Every week feels like a battle...or maybe like a race...as I try to balance my time between kids, household, marriage, me, and the ever-present h/schooling.
I have realized in the past few months that although my home is generally doing well in one basic area it is simultaneously doing poorly in another basic area. If school with the kids is going well, the house is a disaster and I feel panicky about looking throughout the rooms that have suddenly become tornado-like in appearance. On the other hand, if my house is looking pretty tidy and if there aren't too many piles sitting around on horizontal surfaces and if the dinners I put on the table are looking pretty darn awesome, that means school this week has sucked. It really doesn't seem possible to find middle ground between the two extremes.
I'm not sure what to do about this polarization, other than take a one-week-on-one-week-off approach towards school, so that I can reorg the house every other week. But I don't want this kind of schedule.
As I write this, it's noon and the kids and I have just finished school for the day. I just shipped the kids upstairs to play for fifteen minutes and told them that I need fifteen minutes of quiet before I was going to get lunch ready. The first five minutes I spent updating my records as to what the kids actually accomplished this morning, because I track everything we're doing in school. My last ten minutes are being spent here, blogging, as I regain my equilibrium after getting through an intense but productive morning of school. In a few minutes, I'll head upstairs and make lunch to feed the ever-hungry masses.
After lunch, I'll shepherd the kids upstairs to finish the lists that they usually do after breakfast but which we didn't do this morning because everyone was wanting to do school. So while they work on room tidying and face-washing and clothes-donning, I will hop quickly into the shower that I didn't get up early enough this morning to take. Then we'll scramble to get out the door because we're meeting friends this afternoon to glow bowl and do hot chocolates with. After a quick stop to pick up pumpkins for tomorrow's carvings, we'll head home and by that time I'll need to turn my thoughts towards dinner prep and trying to clear the stack of breakfast and lunch dishes piled beside the sink. While I'm doing dinner prep, the kids will do some tidying and crafting and as soon as dinner's in the oven, I'll read out loud to the kids for a half hour.
Then Geoff will arrive home at 6:00 and we'll all set the table fast so that dinner can make it onto the table. Dinnertime usually takes quite a while, as the kids aren't generally fast eaters. By the time we're done and the table is cleared, it's usually after 7:00 and Geoff will play with the kids for a half hour while I charge around doing a little clearing and cleaning in the kitchen, and then it's time to start bedtime routines.
When the last kid is in bed, shortly after 9:00, that's when I usually turn my attention to prepping for school the next morning, doing any online research I want to do (last night's research was on caring for long, natural hair - ie. Lizzie's - and how to make organic hair and body creams with shea butters and various oils - ie. Lizzie's and Seth's hair and bodies), blogging, responding to emails, catching up on my adoption yahoo forums, and reading until sleep overtakes me.
Left undone downstairs: The messes in the rec room and family room (which was tidy before dinner but turned upside down again shortly thereafter), several piles of accumulated paper that I only added to today, laundry and laundry folding (oh, the laundry folding) and about a zillion other things that remain on my to-do list.
I heard recently that for h/schooling moms, the first three years are spent worrying about curriculum choices; the remaining years are spent worrying about household management and keeping up with all of the stuff that needs doing. Have I mentioned that I've just started my fourth year of h/schooling?
My ten minutes are up. No time for edits...sorry.