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This post is part of the Homeschool Mum Takeaway Series!
“I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing“. Hillel
Those days…the ones where I wake up a little heavy–the world seems bright outside my bedroom window, but not inside my head. My head feels the middle of February overcast and a solid dose of premenstrual tension. By the time I reach the kitchen, the little’s are speaking thirty decibels louder than my head can manage. I can’t shush long enough or loud enough to get anyone to stop talking so I can find the bottle of Advil. “Just be quiet!” I squeal.
Those days…when it doesn’t matter what I do to quell THAT child–she wants to challenge everything I say, report everything her sibling is doing wrong, or declare she can no longer read, compute basic calculations or spell three letter words, though she’s been doing those things for years. I say a few (not) choice words about laziness.
Those days…when I think to myself, ‘why am I writing a blog about capturing the charmed life’ when I know darn well that the idealism I desperately want to be reality isn’t found in my four walls?
Those days…when I didn’t pick up a child on time, and they’re waiting on the sidewalk, disappointed and embarassed.
Those days…when I don’t know how to engage a math concept, so I avoid it.
Those days…when I forget to tuck a child into bed, because I was engrossed in conversation with another child.
Those days…when I haven’t checked enough off my list, overheard other homeschool families successes, and realized my kid can’t do THAT, or my child doesn’t answer something properly that a neighbour quizzes.
Those days…when I don’t want to hear a child’s frustration, so I shut her down cause it’s getting on my nerves.
So many reasons to feel failure!
Homeschool Mama’s Feelings and Healing!
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” an old English proverb declares. I guess I’m supposed to learn to sail on this homeschool family sea.
Today was one of those days…when that kiddo was impatient or unkind to her sibling or me, and I tell her I don’t want to hear it. She can figure out her frustrations somewhere else. Her behaviour is immature. It’s disruptive. Not appropriate. Disrespectful. “Get a grip. I’m not having this in my house, thank you very much.” Not the best approach, and I know it as the words are rushing out of my mouth.
I have one of two choices at this crossroad of exasperation. I can continue to be swayed by the onslaught of irritations that are coming my way. I am, in fact, RIGHT. She was disrespectful. She was trouble making. She was disrupting our day.
Or I can stop. Just stop talking. Stop thinking. Stop trying to force things.
Close my bedroom door behind me. Sit on a yoga mat. Sit in a comfy chair. Stare through the windows toward the river. Listen to what’s going on inside me.
What do I feel?
I sit quietly long enough and my subterranean feelings, the feelings underneath that protective coating of frustration, will rise.
What’s under my frustration today? I feel like a failure.
I should have listened to her frustrated feelings. Asked more about them. Instead, I tried to shut them down as quickly as they began. Cause we have stuff to do.
I take myself to a mirror and speak to myself like I would to my friend, “You’re going to be okay. These frustrated feelings won’t last forever. These are kids. It’s what they do. They sample behaviours — irritating, unproductive, unhelpful behaviours at times. For no other reason than ‘just because’. They want to see what works. See what doesn’t. Sometimes they don’t have feeling words or clarity to put to their frustrations. Sometimes they react, instead of act adultly with those feelings. Are you surprised she didn’t act adultly? Well, obviously, yes, I was surprised. I would like her to act adulty all the time. Mature adultly even. Not immature adulty. Ever. Well anyway, that’s not a thing. I’m sorry I behaved in a way I know doesn’t work. I forgive myself. Tomorrow is a new day. Or if I want, I can restart today right now.”
I speak those encouraging words to myself in the mirror. And keep breathing. All uncomfortable feelings pass eventually.
This Homeschool Freedom Lifestyle Doesn’t Come for Free!
This homeschool freedom lifestyle doesn’t come for free. This kind of freedom is earned through hard work, mostly work of the interior.
Acknowledge that I have feelings. Acknowledge that my feelings need a voice. Understand why I feel what I feel. Recognize where the triggers for my unpleasant feelings originate.
Accept that my children have feelings entirely unique to them. They don’t always know how to identify them, or recognize their own triggers, or know what to do with their unpleasant feelings.
Accept that I am a guide for their interior work. That they are watching as I grapple with my own feelings.
There’s no manual for parenting, no manual for homeschooling…okay, actually there are, and lots of them even. But there are no individualized manuals.
So I’ll continue to listen to my internal world, learn to listen to theirs, acknowledge uncomfortable feelings, like failure, alongside them. This will inform what I need, will inform what they need, what I don’t need, what they don’t need, and keep on keeping on so that there will be larger and larger gaps between ‘those days’.
“She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts,
but because she continued on despite them”.
Beau Taplin, Unstoppable
Homeschool Takeaway: When I feel the uncomfortable feeling of failure, I will go somewhere quiet, sit, breathe, wait till I have clarity what to do next. Speak to myself what is true: I made a mistake, I wish I hadn’t, but I did. I have something to learn about my child, about me. I can forgive myself and continue to grow into what I need to do and be as a homeschool mama to my children.
About The Author
Teresa Wiedrick is always eager to share the freedoms of the homeschool lifestyle with the skeptical, the intrigued, or interested folks. Ten years ago, she was searching for arguments against homeschooling, and that reading informed her next decade.
Her family began home educating when they moved provinces, and her eldest daughter finished grade two. The schedule free lifestyle enabled their family to travel. Her oldest daughter recently graduated from a local high school. Her 15, 13, and 10 year old children continue to learn from home and community. (But obviously they’re not always at home, because they’re also at dance, choir, soccer, curling, chess, theatre, the senior center, part time jobs, and social events).
A hearty advocate of home education, she encourages you to live your best homeschool life. She can be found on-line at www.capturingthecharmedlife.com and @twainausten at Instagram and Twitter. She cannot be found on Snap Chat, because she is too old for that.
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