I was all set to post yesterday about how if I could just let go of my ambitions to write professionally, teach kids other than my own, and help teachers learn to be more flexible and inclusive in their classrooms, I would love this life.
I have incredible freedom. I can't believe that I can actually find moments in my day every day to spin, for fun. I can read what I want, I have enough yarn in my stash to knit for the next ten years, at least. I can enroll my kids in a class at the local science museum, and then we can play hookey if we like. We can spend the day gardening. We can sleep in, or get up early. We can walk to the grocery store, or we can set up a lemonade stand.
But some days, freedom isn't all it's cracked up to be. Some days, I get really cranky. Some days, I don't want to hear either boy call out, "Mama!" ever again. Ever. Some days, like yesterday, I realize I'm out of patience because I'm literally out of gas: I often forget to eat lunch because I'm so engrossed with gardening or spinning or a book I'm reading or even, sometimes, doing something with the kids. Eating turns out to be one of the least interesting things I do, so I skip it in favor of something else, but then that turns around and bites me on the butt because I actually do need to consume some calories.
And those are the days when I look around me and all I see are piles of books I should be reading, essays I should be writing, laundry that needs folding, and crumbs everywhere, again. I get conflicted: I think, if only I didn't care about anything other than the house and the kids, I might actually be able to get it all done, most days. If only all I wanted was just to do a really great job teaching them and spending time with them.
Those are the days I think I should try to ditch my professional aspirations, as well as my fiber hobbies. And that's what I was thinking yesterday: I should get some focus and get down to what's really most important, just the kids and their work, their needs. Yeah, that's the ticket. Just forget myself for the next fifteen years or so.
As you might imagine, this line of thinking gets pretty depressing, pretty fast, but there are days when it really does seem to be the path of greater sanity. The solution to having a life in which one is juggling too many priorities is to eliminate some of them, right? And since I'm not planning to give my kids away (this week) it seems clear that I should eliminate the priorities not directly related to supporting the kids and their learning.
And then I read this post. The inimitable and very talented prairiepoppins of Handmade Homeschool reminds us that not only do we need to keep our own passionate selves going for our own sakes, but that it's really what's best for the kids, too. Our children need us to be actively engaged with our own passions, not only because it feeds us, but because they need to see how an actively engaged person lives her life. Devoting ourselves exclusively to our children does them a disservice, because it gives them the notion that not only are they the center of the universe, but that mothers/parents can't do anything else but take care of kids.
Which is not so.
So now I want to hear from you: what do you do to keep yourself going? How do you keep it all together when everyone is coming to you for most of what they need? How do you get time for yourself? What do you do to feed yourself?
Tell me, please. I need to know.