When I first started homeschooling my daughter, I used to think about the things I could be doing if she had gone to school. I thought of yoga, peaceful visits to coffee shops, or the bookstore, lunch with a friend, long runs or walks with my dog, sitting down to read without interruption, shopping alone and actually being able to try something on in a dressing room.
I could go on.
It’s possible to say that I held a little resentment for a while. I felt I was missing out on my imaginary other-life.
Eventually, I realized that if I were to continue to let my daughter learn at home, I had to make some changes in my mindset. Sure, choosing to homeschool involves some sacrifices, but of the things I thought I was missing out on, many I’d likely not do even if she were at school. If she went to school, I’d likely go to work, most likely going back to the school system, because that’s where my “expertise” and my skills are most useful.
When I thought of that and when I weighed out the pros and cons of sending her to school versus homeschooling her, I realized that it would be a much bigger sacrifice to lose that precious time with her. It would be a terrible sacrifice to gain a paycheck, or a few hours to myself and miss her laughter, miss seeing her face light up when something clicks, or she learns a new skill, or finishes a story all by her self.
Sometimes a shift in perspective is all we need to realize we are exactly where we need to be, doing exactly what we need to be doing.
I’ve let go of dreaming of my “other-life.” When I really thought of it, I realized what I have in real life is a far cry better than anything I could dream up while my daughter sat at a desk in school and longed for recess, or for the last bell to ring so she could go home.
Homeschooling my daughter has been the best decision I’ve made in a long time and no coffee, or book could change that.
I see parents complain about their children and the sad part is many of them are with their children less than half the day. Most see them in the morning when they’re rushing them out the door and they see them after school when they’re fighting over homework, then they eat, and get them ready for bed. I remember living that way with my sons.
If I had it to do over again, I’d have been a nanny at home and kept my sons home with me. I follow a young mom who does this and it works so well for her and I think, “Man, if only I’d have thought of that!”
How things could have been different for them and for me. I wonder how much more of their childhoods I’d remember if I had done that, because in all honesty, a lot of their childhood is a blur. Of course most of the memories are from summer, when we had the most time together. We can’t live like that though, looking back and wishing we had done things differently. Everything happens for a reason. Everything is exactly as it should be.
It is an illusion to think there could have been any other way.
It was fun raising boys. I enjoyed it so much, even down to the stitches, fights, canoes in the creek, and my oldest getting lost while out exploring the countryside with the dogs. I like to think that I still gave them freedoms outside of school that helped shape them into who they are today.
I have made some changes that have helped. I make time each day for what I love:
- writing: for pay and for pleasure
- reading: every single day, I read for at least 15 minutes
- quilting: especially in fall and winter, but also on rainy days
- gardening: when the weather permits
- working out: every day I am active for at least 30 minutes
Making myself a priority has really helped me to better make space for my daughter’s education. I feel far more relaxed and open with her. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything. The resentment is gone.
I think many moms feel they should be constantly giving and giving to their children, to their spouses, to their friends, to their families, but we must also give to ourselves. I don’t mean on occasion, where you get a manicure once a month and that’s the only hour to yourself you have. I’m talking about daily.
If you have multiples, this will prove challenging and your list may be shorter than mine and that’s okay. Start with one thing and be sure to give time to that one thing every day.
Maybe you want time to enjoy a cup of coffee in the quiet. This may mean that you get that cup in the afternoon during your children’s nap time. Or, it may mean that you get up a little earlier than everyone else. Whatever you have to do to get it in, do it.
You will never regret making this time for yourself.
You are not selfish to give yourself this time.
You deserve it.