I wouldn’t trade this time with my kids for anything. Not even when everything is falling apart in a day, and I have lost my patience for the one millionth time. No, homeschool isn’t always perfect. In fact, there are days that I am so stressed from it, that I think I may throw in the towel, and days that I have quite literally thrown a towel in frustration. Never at anyone, but when it has fallen off the bathroom shelf after everything else has occurred that day, I have wadded it up and thrown it back in.
I have worked outside of the home, as a mom, and it is stressful. You work away all day and you come home and still have a multitude of jobs to do. Kids to be fed, laundry to do, floors to be swept. It never ends. There is this common myth that stay-at-home moms should have immaculate houses, and endless time. I was guilty of believing this too. When I would talk to stay-at-home moms, I would have to resist the urge to yell at them when they would complain that they didn’t have time to do anything. I mean, they were home all day. In my mind, I pictured them laying on the couch watching TV and eating Bon Bon’s like Peggy Bundy did all those years ago on “Married With Children”.
While I spend a lot of my time on a couch, it is definitely not such a pleasurable experience. I am often piled on by my three children, each working on varying lessons of varying difficulty. They all three need my help at the same time, and there is no one else to help. It is just me. Sometimes, I feel like one of those people who are running with the bulls in Spain. I have a red cape and I am waving it around and my three kids are running towards me. Okay, so maybe not that extreme, but still at times it can feel just as daunting.
In the midst of each kids needing help, we have to deal with lost pencils, and someone touching someone’s notebook. Maybe if I had it being a bit more structured I wouldn’t have some of this. However, I choose to let my kids work how they are comfortable. If that means laying under the table, or half sitting on the ottoman, then so be it. We work for hours at a time, and I want them to have some freedom to move around, as long as they are working. This means if you would walk in to our homeschool area, you would more than likely see one of my children sitting like this. Most days, it works. Sometimes, it doesn’t. He falls backwards onto my other son, and then that son yells. My daughter then sides with the youngest, because her other brother did it on purpose. On those days, it is as if someone has unleashed an entire circus in my house. Do you honestly think that I would have time to wash the dishes? Not when I am playing ringmaster and trying to keep the lion from eating the monkey.
Not only this, but just as soon as I get the dishes done, someone else is hungry. When I get the laundry caught up, they bring down those clothes that surfaced from the Bermuda Triangle that must exist in their room. My work is never done in a day. I am tired. So very tired. I am the most tired I have ever been. I am also working harder than I have ever worked before. Even when I had a classroom of thirty fourth graders. Why? Because it never ends. I never just get to turn off the lights and go home. My home is my classroom and therefore, I never leave work. EVER.
Which brings another point. I never have a break. My husband, as wonderful as he is, does. He leaves the house and he gets hours in a day that are not tied to the demands of the house. He has adult conversations. I do not. This creates some jealousy and resentment on my behalf. But then, he truly is wonderful. He comes home for every lunch. He helps with the laundry, and helps with the dishes. He doesn’t chastise me too much when I fall asleep watching TV with him. He is pretty terrific. Even when I snap at him for no reason. Even when I have given everyone else my best that day, and he just gets the rest.
I find myself rushing the kids, at times, just so that I can have some time to unwind. On those days I must remind myself of why I made this choice, because it is a choice. I made this choice because nobody in this world wants my kids to succeed more than I do and there were barriers that were keeping them from being able to do this. So, I keep trudging along, being the Ringmaster of my circus, trying not to drop the many pins I am juggling in the air. My house may at times be a disaster. I may have a short fuse, and snap at the nearest target, the fallen towel. I may long for times when I can have an adult conversation. But, at the end of the day, I thank God that I am afforded this opportunity to spend some pretty amazing times with my kids. Because, all in all, the good times outweigh the bad. My circus, my monkeys.