Sarah’s Mom Tips: What to Do with Mom Guilt

A mom asked the question, “How do you deal with the fear of missing out and mom guilt? The feeling that it’s just never enough, and you’re never enough and can never be good enough or do good enough?”

Let me tell you why you are so afraid of getting it wrong. You were probably educated under a system that searched for your mistakes, and you were constantly being judged by what you did wrong. You would complete your work, and your teacher would take it and grade it. And how are papers usually graded? By finding all the mistakes and pointing them all out to the child. That’s very likely what we grew up with. So now we have become adults, and we’ve become parents and homeschool moms who are still afraid of making mistakes. A lot of us have a fear of ruining our kids.

Please don’t raise kids who are afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are fine. It’s through making mistakes and trying things that we learn how to overcome, and we learn to be okay with not being perfect. We learn about grace, and we learn about mercy. We learn about trying again. You are not the sum of your mistakes and your imperfections.

Let me give you an example about how to change your perspective. If you’re a mom who grades her child’s papers, here’s what you need to do. Let’s say your child did a creative writing project. And they fill an entire page with a story. The traditional educator in you is going to look at their creative writing and you are going to put a line under every mistake. Then you’ll tell the child that they spelled 20 words wrong, and made 10 grammar mistakes.

Here’s what the Fun-Schooling mom will do.

You will look at the creative writing page, and you will circle every single thing they did right.

Then you are going to say, “Wow, you just wrote a 400-word paper, and you got 350 words correct!”

That is so much more encouraging than saying, “You got 50 things wrong.”  

Focus on what they did right, especially if it is a creative project. If your child is being creative, focus on the story, on the heart, and on character. Stop focusing on their mistakes. We are ruining kids by obsessing over mistakes and judging them by everything they are doing wrong instead of what they are doing right. Of course, kids are going to make mistakes. Of course, they’re going to be horrible spellers. Of course, they’re not going to know anything about grammar no matter how hard you try to teach them, except what they learn playing Mad Libs. Of course, they’re not going to get phonics. Of course, they are not going to memorize their multiplication tables. Most every mom I know has a kid who struggles to memorize their multiplication facts and is bad at spelling. You know why these kids can’t do it? Because they are 8 or 9.

Learning happens at its worst when it’s all about just memorizing information. Kids will learn when they are motivated by their passions, hobbies, joys, collaborating, exploring, bonding. You might have a kid with symptoms of ADD who can’t focus on anything and can’t follow instructions. You tell kids like that to do something and they do something opposite. Or they get started doing some type of school thing and twenty seconds later they get distracted and go from one thing to another. You think this child doesn’t have the ability to follow directions or focus until you give them the Lego set of their dreams. Then this same kid sits down for two hours straight and goes through that instruction book, reads every little bit of instruction, finds every little Lego piece and builds the thing. That child has you tricked. If they can build that $50 Lego set with 2,000 pieces, they do not have a problem with attention span. The problem is with how boring their education is. Fun-Schooling–and the themes we offer–are a wonderful answer to that problem!

Shifting Your Vibe

Why are we burnt out?

Because our personal history in conventional schooling has taught us that the focus of learning is the mistakes we make! It is by our mistakes, grades, and scores that an individual’s success is determined. This is why we search our child’s assignments for everything they did wrong, and overlook everything they did well. Why do we constantly focus on flaws instead of progress?

What if you changed your perspective on “grading” a child’s work?

Imagine this:

Instead of circling every mistake on the page, circle EVERYTHING the child did well! You will give them back their writing assignment covered in circles and you will say “I circled everything you did right this time!”

The first time I did this I realized my struggling writer got about 950 things right!!! Can’t we celebrate that? Perhaps she had 15 or 30 mistakes in her story.

This single act of recognizing the positives instead of the negatives fueled a confidence that motivated this child to become a passionate and confident writer. Of course after the excitement of getting so many things right, she ASKED what she needed to fix as well. I have even applied this method to grading a child’s math worksheet.

Can you imagine the shift of vibes?

Why do we feel like motivation has to be such a negative experience for a child? I’ve come to believe that children don’t fail. They are just children! They don’t fall behind. They are learning, growing, exploring and maturing day by day!

It’s time to stop comparing children with an imaginary set of milestones. Some of the most brilliant and creative problem-solvers don’t learn to read until after age eight!

Some who grow up to be successful artists, designers and entrepreneurs struggling with memorizing anything ever! So why judge children by their weaknesses? Why make they child’s struggle the main focus of their education and childhood? The child who is an artist is called dyslexic because they struggle with reading- and we label them by their weakness, why not call out their talents instead.

We’ve talked enough about seeing the positive in our children, and making their abilities and victories the focus of homeschooling. Let’s talk about you. Let’s talk about me. Let’s talk about homeschooling moms.

Just like we constantly zero in on the imperfections of our children we tend to obsess over our own weaknesses. Just like we grade our children by their mistakes, we carry guilt of our own because we never measure up to our own imaginary standards.

Are you ready to give your child an education that revolves around their strengths and their growth instead of their mistakes? Flip to Fun-Schooling!

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