As we grow up, the focus of life seems to always be on graduating high school, choosing a career, getting married, and having kids. Now we’re here. Perhaps we’re just starting the parenting journey, or maybe our kids are making the transition from littles to middles. Possibly we’re even approaching the end of the kids-at-home parenting stage.
The Release of Dreams
Wherever we are in the flow, we have set aside our own goals and dreams to fully devote all of our energy to being a wife, a mom, and a teacher of our children. Perhaps once upon a time we cherished a vision of writing a book or owning a business or serving in a variety of capacities. The demands of real life, though, have prevented us from simultaneously achieving those goals and serving our families.
But, we’re okay with letting go of those dreams for what we have. This life is a good one. Look at what we’re accomplishing! Look at the investment we’re making in the lives of our children! Consider how that investment will impact the world through accomplishments and hearts drawn to the Lord! As the consolations soothe our souls, we rest confidently in our decision to shelve those lofty goals and dreams that once filled our heads.
Am I Done?
As our children begin to graduate and move on, though, a new realization dawns on us. We are just…here. We’ve released our hopes and dreams and goals in the face of what we’ve considered to be a loftier calling. But, now that kids-at-home stage is nearly over, we are lost. We honestly never thought about what happens after. With “homeschool mom” as our identity, we never considered what we would be when that label no longer fit.
Perhaps this is not a “we” problem, Maybe I am the only homeschool mom to have ever struggled with these thoughts. But, as I have watched my children begin to move out on their own, I have had to wrestle with the question of my own usefulness. If “homeschool mom” is my identity, what will I become when my children are all graduated and gone? Will my life be over?
Believe it or not, it took a ninety year old man to awaken me to the realization that “homeschool mom” is not really my identity. It never has been. It’s just a temporary assignment – one that will possibly end before my life is even half over.
I met this man at a health food store, and I was immediately impressed by his energy and spunk. Here I was believing my life was mostly spent simply because my children were graduating, moving out, and getting married. But, even though he was well over twice my age, this gentleman was still truly living.
The “After” Years
Whether we homeschool for a few years or a few decades, the truth is that we will most likely spend more years of our lives – yes, even our adult lives – not homeschooling. Unfortunately, other than discussing how to handle the empty nest syndrome, we rarely think to encourage one another to consider what comes next.
Perhaps that’s the source of the infamous midlife crisis. We’re not prepared for the after, so it hits us hard, and we find ourselves uncertain in our direction.
There is a defined shelf life for the homeschool mom. She has an expiration date. But, that does not have to mean that her life is spent! Instead, it is time to embrace what comes next, realizing that there is a whole lot of life left to live!
So, what does come next for a homeschool mom?
Well, that is up to each and every one of us individually. Perhaps it’s time for a new career. Maybe that book – or several of them – really are supposed to be written. A ministry opportunity might be the path God leads us to follow. The possibilities truly are endless.
The key, though, lies in conquering our mental roadblocks that tell us that “homeschool mom” is our full identity. We must realize instead that it’s just a temporary title that we hold for only a limited portion of our time here on earth. Many other titles will be ours, and they don’t have to just be limited to “grandma.” God wants us to live fully and abundantly through every stage of life, and He still has more in store for us!
Wherever you are in the homeschool journey, remind yourself daily that your life is not just passing you by. This is a stage. A temporary place. A title for the time being. As you walk through it, remember that you are not giving your all to this time. You are giving your all to the Lord. And when this time is over, you will still be giving your all to the Lord. In the process, He will guide you from this place to the next. And who knows what incredible role He might have for you after the “homeschool mom” role expires!