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Stay at Home Moms are Busy, Too
I'm a homeschooler, so I guess I can't be classified as a typical "stay at home" mom. But there are some similarities. And this week I am very burnt out. Extremely burnt out. I'm tired. And so I would like to give an ear shattering rant, if I may. Please understand this is mostly tongue and cheek, but I have to get it out of my system.

We stay at home because we love our kids. We have a vision for our family that includes us being there to raise our children. We see this as a calling, not a vacation.

Therefore, we don't just sit around all day, doing nothing. We play with our kids. We take them to the library. We read books. We do laundry, wash dishes, mop floors, and vacuum carpets. We go grocery shopping with three kids in tow. We go to the bank with our purse filled with books so we can keep the kids occupied in line. We learn how to cook everything from scratch. We are busy.

So just because we're home doesn't mean that we are always free. Those of us who homeschool also have schedules. We have things we have to get done. You can't just call at any hour of the day and ask us to do you a favour (unless you're my best friend Susan. This isn't written against you, Susan :) ). You can't just assume I can do something for you in the middle of the week since I "don't have a job". Do you know how challenging it is to teach a child to write an essay? We take this seriously, and we do want to get through our teaching goals.

No, I can't always talk on the phone for hours on end. No, I'm not a bad friend if I have to say, "I have to go now", because I do have to go now. I am home for my kids, not so I can talk for hours on end with my friends. I love you, but you have to think of me as being at work. I'm not just automatically available.

I do want to help at the church. I do want to help with community projects. I do care. But I do not have unlimited time. I'm really not that much different from some of the other women in your church who do work. I just work differently, and I happen to work at home. But what I do is important, and I have to get it done.

I am not boring because I don't work. In fact, I probably know more about current events and social issues than you do because I spend a lot of my time researching things for school and keeping current on the internet. I am not a social recluse because I have a big network of friends I get together with who help me teach my children different things. But these things, too, are scheduled, and it seems as if those who are also stay at home moms and those who are also homeschoolers are much more cognizant of the fact that my time is precious than those who are not.

When I say I can't do something, it is not because I am lazy or selfish. It is because I know what my calling from God is--to raise these kids properly, and to reach out where God has given me opportunities--and what you're asking me to do right now doesn't fit with that. I need to keep my eyes on the prize.

I know you're in an emergency. I know you work and you need my help. But just because I'm at home does not mean that my time is always free so that I can be at others' beck and call. I do have things I need to accomplish, too. Respect that, and it will be much easier for me to respect your requests. Understand that I have a to-do list a mile long, as well. Do that, and all of us, working moms and stay at home moms, friends of all types, church acquaintances and pastors, neighbours and friends, will get along so much better.

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At 8:26 AM , Blogger Nancy said…

May I sign my name to this post? I homeschool 4 children this year, and we are very involved in a new church plant. Some days I feel so overwhelmed and there just are not enough hours in my day. One thing we have done this year is not answer the phone during school hours. Those hours school is our priority. It has helped so much.

Thanks for your "rant". It makes me feel better to know that I am not alone.

Blessings on your day!


At 10:33 AM , Blogger Jacquelin said…

Well said, you took the words right out of my mouth. I homeschool 3 children and try to keep 2 more little ones occupied too. And it's our first year! I(we) love it, but dont think we are not busy.
Thanks for the rant, it's exactly how I am feeling.


At 12:11 PM , Blogger Melissa said…

well, i'm not a stay at home mom (yet - i dream of it one of these days!) & i don't homeschool...b/c i'm not yet a mom! Just a newlywed & i will start a family in the next year or two. But i like this blog...i used to nanny 2 different families (at 2 different times) & both homeschooled & i loved it but totally understood the things you are talking about here. :)

And not just for homeschooling moms- some people just ask us to do EVERYTHING & assume we will say yes & get offended if we say no. But we are all called to use our time wisely. :)

Love how you say "except my best friend Susan". Some friends we'll drop anything for!


At 12:33 PM , Blogger livingwaterhomeschool said…

I totally agree!! I've become very good at saying "no", but I don't know if others really understand the amount of time each day homeschooling takes, it really is the same as if I was working outside the home. I think people think I'm lazy or unmotivatated if I don't want to be a Scout leader or even attend daytime ladies Bible studies (I have tried, but it just took too much time out of our day). Homeschooling my children is my #1 ministry, so if that means saying "no" often to other people, they'll just have to deal, I just wish they were more understanding that I'm not sitting at home hanging out all day just waiting for something to do. I run a tight ship, everything is scheduled with the majority of my day spent teaching. It's a unique lifestyle, I think one that only other homeschoolers understand.


At 1:52 PM , Blogger Brett and Jill said…

I understand how you feel. It is good to rant every now and then. It is also good to remind your family, friends, church members of your rules every now and then.


At 2:25 PM , Blogger Amy said…

I do not home school my older two, but I tend to stay busy in spite of their being gone during the day. I have a very active baby, and we have 4 weekly appointments that have me running from home to school to appointments to school to home. We'll be throwing in another weekly appointment sometime this month. I have a lot of fixing up to do in my house, many things to sort through, all in preparation for an overseas move this coming summer. Also? I'm pretty much a single parent anyway, but my husband is deployed again so I can't even leave to go to the gas station alone. No one mows my yard or runs to the store for me when I need that one little item. I do not get a break until the kiddos are tucked in and asleep for the night, and even then I'm 'on call'.

Life gets a little hectic. I just wish people would stop assuming that because I stay at home, I can answer phone calls and texts immediately and that I sleep until mid-morning/early afternoon and/or stay up until the wee hours of the morning. I have children, a schedule, and many things that keep me hoppin'. It would be nice if that were more understood, even by certain people I know who stay home with no or one child and aren't facing the circumstances that we are.

Oh well. Stepping off my little soapbox now! Love the post!


At 2:35 PM , Blogger Kelli said…

I am a homeschooling and stay-at-home mother of three adorable kiddos and I love (almost) every second of my time with them. All moms have "those days" (today was mine!). Thanks for posting this and making me feel human.


At 3:11 PM , Anonymous Simone said…

AMEN :-)
(and amen to Saturday's post too!)
Simone (h/schooling mum of 6)


At 1:15 AM , Blogger MarshaMarshaMarsha said…

Keeping your eyes on the prize-- it is so hard to do with so many "good" distractions out there.

I'm glad you got to rant, Sheila! It ALWAYS makes me feel better!


At 2:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I'll be stopping by again...It's a bit different to my usual stop off for parenting stuff.


At 7:26 PM , Blogger The Happy Domestic said…



At 10:52 PM , Blogger alicia said…

This week has been really difficult with homeschooling and life....thanks for sharing! The telephone calls are the killer to my morning and day. I took the phone off the hook for the last two days and we've been so much happier.

thanks for sharing!


At 12:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

New-ish reader here. Normally, I enjoy your blog, but I felt this post was rather harsh towards working mothers. Particularly if you really feel that working moms don't love their children and/or are not raising them (do you realize that is what you implied?).

I know all moms are busy. We all have some of the same stresses, we each have some different ones. I'm sorry if someone didn't understand that in your life. But that is no reason to turn around and use sterotypes/misconceptions of working moms.

-a working mom (who loves and raises her kids--and much more)


At 8:20 AM , Blogger Sheila said…


I'm sorry if I offended you, but I think you misunderstood the post. I wasn't writing it against working moms. I was writing it against PEOPLE, of all stripes, who assume certain things about me. In fact, the actual people that I was picturing while I was writing it weren't working moms at all. Several weren't even female.

Most were simply older, or else working at the church or some other organizations that I belong to that assume I can just drop everything and do what they need.

So I'm sorry you got that impression, but that's really not what I meant.


At 10:48 AM , Blogger Diane said…

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 10:51 AM , Blogger Persuaded said…

Whoa baby.. my first trip over here (Terry from Breathing Grace sent me,) and can I just say that I don't know how many times I have felt this exact same way. Exact. Same. Way. The talking on the phone thing is my especial pet peeve.

I am a single mom and we homeschool, and my time is so stretched, I never get everything done,lol. Oddly enough some folks seem to think that because I don't have either an outside job or a husband that I must be practically footloose and fancy free. I'm not sure how exactly they come to that conclusion, but hey, I'm sure they have their own special kinda logic;)


At 7:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Working mom here again. I belive you missed my point..that in a post not about working moms, you still put them down.

"We stay at home because we love our kids. We have a vision for our family that includes us being there to raise our children."

Do you not see the assumptions in that statement?


At 9:06 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for coming back. I went back and read the post, and this is what you're referring to:

"We stay at home because we love our kids. We have a vision for our family that includes us being there to raise our children. We see this as a calling, not a vacation."

I don't mean to be critical, but I think you're the one making assumptions.

The truth is, that IS why we are at home. We DO have a vision for our families that includes us being at home. We are at home because we love our kids. That simply is the truth.

That does not mean that you DO NOT love your kids, of course, but for you to say that stay at home moms can't say that, because it may insult working moms, is a little judgmental. I'm not making any judgements on you. God calls each of us to a different thing. But the truth is that the stay at home moms that I am talking about DO feel called to be at home. And that's the point of my post.

BECAUSE we feel called to be at home, BECAUSE we have a vision for our families that includes us being at home, we are busy. We don't like it when people assume we're doing nothing.

I'm not saying that you don't love your kids. But to say that SAHMs aren't allowed to voice the fact that we feel a calling to be at home, and that we're at home because we love our kids, is a little difficult to take. This is something fundamental to who we are, and it is how we feel. I think that we should be able to say that.

Others may have a different calling, and that is perfectly fine. But we don't want to deny ours because others don't have the same one. Can you see the difference?

So how about we leave it that you can feel free to wrestle out your own calling with God, and with your husband, and we can do the same thing, and then we both are free to talk about that? I think that's fair.


At 8:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Wow, were you and I separated at birth? You just spoke my heart! Thank you for encouraging me today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


At 12:33 PM , Anonymous Bonnie said…

I think you are completely right and I don't see anything in your post that down plays the love that a working mom has for her children. This is coming from a working mom, I think that some working moms have guilt issues over working and maybe this commenter is taking some of that guilt out on you! Please keep up the great writing, you are an inspiration and a vent for a lot of us moms out here and we love your blog.


At 10:50 AM , Blogger TRS said…

Thanks for writing this.
I am not a mom - or even a wife. But I am (or was) a friend to those who are. They are not homeschooling but two of my friends have two kids under 5 - and I live 9 hours away from them. (both families)

I never get to talk to them anymore and it seems to me that they just don't make the time.

I mean, I understand when we talk during a nap and the kiddo wakes up - they have to get off the phone. But I don't understand why they rarely (one of them now, never) call me. And I swear that if one day I get to have children I won't forget my friends. I hate it. I thought they WERE my family.

But you make a good point - and I realize that while I was unemployed, I had copius amounts of free time and wanted to talk to my friends (I needed some emotional support).
Anyway, I still don't like it - but now I understand better.

Don't get me wrong. I don't expect to outrank their kids. I just thought we could all continue to be friends.


At 11:16 PM , Blogger marion said…

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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