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Real Life Homeschooling
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Ashley Wiggers

Embracing Your Parental Identity

Sometimes I struggle with having joy in my motherhood journey. With three fairly young kiddos, there are so many needs to be met and so many meltdowns to navigate. It’s a trade-off though, isn’t it? You look forward to your children being able to do more and whine less, but you trade that for some of the hilarious cuteness and childlike sweetness. I’ve been writing down the things Jack (who’s four) says in particular lately because I don’t want to forget them. For instance, we were walking past some stores the other day and one was closed with a security gate in front of it. Jack looked at me with a questioning face, “Is that jail?”

One morning, I was spending a few minutes on the back porch where I like to soak in the sights and sounds of the day and sip on some coffee before “kid o’clock.” I was feeling tired and not up to the whole mom gig that day. So I started a dialogue with the Lord about this and how sometimes I feel like motherhood is just happening to me and I’m that little hamster on the wheel who slipped and keeps getting hit over and over again. If you all haven’t seen that, Google can help, and it will make you smile.

3 photo collage: one with 3 children looking outside a window, a journal with writing, and a baby with food on their face looking at camera
different colors of pen writing by the kids
I asked the Lord what He thought about who I was as a mom. Have you ever noticed He typically doesn’t get back to us right away on these things? Often I will find that I ask a question and at some seemingly random moment days or weeks later, I will have a thought or a strong feeling or a revelation of some kind. So one day, maybe a couple weeks after the initial question, I started having these little titles pop up in my mind during my morning time:
Walk Taker Extraordinaire
Curator of Adventures
Activity Preparer
Faith Inspirer
Destiny Cultivator
Beauty Inviter
Wooer of Learning
Heart Nurturer
Creativity Encourager
Relational Guide
Nature Lover
And with them, this picture started to emerge in my heart of who I am as a mom. My mom identity. It’s funny how you can’t intentionally step into something that you don’t have a vision for, right?

This has really helped me picture the type of mom I want to be, or really, the one I am meant to be.

2 photo collage: father with 2 kids and a plant with caterpillars
You can’t be everything, but you can be you! Oftentimes, we look at ourselves and see what’s missing, not what’s there. This is a way of working with the Lord to create a picture of who you are as a parent. There are other parts of your identity, but this is specifically who you are and hope to be as a parent. This will enable you to look at others and celebrate their identities too. Instead of comparing yourself to them, you can be confident in what God has put in you while encouraging and celebrating the differences you see in those around you.

In the mornings that followed, I sat with my coffee during the quiet moments leading up to that kid o’clock, thinking about who God created me to be. I thought about the titles He dropped in my heart and with joy, I could step into them knowing this is who I am and God will empower me to walk in it. Now, motherhood wasn’t just happening to me and dragging me along. I was the one setting the tone and taking hold of my role in the day.

So what kind of mom or dad are you? What do you love that you are passing on to your kids? It’s there for a reason and in order to protect ourselves from the trap of comparison we need to embrace our momentity—or if you’re a dad, your dadentity.

3 photo collage: 3 different photos of 2 children with their teddy bear
Remember, you’re not going to be everything, so don’t make this a wish list, make it a list of who YOU already are. Be creative with it and have fun talking to the Holy Spirit about what He loves about you as a parent.
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shley Wiggers grew up in the early days of the homeschooling movement. She was taught by her late mother, Debbie Strayer, who was an educator, speaker, and the author of numerous homeschooling materials. It was through Debbie’s encouragement and love that Ashley learned the value of being homeschooled. Currently, Ashley is the co-executive editor of Homeschooling Today magazine, public relations director for Geography Matters, and the author of the Profiles from History series. Ashley makes her home in Lutz, FL, with her supportive father, Greg, her loving husband, Alex, their precious sons, Lincoln and Jackson, along with their newest blessing, baby Ruby.