Some days I really struggle with finding balance. Lately I feel my work and home schooling the kids has gotten out of whack. I devote 2 hours a day to work but that can be hard to stick to. Helping folks sometimes requires helping outside of the “work hours”. So what’s my struggle with work and home school? And is it really that or is there another issue?
Homeschooling was a choice we made for our kids because it just felt right for us. We had problems at the public school that we couldn’t justify or solve. So that’s the choice we made for our family.
But let me be real. I have been struggling since day one of having both kids home which happened in October. Part of the struggle comes from the simple fact that I like to be alone. I like my space. I like my time to get things done without interruption. I like my work and find it hard to do it at home with 2 kids who talk, eat and breathe.
Emma has been at home doing online public school with K12 for 2 years so that’s simple and easy. She’s a good student and quiet. Likes to read in her spare time. The challenge came when I brought Jack home. This time it’s a simple traditional home school program for a kindergartner. It’s easy. I can teach it. The problems that occur have nothing to do with the schooling part. It’s the being a family part. In a house together all day long. Every day.
Each child has a list of things they need to do each day–eat, brush teeth, school, chores, exercise, rest, free time. Emma wants her space and to do things at her own pace (slow) and wants to be left alone to get it done.
Jack likes to hang around in between getting those things done so there must be redirecting on my part, reminding at times. And he usually spends that time hanging out in the room where Emma is.
Here’s the crux of the problem: They aren’t the best of friends that most home schooled kids are. Maybe it’s because she’s a girl and he’s a boy. Or that there is a 3.5 year age difference. Or that they just have different personalities. Whatever it is, they don’t adore each other.
Jack wants Emma to play with him and he tries hard to get her attention (not always in good ways). Emma just wants to be left alone to do her thing and spend time with me.
Can you see how this would create conflict? Jack wants Emma’s attention. Emma wants to be left alone and be with me. I want to get my chores and work done without interruption.
I love my kids. I love spending time with them. I love that I can teach them at home and take care of them rather than work full time. They don’t always listen. They don’t always do what they are told. They don’t always love and take care of each other the way they should and the way I need them to. It’s frustrating.
I love my work. I love helping people and every single person who asks me for help wants my help. They will try their best to do what I suggest. They will listen. They will do. It’s invigorating and fun.
And now I must figure out how to balance home school, home life and work. I must figure out the right daily schedule that allows me to merge my two loves–my kids and my work. It would be very easy to put them back on the bus to public school, but I know I can’t do that. I realize as I type this that it’s not a matter of finding balance as much as it’s a matter of clearing up the conflict between the kids and between the kids and a mom that now has a job.
Blessings abound–the blessing to be home with them and to not have to work full time outside the home, but those blessings have their own challenges. I need to learn how to teach them to be good to each other, good to their parents, strong in their faith, positive in their attitudes, responsible to their commitments and for their actions. That’s just a few of the things I need to teach them. And that’s a lot.
I will not be overcome by this struggle. I will find a balance. I will find that daily schedule that works for us. I will stop feeling guilty for working. It might take a serious family sit down once a week. It might take more prayer than I think I have time for. It might take help from others. It might mean that I need to love my kids more even if the kids don’t always do what I say.
I love my work. I love my kids more. Homeschooling is a choice and I choose it. I choose to make it work and be successful at my work of helping folks become healthy.
I just need to find that healthy balance in my life. Writing this blog post has really helped.
What is your struggle? How do you work out a solution? I’d love to hear it.