I’ve been thinking back lately to a time several years ago. It was Teacher Appreciation Sunday at our church, and I hadn’t really talked to my family much about it personally but the announcements had gone out about all the children inviting their teachers to church that day and having them recognized and appreciated. It was a packed house that day as many of the local school teachers came at the invitation of their students and were called to the front to have student-written notes about them read aloud by the students, and to receive applause and certificates and recognition as teachers.
I remember sitting in my chair feeling small and insignificant and meaningless. My name was not mentioned. No notes read aloud or magical moment for me to stand on the stage and be recognized as a teacher. I sat there in my chair just me. Just a mom.
Now, years later, I think about the whole picture, this whole 22+ years of homeschooling picture, and I ponder that term: Just a mom.
I wonder if maybe I was too eager to be labeled a teacher. I mean, have I ever been disappointed that I wasn’t labeled a nurse? A chauffeur? An event planner? A chef? Why the deep sense of loss and emptiness at not being labeled a teacher, when it was simply one of my roles as “just a mom”? Could it be because teaching our children is supposed to be as natural as caring for their health, and taking them places, and planning their birthday parties, and cooking their meals?
I have often encouraged women who didn’t feel equipped to homeschool by reminding them that teaching their children is simply part of mothering them. Once again, I learn the lesson that listening when I talk is a good practice for me.
Thankfully, that woeful Sunday has not been relived over and over in my head, pounding down my self-worth day after day and year after year. I believe the reason it hasn’t tormented me is simple: I know deep down that my children have always loved and appreciated me for mothering them, and for all the forms that mothering has taken. They didn’t put my name on the teacher list because to them, I am their mother. I hadn’t changed hats from mom to teacher any more than I had donned a nurse’s cap when I’d applied vitamin E oil to a scrape, or a chef’s hat when I’d sprinkled herbs into the stew. I was just me–the same me as always throughout their lives.
Today I am feeling pretty good just being Mama.