Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Balancing Being the Strict Mom with the Compassionate Mom

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a pretty no nonsense, take no guff, stand your ground kind of girl.  I once overheard my kids having a discussion with their best friends as to which of their Mom's was the most strict.  Without blinking their cute little eyes, all of them declared that I was. They agreed that they liked to come to my house cause we did fun stuff but they said they knew that I meant what I said the first time.  As a rule, I am fine with that.  But God has been doing funny things with my heart this year.  I think with Connor leaving for college, watching Caileigh battle medications with nasty side effects and fight being sick all the time, and seeing that my little man, Collin, is about to meet me eye to eye, I have become much softer. Tears come to my eyes much more often and with seemingly little provocation, which annoys me, but I think God is just softening my heart and I might need to yield my pride and go with it.

Before this year, I never had to fight the urge to let them slide on a paper or push back their assignment or not clean their room every week.  If I said it needed done, I mean right now.  But recently, I have had to stop and think about the ramifications of letting some things slide instead of just demanding it be done.  I may finally have an inkling of what my more compassionate friends who aren't on the Dominant side of personality tests, deal with. It's an interesting experience. Novel even.

However, things still need done and with the twins in high school this year it matters. So, here are some things I have had to do to balance being the strict Mom with the compassionate Mom.

1.  Know what matters.  Even with great homeschool curriculum, some assignments matter more than others.  The ancient history timeline may be something we can let slide but math really should be done each day.  If your kids just wrote an amazing 7 page paper, it might be okay to do their comprehension questions orally, while sitting and having tea and cookies. If they are getting all A's on their Science module test, it might be fine to skip the Quarterly tests.  If they are younger and they did 3 really great copy work sentences in their best handwriting, maybe let them dictate their history narration to you.  If spelling is making them cry, try having them write the words on the driveway or with paint.  If they really are struggling reading that new chapter book, offer to read every other page to them while while they read everything else to you, and have tea and cookies.  It's the learning that matters, not necessarily the assignment.  If you know and understand the goals of a subject and why the curriculum is having you do it, then you have a better idea of what in that assignment really matters. The learning and retention of the material should be the focus not the fact that you can check all the boxes at the end of the day.  Know what matters.

2. Know your children. When Caileigh was little, she was able to bamboozle almost everyone into believing that she couldn't read as well as she could  just so she could snuggle in their laps, and be read to. She never did it to me because I knew better, but I caught on after Daddy told me how concerned he was that Caileigh couldn't read as well as Collin.  She was more an willing to get out of anything 'hard' by saying that she was tired or sick.  I had to know her enough to call her bluff, "Oh, that's too bad that you are sick and have to stay home while I take the boys to the library and ice cream tonight."  It's funny now that she is actually sick and has bad days that she absolutely refuses to be let out of anything.  Today as I watched her tired eyes try to write a paper and fill with tears because the words just wouldn't come, I had to make her stop and send her to her room for a nap. As a Mom, I need to be a student of my kids and know what their strengths and weaknesses are and be able to tell the difference between faking it and being very sick.  This can be difficult and I have had some spectacular fails in this department which meant I had to spend some time really observing and watching my kids natural cues and learning their personalities.

3. Know yourself.  I can let the house slide only so far and then I lose my mind.  I know that if my kids rooms are not walk able, that's going to be a problem.  The bathrooms must be atleast wiped down and we need to do a quick 15 min put everything away in the main areas daily or I start to twitch. I have learned not to ignore these things because then I have to insist that everyone stop what they are doing and DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!!  If I just maintain these things then I can let everything else slide.  I also know that other than having the stomach flu, I feel better if we atleast do some read alouds,  quiet reading and Bible together, no matter what else happens.  It helps that we do math and LA all year round so we are generally ahead in those subjects so we can drop kick them if we need to.  Don't let your compassionate self go beyond the point of no return.  If you have let everything slide, whether it be school, discipline or the house, and you feel the need to yell and scream, then you need to reevaluate your boundaries.  Know yourself well enough to know where your line is and then don't go there.

If you are like me and are on the stricter side, you might need to reevaluate what really matters and let some things slide that don't  really matter and enjoy your kids and the process more.  They are little for so short a time, don't miss it because you have to check all the boxes.  On the other hand, if you never get anything done and you feel like a failure and feel the need to loudly express your displeasure when you've let things go too far, you might need to add some structure, evaluate what your goals are and what really matters and hold your ground.  Neither extreme is going to make a loving, peaceful, successful homeschool or family environment.  God calls us to continually grow and to strengthen our strengths and weaknesses so that we become more like Him.  Jesus was compassionate when the situation called for it but He also held his ground when it was necessary.  To be more like Him, we need to have both in our lives. 


1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog post and one I needed to read this morning! I struggle with the balance of being strict yet compassionate. Thank you for the tips!


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