Sometimes, We Just Need to STOP

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This is the most vulnerable post I’ve written so far. It’s hard for me to open up, especially on a public forum like the internet, but I know there are others out there who struggle. I hope my story can help you.

Confessions

The internet is a very dangerous place for me (I know, that’s weird for a blogger to say. I’m also a bit technophobic. Watcha gonna do?). I don’t know what it is about the internet, but it sucks me in like quicksand and before I know it, I’ve lost precious hours and probably a little sanity. We’ve decided to homeschool Man Cub, for a variety of reasons. (But, no, I’m not one of those homeschoolers that thinks homeschooling is the only right choice. Public, private, home- that’s up to you. Home is the best choice FOR US). After years of research (I started before we were pregnant), we landed on the classical method. For those who are unfamiliar, Classical schooling is book based and very strong in history. There is a lot of reading and students cycle through subjects, getting deeper each time. The defining characteristic is the trivium- grammar (about 1-4 grades, focused on memorizing information), logic (5-8, focusing on putting together different concepts) & rhetoric or dialectic (9-12, focusing on expressing what one has learned) – which works with the way children naturally develop. (That’s a very basic overview). We decided not to do unit studies and not to go the child- or interest- lead learning route, though we will encourage learning all the time and there will be time for fun projects. We had a plan. And then I wandered onto the internet one day. I’m still not quite sure how it happened, but I found myself on about 2 dozen email lists for homeschool bloggers, most of whom are using unit or theme methods. I began to download free printables in a frenzy. Free is an exceptionally dangerous word for me. We don’t have a lot of excess, and I think sometimes I feel that if something is free, I NEED to get it since we may not be able to afford something else.

Around that time, I also began this blog. Desperate for validation, encouragement, or someone to tell me what to do, I ended up on another half dozen lists for blogging blogs. Everyone had a different perspective, and they often clashed. Worse, the overwhelm of advice made me feel totally inadequate and got me off course. I always intended this blog to be a ministry. We have been so blessed in our lives, and I wanted to give back: 100% free. But the blogs on how to blog were full of all these inspiring stories about how the authors paid off debt or were able to bring their husbands home from a hated job. Hubby loves his job, but we are under the weight of quite a bit of student loan debt, so much so that we have been living with family for the last 3 years. I got thinking about how awesome it would be to pay off those loans faster. That’s when the final phase of internet overwhelm set in. By then I was spending 2-6 hours a day on the internet. The more time I spent, the more overwhelmed, anxious and pathetic I felt. I felt like a failure and began getting irritable with Man Cub. I was trying to earn a living here! And plan the best homeschool ever! And it was all for him! Except, it really wasn’t.

Seeing the Light

Hubby and I decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom so that I could raise our children. For a while I was a nanny and discovered that during the week, I spent more waking hours with their kids than they did. Now, that was the right choice for them, but not for us. We waited long enough to have kids and I didn’t want to miss it. But I was. By my obsessions over finding the best way to homeschool (which, ironically, we had already agreed wasn’t the best way for us) and trying to make our debt instantly dissolve with this blog, I lost the joy in both. What’s worse, I was missing precious time with my son. There are days that were a complete blur. I can remember putting Man Cub to bed thinking, “did we really spend any time together today?” It had to stop. I had a few talks with Hubby about it (and a few tears), and finally I discovered what the problem was. I was motivated by fear. With the blog, I was afraid that we would never be out of debt. But we have been chipping away at it and I know God will provide. With homeschooling, the fear was much deeper. It’s a fear every mom knows, homeschooling or not: the fear that I would ruin my child. He is so precious to me and I was terrified that I would not be a good enough mom for him. But you know what? I will be. And so will you. God has chosen me to be Man Cub’s mommy, and God doesn’t make mistakes. I will be the mom I am supposed to be if I lean on Christ and do what I planned to do in the first place: just be there. All the cute printables in the world can’t compare to the joy that we receive when I get down on the floor and play mega blocks, or make funny faces, or read Brown Bear, Brown Bear (for the 4th time of the day). This is toddlerhood: messy, unhurried, joyful, squealing, wonderful toddlerhood. And I was missing it.

Just Stop it

So, I decided to stop. It really is that simple. It is NOT easy. I have been spending weeks in this process (because it always takes longer to climb out of a hole than it did to fall in). The blog is 100% free- nothing for sale, no ads, no affiliate links. It actually costs us money, but we are in this for a ministry. I am focusing just on writing, and I am enjoying it again. I love sharing my thoughts with you and I hope you enjoy the blog, too.

We bought toddler and preschool curriculum. It was hard spending money on it at first, but now I can stop downloading every printable I see for fear that I’ll miss something. I’m also unsubscribing from most of the blogs I signed up for. I’ll stay with a couple (like a classical homeschooling blog and a homemaking blog that always makes me laugh), but the rest need to go. I get sucked in way too easily. I used to think I just needed more self control. Now I think I need to accept myself and this particular character flaw of mine, and avoid temptation. I’ve apologized to Man Cub, and I’m working hard to spend quality time with him. Bit by bit, the fog is clearing and I’m getting back to the life I love.

My Challenge to You

Do you have a “danger zone” in your life? It may be fear-driven research on the internet. It may be comparing yourself to others on social media. It may be spreading yourself too thin in volunteering. Think deeply for a moment: do you just need to stop? Then stop it! Stop making excuses, stop doing the thing that’s tripping you up, and run (don’t walk) away from that temptation. I know it’s hard. I know it feels impossible. And, you may make mistakes along the way. But it’s time to stop. And if you fall back into it, stop again. I’ve been waiting for 3 weeks to write this post because I wasn’t ready yet (it’s also taken me that long to unsubscribe from most of the blogs I needed to unsubscribe from). I’m here for you. Please let me know what you’re struggling with. I’d love to pray for you. You can reply below or send me an email at jenn {at} oneimperfectmom {dot} com.

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