Life can be a bit trying, can’t it? And despite our best efforts to try, try, try, sometimes all you really need is to stop. Stop trying.
Several times a week, after I get my morning coffee, I sit down and begin to write a blog post. What’s new (a lot). Where we’ve been (a far). What’s changed (bunches). How I’ve grown (by miles and miles). What delicious things I’ve eaten (lots). And inevitably, within the first 100 words, someone – typically a rather loud, persistent 2-year-old – comes and demands my attention. And unless I give it freely and in its entirety, we both grow increasingly irritated and until I set my keyboard down a bit too hard and stomp into the kitchen/bedroom/living room to, you know, parent. Be a mother. I know, they have such high expectations of me.
So it’s become easier to just stop trying to accomplish all the unnecessary and focus that attention toward my kids. It’s hardly revolutionary but I’m still surprised by how much more pleasant my children seem. In reality, they’re just as sweet and inquisitive as always but I’m changing my perception.
Last time I found a moment to chat, I briefly told of the struggles Em and I were facing with school. We had enrolled her in a full-time program at a wonderful little school but it just wasn’t clicking. We tried. Every day. And every night, I continued to chew my lip and lament to anyone who would listen. I even broke out in a rash from all the worry. I wish I was kidding. We considered our options. We could stick it out. We could scrape every extra penny and send her to a costly private program four days a week. Or we could homeschool.
A brief tangent here – hang with me for a moment. It’s pretty incredible how God works and how clearly His hand is moving once you see things in hindsight. For the past few months, I’ve been struggling a lot with going back to work full-time. I’ve said it before – I never, in a million years, imagined I’d ever be a stay at home mom. Never. Even when it happened, it was always intended to be a short-term situation until we got settled in Savannah. This summer was hard for me, personally, and I’ve been struggling to figure out where I’m supposed to be in life and what really makes me happy. So I started looking for part-time and freelance work. The field of communications isn’t exactly a booming industry in this small town, so I broadened my options to include full-time work. But I kept trying to make it happen. With Em going into full-day school, I was pretty sure I was being called back to the professional world.
Then she actually started school and things quickly disintegrated. They didn’t fall apart, nothing tragic happened, no disasters ensued. Simply and one by one, our beliefs and motivations for having her in this program just began to fall apart. Her temperament changed and she became increasingly nervous and unsure of herself. Every morning, she asked how many more days were left that week before she could spend a whole day with me. Even her attitude toward her younger sister shifted from patient to annoyed. It became glaringly apparently that despite our sweet girl’s independence, excitement for life and people, and eagerness to be a big kid, she still so badly needed to be cared for by her momma.
There are no words to properly convey how relieved and happy I am that the perfect opportunity never arose for me to go back to work. Because that would have made an already difficult decision much more complicated and messy.
After giving it three weeks, we decided to pull Em out of school. PreK drop out – it has a nice ring to it, I think. We decided to try a casual homeschool curriculum. I’m hesitant to even call it homeschooling because really, she’s four years old. Regardless, I’m sure a lot of people were surprised by this because I am not known for my patience or excitement for all things kid-related. But it just made sense. We can visit family whenever we’d like. We can tag along when Josh travels for work. And throw in some phonetics, motor skill development and penmanship along the way. We’re still figuring out the social aspect of things because, really, this girl loves other children and this momma needs a break every now and again.
I’ve been hesitant to make any formal, “HEY! WE’RE HOMESCHOOLING OUR KIDS! LOOK AT US!” announcements because then people seem to pay particularly close attention to what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, if you appear to be succeeding or following whatever rules they think should exist. But the beauty of this is that I don’t have to try to meet expectations because, really, they’re my kids.
So, here’s to hopefully finding more time to write. And not trying so hard. And having fun.