Introducing My Inner Homeschool Critic

©2008 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Timothy White/FOX

Confession: there are some days when–his abusive behavior and drug addiction aside–I feel a whole lot more akin to the fictional Dr. Gregory House, M.D. than the archetypical Polly Perfect, Homeschool Mom.

Cranky, irreverent, acerbic… don’t worry… I hold it in check so as not to freak out/traumatize the kid, but Dr. House is in my head sometimes, y’all. More often than not, he’s judging me. He’s there just beneath the surface… behind the mental to-do list… lurking beneath the logistics plan for getting from yoga to the nursing home to music school and back in time for supper… smirking at me as I clumsily facilitate complicated, impromptu carschooling discussions about idiomatic expressions and whether or not there is such a thing as a negative googolplexian. Oh, Dr. House is in there alright, all brooding, cynical and melancholic.

Unleashed, he can undermine my sense of self-efficacy, make me question whether or not I’m capable of doing what I set out to accomplish. He also can chime in with a mocking tone at my best efforts to do all the really cool lapbook and notebooking projects that other homeschool moms seem to relish.

Fortunately this snark attack doesn’t happen often. (My mother taught me that, here at mid-life, a little Evening Primrose oil can keep me on a more even keel most days of the month.) And, in the event that my child ever stumbles across this post, I’ll say for the record that 95% of the time I find homeschooling joyful and exhilirating. I just get into trouble when I start to compare myself with other mothers who seem much more “with it” than me.

That’s like an open invitation to my inner Dr. House. He feeds on weakness. Given enough time to work on me, I can forget where he ends and I begin. And that’s not good. But here’s the really weird part: sometimes I find our struggles oddly cathartic.

Then I wonder: Is this how House’s friend Dr. Wilson feels on the show?

Recently I confessed some aspects of my inner Dr. House to a friend, also a homeschooler. She guffawed. She also got it! She mentioned that the topic would make a good blog post. Voila! I took this reaction as a terrifically good sign. I’m not crazy. Well, not as crazy as House. Notably my friend has homeschooled her progeny since birth. Also like me, she knows that just as not all television doctors are Marcus Welby, M.D., not all of us homeschooling stay-at-home moms (or WAHM) are the same. Some of us enjoy elaborately planned lessons delivered with a smile; others of us eat too much Halloween candy at once, struggle with caffeine addiction, and turn emergency trips to the orthopedist’s office into an anatomy talk.

Apparently, however, all of us moms–homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers, work-outside-the-home and stay-at-home–share one commonality. Well, a shared feature besides the obvious state of “mom-ness,” that is. A new study says that we’re all freaked out about our messy houses.

Betcha no one in that study thought to ask if anyone is worried about our messy, cranky, skeptical inner Dr. Houses. Too bad. Because if there’s me, my House, and one other mom that “gets” us, then surely… surely… there are more.

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