The Homeschool Mama Comparison Game

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So how do you feel about being a homeschooling mama? I have met a few extremely self-confident homeschooling mamas in the thirty years since I became a homeschooling mama myself. I have met thousands of homeschooling mamas who wonder if they can ever do enough or be enough to do a good job. I am guessing that most of you — probably all of you — are in that second category, wondering if you can ever do enough or be enough to do a good job. Do you ever look around you at other homeschooling mamas and then look back at yourself with feelings that you will never measure up?

The Homeschool Mama Comparison Game

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Think about someone whom you believe is the perfect homeschooling mama? Do you know what curriculum she uses, what kinds of activities her children do, what kind of house she lives in, and what she feeds her family? How do you measure up to her? Why does that “measurement” matter? I think I know why. We women are masters at comparing ourselves with others. We learn how to do it when we are little girls.

I learned one of my first comparing lessons in second grade when my parents signed me up for a beauty contest. Mother gathered layers of baby blue tulle onto a tiny satin bodice to create my first evening gown. On the day of the contest, she curled my hair with skinny rubber hair curlers. She and Daddy drove me to a nearby elementary school for the contest. While we girls waited in one of the classrooms, someone snapped my picture with my aunt Emily, who is just a year and a half older than I am. There I was with short curly hair, my long blue gown, and a big smile — with my two front teeth missing.

I don’t remember what it was like to walk across the stage or how I felt when I didn’t win, but I do remember comparing myself with another little girl. I felt second best. Her dress was pink and fancy and came from a store. Mine was simpler, homemade, and blue. My feelings about my homemade dress changed over the years. I’m not ashamed of it anymore; it is one of my sentimental keepsakes. Mother was sweet to make it and I cherish it.

Yes, I have learned some lessons about comparisons, but I still compare myself with other women more than I like to admit. Do you do that, too? Have you ever looked at other homeschooling mothers and felt inadequate? I know exactly how that feels. As much as I want to be like Mary Poppins, “practically perfect in every way,” I am much more like Jo in Little Women, “hopelessly flawed.” I have a desperate need for grace. How about you? Do you feel inadequate, imperfect, hopelessly flawed? I’m not surprised, because you are, I am, and so are those other women we compare ourselves to. The fact that we are hopelessly flawed is the reason Jesus died. Do you really think you have to be perfect to do a good job with your children? God doesn’t think so.

Stop for a minute and think about the woman God chose to be your children’s mother. Out of all the women in the world, out of all the women in the history of the world, He chose you. Cherish your role as a mother. Don’t let your feelings of imperfection keep you from being what your children need. Those feelings can rob your children of something they need very much – you.

Pray. Trust. This is God’s work you are doing.

Remember that He understands all, He is able to help, and He loves you. You don’t have to carry all the load. Give yourself grace.

If we play this comparing game enough, we might actually find people who make us feel not inferior, but superior. Do you sometimes look at other mothers, shake your head, and wonder why they do this or don’t do that? Do you wonder why their children act the way they do? Do you judge some mothers because of how they homeschool and others because they don’t homeschool at all?

We need to remember that we don’t all have the same story. We don’t have the same challenges. Perhaps the women we are judging are doing the very best they can. They might be learning every day what “normal” is because they grew up in troubled families. They might barely be holding on in their marriages. They might be struggling to rear hurting children whom someone else has abandoned.

We only see part of the picture. Only God knows the whole truth. He is the perfect judge. Give grace to other mothers. God began giving grace in the Garden of Eden. Thousands of years later, when He inspired the last words of the Bible, they were these: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”

Think about that tiny word all. God offers grace to everyone who seeks Him: you, me, and all those other mothers, too. Let’s be mothers of grace — mothers who seek God with all our hearts, who have the courage to raise our children to be the people He created them to be, and who have the grace to let others do the same.

And the Word became flesh,
and dwelt among us,
and we saw His glory,
glory as of the only begotten from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
John testified about Him and cried out, saying,
“This was He of whom I said,
‘He who comes after me 
has a higher rank than I,
for He existed before me.’”
For of His fullness we have all received,
and grace upon grace.
For the Law was given through Moses;
grace and truth were realized
through Jesus Christ.
John 1:14-17

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  1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words! It can be so uplifting to be reminded that others share the same struggles and doubts in this challenging yet wonderful journey of being a homeschool family. I thank God for allowing our paths to cross, even though it’s through a curriculum I purchased in hopes to make our history more enjoyable and not a personal face to face pathway. God bless you all for what you do for Him by being such a blessing to me and I’m sure many others!

  2. Again I loved today’s message. I am so thankful for the encouraging words you send to all of us Charlene! Thank you for listening to God and sharing what is on your heart. I shared it with my homeschool community group.

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