It was hard for me to learn how to balance when my kids were little – juggling all their needs while homeschooling and caring for the home, sometimes while my husband was deployed.
Lately, I find myself almost bored, lost with too much time and not enough to do.
I find myself thinking: shhh, slow down. To myself, to my kids.
My eldest is all on her own. My heart breaks a little with every struggle she faces.
My middle two are attending university this year with CCP. The first time they’ve ever attended a school! My heart is aflutter. I know they’ll do fine, but it’s all just so new. And new is often scary.
And then there was one.
My son is twelve and we anticipate a fun year as we move into high school homeschool work. He’s worried he will be lonely without his siblings! He has no desire for a co-op or group activities or field trips.
I’ve seen so many changes this last year in my kids. They need me less and less and that’s a good thing, but it is also bittersweet. I strive to teach them a healthy work-life balance – in spite of our society’s values and the other authorities in their lives.
There are so many opportunities everywhere that it’s sometimes hard to choose and narrow down the choices so we’re not overwhelmed.
It seems the expectations increase the older my kids get.
But we don’t have to follow the crowd and do everything that everyone else does.
I want my kids to be healthy in mind and body – and having a busy schedule with work, school, and activities often does not allow for this. It seems only to get worse and busier as the kids get older. I struggle to find balance and to make time for them to eat well and sleep enough and be able to play.
My kids seldom have to wake up early and we don’t have to fight over bedtimes. They’ve been homeschooled their whole lives. I have noticed their natural habits and I am thankful that I haven’t had to fight those normal rhythms.
We don’t have to go to bed early in order to wake up before dawn to catch a bus or stand in a drop-off line. There are no hours of silly homework or rushing to complete projects after dinner and before baths and bed.
My kids have never had to wake up early to study last minute or to complete an assignment before school because they have never attended school. They’ve never had deadlines or assignments or homework or tests.
They’re relaxed and less stressed than many of their peers who only know rushing, busyness, being tired from not enough sleep.
My two eldest daughters have jobs that sometimes require early wakeups or later hours on their schedule and it bothers me that it doesn’t have to be this way for young people. They don’t have to enter this world yet. They have chosen this and sometimes it’s hard waking up early or working late. We try to limit the teen jobs to fifteen hours a week since she started school.
I don’t do really well myself, staying up too late reading. I don’t like waking up to alarms and sometimes struggle in the mornings.
Really, we could all use a slowdown and rest more. We used to get along just fine without 24-hour stores and constant availability.
Naps are good. Rest time and down time and quiet time is needful.
We as a society struggle with eating healthy. Perhaps our busy schedules have something to do with that.
My kids eat when they’re hungry. They have a huge variety of healthy foods and some fun snacks and treats for whenever they want something.
Also, my kids can use the bathroom whenever they need to use it.
Rushing does not aid digestion. Sitting still all day, every day does not aid digestion.
I remember rushing out the door to meet the school bus while eating a poptart in the brisk morning air. I remember creeping through the lunch line for a carb-filled tray that had to be devoured in 15 minutes before heading back sit still and quiet in a classroom for three more hours. We never had water bottles and the hall water fountains either didn’t work well or the water was warm and bitter. I was constantly hungry and dehydrated.
So meal times are important to me. I want my kids to have fond memories of food and meals.
My kids have a hot breakfast every single morning.
My kids have a lovely leisurely lunch with lots of veggies.
We always have a sit-down dinner together with salad and lots of veggies.
I worry and struggle to make healthy family meals happen in spite of work and activities that constantly want to disrupt the schedule.
As my kids get busier with their classes, work, and activities, I struggle to maintain some downtime for them. I want them to be kids as long as possible. I want them to play and have fun and be stress-free and worry-free.
There is plenty of time for adult things later. I want to hold on to my kids for as long as possible and protect their innocence and youthfulness.
I have tried to limit my kids’ activities so they don’t get overwhelmed. One does aerial gymnastics twice a week. One does ice skating and art. My son is on an elite baseball team. My second child has a part time job and we agreed to limit the hours to fifteen during school.
I don’t monitor screentime. I don’t have chore charts. We don’t take tests in our homeschool. We work together to get household needs accomplished. I help my kids study for their quizzes and tests.
I see so many ads and posts for tutoring and classes and courses and lessons and clubs and events. I know some families who sign their kids up for all of the things. Those children are surely exhausted, all the time. And we wonder why everyone has a disorder or mental illness? We don’t have to rush to keep up with other people who set false standards.
Babies don’t need reading or math tutors.
I want my kids to have time to play – to watch the movies, to create, to play games, get outside in nature, visit friends and festivals and amusement parks – before the rush of college and adulthood and needed jobs take hold.
Kids need time to play, time to rest, time just to be kids. While I don’t follow a strict schedule, I make time in our natural flow for meals, sleep and rest, and playing.
We all need to slow down.
I’m worried about their peers who always seem to be exhausted and rushed to the next thing.
Everything has become so unnatural.
We have replaced kids’ free time and outdoor playtime with classes indoors that are monitored by adults – teachers, coaches, nannies, babysitters, parents – tutoring sessions, sports training, music lessons, gymnastics and tumbling and parkour and ninja.
There is hardly a moment when kids have to themselves to make a decision or rest or paly naturally without supervision that they don’t know what they want without being told by an adult.
All the checklists we’re supposed to follow to prepare for college – standardized testing, scholarships, forms, meetings, sports, clubs, volunteering. We don’t have to do any of that. Everything will work out in the end no matter if we rush through it and stress about it or wait until the right timing.
I don’t want my kids so stressed out that they have no good memories of their youth.
It’s not a race.
- The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture by Gabor Maté
- Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent by Iris Chen
- Motherwhelmed: Challenging Norms, Untangling Truths, and Restoring Our Worth to the World by Beth Berry
- Books by Daniel J. Siegel
- Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Laura Markham
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life by Laura Markham
- Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting by L.R. Knost
- Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
- Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey
You might also like:
- Better Sleep
- Stop Making Everything So Educational
- What if kids ask to go to school?
- How I Plan Our Homeschool Year
- A Mother’s Résumé
- 12 Things Homeschoolers Don’t Have to Do
- Homeschool High School Credits
- How to Prepare for After High School
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