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A Mother's Day Gift – Love

by Jessica Parnell | May 08, 2016 | 3 min read

Ah! Motherhood! The most challenging and rewarding endeavor of our lives. A time when any given day can mean a sense of pride or disappointment; a time when our proven methods of maintaining control are a thing of the past; a time that can seem to drag on forever and yet pass in the blink of an eye.

In the early days of motherhood, we find ourselves all too often covered in anything and everything that can possibly come from their little bodies. Our clothes are stained, our purses are filled with things we never dreamed would fit inside, and our need for sleep is trumped only by our desire to find someone to do our cooking and cleaning. We cannot wait for our children to begin to show a bit more independence and we work hard to teach them all of the things they can do all by themselves.

We are their first teachers, and we teach them amazing things!

They learn how to communicate with us before they can speak; they learn how to wait; they learn proper manners; they learn how to obey. At the same time they are learning to walk, talk, sing, get dressed, memorize, show kindness, love—important skills and abilities that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Throughout their elementary years, we find ourselves immersed in their activities, encouraging them to become more independent and watching their gifts and talents begin to shine. We are amazed at how quickly they grow and learn and have fun watching them test new waters and tackle new challenges.

As homeschoolers our teaching role shifts during these pre-school and elementary years.

We have the incredible experience of teaching them to read, to explore, to find out more when they want to dig deeper. We are there to teach them the skills of math, writing, and reading. We challenge them to explore science, and we help history come alive.

All of my children are now in their high school and their young adult years, and somehow that independence I so wanted to instill in them during elementary and middle school is not quite as appealing now that they are naturally pulling away and seeking their own way. I miss the days when they relied on me more, when they crawled into bed with me to snuggle or talk, and when the hugs were so much more abundant.

But what is so enjoyable about these teen years is that they do still need us.

As a mom, we are their biggest cheerleader, their source of wisdom, and the one who challenges them to push forward when they doubt themselves. We have the incredible privilege of helping our children launch out into adulthood, but always supporting them when they need us. At this time, a new relationship starts to develop, which will help define your relationship in the future. And, we begin to recognize that we have just as much to learn from them as they do from us (if not more). Things like Mom jeans are not cool, LOL does not mean “Lots of Love,” and social media is more than just Facebook.

Our role as teacher shifts once again.

Most days we are their coach, tutor, and guidance counselor rather than their teacher. We keep them motivated, help them select the right courses, begin the college discussions, and step in to help when they get stuck on something. And this independence is welcome because we know they will need it for their next step into college.
Moms, I know that there are challenges in motherhood, strained relationships with our kids at different stages in life, and times when we wish we could just escape for a bit. But today, I encourage you to focus on what is going well. Reflect on what makes motherhood such an adventure. And take heart—there are both rewards and new adventures ahead!!

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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