Jodi Mockabee is a wife and mother to five young children. Her family journal, Mockabee Seven, has become a place to encourage mothers through Christ-led parenting, health and wellness, and to capture the quasi-homeshcooling, adventure-seeking life they lead. You can find her on Instagram at @jodimockabee. We sat down with Jodi to ask her the five things we’ve been dying to know.
What made you decide to homeschool your kids? What are you excited about / nervous about?
While I have always had a heart for homeschooling, I never imagined it being a reality. Our five children are very close in age, and up until a year ago, I was either pregnant or nursing, so the idea of being at home and responsible for the education of my children overwhelmed me. For the past six months, the Lord has been leading our family towards homeschooling. While I didn’t notice his purpose during that period, it became very clear why he had used certain circumstances to call us to the journey we are about to embark on.
I am cautiously optimistic on our upcoming adventure. I welcome change and am excited to utilize the extra time I have with my children, to cultivate their hearts all while teaching them through their own learning style and interests. I am excited to have them all home together, to make our learning process a group effort, everyone taking part in one way or another. I love how the dynamics are when everyone is together, and by adding true education into the picture makes me both excited and nervous! I am nervous about spending a lot of time in my home. I do enjoy my home, when it’s tidy! We do a lot of outings to keep the house clean and get their need for adventure met, but by adding schooling into the mix, I am aware that we may not get out as much and the house may not be as tidy. I’ll be honest, that makes me nervous!
If you could sum up your parenting values in just a few words or ideas, what would they be?
Boundaries and freedom.
Love and respect.
Structure and spontaneity.
Peace and adventure.
You have five kids - all pretty close in age. How do you balance your life as a mother, wife, friend, and so on?
Oh my. Well, I’m not sure there is ever a perfect balance, but because of that, I am brought to my knees on a daily basis. I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me throughout the day. Sometimes a child will act a certain way and my initial reaction will be to discipline, but I have been learning to seek Christ first. And often times, he will direct me on how to deal with the situation. I find when I don’t start my day on my knees and in the Word, things get off balance and I rely on my own wisdom (which is surely tainted) to manage our household. We also are fairly structured, which helps keep everyone fed and well rested—a combination that produces a fair amount of joy and predictability in our household! As for friendships, thank God a few of my good friends and their children enjoy nature as much as we do, so we get our social fixes quite often!
It's easy for us to look at other people's beautiful Instagram photos and forget they are real mamas with real struggles. What are some of the challenges you face as a mom on a day-to-day basis?
It would be safe to say that I am a type A personality. With my personality comes a lot of energy and drive, but I also can host unrealistic expectations and lack compassion. The latter traits are not so beneficial when you are a mother! I have one child that I am convinced the Lord sent to break me! He challenges my compassion and expectations on a daily basis (and as mentioned, there is very little of that to begin with!). I spend more time processing things with him and working with him then the other four combined, however, he is my strength. When I think of growth, I think of him. And I know that his purpose is so great and I have been called to direct him until he learns through Christ how to do it himself. But it is draining and by far my largest struggle as a mother.
I think a lot of the Instagram moms can all relate to struggling with loneliness. I mean, that’s why we hop on Instagram, to connect with others out there, to feel like we are not alone in this. I love to see the small glimpse into another person’s day because it reminds me that we’re all doing it together. While it can cause feelings of inadequacy or encourage insecurities, I really try to view the images that show up in my feed as a highlight of their day, and I love Instagram for that! It’s important to condition your mind to know that they are mostly just highlights and to take inspiration, appreciation and a fresh perspective from said images.
Your kids seem to be outdoors quite a bit. Is this intentional on your part, and how do you keep them engaged in spite of all the other activities kids love with computers, video games, tv, etc?
Kids can adopt a lot of their passions from their parents. I’m not sure if our family’s love for nature started with them or me. But regardless, we all push each other to get outside. I made a commitment over six years ago to get outside every day, rain, snow, or sun. While I look back and remember some days were really difficult, now it’s not even a question. It just is! I am so proud of my children. The babies can hike short distances, climb rock walls, and entertain themselves for hours by a river. My petite little daughter can carry a backpack full of food and water and the older boys assist with carrying babies and hauling nature items back to the car all for the sake of the day’s adventure.
I am 100% positive that if we had video games, iPads and/or a TV that they would prefer time on those devices. I’m realistic about that. In fact, we’ve tried buying a little tablet one time—they turned into different children immediately!! It just didn’t suit our family. I don’t personally have anything against technology, but I know it doesn’t work with the rhythm in our home. We will avoid it as long as possible because the absence of technology in our home has built a strong foundation for creating all types of healthy, living passions such as art, reading, building, climbing, hiking, pretending, etc. And I am perfectly content with that (although the idea of turning on the TV with just a little button to stop the noise/chaos of five active children seems very appealing at times!).