The sand in my youngest’s daughter’s homeschool hourglass is swiftly running through the hole as she is busy preparing for her final year of homeschooling and I know that my years as a homeschool mom are fast coming to an end. I pray that we will end it properly, for her, but more importantly, well for me.
Because she has studied independently for several years now, she freed me up to start to follow my own interests, hobbies and work while I am still available in the study with her while she works.
Steven Lambert wrote in Life After Homeschool on Five In A Row Facebook page,
These days are long, but the years are short. The homeschool years go by so quickly. Empty nesting is a challenge for EVERY mother.
As each child leaves, they take with them their special and unique personalities and life in the home shifts and changes. I hope that I will transition into my new season of child-free-home motherhood without the distress that I experienced when my older two daughters graduated and moved out and started their own lives.
When they both left home straight after their respective graduations, I recognized that much of my identity and purpose was wrapped up in my role as their homeschool mom and I floundered emotionally for a while.
But if I had paid attention, the shift into not being “needed” or “wanted” had started much earlier. In episodes where my first teenager pushed away from me and my “help”, my idealistic motherhood ideals and expectations were shattered. I lost perspective and I cried before the Lord and eventually surrendered my ideals and began to trust Him for an upgrade in my relationship with my daughters. I learnt to remain open and available in grace toward them. I began to focus on their teenage loves, passions, interests and hobbies, and to champion and support them in their early entrepreneur endeavours. This subtle shift made it possible for my graduate daughters to move out into their independence without a huge wrench in my heart. It felt right and natural, and I have always believed that to be a successful mother, I must work myself out of my job as a mom.
High school moms, may I encourage you to prepare your exit strategy as time and opportunities begin to present themselves in these final homeschool years. Are there dreams you never took time to pursue? Did you love to paint? Sew? Write? Do you have a skill or passion? Take a class. Share what you have learnt with others. Teach a class. Mentor younger moms stuck deep in their trenches. Be a Titus 2 woman. Keep on learning, discovering, growing.
More importantly, work on your marriage and your relationship with your husband. When I poured myself into my early years of homeschooling, I gave most of my energy to my young kids rather than into my marriage. My life pretty much revolved around my kids. Now that the children are older and more independent, I started to rediscover and revitalize my relationship with my hubby and find renewed purpose and intimacy, especially as we both transition into the next phase and season of our lives.
It helps to shift one’s perspective, to anticipate the new open, free and quiet days as a wonderful blank canvas for new opportunities! I may have an empty and quiet nest someday soon, but my days can be full of interests and activities that fulfil me and allow me to live out my gifting and passions in a new way.
My hope is the joy of ending well — to launch our last child into independent adulthood, freely— instead of mourning the stage of parenthood that is ending. That is my prayer as I prepare my exit from my many years of homeschooling.
You can read another good article on having an exit strategy here.
Blessings to each of you in whatever transition you may find yourself, Nadene.