Monday, September 7, 2015

Homeschool Bonus: Quiet Mornings (or Are They?)

Tomorrow is when all the other kids in our school district go back to school. 

Moms are posting about the hours they'll have to themselves and how they can't wait for that yellow bus to pull up!  But I've noticed something curious... a few moms who feel conflicted about the end of summer.  I mean, parents being honest about it.  That's refreshing.

I know I miss my kids when they spend a lot of time away.  I know there are other moms and dads that do, too.  That's one thing I love about homeschooling... the togetherness of it.  No, I'm not ashamed to say it, either.  I love hanging with my  kids.

That, and-->  not having to yank two exhausted children out of bed, make them perform personal hygiene tasks against their will, create four meals at once (two breakfasts and two lunches), and drag them to the bus all before any reasonable person would be drinking their first cup of coffee. 

Actually, that's the biggest thing I love about homeschooling.  Yep.  That's it.

Having said that, my morning usually looks like this:  Get up at about 7:00ish with grandiose plans of working in peace and quiet for a couple hours.  You'd think I'd learn.  Instead, I let two dogs out.  Put on water to boil.  Let dogs in, making sure the cat isn't around to make a mad dash out the door.  Feed and water two dogs and cat. 


Grind coffee with a towel around the grinder so it won't wake up the kids because I forgot to grind last night.  Pour water into the French press.  Boot up the computer and check emails.  Get too involved in a Facebook thread-- finally press down the coffee which is super strong by now because it's been steeping for like an hour.  Pour a cup of coffee.  Open work documents (finally).  Dogs start barking wildly at the mail carrier.  I hush them but it's too late... one kid stumbles down the stairs... hungry.

Time to make breakfast...

I really don't know why I don't just sleep in.

Okay, I know I haven't written here in a really long time.  I've been super busy-- I actually have been pursuing my own career (yes, you CAN do that while homeschooling two kids).  I've been writing, developing recipes, and doing food photography for one client for the past year and a half... and I love it. 

I've been an avid "food-porn" addict for many years-- leafing through cookbooks and magazine drooling over delicious-looking pork roasts and mouthwatering cheesecakes.  Who knew it was also great to be behind the camera, actually taking the picture of that sultry, scrumptious dish?

Sorry, I digress...

I mean, with me working 10 - 25 hours a week, the house isn't quite as clean and maybe I lose my patience a little more or get a little less sleep.  But my kids see me making a living at something I love, and building my career alongside the life I want to live.

Recently my dad told me that my DS-15 (darling son, age 15) should keep practicing piano, because then he'll never have to get up in the morning for work.  My dad was very serious... he talked about the possibility of him playing piano bars and concerts as a career.  I LOVED that my dad saw this opportunity for him to build a career AROUND his own unique circadian rhythm, rather than try to fight against it.  (He has ALWAYS preferred to be up at night and sleep during the day, no matter what.)

So, I build my career into the life I wanted to live-- being home with my kids.  It's nice to show them it can work out great that way.  It's a good example... and the money is nice, too.

Monday, May 11, 2015

We Are Never Home

My Google Calendar looks like a Candyland board-- squares and rectangles in pink, yellow, green, blue smattered all over the page, some overlapping and some completely covering one another. 

That means we will have to divide and conquer.  That means we'll have to be late to a birthday party because of a parent meeting.  That means my darling hub and I may go a couple of days with barely a hug and a "hello," two battered ships passing in the night.

This is what homeschooling means.  What it doesn't mean is "staying home."  At least for this family. 

Between theatre and gymnastics and our one day a week of homeschool classes, friends and music lessons and library programs, and then of course our adult pursuits (yes, we do have hobbies and passions and jobs and lives outside of our growing children), we are almost never home for a whole day.  And oh, I WISH I could just be home some days... sitting and reading or dinking around the house cleaning and cooking, gardening or walking the dog.  That sounds so nice.

But before we know it our kids will be all grown up-- seriously, my son is three years away from adulthood!  What?!  How did that happen?

Hub says as soon as they're both out, we are moving somewhere far away and not telling them where we are until we are good and rested-- I mean, ready.  I said that was fine as long as the dogs went with them.

NEXT week we are headed to the Unschooler's Waterpark Convention at Kalahari, and I'm so looking forward to the rest.  I've been told by both of my children that we are barely going to see them-- they'll be off at workshops and fun activities with their friends and hundreds of other homeschoolers, so hub and I will have the room to ourselves for long stretches of time... and you know what that means.... he naps in one bed and I nap in the other!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hello, Again

It's Mother's Day.  Today, I'm supposed to do what I want.  But what happens when I don't really know what I want... it's almost as if I've forgotten how to know what I want when I'm unbound by obligation.  Sad, but true.

So, I just decided to go wherever the Universe took me today.  Apparently, it took me here.  And I want to say, "I'm sorry."  I have neglected this child of mine-- this little baby blog that was once so important to my life, to my sanity, to the ability for me to keep going during a time that was so full of ups and downs.

Please forgive me.  I have forgiven myself. :) 

Moving on...  An incredible amount of life has happened over the last couple of years.  My son's PANDAS is manageable.  He's a vibrant almost-15-year-old full of so much compassion, but perhaps a little less than adequate foresight.  Ah well, kindness and compassion win in my book every time.  My daughter is almost twelve going on twenty.  She is independent and loving and I couldn't ask for more.  She wrote me a really sweet song for Mother's Day and performed it on her guitar.

As for this whole Mother's Day thing... I always get really really overwhelmed on Mother's Day.  It's kind of silly, really.  But social media makes it hard on moms who wake up in the morning to a normal day-- no breakfast in bed or flowers or even an extra hour of rest.  I always feel like Mother's Day is anticlimactic, like I'm supposed to be showered with love and affection.  Then, when I'm sitting at my computer in my pajamas after having made breakfast for myself and whomever else wandered in, seeing all the glorious cards and gifts and days and photos from EVERYONE ELSE'S kick-ass Mother's Day, I start to wonder why mine isn't a Hallmark kind of day.

Then I realize something-- I get hugs and kisses every day... even from my 15 year old.  I get music and laughter.  I get the tears and the pain and the struggle.  I get to be the rock.  I also get to be the structure.  Having my children in my life IS the blessing, it IS the gift.  I KNOW they love me, and they don't need to make me breakfast in bed (or even a song-- although it totally rocked-- but I got it last night so it didn't feel like a Mother's Day surprise) to show how important I am to them.

I know it when my daughter comes in my room in the middle of the night scared, and I crawl into bed with her and hug her.  I know it when my son, who's bigger than me, wraps his arms around me and says, "You're the best mom."  I know it when my husband hugs me and says, "You know how much you mean to me."  I know it when my step-mom calls me to tell me that I have done a really great job raising my kids, and that I'm a really good mom and it makes me cry.

I know it when I get Mother's Day cards from my kids' friends... because I am like a mom to them.

I know it because we are the house that's swarming with kids, and messes, and homemade cookies, and music, and despite the crazy dogs and the dust, this is where they all want to be.

And despite the crazy dogs and the dust (and all the kids) this is where I want to be.

So, if you're a mom who woke up, dragged yourself into the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee, cleaned up some messes and got on with your day today-- know that your kids love you just as much as the moms who got breakfast in bed.  But maybe they don't need a special day to show you-- because all the moments that they show you add up to so much more than one day.