I’ve been a mom for more than 20 years, but I’m about to send kids to school for the very first time. Having always homeschooled, this feels very foreign to me, but I’m also excited. Homeschooling has never been my first choice, but because our school district is not ideal and there aren’t funds to send a whole bunch of kids to private school, we’ve chugged along for 15 years. What I have loved is having so much time with my kids and that they’ve gotten concentrated sibling time, but I’m always looking for an escape hatch.
Wife, Mother, Homeschooler
So while it looks like I’ll still be homeschooling a couple, my three youngest will be attending a public charter school. I can’t even wrap my brain around what that’s going to look like, trying to spin plates in both the school and homeschool worlds. But regardless of if/when they all go to school, this is signalling the beginning of the end of homeschooling for me.
Homeschooling has been a task, not an identity. It wasn’t a compulsion or an agenda; I did it because it needed to be done, and I needed to do the best job for my kids that I could possibly manage. And yet, still I find myself wondering who I am if I’m not homeschooling. From my mid-20s to my early 40s, this has taken most of my time and energy. I’m ready to give it up, but I don’t know exactly what’s next.
I know myself well enough to know that if no kids are at home, I won’t be there either. I’m not a homebody, don’t like alone time, and prefer a challenge. Being a wife and mother are the most important things to me, but they aren’t the sum of who and what I am. There’s plenty more, and I’m looking ahead to what that means for me as a person.
Where to, from Here?
Maybe it will look like throwing myself headfirst into my husband’s new business. I already help in small ways, but more time will mean that I can engage even more in our efforts to grow the business and vision for the future. Or maybe it means getting a job to contribute to our household finances.
I love writing. I love talking to people. I’d love to be involved in the birth community in some way, educating and equipping women about choices in childbirth. More opportunities for working in my church and local volunteering efforts are things to look forward to. But it also feels scary. What do I want to be when I grow up? Well, I’m not sure.
Even without homeschooling, I’m guessing that many of you stay-at-home moms either are or will be feeling like me at some point. Some of you will go back to what you were doing before kids came along, but many won’t.
In my head, I imagine this all happening like a lightning bolt — CRASH! — and now I know what I’m going to do and be! But more likely it will be like a slow burn that I’ll realize has been developing. I’m equal parts nervous and ready to see what’s out there, though. I want to find things worthy of devoting this next season of my life to, things that will use my gifts and passions in good ways.
Vulnerability isn’t my strong suit, and it’s tough for me to admit I feel uncertain or nervous or afraid of failing. But there it is. I’m not in a huge hurry, as my youngest is only seven and still needs plenty of mom time. For now, I’m doing a lot of thinking. Someday I’ll come back and write about it from the other side, when I’m all grown up.
Kristen, thanks for being so honest! I think many of us feel this way at different junctures—kids all going to school, kids going to college, empty nest, job changes, retirement, moving to a different town. Prayers for you as you discover what God what have you do in this new chapter! Hugs and love, Sandy
So true, Sandy! Thanks so much for your thoughts and encouragement!