My Word for 2014 – Family


Over the Christmas break we had some guests in our home.  I say “some” but at one point we had 21 people eating, sleeping, playing, and hanging out in our home.  Having to entertain that many people, to say I had moments that were “stressful” would be the understatement of the year.  21 people, each with their own expectations and ideas about how things should work.  Five different families with their own routines and their own preconceived notions about how a home should be run and a family should behave.  Most of the time things went well and everyone got along.  Once in a while though, I would take Matt up to our room and just vent.

Over the course of the 2 and a half weeks we had houseguests I discovered something about myself: I care far too much about what other people think.

I was trying to put my finger on what it was that was bothering me so much when I came across an article entitled Killing Off Supermom.  Towards the end of this excellent article (you should really read it) she said “I’ve learned over the years to actively participate in my life; not to just cater it from the sidelines”.

So this year I am going to kill supermom.  I’m kicking her out of my home.  I need to be just as confident in my decision to keep a non-perfect home as I am in my decision to homeschool our children.  When people question our decision to homeschool I ignore them.  Plain and simple.  Sometimes they get under my skin, especially when they call my kids names because of it, but most of the time it doesn’t phase me.  I am so confident that we are doing what is right for my family that I just don’t care what you think about it.  Period.  Not so with the state of my home.

I like to have a clean house because it does give me a certain sense of peace but MOSTLY because if someone were to drop by I want them think I’m awesome enough to homeschool my kids AND have an impeccably clean house.  How stupid is that?  I stress about the hypothetical visitor while I miss out on REAL moments in the REAL lives of my REAL children.

This theme has popped up several times in the last six months.  I can’t enjoy the process of teaching my kids because I have to review a “great” new math curriculum.  I can’t read the biography of Winston Churchill that I got for my birthday because I have list of books to review.  I can’t write about the exciting things I am learning because I have a deadline for something else.

Housekeeping, cooking, and my blog are sucking the life out of my family and me.  So this year I’m pulling back.  I refuse to live on the sidelines of my life anymore.  I’m going to be more involved with those things that bring me joy and focus less on those things that might bring me notoriety and praise.


I will write about whatever I want, whenever I want (after my current review commitments have been fulfilled… I have four in the hopper :/).  I will read books that I want to read and tell you about them if I want to.  I will accept the review requests I am interested in but I will not let it take over my life.  I’m not going to utilize those wonderful blogging planners because this is supposed to be fun.  I’ll post pictures of my family, write funny stories, heated political articles, homeschool, my thoughts on the Gospel and how it blesses my life, tell you about books I love, and rant about things.

Or not.


Blogging isn’t my job and I normally don’t get paid for it beyond the occasional free book and amazon affiliate gift certificate when you guys use my amazon links (THANK YOU by the way… you are fueling my book addiction).

I’m also not going to check my email and Facebook compulsively… I’m just not that important.


I will play with my kids and let dishes pile up in my sink for the day.  It won’t kill me.  I will let them have the legos AND the playmobils out at the same time.  I won’t worry about folding the clothes before they make it into the correct dressers.  The dishes will keep… the children won’t.


I’m going to loosen the reigns a little bit.  I gave Emma and Lucy planners for the new year and told them how to use them.  They now have a more say in what we learn and when.

I have high hopes for this!  They plan out their week (just like I plan out mine).  This week Lucy wanted to study long division, fractions, Typhoid Mary, read from Life of Fred, study the scriptures, history, and write some more of a play she is writing.  Emma wanted to learn about horses and war.  I’ll help them whenever they need me and we will still have our family lessons, but I’m not going to micromanage their time and pretend they want to learn about the same things I want to.

Together we are going to continue studying Chemistry and Physics, continuing World and American History (we study them together chronologically), etiquette, current events, the lives of great mathematicians and scientists (often as they come up in our history studies), and whatever else strikes our fancy.

Personal Education

I would like to read 100 books this year (including 50 children’s books to the kids).  That means one book a week.  I think that is an attainable goal, don’t you?  I have also enrolled in a Mentoring in the Classics class offered by some of my favorite educators.  I’ll be reading assigned books, listening to lectures, and writing papers.  A more specific book list will be coming soon :)


I’m not going to stress about fitting into my skinny pants.  The only weight I plan on losing this year is the weight of my self-imposed burdens.  Though I am going to make better food choices because, while I’m not going to stress about losing weight, I don’t want to turn into a whale either.

My family DOES need to eat better.  THAT I am dedicated to.

So what about you?  Do you need to buckle down or pull back?


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Mariah says:

    Great blog post! When I was first married I had an older sister as a visiting teacher. She told me that one of her biggest regrets was never reading to her kids because she felt the need to keep an immaculate house. That has stuck in my head for all these years as I try to find the balance between the house work and the kids.


  2. Sanz says:

    Loved your post! I wondered if something like this might be coming from you! I have had the “hypothetical visitor” problem too. And I finally realized, I don’t give a crap. I want my house clean because I like it that way, but a creative mess is way better than idle cleanliness! I am doing the same with reviews this year. I’m really researching things in advance and if I’m not dying to try it, I’m not doing it. I’m impressed you managed so many visitors and for such a long time! You’ve given me things to think about. Happy New Year!


  3. Nicole says:

    Good for you, Courtney! I hope our family didn’t personally cause too many of those stressful moments. Just remember you did a great thing hosting all of us, and I am pretty sure anyone has those decompressing moments in similar situations. Thank you for everything! You guys did wonderfully.


    1. Thanks Nikki! It was fun to meet Nancy Jo!


  4. Cari says:

    Awesome goals! I love that blog post too. I think it hit me when I realized all these “supermoms” I was comparing myself to have 6-8 hours each day when their kids are in school to be a super mom. We homeschooling mamas NEVER get kid-free time to clean, fold laundry, cook, let alone have hobbies other than an occasional sneak to check fb or blog. And even that’s not uninterrupted so you are so right, we have to give ourselves a break. I love your goal one book a week- that’s awesome!


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