Comparison is the Thief of All Joy

The past 4 years have been pretty up and down and all over the place for my family. Some of it has been great, some not so great. In 2014, my mom died and life as we had become accustomed to, changed for us. Not only did it change because she was no longer here, but it changed because it set in motion lots of discussions and decisions about how and what our life should look like.

It included where we would live. We almost moved across country. Packed up everything, was about to put the house on the market, then BAM! We were staying here. What we did do after two years, was move into a new house. We believe that eventually we will move out of state, but we are waiting until we know for sure where and when God wants us to make that decision. Over the course of the years, we definitely had tons of learning going on in and out of our home, but I always felt like it wasn’t enough or it wasn’t like what “everyone” else was doing.

Have you ever played the comparison game? You know. The game where you look at what you are doing and you look on Facebook and Instagram and eek, Pinterest, and you see all the cool things all the other homeschooling moms are doing. Maybe you even came to this blog figuring you would find the homeschooling mom AND homeschool group leader who has all her ducks in a row and is flawless in execution. If you thought that, PLEASE let that leave your mind right now. It is by the grace of God that I get through some days, especially if fractions are involved! Sometimes I really wonder if fractions were created by Satan because they bring out the worst in me.

I am thankful that we are on year 7 and this year (knock on wood) has been going pretty well, lesson-wise. Learning for us now takes place 24/7 so I find it so much easier to just do what works for our family. We love to travel, so we incorporate that into our days. We rarely go anywhere where we cannot find something interesting to encounter or learn about. But does that look like what the “other” moms are doing? Probably not, and that is ok.

We do a type of homeschooling some call eclectic. I call it hybrid. It’s a little bit of everything. I am not an expert on homeschooling, although I do know so much more than I did 7 years ago. My goal for myself and for the kids is to end up having learned more and experienced more than we did at the beginning of the year. For us, it is part classical with workbooks, co-ops that are more unschooling, and everything in between. It seems to have worked for us this year…

But then the panic sets in. I know I get caught up in amount of days and whether we are doing enough. Should we add more reading? Should my kids be writing more than they should? Have we gone on enough field trips to expand their learning? I start looking outside of our home to see where everyone else is at this point of the year, and it’s lunacy. It can and will drive you crazy! And then I remember, homeschooling is not a race where we compete against each other. It is a journey where we get to do life together.

So what are we supposed to do?

One of the wisest homeschool moms I know once told me, just BREATHE,  and give myself a break.

Are you with me weary homeschool moms? She was right. I need to remember to breathe and realize I am doing an awesome job. Our children are learning, they are highly socialized (because we know how important that is!), and most importantly, they love Jesus. Sure, things might not go as planned, but it usually never does. LAs a former teacher, I can tell you, nothing ever goes as planned and curriculum is rarely finished. The beauty of what we do as homeschoolers is that we are not bound by the four walls or a set calendar and everything matters. EVERYTHING.

The moment you shared this morning with your children when there was a gorgeous sunrise. The discussion you had in the car about why someone might be sleeping on a park bench and how grateful we should be. The time when your family helped pack Thanksgiving dinners for those in need. The nature walks you went on where you listened for birds and tried to identify them and all the trees around you. The countless times that you or your children have asked Google or Alexa for an answer to a question that came up. The conversation you had with your children about God’s character and how deeply He loves each and every one of us.

Those moments matter. In the whole scheme of things, those are the lessons you want them to learn. There is JOY in the process of learning and growing. There is JOY in the process of being there to teach your children and to play a vital role in who they will become. When we start comparing ourselves to each other, we lose that JOY. That is why we need to stop allowing it to happen. We need to realize that the comparison game is a ploy that Satan uses to get at our households and to get to us. John 10:10 says that…

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

Do not let him do that to you. You are doing an awesome job! You have made it this far and even if you have doubted your ability, questioned your decisions, and maybe even wanted to quit, it’s ok. Know that we have all been there. Do not let comparison steal your joy.

So, weary homeschool moms unite…and breathe.

It’s all good. God works ALL THINGS together for good.

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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.- Isaiah 40:29-31

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