I realize that there is really NO WAY TO DO IT ALL! My three children are with me 24/7 there is no way that I’ll be able to attend to their educations, get them to their various activities and groups, have a perfectly clean house, keep up with my writing and courses, host get togethers and playdates and keep it all together. Not only do I realize that I can’t do it all, I ACCEPT it! I do the best that I can with my days and if my dishes aren’t done or the laundry isn’t put away at the end of the day then I don’t sweat it. There is always tomorrow.
That being said, there are times when things do accumulate and it gets to be a bit too much. Then I have no issues calling a mental health day. We put off any activities that take us out of the house, forget about homeschooling and stay in our pajamas ALL DAY. The kids tend to snuggle up with books and puzzles and an occasional movie on Netflix might be turned on and they get to relax while I get in control of the chaos by focusing on the chores that are causing me the most stress. Most often this includes a good scrubbing of the kitchen and an afternoon sorting through the homeschooling work that the children have accomplished over the last while (it tends to accumulate all over the house as my methods to contain it have yet to be effective). I have also scheduled my weekly chores so that things usually don’t accumulate too badly. On Monday mornings the kids and I do a good cleaning of the kitchen (which tends to explode over the weekend) and on Friday we give the house a relatively quick once over, including organizing toys and picking up things that may have strayed from their normal location over the course of the week.
Another key to our relatively relaxed homeschooling environment is that we homeschool year round so I don’t feel stressed about slower days (or sometimes weeks) during the traditional school year. I also trust that even when my children aren’t engaged in sit down school work that they are still learning valuable lessons. I trust that they will learn what they need to learn to be successful without hours and hours and hours of input on my part trying to teach them materials that they are not interested in, not ready for or that quite frankly is plain ol’ boring.
Finally, I have a couple close friends who also homeschool and can relate. One friend is local and we try to get together somewhat regularly and I can’t help but feeling refreshed and inspired after spending an hour with her. She always has wonderful ideas and it’s kind of nice to know that despite how together she looks (with 10 kids) that she has days where things don’t work out according to HER plan either. My other friend is now far away but always has a kind word and her own stories to share. I think it is key to know that you aren’t in it alone and that really no one has it as together as they sometimes make it look.
Remember be honest, don’t stress, and this too shall pass.