Something I’ve come to realize as one of the main truths of homeschooling is nothing ever happens when I want it to. NOTHING.
Time keeps slipping and sliding away from me, as if I ever owned it in the first place.
Although most days I have rough plans or an agenda, I have to keep in mind my children’s learning happens when I least expect it (or want it to).
Take for instance one day this week when my youngest child was down for her 1.5 hr nap. Every day, I take this time to read chapter books to my older son and play at least one board game (right now we’re playing Eyes of the Jungle – a cooperative game that’s so fun even for adults!) – or do something he wants to do with mom which is my ultimate goal for my one-on-one time with him. After this, I usually try to get a few moments of “my time” in drinking tea, reading, praying, writing, or whatever my heart desires. If all goes well, I get maybe 20–30 minutes to myself (much needed time, as all you moms know who can’t get a break even when you try and use the restroom).
But just as I had just completed my devotional he came running into the room, jumped onto the couch beside me and presented the Usborne Look Inside Space book and said “Mom! Since I want to be an astronaut someday, let’s read this!”
Keep in mind this book has about a bazillion flaps you lift up and read.
Ok, maybe just a million.
And I’m thinking… I love these books! They’re great for learning cool stuff! An astronaut? Awesome! Can you take your dear old mom to space one day, because by then commercial traveling to Mars may be commonplace!
But please can we do this another time? PLEASE?
Instead, of course, the homeschooling mom guilt took ahold of me and I redirected as much of my full attention back to my son because I didn’t want to squash his interest.
But it was hard not to peel my eyes away from what I wanted to do.
Now, many of you would say “you chose to homeschool, so why would you expect anything different?”
I would respond to that saying, “yes, I did choose to homeschool but that doesn’t negate my desire and duty to have some stillness throughout my day (again, is 10-20 minutes amid 12 hours asking too much? I think not.)
So I had to say a quick prayer asking God to give me patience because I definitely wasn’t feeling any similar term at this moment, knowing my daughter would soon wake up (and she did), and I’d be left with zero moments to myself for the remainder of the day until both kids went to bed.
And here’s where I realized I can’t have my cake and eat it too, I guess.
Yes, God will give us time to ourselves, He even requests this of us – to take time to pray and enjoy his presence. But on days like this day, where I couldn’t find any space at all just for myself, I had to lean hard on God. I had to give him my entire self.
I would surely crumble otherwise.
It’s not that I don’t cherish time reading with my son (we read every day together). It’s that I cherish my time alone because I need to recharge if I’m to continue giving myself to my kids all day, every day.
So you say I should get up and have this time to myself before the kids wake up? I have never been nor will ever be a morning person. I tried it many times and it was like making a sloth run as fast as a cheetah – it will never happen.
After my daughter wakes, I glance into my husband’s office where he’s scrolling through football playoff articles and listening to his favorite podcast. At this moment, I’m a bit envious.
But I then realize he feels so much pressure to provide for our family and does everything he can to make sure I’m able to homeschool (I come from a corporate background and used to run our business alongside him). And as much as I’d love the time to sit and scroll through articles uninterrupted, and as much as I’d like to finish a cup of tea (hot, not lukewarm!), I’d hate to see my kids not want to reach out to me about something exciting, or be gone in school all day where I miss almost everything, or simply be alone, without them.
What a devastating thought.
And I’ll be incredibly sad when the day comes our son walks out our door and starts his life outside of our little family’s life. I’ll remember the days I was a bit frustrated but he was an excited little boy with the whole world in front of him,
and I was his guide, his cheerleader, his mentor, his mama.
And someday I’ll at least be able to look back and say although nothing went according to my timeline, my plans and my agenda, everything went according to God’s timeline, plans and agenda – and if we follow this path and don’t give up, Galatians 6:9 says one day we’ll reap our rewards far beyond our expectations.
And from then on I’ll have all the time in the world to be me.
* * *
Space and time seem to be relative when you homeschool. And maybe it’s just this way when you have young kids.
But I don’t think so. If you really want your kids to learn what they want, when they want, wherever you’re able to help them learn, then we as moms have to be so much more flexible than we ever thought was possible.
Can you tell I’m speaking this as I’m living it?
I may be able to carve time out for myself but in the end it’s not about me anymore. It’s about them. And that’s why I homeschool. I just have to remind myself every now and then when it feels I’m being squeezed from both ends.