Juggling Fire

Where are my tweezers?

You is kind smart important

My inadequacy as a homeschooling mom overwhelms me.

I sat last Monday listening to the other moms during our “moms meeting” discuss homeschooling curriculum like it was everyday laundry soap and toothpaste brands. They compared homeschooling Web sites, resources, libraries, DVDs, songs, sign languages, symphony programs, professional sports tryouts … . OK, I’m lying about some of those topics, but I’m not saying which ones.

As I sat there, slumped over the table, my arm barely holding up my wrist which was buckling under the weight of my head now drowning in millions of thoughts of imperfection, all I could think was, “Aren’t these meeting supposed to help our homeschooling endeavors? Shouldn’t we feel better when we leave here?”

I was ready for lunch after the first list of 32 resources went around the table. Then came the verbal resumes of mothers from across the globe: “I’ve been homeschooling for 15 years, and the first year, we used … .” The list took my breath away.

“Yes,” came forward another mother, “we used a couple of those books our fifth year of homeschooling, but my oldest tends to be more of an experimental learner, so we switched to …” the 19th resource on the demoralizing list.

Thankfully, I noticed another mother across the table, wrist about to snap under the pressure of her now-leaden head. I couldn’t make them out, but I could see only three words written on the notebook in front of her. I’d like to think they were similar to the three words I’d written in my notes: broccoli – milk – conditioner. How do we use so much conditioner? My mind wandered away from the pros and cons of accreditation. And where are my tweezers? I bet I’ve bought five pair of tweezers in the last year. I had the same pair of tweezers for 20 years. They were the same tweezers my mother had for 20 years before that. Then Justine left them on a table in Cambodia. No more tweezers. I wish I could remember if we have eggs.

I checked my Facebook.

I could hear voices from around the table. I couldn’t compute what they were saying anymore … algorithms, Chinese logistics, conjuring up lost lyrics of forgotten Broadway show tunes. All Greek to me. Maybe they were speaking in Greek? My kids don’t know Greek! Great, they’re never going to amount to anything in this world. Oh, maybe they’re just talking about healthy lunches.

I couldn’t keep up. Humiliating. What kind of a mother am I? I had no choice at that point in time.

Since I was in a moms meeting, I chose to act like a mom. I threw my eyeglasses on the table behind me, tore off my outer layer of clothing and enabled my mom superpower of selective hearing (only without the tearing off of clothes or throwing of glasses. I wasn’t wearing glasses), and I turned those other moms’ voices right off! Flick of a switch. Best gift God ever gave me. No more voices.

Ahhhhhhh quiet bliss. No pressure.

I checked my e-mail. I had an update from my girls’ online homeschooling program. Both girls right on track. Good grades. A level ahead in some courses. Everything from Nubian Civilization to linking verbs, all covered. And our homeschooling program wasn’t even on the intimidating list. Take that you other moms with your big daunting lists and kids with huge brains!

The bell rang. My mom selective hearing superpower heard the bell in the midst of my silent (yet loud in my head) victorious speech I was filibustering over the other mothers. Time for lunch. Silent filibuster over. I can be confident out loud in my ability to prepare and provide lunch for my children.

My thoughts switched to “The Help” and its reassuring famous quote: “You is kind; you is smart; you is important.”

Indeed I am! I can and will, with dignity, serve my girls lunch.

“Mom, where’s the yogurt I asked you to pack?”

Nobody’s perfect.

“What did you say? My selective hearing is turned on. Eat your apple and go play.”


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