I did consider entitling this How to Rip Momâ€™s Heart Out in One Easy Step but I decided that it was too dramatic a title, even for me.
This morning, not even an hour ago, my youngest four children headed off to school away from home for the first time. I have homeschooled since 1989, which means that if I had been teaching away from home I would be able to retire now.
That in itself is an odd thought to me.
My oldest was the only one of my eight children to go to a traditional school and that only lasted about two and a half years. We brought her home to homeschool for many reasons and once weâ€™d made that step, there was just no looking back.
I loved it. I loved doing projects together, reading aloud, doing field trips to the art museum and other places. I loved going out to the street in front of the house and drawing the outline of the Mayflower in chalk so that the kids could see how small the ship really was.
I loved spending my days being intensely a mom. It defined me.
When I got divorced, I tried to continue to do school with the kids. By that time, three of them had graduated and one was very close. I thought that since I worked at home, Iâ€™d be able to juggle it all â€“ and I didnâ€™t want to create any more turmoil in their lives than the divorce already had.
I kept thinking I could work harder, schedule better, or figure it out, but the truth is that I finally had to admit that I just canâ€™t do it all no matter how hard I try. I have limits.
So, last week they tested, signed papers, and toured a local school. We went and dropped a jaw-dropping amount of cash on uniforms and supplies. I was surprised that they handled it so well, and even looked forward to it.
I was more surprised to find that, even though I felt totally devastated by the change in one sense, I also felt a freedom that I hadnâ€™t felt in a long time.
The hardest thing that I am dealing with is that screaming voice in my head that tells me what a failure I am. After all, homeschooling was the Mommy Track I had taken. It is all I have known for two decades.
Sending my kids to school is painfully admitting that IÂ couldn’tÂ do it. I know that that is a twisted viewpoint, but there you are. Itâ€™s a common one among homeschool moms, because we have tried to be superhuman for a very long time. Change feels like failure to many of us.
On the other hand, it is not yet nine in the morning and I have finished two articles. My kitchen is clean, the bed is made and I have the meat for dinner thawing out on the counter. The house is incredibly quiet. Only time will tell if this was the best decision for us, but honestly I think, painful as it is, the time is right.
Have you made a big transition that totally changed your life? Could you leave a comment and let me know how you handled it?