I feel so out of whack theses days. I don't even know where to start. As I logged into Blogger to type an update to this current pregnancy, I tried to look through the blogs I "follow" (and I use that word liberally since I can't tell you the last time I actually had the time to read things that weren't related to either a near 2 year old or 5 year olds) and I realized that I'm just so disconnected. I haven't even been to this space in a year until two posts ago, and even before that, I was a pretty light poster. Which, when you look at the years before and take into effect that I'm supposed to be writer, is sad.
But back to the disconnected feeling.
I wanted to click on the blogs of the folks I once thought I knew, these women that I used to pray for and talk to regularly, who made up a core group of understanding friends, and I realized that I don't know most of them anymore. I've kept up with some, and I'm grateful for the modern technology and texting plans that have allowed that to happen even with all the crazy in my life, but for the most part, I don't know what is going on in their lives. Reading an update would leave ,me with more questions than answers, and that, I think, is a pretty good overview of my life these days.
Most days, I feel like who I am is hidden- I cant say gone because then I'm afraid I might not know where she went or how to get her back. The days feed into one another and the weeks go by without any rhyme or reason. The last few I've been able to keep up with because each Monday flips me into a new week of pregnancy. I keep up with the months because they bring me closer to Michael being aged in years instead of months. But, for the most part, it's just MoTuWeThFrSaSuWhereAreWeAgain.
Homeschooling is tough stuff....Not for the faint of heart. It's been clear since we started hardcore last summer, but I think pregnancy has put it into even more perspective. When I was pregnant with Michael, Bobby and Maya were in preschool two mornings a week. They visited my in-laws one day a week, and I was able to just sleep when I needed to and rest during the day. They also took three hour afternoon naps, which meant I had another slot to rest (and a spot on the two days where they were home all day). After Michael was born, they were in camp three mornings a week, visited their grandparents one day a week, and Peter was home for the day during the week where we were all together. Then, they were in school five mornings a week while I was home with a baby who still nursed and napped much of the morning, so I was able to nap right along with him until my life got back on track hormonally and I wasn't so tired.
Now, I'm so utterly exhausted all the time. Trying to balance schooling, playgroup, weekly field trips, plus the nights I teach and have other obligations, like music and scouts, I'm a walking zombie at times. Pregnancy really slapped me upside the head this time and it's harder than Michael's and, honestly, harder than I anticipated. And that just adds to the unexpected stress that homeschooling had already leveled at me.
I'll be honest and, hey, maybe I'm in the minority of homeschooling parents, but I absolutely despise it. I think it's a great thing in general and, truly, it is the right choice for our kids. It's amazing to see them "get" things and to see how we are able to really tailor every single subject into their needs and enjoyments. But the ground work that goes into it... The dealing with the autistic outbursts and trying to judge exactly what is too much/too little/the right tool/the wrong tool and making sure things are put in play as they have to be to stop said meltdown. Some days, I don't even know what I've done right or wrong to create the outcome and the stress from that alone... I'm lucky that I know a homeschool mom who is a similar situation so I don't feel crazy or like it's just me, but that doesn't make it harder.
And the kids are smart.... Like really smart. So trying to keep up with them without pushing them too far or not pushing them hard enough. Sheesh. We finished our kindergarten curriculum in six months in about 90 minutes, four days a week. They have different strengths and weaknesses and Bobby was ahead of Maya in some subjects while she was ahead of him in others, but by January, we had busted out the few first grade books we hadn't already opened. Based on their current activities, we'll be done around Michael's birthday in July, give our take a week. Which means August brings us a second grade curriculum. I'm sure, with an October baby, things will slow down for us, and I don't plan on buying the third grade curriculum with the idea that we would get into it early. I could always order it if need be, but my thought is that with the types of work in second grade, we will slow it down. But still, that's a workload... And second grade means Sacramental prep, so that's more activities and more to do in a schedule that already seems crazed.
I'm trying not to stress about it... Clearly failing in that way, but I tell myself that things will be fine. People homeschool with babies, multiple aged/leveled children, different needs, etc. We can do it... Right? Of course we can.
There's a fair amount of my homeschool stress that is of my own making. I have my own ideas about it is should go, how I want it to go, etc. and those ideas don't usually (always? ever?) mesh with the kids and their ideas or needs. Which makes it tough. Since deciding to really play off their interests and desires, it has gotten easier in the application but not in the stress levels of Mama's end.
Part of the out-of-sorts comes from selfishness, too, I think. I know what life was like before having kids and I know how much time I was able to give to my own interests. Now, with a hectic family life, there is only so much time to go around and someone has to get shortchanged. Daily, I feel like that is me; after all, who else can it be? (I think my relationship with Peter gets shortchanged too, truth me told.) I teach a few classes a week, and that money keeps us going on field trips and enjoying those days out. I have GS stuff, which Maya loves and, while it's a lot of work, I enjoy spending that time with her and the Troop. I'm active in church, which is a nonnegotiable and, now that Maya is in the children's choir, that's another layer. There will be cross country again in the fall. It keeps for busy days and nights and weekends that are rarely "free". It doesn't leave much time for personal running, which is my version of Xanax, or writing, which is my place of inner peace.
I remember that royalty checks used to give me a sense of pride and accomplishment; now, they make me sad. They are a reminder of what was, and of what I can't seem to make time for. I've tried.... what feels like a hundred different ways.... I've tried to make the time to dedicate to my craft, and I just cant. I need more than the "take an hour" here or there. It's something non-writers don't really understand, I guess. Nonfiction writing was easier because I could pick up research and lay it out, then take time to pull it together when I had time to spare. Fiction doesn't work that way; at least it doesn't for me. Even when it is part time writing, it's hours- not minutes- that I need to be able to spare. Otherwise, it's not a promoter of peace, it's just another cause of stress.
But there's no time. Even now, to write and get this out, I'm taking time away from something else that "needs" to be done, that I'll have to rush through, that wont be done "right" in order to just get done. It's exhausting. I'm exhausted.
I'm so done most moments of every day. And that just leads to more trouble.
I'm not the mother I thought I'd be. There's more yelling, less laughing, not enough fun, and too much stress. I spend a part of at least every other day (and sometimes days in a row) hiding for a few moments to just let it out with some tears while it sounds like the house is falling down around me. When Peter gets home, it's no better, it's just different. Then there's me running from one place to another to do something for someone else, there's making dinner, doing laundry, trying to spend a moment decompressing from the crazy before to prepare for the crazy that is coming.
I'll rest when I'm dead, right? Kids are only young once.... This too shall pass... The minutes are long but the years are short.... It was yesterday that Michael was born, let alone that the twins were born- I know that time goes by so quickly. That doesn't make the sense of tired and the stress that feels so heavy go away.
I've heard that the first few years of taking on homeschooling can be the hardest and I'm hoping that is what this is. Three kids, five and under... the stress and hormones of another pregnancy... the schooling and just typical household worries....
But I would love to feel a sense of balance return. Even my 108 Sun Salutations at my Equinox yoga class wasn't able to accomplish that.