Archive for the ‘On Being a Mother’ Category

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving dear Brave Writer friends!

This past year has seen explosive growth in our community of caring. I’m moved and touched by your participation with one another and the way you’ve opened space in your families for joy, peace, messes, and poetry. I love being a part of your lives. Thanks for letting me peek in and eavesdrop.

Each Thanksgiving, I like to remind you of all you do and how appreciated that effort is, even if hidden or taken for granted by the people you love. I see you. I see ALL you do. Thank you on behalf of the ones who count on you for your love and devotion.

I am thankful for you…

and for all the ways you give, give, and give.

Thanks for getting up in the middle of the night—again—with the baby and bed-wetter.

Thank you for holding back your tired, angry voice.

Thank you for hunkering down with a curriculum you don’t like but can’t afford to replace.

Thank you for making magic with vegetables and healthy snacks for reluctant-to-try-anything-new kids.

Thank you for overlooking the insensitive jab from your trusted partner because s/he is stressed and being a blockhead.

Thank you for examining your motives.

Thanks for exercising and/or eating right and/or taking your meds and/or trying hard to be healthy when it’s easier to give up.

Thanks for excusing childishness.

Thank you for celebrating childishness.

Thank you for being childlike with your children!

Thank you for the thankless hours you spend comforting your teen who doesn’t even like you sometimes.

Thanks for calling that friend, or your mother, or the sibling that wears you out because they needed you today.

Thank you for keeping house as best you can, in spite of the never-ending assault on your living space by all the people who love you but love your house less.

Thank you for washing an unending parade of dishes, for laundering every last pair of socks, for cleaning behind the couches once a year, for hanging pretty things to look at on the walls.

Thank you for research done, appointments scheduled, payments made on time, and performances attended with camera and heart in hand.

Thank you for not falling apart.

Thank you for getting up again when you do.

Thank you for holding it together long after you thought you couldn’t.

Thank you for pies, potatoes, gluten free rolls, vegan hot corn, turkey or tofurkey, and watching football and the extended edition of Lord of the Rings (again).

Thank you for the look of love that comes over your face when you consider how lucky you feel to be in this family with these people.

The work you do is invisible to many but well known to all of us who lead the same life you do. Well done!

Life morphs and changes; demands emerge and fade. Pay attention to your life; make choices that ensure the peace and well being of your loved ones.

That responsibility does fall to you, and we can be grateful that it does.

With power, comes responsibility. Use it wisely.

As I like to say: “Keep going.”

Happiest of Thanksgiving friends!

Partnership Home Education: Finding Friends for You

Partnership Homeschooling: Finding Friends
Image taken at the 2016 Brave Writer Retreat by Alli Parfenov

Let’s find friends for you!

Homeschooling is much easier when you do it with a friend. Trouble is, sometimes it’s tough to find the right fit. How can you cultivate a homeschool community right in your neck of the woods that meets your need for friendship, support, and practice? What do you do if the only homeschoolers around have very different belief systems or homeschool philosophies?

And what about co-ops? How can you find or start one that allows you to be the you that YOU are?

Let’s talk about it. Grab a cup of tea, put your feet up, and watch the video below.

Find Support and Community in The Homeschool Alliance

A Gracious Space: Fall LIVE

A Gracious Space: Fall Readings LIVE on Facebook Sept. 2016
My phone is ringing, my email dinging. Every day I get to talk with many of you about the coming start to the new school year (here in the northern hemisphere). If I could pop through the looking glass and join you in your living room, I’d happily do it!

Short of that, I thought it might be nice to read my daily reading book together on Facebook. The book is:

A Gracious Space: Fall

Daily readings to sustain your homeschooling commitment
A Gracious Space: FallI’ve written 50 essays of encouragement to read each morning or right before bed (or whenever you need a boost).

I’m going to

Read an Essay a Day on Facebook Live

Starting Tuesday September 6th!

I’ll wake up, read the essay on Facebook, and then discuss it for a few minutes. You can watch live or on replay, make comments, or ask questions. We’ll build a little momentum through the month to keep you motivated and supported.

The book is available in two formats:

A Gracious Space: Fall (print)
A Gracious Space: Fall (digital)

Want to try out A Gracious Space: Fall?

Grab 5 FREE daily readings here!

To join me on Facebook Live, you will want to get the notifications! It’s not as easy as it should be, but here’s a little trick I learned.

Go to the Facebook page and “Like” it (blue arrow). Then Click on the drop down arrow and click on “See First” (red oval and arrow). This will make the notifications appear in your feed every time I post or go live. Next, check “All On (All Posts, Events, Live Videos)” (green arrow and oval).

Facebook notifications

Taking this step will ensure that you never miss a live broadcast again! I know it’s been tricky to find them.

See you September 6th as we disrupt the back to school narrative and forge a new homeschool path!

Announcing: The “Be Good to You” Self-Care Guide

Self-Care Practices for the Homeschooling Parent

The “Be Good to You” Self-Care Guide
is now available!

Your homeschool depends on you: a healthy, centered, confident person.

In the hurry-scurry to be all things to all your bundles of love, it’s easy to get depleted, to forget that you used to have a favorite color, a preferred flavor of yogurt, a vote!

But you do! You have all those things and need them in order to be at your best every. single. day.

To help you get better at this self-care gig, we created an 11 page document with practices that take range from five-minute tune ups to enduring habits that will help you find your footing as both an awesome adult and dedicated loving parent.

You can buy the digital magazine now for a ridiculously low price. 🙂 Only $2.99. Less than a cup of Starbucks! You’re welcome.

Get yours now!

Awesome adulthood

Awesome Adulthood

A Brave Writer mom asked after the recent Awesome Adulthood scope (see it below):

What if, as an adult, you don’t know what your interests are or what you personally enjoy?

Ask yourself this question several times a day: “What do I want?” and make it in reference to something specific.

For instance, you open the refrigerator and see two kinds of yogurt. Ask “Which one do I want?” Not “Which one does the toddler like?” so I’ll eat the other, not “I should eat the unpopular one.” But which of these two flavors do I actually want? If the flavor that comes to you is not in front of you, put it on the shopping list and BUY it the next time you are at the store. And EAT it.

Being home with kids is the most liberating, joyful, wonderful life, and the most exasperating, demanding, nearly impossible life. BOTH. It’s okay to feel both. It’s okay to want a life with them over a career outside the home (me too!) and to have some tiny foothold that retains YOU too—however you get there. Even if it starts with, “I like this radio station so I’m going to listen to it even if others don’t like it.”

Maybe the word “awesome” is tripping you up? What if you said, “Satisfying” or “Meaningful” or a more modest “Happy” adulthood? The core question to answer isn’t whether or not you are leading some “fantastic” life that everyone would find startling or amazing. It’s this question: Are you leading a life that is satisfying to you, that represents the benefits of having gotten to the age you are today, for you? Maybe start there.

Please know it is not my intent to cause anyone to feel MORE burdened, or that there is some NEW standard you must hit that you aren’t hitting.

On the contrary—the goal is liberation and freedom.

Let me make two points:

1. Being a stay-at-home mom is a fantastic life! And it is certainly satisfying. In no way do I want to add an additional burden saying you MUST find some OTHER BETTER thing to love because being a mom isn’t enough. I LOVED being at home with my kids and homeschooling them.

2. It is also wonderful being a grown up adult woman who has her own aspirations, curiosities, interests, and hobbies. It’s okay to want those even while fully invested in parenting and home education. In fact, it can help your homeschool thrive and it can help you have the stamina to stay the course.

The reason I want to say both of these is this: I have been witness to a surprising level of burnout, depression, disappointment, worry, and self-recrimination in home education.

The early years are invigorating (for many) and the enjoyment from the career of home teaching is deeply satisfying and a true adventure. That said, even career teachers and professors get real time off (summers and sabbaticals). They don’t live with their students. They renew their minds and their bodies with outside activities, relationships, and experiences.

I wonder if this level of angst around adulthood and homeschooling is, in part, tied to locating your sense of fulfillment in someone else’s eventual success. In other words, if you are measuring your satisfaction in life by how well your kids perform in your homeschool and under your parenting, your identity and sense of self are now held hostage by the choices your kids make, AND when they leave (which they will), you may only then get to find out what it is that makes you, you!

So the idea behind this “awesome adulthood” is to embrace the powers that go with being an adult—career if you want it, hobby if you can do it, fitness if it makes you stronger and happier, spirituality and that journey if it satisfies your hunger, education through reading or grad school if you need it… and so on.

Do you HAVE to go find these outside the home or at all? No. Let them come to you as a surprise of happy. Let the inspiration find you. I just want to alert you to the possible whispers: “Psst. The art museum is hosting a lecture.” You might think: “I can’t go. I have a nursing baby.” But what if you thought, “I want to go”? What if you paused long enough to notice: “I would enjoy that.”

Maybe that’s how it starts…

Give yourself permission to be surprised by a happy occurrence of inspiration that is not for your homeschools only—but for you. Express you in your home, yes. But when you’re ready, share the wonderful you that you are with the world beyond your doors too. When you do, your kids will see—ah, that’s how you do it. And you’ll say to yourself, “This feels good.”

It should feel good. This is not a duty or an assignment. It is a liberation! Permission. That’s all.

AND – you are free to disagree. It’s just how I see it this side of 50, with thousands of conversations with homeschooling mothers coursing through my brain.

With that as a preface, watch both scopes that deal with Awesome Adulthood:

Part One

Part Two