Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

Homeschooling is hard some days.  How do you mothers do it who have been at it for multiple years...and often with multiple kids?  We're only three months in - and already, there are some days, I tell you...well, let me leave it at that.

One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is also one of our more challenging aspects:  Matthew and I spend a lot of time together.  Most of the time, we both love that:  we genuinely enjoy each other's company; we can do school in a way that is tailored to him; we're used to each other's routines and temperaments; we know each other very, very well.  The hard part about it is:  Matthew and I spend a lot of time together!  We don't often get a break from each other and that can lead to frustration, especially for me.  The role of teacher is a big one to add to the other roles we all have as parent:  coach; strategist; spiritual advisor; creative-idea-thinker-upper; tear wiper; bum wiper; conversationalist; time keeper; disciplinarian; question asker; question answerer; chief cook and bottle washer.  Because Matthew is an only child, I also sometimes struggle with the daily role I have of playmate.

It was a very welcome opportunity, given our rather tough week last week, to finish the week on Friday by having a playdate at the Children's Museum with a neighbourhood mom and her kindergarten-year-old son.  We've run into each other a couple of times recently and, after we moms eyed each other and the other's five-year-old for a while, we decided that it might be worth some investment of time to determine whether or not the boys might be good friend material for each other.  Turns out that Matthew and he were born within weeks of each other, they are both only children and we live on the same street...about eight houses apart!  Though the mom and I seem to be quite different, with different parenting styles, we also seem to have enough in common to forge a relationship: we're a year apart in age; have only children of the same age; we're both mostly stay-at-home; we have husbands with (it seems) similar personalities; and, of course, we live on the same street.  Those seem like good enough reasons to build an acquaintance, I figure.

With Matthew being home educated and us being new to the whole thing, it takes a deliberate effort to find and interact with kids near his own age.  I'm always on the hunt for kids around his own age.  Thankfully there are now a few friends that he can play with on a fairly regular basis; and we're starting to recognize and interact with a few homeschooling families who keep showing up at the same field trips that we go on.

It's just so lovely when someone else, of Matthew's general size and abilities, gets to be his playmate for a while.  We both love it, and we both need it!  It also enabled the rougher days of last week to fade into lesser significance, and gave me a chance to get my creative brain thinking again about how to manage those tough days better.

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