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22 July 2019


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Melanie B

I feel like I'm constantly telling and revising the story of my life in my head.

I've always felt like there was no way I could hold it together if I tried to work and parent at the same time. This is not for lack of a role model. My mom worked (in computer programming and troubleshooting) through my whole life and continues to work after her official retirement. My parents always expected me to go to college, to go to grad school to work in a professional capacity. So my feeling unable to juggle multiple roles doesn't spring from a lack of knowing what that looks like. Just my experiences that when I try to stretch myself too far I tend to start to fall apart, my physical health suffers, I get sick and my mental health suffers, I get anxious and depressed. Maybe in part those expectations about a career always felt external. Some part of me always wanted to be a stay at home mom and a writer and felt like teaching was my plan B in case my secret Plan A never materialized in the form of husband and children. I always wanted to be a writer and was pretty realistic about the economics of that from fairly early on thus the externals of what I did to make a living always seemed secondary to a calling that was highly unlikely to actually make me a living.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoy wearing the twin hats of mother and homeschooler, though homeschooling wasn't even on my radar until sometime after I'd left graduate school. I feel like this, much more than teaching college, fulfills the part of me that naturally is a teacher. Even though I often feel like I'm only a marginally competent homeschooler, it still seems like the only right thing for me to be at this moment in time.

At the same time I have this intuitive sense that something remains to be done that will be a new phase of my life once this homeschooling gig is over. I'm really not sure what that will be, exactly. Will I go back to teaching college? Will I be a full time writer? Something else I cannot quite imagine? Still, I know homeschooling isn't forever and I think there will be something else after that. An unexplored country I'm kind of looking forward to reaching someday even while I'm not in a rush to get through this to get to that.

Christy P.

It is an accomplishment to be self-aware enough to make choices about how to spend your time.


Christy, that’s definitely true. I’ve managed to pare away a great deal of unnecessary aggravation (much of it falsely cloaked in ought-to-dos) in the past several years.

Melanie, I had that intuitive sense of something left to do for a long time, but I am trying to detach from it because my spouse expects to retire before we are even done homeschooling, and I had better not have too many plans in place lest I not be able to choose how to apend my time.


This is interesting. As a fellow homeschooler who was also academically trained (math), parts of this resonate with me even as others are not part of my story. I did know that math at the post-grad level was not for me. But as I walked away from post-grad work, I watched "Proof" and knew I was closing a door that would never re-open, and I grieved that. I was glad to accomplish the degree and I think I might enjoy teaching intro level service classes.

And now as I've moved into homeschooling high school, I find myself facing a struggle I never expected: living my life vicariously through my student(s). This last year, I worked very hard, and was pretty pleased about how the year turned out, and I have been struggling (internally) with being (internally) proud of my efforts and their fruit while not in any way taking away from the fact that everything my high schooler attained, SHE did. I merely facilitated. These are her attainments. (BUT BOY WHAT A GREAT JOB I DID FACILITATING, says my internal voice). Argh. It's an ongoing struggle... and then I start to feel like because I'm not pointing out my work, it's not even seen. College admissions will be part and parcel, I'm sure... so the struggle goes on.


mandamum, I think of the high school years as a collaboration. I bet when you start pulling together the transcript you won’t feel that it’s unjust to recognize (internally) and honor (internally) the work you put into your end of things.


I think about the things I heard growing up all the time. Took me a long time to stop comparing myself to the girls in my high school class, because I realized no one but my mom cared how/what I was doing compared to them.

Glad to see you're writing again.

Melanie B

I think in terms of intuition about something left to do, not having firm plans is wise. I try not to let my thoughts get too specific. Who knows what the future will hold. I guess for me it's more like a mystery box, I sort of look forward to getting to open it some day to see what that part of my life will look like.

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