This is a guest post from Satya Khan. I met her when she hired me for a coaching session, and I’ve remained friends with her since then. She has a daily newsletter about her experience raising young children. Her writing in the newsletter is breathtakingly beautiful and wicked smart and you can check it out here.

My husband, who teaches at a private school, is against homeschooling our kids. “That’s the path to crazy,” he said, when I suggested it for our sons. But he wasn’t talking about them. He was referring to me.

I planned ahead in my twenties to be home freelancing with my kids in my thirties. I dreamed of working away in my cozy home office, while my baby played in a pen at my feet. Instead I met the reality several years later of taking client calls topless, trying to get my baby to nurse and not cry. When my second came along, I quit.

My personality type is not one of the nurturing ones fulfilled by raising children. But it is one that believes so deeply in research that I do it anyway. I am consistently frustrated by my inability to tame the chaos of my baby and my three-year-old, who thwarts any attempt at feeding him by getting naked and doing yoga. So when I first read here about how public school is really just free babysitting for working parents, I thought, “Great! Sign them up!”

But Penelope is right about everything. I’m embarrassed at giving up all the accolades, and at one point a six-figure salary, to now do everything at home while my husband earns the money. But it works. The problem is, I thought it would be working for a lot shorter time until the homeschooling question came up.

So now that I know the realities of being with kids, and that homeschooling is a likely scenario, I need to plan now to survive the long homeschool haul without going batshit crazy.

1. Yes to freelance – but no to clients
I couldn’t hack the demands of clients, and trying to call them during naps. But I can’t let go of a project for myself and the game of earning money. So I’m starting over with self-publishing my creative writing. The one thing Penelope was wrong about in my case is that despite having no time and energy to start something new, I’m so desperate for stimulation that I make it happen anyway. Note that making it happen anyway leaves no time to watch Mad Men.

2. Get a bigger car
Everyone I talk to who homeschools talks about the driving, and Penelope is no exception. But the only way I see that working is to consolidate efforts with those around me. I traded in our Forester for a car with a third-row seat. Now I can haul a few extra kids to music lessons or beekeeping seminars. And in return, some lucky family will haul mine.

3. Join a group of top performers
Since I know I am the average of my peers, I’m trading in the moms at the playground. Instead I joined a community where we hang out online and dissect productivity hacks, advanced networking tactics, and negotiation. It makes me feel more accomplished than comparing notes on our kids’ poop. Dudes in there are making six figures while getting shredded abs and starting lucrative side gigs. Maybe it will rub off.

I know that I won’t ever feel fully prepared to homeschool, but given the limitations of my personality type, it reduces my anxiety to start planning ahead for it now. I’ve talked to moms who took one look at kindergartens and were shocked at the abysmal options. But I can see what’s coming enough that at least that won’t be me.

13 replies
  1. Cristen H
    Cristen H says:

    Good to hear I am not the only ISTJ mom of young kids choosing to stay home and unschool. Unschooling would seem to be so far outside an ISTJ’s wheelhouse. Yet, like you, Satya, it makes the most sense to me. My husband asked me yesterday if I felt fulfilled by choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. My answer would not satisfy a feeling type. I know it’s The Right Thing to do for our family, and that makes it fulfilling. But I do not wax romantic about love, cuddles and deep contentment. I know what I am missing, and I miss it. Lessons my kids provide in accepting chaos have made me a more relaxed person, more open and more feeling. Those things would not have come if I was still clinging to my need for structure and familiarity. Thanks for the post. I’m now subscribed!

  2. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Now in my early thirties, I’m working on my freelancing so that I can be a freelancing mom in my mid-thirties.

    But right now I suck at the work/personal balance. And I got a touch of the burnout. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I had to take a break.

    Turns out the only thing I wanted to do was watch Mad Men for eight hours straight. Afterwards I felt refreshed.

    So go ahead and watch a show about people at work if it helps you to unwind.

  3. Caroline
    Caroline says:

    I really enjoy learning how so many families with different backgrounds choose to homeschool.

  4. Leah
    Leah says:

    Love this! Thank you for sharing.

    I’m at home with my 19mo twins and as much as I love it the thought of hs does give me papultations, though it appears to be the *only* education option that makes the most sense. So I’m also trying to lay the foundations for being at home but with some support so I can go back to school to take a class a semester to keep my brain going.

    I’m going to file away the tip about the bigger car. I’m hoping I can have some tradeable tutoring skills for local co-ops.

  5. CJ
    CJ says:

    I couldn’t come up with one single suggestion to better articulate number 3. I wasted a lot of time early on with groups of play date moms, they set up and organized many “just like school” things calling it homeschool and I at first was trying so hard so my kids would have friends (you know the artificial kinds you buy at mom hang outs disguised as kid stuff). Once I started saying no to all that and started getting into my own community inside homeschooling, and even much without, we all got more peaceful and joyful and centered. I love your intro…ditto. thought it was all temporary- leaving the career path and all just for the early years and then as my own education bout education sunk in, it became a no way the status quoway. Great piece and looking forward to more!

  6. Amy K.
    Amy K. says:

    If you jettison all of your real-life friends for online friends, how will you find other homeschooled kids to fill that third row in your new car?

  7. C.A. Lewis-McCarren
    C.A. Lewis-McCarren says:

    I’m an “INFJ”……I think too much and therefore, don’t get anything done the way I really want to. I have home educated 17 years. I now have 2 younger children with learning challenges and believe me, the last place on earth I want them is in “school”.

    Sometimes I wish I just didn’t care so much….and sometimes I wish I could just be ok with “average”. **sigh**

  8. C.A. Lewis-McCarren
    C.A. Lewis-McCarren says:

    OH!!! WAIT!!!! I really appreciate your honesty and directness. I have found that a majority of the time “homeschooling” is set up just the same way as institutionalized schooling…..it drains away all of the individuality and creativity of both child and parent. Having such an honesty about the reasons you are pursuing HS AND the fears you also have – it is refreshing. It is a strength to know one’s weaknesses…..:)

  9. Bethany @ Homeschool
    Bethany @ Homeschool says:

    Satya, Awesome post! “Join a group of top performers” — That’s huge. They say you’re the culmination of the 5 people you spend the most time with so you better hang out with some top performers. Thanks!

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