A friend called the other day. We were talking about our kids and she asked me about Emmy. I was honest and admitted that I’m having a hard time figuring out how to love her well right now. The preschool years are simply not my favorite (give me elementary schoolers and I know what to do with them!) and I’m struggling.
Especially with homeschooling. I feel like a total failure there. As in, we aren’t getting a single thing done because of behavior and attention and focus and frustration. And now I don’t even want to do anything because I simply haven’t had the energy.
And she suggested I think about sending Emmy to preschool.
To which I responded, “I can’t, I committed to homeschooling and I’m gonna do it. All the reasons we chose to homeschool are still valid, and it would be selfish of me not to homeschool.”
And she very gently called me out like no one has ever done before.
She said something like this…
“Kayse, your personality is pretty black and white. You get an idea and decide to do something and then commit to it forever, with no room for adjustments. You just decide the way it is and then when things don’t work out the way you thought they would, you feel like a failure. You have high expectations but sometimes they can’t be met. And you don’t leave yourself any room for any other possibilities.”
And I shut up. Because she was right. And I’d never thought about it that way before.
I do that. I take an idea and run with it. In my mind at least, I commit for FOREVER. I decide we’re going to homeschool for the rest of our lives. Or we’re never going to watch TV again. Or that chocolate chip cookies will never see my mouth again.
But then I watch TV. Or eat a cookie.
And I feel like a total failure. Because why can’t I stick to what I decided? Is my self-discipline so weak that I just can’t follow through with anything?
My friend said that she takes a different approach to decisions. She says “Hey, we’ll try this out for a while and see how it goes. If it works, great! If it doesn’t, we’ll figure something else out.”
This is completely foreign to me. But I like it. In theory.
The fact of the matter is that I’m not a single woman anymore. I am not just responsible for myself. In a way, life was a whole lot easier when it was just me and I could do what I wanted and go where I wanted and get there on time without spit-up on my shirt. But I’m not there anymore. There are a whole bunch of other factors and little humans that I’m responsible for. And I’m so very grateful that there are. But I need to adjust and stop living like it’s just me here. In this season of life, plans change. Things don’t work out. Kids get sick or shoes get lost or chocolate chip cookies get baked because WE ALL JUST NEED SOME CHOCOLATE SOMETIMES.
Grace. Grace. Grace.
I try my best to extend it to others. It comes so naturally to me there. I fully understand that no one is perfect, and I don’t expect anyone to be (except for maybe my husband, but I’m working on that, okay?), so grace is what they get. Obviously. This is just common sense to me.
But giving myself grace feels selfish. It feels like failure. I don’t love that. And it is anything but natural for me.
This is a problem, friends.
Do you do that, too? Do you give grace to everyone but yourself? Why do we live this way, holding ourselves to a higher standard than God does? Do we think we are better than He is? Wiser than He is?
I wonder these things. I don’t have any answers right now. He is working them out in me. I think that right now it’s enough for me to see that this is something I struggle with. And now I can begin to take steps in the right direction. Whatever those might be.
Right now, I do know that means that our homeschooling plan is changing. Because my social butterfly needs more people than just me to talk to. She needs structure and she needs to hear instruction from someone other than me. And this momma doesn’t want our days to continue on the way they’ve been going, with my frustration overtaking our relationship.
So this week, we are looking around for a preschool that fits our girl and our family. And I’m trying my best to not feel guilty about it. I’m reminding myself that both Jon and I believe that this is the best choice for Emmy right now, and I’m hopeful and excited for this new adventure for her.
I will probably always be a black & white sort of person. And when it comes to sin, that’s probably a good thing. But in all of the other areas of life, maybe gray isn’t so bad. Maybe in the middle of all of the decisions of motherhood and ministry and this season of life, gray looks a lot like grace.
Can you relate? Have you had to rethink your plans for something lately? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear, because clearly this whole “flexible” thing is not my strength!
**Please do not turn the comment section of this post into a homeschooling debate. I’d love to hear your thoughts on grace in the choices you make for your family. And I want us to all be sure that we’re extending grace to each other as we chat about it, respecting the choices of each momma for her family. We’re in this together, friends – don’t turn it into an argument over the things that our salvation doesn’t hinge on. Thanks.
**P.S. Thanks, Liz. Love you, friend, and your wise words to me. 🙂