So, you know I title these posts that I do once a month, “Keeping It Real.” Today I’m going to keep it real…more real than I have been before. I’m definitely not going to keep it magazine glossy.
You see the truth right now for me is that I am really struggling. I’m struggling to keep up. I’m struggling to make sense of what I have in my life right now and I’m struggling to keep it together and be responsible on a daily basis. What I want to do is to turn on the TV, stay in my PJ’s and just hang out and watch TV like the good old days. You know the days before blogging, before homeschooling, before kids, before owning a house, before marriage, before what feels like everything right now. Of course, I wouldn’t trade what I currently have for anything. I’m just worn out and overextended and falling further behind on a daily basis.
I look at other people’s blogs and I wonder how the heck they have time to do everything they are doing and all they say they are doing with their kids. I’m jealous. I want that magazine glossy life. Then I feel inadequate and as though I am doing something totally wrong that I am struggling so much to keep up (of course I have conveniently forgotten that due to my husband traveling all the time for work, I am essentially single parenting).
The truth for me is that what I am choosing to do is a lot. What I am choosing to do is a challenge. What I am choosing to do is also what I want to do. The struggle for me comes in letting go. Letting go of doing it perfectly or even just what I perceive is supposed to be done. Perhaps even what I see others doing on their blog. Letting go of my desire and perhaps even need of a tidy and organized home. Letting go of my desire for a clean home that anyone can come in and not see the build up and neglect. Letting go of what I see as all the things I must address as a homeschool parent to make sure my kids are adequately or in my dreams, beautifully educated. Letting go of the mile long list of things that I ‘should’ do on this blog. Design work that should be done, a marketing plan that should be written up so I am cohesive in how I am presenting myself because I am not at all right now. I have some fairy tale version of how this is all supposed to go and reality is, it isn’t going that way. I know, shocking, right? And truthfully, I don’t really want the magazine glossy, it is just so damn hard to not compare with the proverbial ‘Joneses.’
I went to a homeschool conference this past weekend. It was a good time to get a few new ideas and some great takeaways for me. You see I have had people recently telling me that I need to give up the structure and de-school or un-school. This has come from several different places. I think it is people meaning well trying to help me when they hear me struggling with the work/life/family balance. The thing that I took away from the conference on two separate occasions is that I don’t need to give that structure up… you know why? The structure I have in place isn’t for me. One of my daughters really needs structure, craves it, thrives on it. One of the presenters in a session at the conference talked about that she was an unschooler. She then proceeded to shock me by describing how unschooling her son meant he wanted things all buttoned up. He wanted to know what was next and have all his T’s crossed and I’s dotted. It is the opposite description that I would ever use for unschooling. It shocked me and it described my daughter. I had a moment of clarity that this homeschooling journey means different things to different families and even within the same family, there are different ways of schooling to address different needs. At that moment I knew that I am giving my daughter what she needs and I need to not listen to my sweet and well meaning friends.
The other take away for me was a session for homeschoolers who work. They had a panel of 5 people who answered our questions. It was a great session. The biggest thing I learned is that I am right on track. How I am feeling, what I am experiencing are all par for the course for people who choose to work and homeschool. It is hard, it is stressful, it is busy, it does often require late nights or early mornings….all totally normal! Whew! Of course, they had some great tips as well…but just hearing from other working homeschoolers that this is normal made a huge impact on me.
So, for now, we are taking a short sanity break for Mommy. We could call it Spring break if that makes people feel better. Mommy needs a week, maybe two to regroup and get myself ready to keep going again. Mommy needs a break to come up with some type of new structure for our family that will flow a little better (maybe) and produces a little less guilt (maybe) for me. Mommy needs a week to get back in touch with my gut, heart, intuition, whatever you want to call it because I have gotten too far away from listening to my gut and too close to listening to all of the pressure and shoulds. For me, that is a bad place to reside.
Soon, we will be back at our table working again…or maybe working on some nature studies enjoying the spring weather should it ever arrive. There is no educational emergency. My kids will be OK. More importantly, I will be OK. You see, if I am in a better space, then they will benefit from that because I am in a better frame of mind to deal with raising a family.