Mom shaming is real.
I think it’s always been a thing, but the advent of the internet and social media have exacerbated mom shaming. Mothers (particularly homeschool mothers) feel quite free to proclaim “It’s MY way or the highway!”.
Your homeschool method is too relaxed. Your homeschool method is too strict. You are a secular homeschooler?
You let your children listen to secular music? You allow your children to watch PG-13 movies?
Your child has a phone? My child will NEVER have a phone until they can drive a car.
Harry Potter? Captain Underpants? Diary of a Wimpy Kid? (such twaddle!)
“I would NEVER allow my child to play Fortnite.” (never say never, my friends)
You have a glass of wine at the end of your homeschool day? (Curses.)
These are just a FEW of the points we squabble over and just a few of the “specks” we tend to point out in our neighbor’s eye.
Sometimes criticisms are subtle, and sometimes they are blatant.
The effect, however, is always the same: mom shaming discourages and disheartens the very people who need the MOST encouragement.
I believe in strong moral values and rules for my children, but I also believe each family is different. Not one person will be converted to my way of thinking simply because of what I say. In fact, the most powerful influencers in my life are the people who say VERY LITTLE.
I want to propose a revolution of sorts. The next time you feel tempted to criticize another mother’s choices, how about speaking words of encouragement and life instead?
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
~ Proverbs 18:21
I am learning so much from a Godly group of homeschooling women in my community. I am proud to call them friends and co-laborers in this endeavor of teaching our children at home. These women lift each other HIGH on a daily basis - and they don’t just lift each other, they lift all those they encounter.
I pray these five ways to encourage your fellow homeschool mom give you a starting point for how to speak life and love into your homeschool mom friends. We all need encouragement and support!
Ways to Encourage a Homeschool Mom
Share an Encouraging Read
I’ve done this on many occasions!
It doesn’t have to be a “homeschool” book - it can be something you’ve chosen because of your friend’s personality and interests. Recently, I loaned the book Harry’s Trees to a homeschool mom friend of mine who loves nature and magical stories. She LOVED the book. I know, too, that this book provided her a bit of an escape during a particularly tough time for her.
When you take the time to choose a book, write a note to go inside of it, and deliver it to your friend, you are telling them you are thinking about and value their friendship. You ENCOURAGE them because they know they matter. (You might even be giving them valuable insight and resources for their homeschool journey!)
Recently, these are some books I have shared:
Say It With Coffee!
(or whatever beverage your friend likes!)
Inviting a homeschool mom to coffee seems like such a little thing - but believe me - it can be HUGE.
Could you surprise a friend who needs encouragement by arranging for some childcare and then picking her up to go to a fun local coffee shop? Or, maybe you could get your friend’s favorite beverage and drop it off at their house with a note of encouragement. Or, write them a note of encouragement with a small Starbucks gift card and pop it in the mail.
I have a sweet friend whose husband travels a lot. She is a fabulous homeschooling mom, but when her husband is gone and it’s just she and her three young children at home, life can get lonely. Oh… how about when those three children are SICK and she can’t get out?
That’s the perfect time for a Starbucks delivery from a friend, with a special treat of cookies for the kiddos.
Many times we face our greatest discouragement when children are sick and our husbands are away. We feel isolated and alone.
Just being remembered can be such a gift to a homeschool mom!
Lavish Public Praise
Have you ever noticed the warmth you feel when someone praises you publicly?
Take time to praise a homeschool mom you admire. The next time you are with a group of friends, lift that person up publicly. “I love the way so and so is always so positive and fun with her children, don’t you?”
Leave a message on your friend’s FB wall praising them.
If you have a group text of mom friends, publicly praise them there.
Have enough faith and confidence in YOURSELF to praise someone else. The effects for them (and you) are beautiful.
There is never really an occasion for a homeschool mom to receive praise for her job. It a mom is homeschooling teenagers it can be an especially lonely time. Praise is free and effective. Use it liberally!
I have a friend who is particularly good at this. Denise has that knack for opening her open and speaking life abundantly into everyone she encounters.
My first year of homeschooling she invited me over to look at her stash of old lapbooks. She had met me at a homeschool literature fair and saw I was new to homeschooling. From that moment she took me under her wing and taught me so many things.
I recall one morning when she called me (she knew I had just dropped a child off at CC) and asked me if I wanted to come over for coffee. We just sat and chatted. It was immensely encouraging to me. Sometimes we just need a FRIEND and we just need someone to let us know we matter outside of our roles as homeschooling mothers.
Even if you don’t think you are hospitable, just open your doors to your friends. Believe me, they don’t care about the state of your house. The state of our hearts is much more important!
Everyone’s kitchen table is a mess! Why not share the mess with others?!?!
Truly listening is a gift not many people possess. It is a skill that must be honed and practiced.
The next time you are standing in a group of moms while the kids are on the playground, try simply LISTENING. Don’t speak, just listen and truly HEAR what the moms around you are saying.
Can you pick up on a struggle someone is having? Do you hear a prayer need?
Contact that person after your get together (whether by texting or calling them) and let them know you heard them and you are thinking about them. Better still, is there some way you can meet their need during that week?