he hears people say about me. We both felt the need to “set the record straight”, so to speak, and this post came out of several conversations about that. I hope that after reading this, you will realize that I am not perfect, I haven’t got this mothering thing all figured out, and I am a sinner just like all of you!! Be encouraged!!

Setting the Record Straight
     I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it. “This is my friend Michael. He’s the oldest of 10 kids.” “Whoooaaa… His mom must be a SAINT!”
Even though I’ve come to expect it, I still have not thought of a good reply.

Well, I’m here today to take you behind the scenes, and show you the real truth about One Faithful Mom.

(But first, one clarifying remark: Proverbs 31:28 talks about the children of the faithful woman, and says that they will “rise up and call her (their mom) blessed.” I want my thoughts to be understood within that context — the best way to praise my mom is to truthfully acknowledge where she has been faithful, and more importantly WHO has been faithful to her in her time of need. I really am blessed to have both of my parents, and don’t want to miss the opportunity to say so.)

So anyway, I hear it all the time. “Your mom must be a saint!” “She’s raised 10 kids, AND homeschooled them?!” “OMG, that woman must have a triple helping of the Holy Spirit!” “She raised YOU, AND decided to have more?? Wowwww…” (That one is my personal favorite.)

My ten at Michael’s wedding.

Truthfully, my mom is a wonderful, but deeply flawed woman. I know her weaknesses and sins, because I have so many of them myself. Rather than just do a bullet point list of those weaknesses and sins, I’ll just tell a story.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001. Do you remember where you were, the day after the Towers fell? I remember where I was. I was stuck outside in the yard at dinnertime, cleaning out and vacuuming Mom’s Ford Excursion. It had been a terrible day. I was thirteen years old, and largely oblivious to the world-shaping events filling the news. My younger brother, Thomas (10) and I had spent the day getting onto Mom’s last nerves. She was scheduled to be induced the next day, and to deliver Mole Baby #7, so she was (understandably so, in retrospect) a little uptight.

Like me, Mom is pretty high-strung. Or emotional. However you want to say it. (Dad tactfully described it to me once as “passionate.”) Pregnancy heightened this reality. When she was happy, she was very happy, but this was not one of those days. She was upset… very upset. Doors had been slammed, words shouted, tempers flared, and eventually Thomas and I were “banished” to go clean out the car.

(Full disclosure: Thomas and I were what some people would call “button-pushers.” If we set out to do it, we could make anyone, pregnant or not, pretty furious. We were definitely not innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire.)

Sitting in the car, Thomas and I discussed what the next few hours and days would bring. “In a little while, Mimi will be here to spend the night. Mom will go to the hospital early in the morning to have the baby, and Mimi will be staying here with us. When Mom gets back this weekend, this will all be blown over. Let’s just try to stay out of her way for the rest of the night.” “Think it’s safe to go inside?” “No… Let’s wait til Mimi gets here to distract Mom.”

We knew that eventually we would apologize for upsetting her, and she would apologize for getting mad. But in the meantime, we didn’t want to make her angrier than she already was, so we decided that avoiding her was the best strategy.

So you see, when Mom writes about not engaging with your kids in verbal battles, and not getting into squabbles and arguments with them, you have to understand that she writes this as someone who has failed in that… dozens and dozens of times. She has been beat up and bruised by failure. I’ve seen it. She has also repented, apologized, and sought to grow. I’ve seen that too.

It doesn’t take a rock star to be a good mom.

There’s a reason this blog is titled “One Faithful Mom” and not “One Extraordinary Mom.” Honestly, what it takes more than anything is a willingness to submit to the Holy Spirit, and to constantly repent, confess, and be changed. Continually loving your kids and showing them that Mommy makes mistakes and needs Jesus just like they do will really make a difference, in the long term. Just like marriage, parenthood is less about making the other person (or people) do the right thing, and more about your own sanctification and relationship with Jesus.

Fortunately, my mom isn’t perfect. I say “fortunately” because her imperfections are an opportunity to see the Holy Spirit’s work within her. Though she is not without her struggles, by His grace, she is a faithful daughter of God, wife, and mother. That should be an encouragement to you. As you struggle, you are not the first to do so. You are not alone. The same God who has been faithful to my mother will be faithful to you.Today, my Mom is one of my best friends, and after 20+ years of high-strung personalities at work, that should give you a lot of hope.

I hope this has encouraged you today. Tomorrow, my oldest daughter will have a follow up to this post. She will address some of the specific ways things have changed in our home over the past few years. Stay tuned..

Part 2 is here.


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