Help a Poor Mama Out

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I didn’t sign up with Facebook willingly. I’m a private person and would never dream of displaying to the world what some people seem comfortable with, but marketing and a far-flung collection of friends and colleagues pressed me onto the platform.

For the most part, I’m happy connecting with other science buffs and publishing my own content, but I’ve also joined a couple of homeschooling groups. I figured it might motivate me to try new things or at least give me some encouragement. Plus, I can relate to the angst of an insecure young mom feeling like either she, her kids or her whole family is failing at this whole education thing.

This was absolutely true. Every day, I read from moms stressing over grade levels, skills, attitudes and a host of issues we all face. We are thrust into this tiny, all-absorbing world with just mom and a few immature humans, and the temptation to develop a skewed perspective on life is enormous. Smart moms don’t just hide with a box of tissues and some chocolate (been there, done that) for the day; they go find some mature moms to help them realign their thinking.

We can do that for each other!

What’s awesome is, you don’t have to have launched half-a-dozen students successfully into the world to speak into other moms’ lives. Just knowing these fears and frustrations are common to all is a big boost towards a healthy attitude. And if you’ve ever had a child totally stuck on a concept, and then had a breakthrough after you prayed and gave it time to incubate, you can speak powerfully into a hurting mama’s life.

Almost always, when I decide a post is worth commenting on, it’s because I see the poor lady just needs to relax. In fact, someday I’d love to speak at a convention and just hammer this into other moms—but I’m not sure I’m funny enough to give them the catharsis we all need.

It’s bizarre to me, as the mom of five boys, how much mothers will expect of their little superheroes. If my sons graduate from high school and can read their own handwriting, they will be above average. If we can get through middle school and they don’t flee from a reading assignment, we are hugely successful. We ladies can tend to compare our precious little men to our own early selves and forget that boys have been wired by God radically differently. And this is one of the most special things about homeschooling—I can help my boys shine without squashing the “boy” out of them!

Anyway, enough ranting. Here’s something you can always use to calm a dear, struggling mom down:

Don’t compare your kids with the kids who win the National Spelling Bee, get featured in the HSLDA magazine or compete on Jeopardy. The real comparison is between the product you are stewarding and the “Man on the Street” interviews we see on late night TV, where twenty-somethings don’t know Abraham Lincoln from a Buick.

There. Feel better? Pass it on.


Cheri Fields is a 2nd generation homeschooler involved in learning and teaching at home since 1982. She currently teaches her seven kids in Michigan and has found ways to include them in the online ministry God has called her to, particularly as cohosts for their family’s podcast. You can find her at She is a member of the International Association of Creation and a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).