This morning, as I was scouring the internet for good sources of information on homeschooling, peering over an endless array of colorful pinterest pages and mom-blogs, I realized I was yearning for my own long-neglected blog project. I came over for a nostalgic peek at my last few posts, and what I found was one part heartbreak and one part inspiration.
My heart ached as I glanced over the projects and activities I had been doing with my children when I last posted here; so much in our lives has changed since then that I couldn't suppress my longing for this "simpler" time. These last few posts were one job loss, one exhausting move, and one pregnancy ago; we find ourselves in smaller living quarters with more children and considerably less income. As a consequence to this more complicated situation, I have returned to work--and thus have a lot less time to devote to things like paper mache and rainy day treasure hunts. As I looked back, I was astounded by what I've given up and what I've failed to provide for my children in the last year.
For as long as I've been a parent--probably even longer--I have had certain goals for how I would raise my children (as all of us do). My perfect-world version of myself bakes regularly (kids covered in flour and smiles), lets the kids get messy without breaking a sweat (think fingerpaint and mud, head to toe), and always has time to "be a monster" or play hide and seek on a whim. I want to be a fun, engaged, accessible parent. For a long time, I was just that.
Time and circumstances have changed how I parent, and I would argue that the changes are not for the better. I have less time, less energy, and less patience than ever before. I can feel the strain it puts on my children, too--they are more short-tempered with each other and more apt to whine of boredom than to pick up their crayons and draw me a picture. My lack of time has severely impacted our lives, and I can't stand it!
Last year, we made the decision to homeschool our children. At the time, it seemed like an excellent idea. I was, after all, practically homeschooling them already with all of the activities we were doing, and I was thrilled by the concept of being their teacher. Now, I'm struggling just to make them workbooks for the week and finish their daily reading lessons with no time for special projects or fun activities!
(And don't even get me started on how I feel like I'm letting down my younger two!)
There is light at the end of this dark tunnel, however. I didn't come here just to whine about how difficult it is to be a working mother of four. I was inspired by looking back, too--inspired to find ways to return to being this better version of myself. How can I get back there? Especially with my newfound lack of time?
I know there are ways. And I intend to find them.
My first goal is to make time at least once a week to return to the simple life. I do have some days off, after all! I'd like to stop treating them like days to cram in as much stuff as possible and start treating them like days to forget I ever went back to work. This will take a tiny bit of extra planning (not my strongest suit), but I'm fairly certain it can be done.
My next goal is to find a way to stop working (for an employer) again. I have ideas on how to make this happen, but it's still in the early lightbulb stage. Ideally, I would be able to earn money doing something I love without being a slave to a timeclock (the American Dream, no?!). I just can't shake the feeling that this is what needs to happen. I need to be home with my children and have time for them!
I've always lived my life by the credo that you can do anything you put your mind to. So now I need to prove it to myself. Here's to plotting and planning and making dreams realities. I'll be sure and stop by to share my journey with you. For now, it's time to make the best of my last 24 work-free hours!