Homework. It stresses me out every year. I think I get more stressed out about it than my kids do. After a long hard day at work, my brain is fried. I feel like I've used up every ounce of rational thinking to do my own job. Then, on the drive home, the stress begins to well up inside me. The traffic doesn't help. It provides plenty of time for me to revel in my anxiety. I feel overwhelmed and nauseous as I think more about the drama that is about to ensue. First, I've got to figure out dinner, than I've got to get online and looks at my kids' homework assignments and hope they somehow were able to start in the after-school program without their parents to keep them from getting distracted. Usually they haven't been able to start - it's too noisy, or there was a game they wanted to play, or they didn't have a pencil, or the right book.
The list of speed bumps and excuses goes on and on. My mom guilt takes over. I blame myself for having to work - I tell myself it wouldn't be like this if I were able to be with them more. I blame myself for having such a horrible commute - maybe I could move to cut down on lost time. None of those scenarios can be remedied at the moment. My anxiety is fueled by the knowledge of how quickly these years are flying by. I know I only have a limited amount of time to help them learn and succeed.
Phew! It feels good to say it all - to get that all out. The pressures that come with working parents trying to juggle it all and give their kids the best academic opportunities is an age-old dilemma. For me, I can feel it making my hair gray and creating horrible bags under my eyes as we speak. What's a parent to do? Pray a lot, and cry sometimes, and ask friends for help, and cling to the promises that God has a plan for my kiddos, and know that he loves them more than I do.
As the new year begins, I hope and pray that you find glimpses of hope and grace from God to carry you through these tough times. You are not alone (I'm quite stubborn and it took me a while to accept that). Here's one of the verses that helps me when I'm feeling exceptionally discouraged:
"Even youths grow tried and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:30-31