I had a nasty homeschool morning and I wanted to send my kids on the big yellow bus anywhere.
I called a friend in distress and she encouraged me to listen to a Brene Brown Ted Talk.
This Brene Brown Ted Talk wasn’t directly for a homeschool mama.
But Brene Brown has taught me so many things that have informed my homeschool.
1. I needed to see my needs and see that I was another person in my homeschool too.
I needed to observe my thoughts, get to know my inner world, and question whether those thoughts were true.
Bonus: I can see & validate the real person in other people too.
2. “It’s not about ‘what can I accomplish?’ but ‘what do I want to accomplish?’ A paradigm shift.”
There are days that I must set my mind in the direction of what I want to accomplish, not just what I can naturally accomplish without the least bit of resistance. I tell myself, “It’s not about can’t, it’s just about do.”
I tell myself this when I write a blog post despite little ones at my feet or the one thousand and one things I still need to do with each of my kids.
Because I want to do it, I’ll just get to it. It’s not about can’t, it’s just about do.
3. “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”
Our trips to rural Africa convinced me that we North Americans have something to learn: camaraderie. Can’t say I enjoyed the oppressive humidity, the giant bugs crawling up my leg in the shower, the week of malarial semi-consciousness, or the lack of consistent, clean water, but what I wanted to bring home was the camaraderie.
I watched people talk to each other, really talk to each other.
People actually stopped to listen to the answer “How are you?” There were numerous greetings for each time of day, for different locations, and for different levels of formality.
Though I couldn’t bring back the people that taught me camaraderie, I could return home to show my kids that authenticity and community bring purpose and meaning to our family life.
And on this particular homeschool day, I could remember that getting along is one of my only goals in my homeschool, some days.
4. “To me, a leader is someone who holds herself or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.”
As a parent leader, my initial instinct is to squash the unlovely aspects of my children. Reacting to unpleasant behaviours feels like my default. Uplifting their potential is sometimes an afterthought when I have a teacher planner filled with activities I want to accomplish.
At the end of the day, I am responsible for finding potential in my little people and encouraging them to greater growth in themselves to become who they were meant to be.
So I watch what their natural interests are, search for learning opportunities, and encourage them in all of it.
5. “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.”
Somewhere along the way, I flipped to the other side: the side that was willing to risk being the real me.
The authentic side was the aspect of me that wasn’t trying to win favour. This was frightening at first because I thought that if people saw who I really was, they might reject me.
And frankly, there might be truth to that fear. People might not choose to spend time with me if they knew the real me.
However, if I wasn’t my real self, the real me wouldn’t be seen either.
And the people that would engage the real me actually wouldn’t see me.
6. “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.”
As I study the Impressionist artists with my kids during art hour, I consider their life’s work. I marvel that they didn’t cave to the pressure of the art establishment at that time.
The artistic establishment suggested their work was unfinished, as it didn’t resemble the work of the present era of painters. It was an impression of the art, but not complete art.
The establishment was much like Microsoft or Apple suggesting that someone’s cute little app wasn’t worth squat because it wasn’t what had been done before.
Impressionist art was simply a new version of art, and it was clearly enduring.
When the Impressionists chose to walk in their passion, in their path, they contributed to the history and to our aesthetic enjoyment.
When we come alive in our passions and do the thing we love, someone will always benefit. So we don’t ask the world to validate us, we just go do our thing.
Just like homeschooling.
We don’t ask the world if it thinks we should homeschool. Instead, we see that it makes all of us come alive and we do it.
Taking care of ourselves as homeschool mamas requires that I think the right thoughts, so thank you Brene Brown for helping me to reframe my thoughts.
Homeschool mama self-care relies on thinking the right thoughts about ourselves, our children, and our homeschools.