Choices: Sobriety

Day 4: I choose SOBRIETY

Take inventory of what is not serving you in this one beautiful life that you have- and cut that crap out.

For me, it is alcohol.

I’ve had an interesting relationship with alcohol. Like most, I had my first drink in high school and made it a part of my life in college. Drinking was a fun and socially acceptable way to relax. Alcohol wasn’t drugs (I thought) so what could be the harm? Only losers would let it get the best of them.

When I was going to Georgia Tech I remember starting my school day with a drink, and downing a beer on the way home. My high-school-class-president-self was extremely insecure about being a little fish in a big pond, and I found that having a drink made me not care as much. It worked except when a professor would call on me to answer a question. Then I just felt foggy and full of shame.

Turns out, alcohol was the gateway drug to other drugs (that have permanently altered my life) AND the culprit of most of my bad decisions.

But NOT drinking was never on my radar. I was a grown-up and I could make my own decisions. (dammit) When I got married my drinking increased because…well…we were celebrating! Drinking made me feel confident and sexy and funny and fearless- until I woke up the next day feeling shameful and nervous and anxious and guilty. But by the time the evening rolled back around I felt better and that first drink always made the yucky feelings go away.

But there came a time when my choice to drink on the weekends extended through the week. And one glass of wine turned into bottles. I had a problem. Throw in some anxiety, depression and infertility and I had mixed up dangerous cocktail.
It wasn’t a fast or easy decision, but my choice to live a sober life was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’m not sure why I decided to drink again.

I guess I felt like I was in such a good place in my life. I had a wonderful husband, three amazing kids and I was finally pursuing my dream of writing. I guess on the beach that day, the idea of enjoying a drink- toasting my beautiful life seemed romantic and glamourous and perfection.

Cheers. (clink)

At first I felt liberated. I am a new person after all- a confident, successful woman who has her head on straight and who would never go down a dark path again!

I was relaxed after one drink, funnier after two and sexy as hell after three.

“This,” I thought “will be a good addition to my wonderful life.”

My recovering alcoholic Life Coach actually interrupted herself during our session when I was sharing this with her, to cuss me out. She’s good at her job.

Here’s the TRUTH:

I used to have a drinking problem. I still do, but I used to also. (Mitch Hedberg style)

When I have a drink, I am no longer present. Alcohol hijacks my mind and I am laser focused on one question: When can I get another drink? I am no longer on a date with my husband, I’m on a date with my drink. I’m not really listening to my children, I’m listening to the voice telling me to drink more.

My brother-in-law recently went through rehab. Heroic. We were all so proud of his decision. It opened up some uncomfortable and necessary dialogue with our children and the conversations began to stir up a lot inside of me. We visited him near the end of his stay there and being there (on the other end) made an impact on me. I looked around the room. Couples, brothers, sisters, friends. Hugs and tears and lots of stories written on all of the faces. But one table caught my eye. A family. I studied the faces and figured out that it was the mother who was staying in the facility. THE MOTHER. Her husband sat beside her and her children gathered around her and I was overwhelmed.

It’s not supposed to be the mother.

My kids sat around the table, sipping water out of Styrofoam cups and staring bored as we listened to their uncle tell us about the food. For a moment I imagined they were visiting me. With my history with alcohol, who knew where I would be had I not been sober for those 9 years. God, what was I doing?

I woke the hell up.

I know 2 things about alcohol for me.
1) I can have a drink any damn well time I please ’cause no one is the boss of me thank you very much. AND
2) It’s a slippery slope.

Eyes wide open.

This week I will celebrate 100 days AF (alcohol free.) and I feel good AF (the other one).😁

I choose to be SOBER and vigilant.

Choices: Truth

DAY 3: I choose to be TRUTHFUL to myself.

When my alarm goes off in the morning it takes me a minute to remember who exactly I am… Oh yeah, Bonnie. 😁 After I’ve established that I am me, my next thought is always, “How did I do yesterday?” In other words: Did I let myself down?

“If you betray yourself, if you say untrue things, if you act out a lie, you weaken your character.”- Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life

When I consistently disappoint myself; I didn’t speak up when I should have. I spoke harshly to someone. I drank too much. Again. That’s when- if I pay attention- I will hear the small, quiet voice of my inner self. I don’t need to research facts or compare stories with others. I know when I am being untrue because I feel regret.

Regret isn’t bad if it’s useful. Regret is corrective.
Repeated regret, however, is corrosive.

When you believe a certain way but behave in a different way- that is called cognitive dissonance and I believe that is the beginning of many illnesses. Mental and Physical. The misalignment is a crack that will widen with each choice until it eventually breaks somewhere- in your mind or your body.

The secret.
The habit.
The addiction.
The omission.
They are all a betrayal.

Come through for yourself one small choice at a time, and you will be the TRUEST version of you. You will be authentic. Real. And “Real asks us to live from a place where there is nothing to defend and nothing to manage.”- Deborah Adele The Namas and the Niyamas

Truth will light up the dark parts of your soul.

At the end of the day I want to lay my head down on my pillow and know that I’ve been honest with myself. There is no better feeling than waking up to a new morning with a clear conscience. And I’ve discovered that when I string together a few of these glorious mornings- I start to like myself a little more.

Are you someone you want to live with for the rest of your life?

“When you know better you do better.”- Maya Angelou

“When you know better and you choose NOT to do better…you get sick.” – Me 😜

I choose to be TRUTHFUL to myself.

Choices: Whole health

Little Bonnie

DAY 2: I choose WHOLE health

I’ve had a six-pack a couple of times in my life and it was pretty cool. Heck- I even invented the WiseCrack abmat! 😜 So needless to say, physical fitness has always been a priority in my life.

BUT I know that physical health is only a portion of true well-being. I’ve known people who are physical specimens that are walking around in an empty (albeit attractive) shell.

True health is mind, body and spirit.

It took an identity crisis (spirit) and a mental breakdown (mind) to realize I needed to tend to my health as a whole. As Jordan Peterson puts it, “When things break down, what has been ignored rushes in.” – 12 Rules for Life

I didn’t see it at the time, but I am grateful for the gift of being stripped of all thought I was- because now I can encourage others that they are more than what they “do”. I am GRATEFUL for the gift of anxiety (the gift that keeps on giving!) because it forced me to examine my toxic thought patterns. I had to learn the lesson deeper so I can encourage others who struggle with anxiety and depression that 1) they are aren’t alone 2) they can overcome mental illness.

“Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

I am grateful for the lessons in these “gifts” because I am now determined to be a whole, healthy person from the inside out. I check in with my spirit every morning. I ask the little girl inside me what makes her come alive and then I do those things- because those things are what makes this 39 year-old version of me come alive today.

I workout my mind by capturing my thoughts in a journal and holding each one up to the Light. Does this thought about myself hold up to what God say about me? If not I throw that shit out. Daily. Sometimes moment by moment. And I replace all lies with the Truth.

It takes work to be healthy and whole but it pays off exponentially! For you and for the ones in your life who love and depend on you to be well. Take care of your body. Yes. But don’t neglect the other parts of you that need to constant attention.

I choose WHOLE health.

What do you need today little Bonnie? 😊

Choices: I will choose

DAY 1: I CHOOSE to choose

I’m turning 40 this month!

Actually, if anyone has asked me in last year how I old I was (rude!) my response has been, “I’m about to turn 40.” I feel like I skipped over 39 altogether so for the next 16 days, if you ask, I will say 39. 🙂

40 is a “BIG ONE” I guess but it’s not that I’m dreading it. I’m excited about it really. I’m somewhere between having a WHOLE lot to learn and maybe knowing a thing or two by now. At the very least I know who I am. Finally. And that is no small feat.

I have discovered in (almost) 40 years that I while I can’t control all the circumstances of my life, I can control my CHOICES. And there is something about turning 40- I mean- being 39, that makes you pretty dang decisive about the things that matter.
So my hope is that in the next 40 years and beyond I will choose well in the areas of life that mean the most to me.

Today I CHOOSE to live a deliberate life. Full of choices that get me closer to the Bonnie that I was created to be. Full of the life that Jesus offers me- overflowing. But I have to CHOOSE.

“I have come that they may have LIFE and have it to the FULL.” John 10:10
“I have set before you LIFE and DEATH…now CHOOSE LIFE…” – Deuteronomy 30:19

The Great Sh**ty Trip to Miami

miami blog

Last year Keenan and I went on an anniversary trip to Miami for our fifteenth anniversary. An entire week at the beautiful beach with my beautiful husband. It should have been perfect. But it wasn’t.

For months before, I had been preparing and tapering off of my anxiety medication. When we left for Miami I had been off completely for about two weeks. I was nervous about the timing, but what better place to detox than at the beach??

Detoxing from mind-numbing medication can be difficult and mine was no exception. I was hopeful and at the same time full of self-doubt. Every time I would feel the anxiety returning my mind would scream,”You made the wrong choice!” But I was determined to stay the course, AND determined to have a wonderful vacation.

Some of you also know that after 9 years of sobriety I made a return to alcohol. This time it wasn’t to escape a painful reality, but (I thought) to enhance my wonderful life. I have an amazing husband, three incredible children and I was pursuing my dream of becoming an author. I should celebrate my life with wine!

Well, it turns out that detoxing from anxiety medication while simultaneously adding back alcohol isn’t the best idea. Go figure.

The trip was terrible. Yes, there were moments of good but I was riddled with anxiety and sadness and my stomach hurt. Just about the whole time. I stayed up late. I drank even though it made me feel like crap. I didn’t sleep well and I could barely eat. (which is by the way my favorite thing to do on vacation)

When we came home from Miami, I had lots of gorgeous photos but a sad feeling that the trip had been a waste. What was wrong with me to not be able to enjoy a getaway to the beach with my husband?

A couple of months ago Keenan and I were talking about the trip over dinner and I just started sobbing, “I’m so sorry! That trip sucked and I want to have a re-do!” To my surprise, Keenan admitted it wasn’t a great trip. I had tried to hide it from him, but we’ve been together too long for that to work. He knew. He knew I was struggling and tried to make the best of it for me. And for him too.

It took me months to process what had happened, but I recognized two major “awakenings”:

First of all, I needed to give myself a break. I had just succeeded in coming off my medication! That was HUGE. Second, why in the hell was I bringing back alcohol into my life when I’ve struggled with it in the past AND while I’m trying to reclaim my mental health? Drinking has NEVER enhanced my life in any way. In fact, it almost destroyed it.

I shared my “shitty trip” experience with my very wise Life Coach Vikki. I told her I was pissed off that the trip was “wasted” and how I was determined to have a very different experience next time. I also shared the lessons I had learned: That I needed to be kind to myself through this process of health and well-being AND that alcohol dims my light.

She simply said, “So it was a GREAT shitty trip.” And I understood.

If I hadn’t learned from it, I would repeat it and the next trip would be shitty…and the trip after that. When you learn from something it is never wasted.

I’m looking forward to going back, but not as the same Bonnie…

I will be the brightest version of myself: sober in my surroundings and mindful of the messages. Fully present with my gorgeous husband, and forever grateful for that “great shitty trip”.


Trusting the Storyteller

I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6 The Passion Translation

Lately I have been pondering why anxiety has been a part of my journey. Certainly, I would be better off: more centered, more joyful, more courageous, more who God created me to be without it. Or would I? Maybe my experience with anxiety has made me exactly who God has called me to be. He has (like he promised) used all of my life experiences (even the ones I interpret as bad) for my ultimate good. Not good in the way I would define it, but good in that my weakness draws me close to him- the Storyteller.

…a thorn in my flesh was given to me, the Adversary’s messenger sent to harass me, keeping me from becoming arrogant. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to relieve me of this. But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weakness, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. – 2 Corinthians 12:7 The Passion Translation

I have always been so curious about the mentioning of Paul’s “thorn in his flesh”. WHAT THE HECK WAS IT? I’ve heard speculation that it was a lisp or a physical deformity that was embarrassing to him. I think it was brilliant of Paul to not go into specifics. He essentially gifted us a fill-in-the-blank exercise in his letter, because the point of including this detail is that it doesn’t matter what the thorn was! Maybe it was chronic hiccups, or halitosis (you can’t be preaching with bad breath!) or maybe it was debilitating anxiety with panic attacks.

Yes, He could have left this chapter of my life out. Lord knows I have prayed A LOT more than three times (like Paul did) for this “thorn in my flesh” to be removed from my life. But then I would have missed the interactions with friends, family and acquaintances who are in the same struggle, and need to be assured that they are not alone in this world with their anxiety.

What is your thorn? Fill in the blank that Paul gave us. Maybe your thorn is just a finishing touch, a glorious detail of your unique life that God is using to mature you and to offer others comfort through you. The Storyteller is writing your story and no detail in the plot is wasted. In fact, whatever your thorn is, it has great and purposeful power to bring about the full expression of the Storyteller’s grand story that involves you becoming ALL that you were meant to be.

Your “thorn” is beautiful detail that finds meaning when your story intersects in the world of someone else who shares your scars.

I never thought I would be grateful for anxiety. But every time someone reaches out to me about anxiety, depression, mental health or my journey off of medication, I am grateful for the opportunity to show them my matching scar, and I am hopeful that my story will somehow help theirs.

The Storyteller is working all of the details out in the end, so I can stop praying that the chapters change and start trusting that he is bringing me to my happily ever after.


Anxiety update

I was amazed at all the love and support I received from my last post about coming off my medication. I had no idea so many of you were screwed up like me! Totally kidding. (I knew) So for those of you are curious and following my journey here’s my update…


Today is actually 2 weeks and 1 day that I have been completely off of my anxiety medication. While I am excited about detoxing my body and brain, these past two weeks have not been uneventful. I have had a few “waves” of panic and anxiety “out of the blue” and I 100% know that it’s just withdrawals from being on the medicine for 18 months.

In fact, with the help of Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book Switch On Your Brain and her 21-day brain detox plan I have retrained my brain to acknowledge these uncomfortable moments as my body’s way of thanking me for removing (slowly) these chemicals. For example: I literally will say, “You’re welcome” when I have a “brain zap” or any yucky feeling associated with anxiety. I have been through 3 rounds (so far) of her 21-day detox program and I believe that is what has helped me the most.

How incredibly powerful and intricate is the bond between the mind and the body!

This intentional response to my anxiety does not come natural. I have explained to my husband that when I am in the middle of a difficult moment it reminds me very much of being in the middle of contraction during labor. When a contraction hits you, your brain goes into survival mode. You think thoughts like, “It’s too much…This cannot continue… I have to escape this or I will NOT be ok.” The reality of an episode of panic (and a contraction for that matter) is that the feeling will eventually subside. But in the moment you would do anything to make it stop.

For me, labor was one of the most transformative mental exercises I have ever experienced. I have 3 totally different birth stories that I won’t go into here, but by the time I had my third I was so overly prepared it was ridiculous. I meditated, visualized a joyful experience, spoke over my body to do what it was made to do without any medication or trauma- all during my pregnancy and before birth. And guess what happened? Everything I that I told my brain would happen. Amera’s birth was peaceful, joyful & quick- truly a gift that I remind myself of in moments of self-doubt.

I know it has only been two weeks but (like in preparation for birth), I have been mentally preparing myself to come off the medication for many months. I decreased my dose s-l-o-w-l-y and under a doctor’s care. I vowed to renew my mind daily in scripture. I made exercise and diet (even more of) a priority. I embraced self-care: meditation, yoga, mindfulness, compassion towards myself. I looked for natural supplements to help stabilize my mood and combat withdrawals such as 5-HTP, B vitamins and CBD oil. And I’ve sought out natural endorphins: smiling, reading, writing, hugging & kissing- just a few of my favorite things.

I am replacing toxic thinking with a healthy diet of good

thoughts, choices and behaviors. 

Since I’ve been off the meds I am feeling ALL the feelings. I am certainly more emotional. (I actually forgot that I’m a crier!) I am happier about things that make me happy. I am more sad about things that make me sad. I am more passionate about things that fire me up! And I am more angry at things that should upset me. My husband remarked that I seem “brighter”. I like that description.

I feel bright, and exposed and like this version of me- the real me.

So I am fighting for this me to stay. 

For the record, I do not regret getting starting the medication. The alternative was hell and I needed help. I do wish, however, that more doctors would be honest (like mine) about the realities (weight gain, low libido, difficulty coming off related to dosage and time on the medicine) I am also thankful for the honesty and wisdom of “Neurotheologist” Dr. Jerome Lubbe– especially his Hopeful/Grateful learning technique.

Also, here is a truth you may have never heard: Alcohol does not mix with anxiety and depression. I know right? Shocker! My life-coach (who is also friend) literally cussed me out when I told her that drinking made me feel worse. “You’re detoxing your brain and drinking? Bleepity- bleep Bonnie!” she told yelled at me, “Don’t dim your light!” I love her. Let’s be real.

Do all the things to get well mentally, emotionally, spiritually & physically!

Make a better choice.

And the world will be brighter because you are. 




Coming off the meds

I’m coming off of my medication.

I almost typed I am trying to come off my medicine, but trying isn’t part of the plan. Here’s the thing. In my own research, it has been challenging to find success stories of people coming off depression/anxiety medication. This discovery reminds me of when I was researching positive natural child birth stories. They are out there, but you will find a lot more negative ones. (especially from eager lips- but I digress.)

Now don’t worry- I am under medical supervision by my doctor. I started taking the medicine about a year and a half ago (for the second time in my life) to combat some debilitating anxiety. I am grateful to live in an age of modern medicine, otherwise as I discussed with my husband/human Xanax, I would have to be “put away” for my malfunctioning brain.

At the time, I needed medicine and I am thankful I recognized it sooner than later, because this time around I had three small children who needed me sane.

I did question why my particular medicine treated both anxiety and depression because I wasn’t feeling depressed. I was told (basically) that long-term medicines usually treat both. While Xanax is a short-term somewhat immediate relief of anxiety, it isn’t a medication you want to use often. So, I started my medicine and it took forever to “kick in”. (It took 2ish weeks but it seemed like an eternity.)

What I wasn’t expecting, even though I had been down this road before, was that I would gain weight. Like, fifteen pounds of I-didn’t-ask-for-this weight. Well now this explains why I also need to simultaneously treated for depression because dang it- gaining weight bums me out.

It has been super frustrating because I have done all the physical things and I’m a bit vain. I have been a personal trainer/bodybuilder/crossfitter/ worker-outer ALL of my life AND I would like to look good naked dammit. But losing this extra weight has been near impossible. (P.S. My husband hasn’t been able to keep his hands off of me no matter what I weigh and THAT my friends, is healthy.) When I complained to a doctor (not my doctor) that I had gained weight from the medicine he tried to tell me that there was no correlation. BULL. I know my body.

BUT, the awakening through this journey has been a deeper compassion for women who are on a similar journey. It is dang hard balancing life and motherhood and career and mental health. And some of us, for a time, need some help. I mean, we all need help in the form of people being with us on the journey, but I’m talking about medical intervention. And when “we” do, that is the time to be the most loving and tender towards our fragile selves.

No, I’m not happy that I’ve put on some weight, but I’m proud of myself for taking care of me. I can honestly say that the weight has been worth the relief. The medicine helped me get my head above water so I could take a deep breath. So I could see things more clearly, learn more about what I deeply needed, and to take action steps towards getting better. (BTW-my actual doctor has been fantastic and supportive, even recommending natural supplements to help with the withdrawal symptoms that have hit me hard.)

I have learned SO MUCH about mental health and healing and I would not have if I didn’t go through this AGAIN. My life-coach says, “There are only a few lessons we learn in life, and we learn them over and over, deeper and deeper.” The first time I learned when to recognize the need for help without feeling shame. This time I learned to be gentle with my spirit when there is chaos in my mind that eventually manifests in my body. What a powerful lesson to learn more deeply.

So with a doctors help, a clear vision of what I want, the support of family and friends, and some incredible tools* that I have learned along the way, I am choosing this path of recovery. Armed and ready for my body to fight back, because it already is. (*Things that have helped me: Prayer, self-compassion, vulnerability, renewing my mind with Scripture, meditation, healthy food/drink choices, yoga, counseling, leaning into my incredibly strong husband and being open and honest with my children about my struggle.)

Ravi Zacharias (who is my favorite person on the planet) describes standing on the top of a mountain and looking below at a destination, “If the only path down the mountain winds around it, at times you may actually find yourself farther from the city, sometimes even losing sight of it, in order to get closer to the city.” He wasn’t talking about anxiety, but this is exactly how I feel on this journey. I am getting closer to my goal because I am sticking to the path no matter how much it curves and winds down the mountain.

On this path I’ve learned that so many women have suffered/are suffering from anxiety. My three closest friends have similar pain-in-the-ass anxiety that manifested in unique and frustrating ways. We share the meltdowns and then we lift each other up. My encouragement to you is that you are not alone. My advice to you is a hug. Love yourself down the mountain and let someone hold your hand on the journey.

Learning to Love Myself

2017 has been an interesting year for me. On one hand I had a nervous breakdown and on the other hand I had an emotional breakthrough. But that is just how my God works.

In January my life long struggle with anxiety hit an all-time high. I still can’t go into all of the details because I’m just not ready. But as I am coming out of this fog I can share with you some of the cool things that have happened during my recovery.

When I realized just how serious and debilitating my condition was I hit the ground running trying to get better. I reached out to friends. I saw a counselor. I went to my doctor. I got on some medicine. I practiced more yoga. And then I did something that I’ve never tried:

I went to a hypnotherapist.

I know. I wasn’t so sure what I thought about that either. My counselor actually recommended this therapist otherwise I’m not sure that I would have sought one out. I had no idea what to expect. Was I going to be “out of control”? I felt very vulnerable letting someone “into my mind”. But I know that the Holy Spirit protects me so I decided to give it a shot.

The whole process was very positive and enjoyable. In fact- it reminded me very much of when I practiced visualization and spoke positive affirmations over myself in preparation for Amera’s (very successful and highly satisfying) home birth.

I won’t give you all the details but one thing that we did was extremely impactful. I have thought about it every day since. The therapist asked me to visualize a time when I was extremely anxious. Immediately I saw myself sitting on a hotel bed in Disney World (the happiest place on earth- I know.) with my children surrounding me.

They had no idea that mommy was crumbling inside. I looked terrified, sad and defeated. My eyes were full of tears and the lines between them were deep. I felt what that Bonnie was feeling: panic. Her vision blurry. Her heart was racing. Her hands were shaking. She wanted to scream. To cry. To run. She wanted to be anywhere but inside her own body.

He asked the present me, to go to that scared me. “Knowing that you make it out of that episode, how would the you now comfort the you then?” Suddenly I was no longer a spectator. I was in the room facing this months younger version of myself and I was overcome with compassion. I walked towards her.

I’m not sure why I was so surprised by what I did next. If it were another family member or friend sitting there my response would have been completely natural and authentic. I sat down on the edge of the bed, hurting for this version of myself. I wanted to hold her. To tell her that she was going to be ok. To make the yuckiness go away.

And then I leaned forward…and kissed myself on the forehead. The warmth of my actual tears streaming down my face temporarily awakened my conscience mind from my trance. The older me was comforting the younger me, and I understood the lesson. I have to love myself. I have to show self-compassion when I feel scared or hurt or flawed. I need to be a friend…to me.

I am drawn to people who are hurting. I want to encourage them and stand beside them through the pain. So why not myself? I have always heard of loving yourself to feel worthy and loved and enough, but I needed this very real visual to remind me that I can make my own situation better or worse depending on my self-talk. My thoughts about who I am are powerful. And so are my words.

So I have decided to practice loving myself. Feeling shame doesn’t do one thing to help me become the best version of me. If I’m struggling, I will be extra kind. If I’m not happy with my body I will say beautiful things to it- holding thankfulness in my heart. If I am fearful or sad I will not run. I will acknowledge my feelings and give myself time and space to make the next best decision. If I feel like a failure, I will pick myself up and try again.  And when I’m overwhelmed- I will laugh.

Instead of my worst critic I will be my biggest supporter, because


Recovering Homeschool Mom

This past year was hard. I homeschooled my older two kids (1st and 2nd grade) and made up “work” for my little one in the days she wasn’t in preschool. I was SO excited about it. I transformed our never-eaten-in dining room into a beautiful school room with maps on the walls, bookshelves, a white board, a free-play area with legos and games and even an adorable reading nook with a fluffy rug. I was ready.


No one in my circle of friends and family ever suggested that I homeschool my kids. If anything I felt the “pull” towards traditional school but I somehow just knew that we would homeschool. I loved the idea of it all- the freedom, the relaxing environment, the time with my babies.


Looking back I now see that fear was also factor in my decision. I was fearful of my kids going to “real” school. Not because of the academics (although I’m not crazy about the new math), but because of what they might be exposed to unrelated to education. Not to mention they wouldn’t be under my direct supervision at ALL times.

People would make comments like, “I could NEVER do that.” or “I could homeschool (insert calm child’s name here) but NEVER (insert wild child’s name here.) And I judgingly thought, “You’re the parent? How could you NOT be able to teach your kid? (if you wanted to) You love them the MOST!” Parenting for me has been a steady diet of my own words.

The first couple of weeks were everything I hoped them to be. The kids were excited. I was excited. I loved read-aloud time on the couch, hammock or porch. But then the newness wore off and we got down to the work of school. I tried to make it fun and tailored to their interests. We would slow down on hard days and ride the wave of great days. I was giving it/them my all.

But my kids weren’t treating  me like their teacher. I know this because I SAW how they treated their preschool teachers. (and their teachers always loved them) I got a lot of push back and things never seemed to get easier. I’m sure it’s universal to complain to your mom instead of someone else. I still do. (So sorry mom.) So at the end of most days I was worn out and frustrated and so were they. And then I would have to magically become mom again and be nice to them. I had a difficult time with this:  You were a whiny pain in the butt all morning and now you want a sandwich?! Go make your own flippin’ sandwich! And I assume you want clean underwear in the morning? And a snuggle and a story at bedtime? It was too much. I never found the balance.

Mr. Right was super supportive and sympathetic but I could tell my wearing thin was wearing thin on him as well. Daily he would come home to a joyless wife. Not good. I remember a particularly low point when my mom said something to me that woke me up, “No school is more important than your marriage.” That resonated with me. I was suffering and WE were suffering.

At some point (we are slow learners) we acknowledged that this wasn’t working for our family. We had hit a breaking point. And just to be sure we were picking up the signals, my mind started breaking down as well. I have always struggled with anxiety, but I guess you could say that I have been successful at keeping it at bay. Well, in January of this year the dam broke and debilitating anxiety flooded me. It is too soon for me to write much detail about it but I was suddenly forced to focus on me. I had to get better or things were not going to be ok for anyone in my family.

There was no way I was going to continue to homeschool. The deep desire I had to do so was suddenly absent, and I was left with questions and worries. What were we going to do? We researched private schools and were in sticker shock after multiplying tuition by three. We talked about homeschool co-ops for a short minute until I bravely said out loud, “I don’t want to homeschool anyone. Ever.” That was freeing.

Mr. Right kept bringing up our local public elementary school and I kept shooting him down. Who cared if it was one of the best schools in one of the best counties? Who cared that the teachers (God bless teachers) didn’t want to leave that small school that felt like family. Who cared that the staff and families lived in our neighborhood and went to our salon and attended our church? I had to protect my children!

Here is what I did care about: I cared about protecting my marriage. I cared about my kids making friends and feeling part of their community. I cared about my sanity and health. And I cared about not feeling alone. So I did what any good mother would do. I got on some medicine so I could think clearly, I talked to a counselor and I prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more.

And slowly through the fog His answer became clear. My children are His children. I cannot control everything about their lives. I have to trust that He will lead them when I am not around. And I can’t effectively “mother” them when I am worn down to an emotional and physical mess. As Brene Brown so expertly put it, my breakdown was also my spiritual awakening.  

I had to relinquish my imaginary control over my kid’s lives and trust that God would lead our family and each of our children down the right path. There were so many clues that homeschool wasn’t working: a strained relationship with my husband, strained relationships with my children, a nervous breakdown. And as my heart, being backed into a corner, accepted our reality I soon began to see positive glimpses of our future.

I talked to family, friends, parents, teachers & my counselor and everything pointed us toward the next step: public school. By now I had to laugh because I certainly tried to avoid this. But I paused and even though it was a different time, I thought back to when I was in school. I loved school because I love people. Anyone who has met my kids knows they will talk your ear off and play you a song and show you a handstand, because they love people too. And then the next step was illuminated, and peace overwhelmed me.

It isn’t going to be perfect, but I know it is where He wants us to be. He has called us to be Salt and Light. I still worry: Are my kids salty and bright enough? Are they weird because I homeschooled them or are they just weird? ( they’re just weird) But I have more peace today than I have in a long dang time. I’ve enjoyed these strangely quiet afternoons as I sit in my office writing…and waiting for the school bus. And I am enjoying getting to know my husband better in this new season, and investing in our marriage.

By the way- I think homeschool is awesome…for all of the reasons I set out to do it in the first place. But children, families and mommas need different things in different seasons. So we are walking in the light that we have until he reveals more of the path. And for me the light came in the form of a bright yellow school bus. Will I ever homeschool again? I’ve learned to never say never because God likes jacking with my plans. But it is a little like asking a mother in the delivery room if she wants more kids: Too soon.