Where Did I Leave My Cape?
A funny thing happened to me the other day. I was having a chat with one of our neighbors as we watched our kids play. Of course, the topic of school came up. After hearing the news that we homeschool, my neighbor suddenly appeared starstruck and exclaimed, “Wow! You must be Supermom!” I mumbled something about being pretty normal and we left it at that. But the whole conversation stayed with me for the rest of the day.
This sort of thing is said to me often. As soon as the word “homeschool” is dropped, people look at me like they can actually see my cape flying in the breeze behind me. As if somehow I have this amazing superpower that enables me to stay home with my three sons 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and somehow keep my sanity.
Later that night, I relayed the whole story to my husband. His wise reply to me? “So? You are Supermom.” (He’s so nice to me.) Why, then, did it bother me so much?
WHY AM I BOTHERED?
After some time, it hit me. The reason it bothered me so much that everyone, including my husband, thought I was Supermom was this: I’m just not. It seems so simple and downright obvious, and yet I was still amazed at the reality of this truth. Here are the facts:
1. It took me until noon to get showered and dressed today, and while I was in said shower, my three boys camped out by the door taking turns tattling on each other.
2. I had every intention of getting up early this morning and exercising. Instead, I snoozed my alarm twice, skipped the workout, and ate three oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. I then proceeded to lecture my boys on the evils of laziness.
3. I had to explain to my seven-year-old son for the millionth time that we don’t stand on our chair to do our math, and then totally lost my patience with him when he did it for the one millionth and one time.
4. I avoided a spelling test today, knowing that I should give it but wanting to avoid the bloody war that would follow if I insisted that it happen.
5. I threw caramel corn in a bowl and gave it to my four-year-old so he’d be quiet during a reading lesson. Did I mention it was a mixing bowl?
These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. I am just as human as the next person. Sure, my husband and I made the decision to teach our children at home, but that obviously doesn’t require a superpower. Why, then, would anyone assume that I was a mom with amazing superhuman talents?
THE TRUTH IS
Once again, my all-knowing husband had the answer. “Those people see you homeschooling and staying home with your children and they know that there is NO way they could ever do it.” Hmmm. So, this makes me Supermom? Hardly. If they knew the truth that I’m about to reveal to you, they would save their breath, along with their praise and awe-struck comments. The truth is, I suffer from being selfish. I don’t always want to stay home with my children who, on occasion, have been known to be super-brats.
I don’t always want to sacrifice my sleep, my looks, my sanity and, most importantly, my time. Don’t get me wrong. There are great days filled with lots of learning, laughter, and love. I treasure those days because we all know there will be a season in our homeschooling journey when those days are few and far between.
So, if I’m not Supermom and I don’t have amazing powers, where do I get the strength to do what I do everyday? For the answer to this question, I went straight to the source. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Only the amazing grace of Jesus Christ can give me the ability to do the impossible, such as stay home with my three sons all day, everyday. Only His strength and power allow me to teach them and have my words make sense. Remembering His incredible sacrifice on the cross and His forgiveness helps me to forgive my family, friends, and those around me. I don’t really do anything at all. There is nothing that I do or accomplish that doesn’t have His hand on it. It’s amazing, really.
And on those days when I feel like a super-villain (see list of facts previously mentioned), I fall back on these words, “But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
We’ve established that I’m not Supermom. So what should I say to those neighbors, friends, and random strangers who insist on calling me one? I’ve decided to tell them that I’m really more of a sidekick. God is my Superhero, and I’m honored that I can serve him with my life and the daily labor of my hands. I’ll gladly help out and do the dirty work that He wants me to do. I’m just a sidekick, ready to give credit to my Master for all that He has done. I’m a sidekick, ready to sacrifice and give my all.
But, I will not be wearing green tights.
© 2010, Sarah Schofield. Reprinted with permission from The California Parent Educator.