As I run back and forth between a sick child, another child who’s bored and wants to do anything she can to make a mess and get my attention, and yet another child who needs help with her school work, I turn on the TV (which we never ever do during the day, but I’m desperate for the “company” of another adult for just a few minutes!) to my favorite channel–Food Network. My thinking is that I can concentrate on something else for a few minutes. Something I enjoy watching. Something I would enjoy doing if I ever had time to do more than put together one of the 5 meals we live on because I can make them from memory at the same time I’m grading math papers, sweeping the floor, reminding the kids not to touch the hot stove, and keeping the cats off the counter while yelling at the dog not to chase the cats! Ever been there and done that? I imagine you have if you’re a homeschooling mom and wife like I am!
Anyway, as I watched Rachael Ray cooking up one of her “30 Minute Meals,” I noticed something. I noticed that she’s all by herself in the kitchen! No kids hanging on her legs or crying or fussing about being hungry! No cats on the counter and dogs chasing cats! No hubby walking in the door in the middle of a chaotic mess wondering what she’s been doing all day! No wonder she can make beautiful yummy meals in 30 minutes! I could too in her situation. And she doesn’t even have to do the dishes!
So here’s what I’m thinking. (Ok, I’m mostly kidding, but wouldn’t it be a great idea if someone would actually do it?!) I’m thinking that the folks at Food Network need to make a reality cooking show for homeschool moms! Wouldn’t that be great?! And we could all take turns starring in the show because we’re all experts, right? In fact, I think we could teach those Food Network stars a thing or two about cooking! Or better yet, we could let the star of the show borrow our children for an episode or two! Think they could handle it? Think any food would actually get cooked? Me neither, but it sure would be fun to watch!
Ok, to be serious, I don’t think we are ever going to see that show on Food Network (or anywhere else for that matter). But we do sometimes compare ourselves to those folks on TV, don’t we? Our kitchens may never look that clean and organized, our houses may never be dust-free and completely clean, our meals may not be beautiful (but at least they’re usually edible), but that’s ok! Because we homeschool, we have kids at home all the time helping us make messes. We don’t have the kitchen to ourselves to cook in peace and quiet, chatting only with a TV audience. We have husbands who come home from work tired and ready for dinner. And you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for that beautiful, quiet, clean kitchen. I wouldn’t trade it for the gourmet meals that look so beautiful. I wouldn’t trade my life as a homeschooling mom and wife for any of those things!
One day your kitchen (and the rest of the house) will stay clean because there won’t be children there to mess it up. One day, you’ll be able to make those beautiful gourmet meals because you’ll get to choose what you want to eat instead of feeding a house full of picky children. One day those things will happen, and that’s ok! I think God intends for us to enjoy every age and stage of our lives. But for now, I choose to enjoy having my children at home. I choose to enjoy homeschooling them, enjoy cooking with them, and even enjoy cleaning the kitchen with them. (Ok, well, so maybe we don’t really enjoy cleaning the kitchen…) In other words, I choose to enjoy living real life as a homeschool mom and wife! How about you?
Update: It’s hard to believe it, but I wrote this article 5 years ago when my children were 17, 16, and 10. Now they’re 22, 21, and 15. The older two have graduated from our homeschool, and I’m only homeschooling my last child who is finishing 9th grade. I have to admit that it’s still hard to keep the kitchen clean because my kids still love to make messes and still don’t love helping clean them up. But now I truly do treasure each day because I know I won’t have them all under my roof much longer.
So to you moms who feel like your little ones will be little forever and you’ll never be alone in the kitchen (or the bathroom…), I’m here to tell you that it will happen sooner than you can believe! So enjoy your life and your family now even on the hard days. Tomorrow they’ll be grown.