Inspired by SouleMama
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.
"If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves."
~ Maria Edgeworth ~
Wishing you an amazing weekend full of memorable moments!
With my husband's new job he's out of town for a few nights twice month. At first I thought I was going to go crazy! How single moms and military wives do this all the time is beyond me... kudos to you ladies! After doing this routine for six months, I feel I have a grasp on what to do during these periods that my husband is away.
Plan your meals
I always plan my meals but when my husband is away, I try to plan really simple, easy to prepare suppers. If you have time, make a few "freezer meals" ahead of time. Making supper while you're solo parenting can be overwhelming, so make it as easy as possible for yourself.
Do the grocery shopping before he leaves
Stock your fridge and cupboards as much as possible prior to your husband's departure. Make sure you even have a supply of those necessities that you should require if someone gets sick (i.e. ginger ale, children's fever medication, sports drinks, etc.). Running errands with children is challenging enough as is, you'll want to keep such outings to a minimum.
Get out of the house
This is especially important if you're a stay-at-home mom. You don't want to be cooped up all day, every day, and every night with your children. Take them to your community park, visit your local library, or take them out for ice cream. The change of scenery will do all of you good.
Make some plans
Prior to my husband's business trips, I try to plan some special activities for my girls. As I mentioned previously, it's important to get out of the house. It's always nice for you and your children to look forward to a play date with friends, a trip to the zoo, a movie night, or a sleepover at a grandparent's house.
Planning craft activities is also a good idea. If the weather isn't cooperative, you'll be thankful you had the foresight to gather some supplies for a few art activities!
Make a list of who you can call on for help. Even if it's having Grandma watch the kids while you go out for coffee and pick up some groceries... you need a break! Let these individuals know ahead of time that you will be on your own and that you may call on them if you need assistance.
Enlist the help of older siblings
Pull out your loose change and pay them for their efforts if you have to! Older children can help with preparing dinner, cleaning, and can help occupy younger children. Prepare them for the prospect that you will be relying on them for help and put them to work!
Have some special toys in reserve
Drop the cleaning obsession
Even if you absolutely LOVE a clean house, this is not the time to obsess over it being spotless. Let go of some of your regular chores and conserve the energy for dealing with your children.
Take care of yourself
It may feel like there's no time to take care of yourself but this is critical. When the children are sleeping, do some Yoga, take a hot bath, sip some tea, and/or read a book. Do what makes you feel happy.
Do what you love to do
Make a list of things you want to do while your hubby is away. Is there a romantic comedy he refuses to watch? Pop some corn and watch it without him! Dedicate time to a craft. Do some gardening. Look at this time as a blessing and when the children are not underfoot, do what you love to do.
Do you have any survival tips or sanity savers when your hubby is out of town? Please share them.
As I indicated last week... I'm striving to become the deliberate mom I want to be
. With those efforts, there is a lot of reflection and sometimes, the awful rut of self-condemnation. That being said, I ask that you read my honest reflection on homeschooling without judgement. I am hard enough on myself... trust me.
I stood over my daughter and the words came out of my mouth: "You are not doing anything else until you get this work done. Get. It. Done."
It didn't take long for the guilt to overwhelm me. I distanced myself. I walked away. I cried.
Homeschooling is not what I expected to be
I had all these big plans. I had ideas. I had visions of a creative learning process. This is one of the reasons why we chose to homeschool! I may sound like a broken record here but I am becoming the teacher I was afraid my daughter would get if she did go to school.
The prospect of this frightened me.
I am sacrificing my relationship with my daughter
I am sacrificing my relationship with my daughter by "teaching" her in this manner. I love my daughters with all my heart. It pains me to see that I am teaching in an unloving way.
Workbooks and worksheets
Why have we gone back to workbooks and worksheets? Last fall I swore them off.
I thought they could be integrated sporadically and I decided they would not become "everything" we do. However, months later, worksheets have
I have realized that the worksheets aren't for my daughter... they're for me. They are a confirmation that I'm "teaching" my daughter, that she is "learning", that we are getting the work done. She's not "learning" from the worksheets, she's answering without thinking. She's jumping through the prescribed hoops to get to the destination that I've determined.
After spring break we returned to "school" and things fell apart. On the first day, while we were homeschooling, my youngest gave herself a haircut. On the second day, my youngest got into the junk food cupboard and filled her belly with candy and cookies (resulting in a late night puking session). On the third day my youngest dug around the cupboards again and gobbled down at least four candy canes.
Something had to change. I started thinking of the option of doing evening and weekend homeschooling. I started thinking of waking my oldest up at 7 (she's usually up at 830) so that we could get some homeschooling done earlier in the day.
We were so close to being done our Grade 1 curriculum! However, I was feeling convicted about the way I was teaching and the impact that it was having on our entire family.
My youngest daughter's behaviour facilitated an indirect intervention.
Every few weeks our homeschool association gathers and the children get to explore a project together. Meanwhile, the parents and some facilitators gather and discuss curriculum, challenges, etc. I ended up speaking with our own homeschool facilitator. She sympathetically listened to me and then she uttered the words I needed to hear. "You're done. You've done so much already. You're done."
I had to question... "Don't we have to do all the work and fill out all the sheets?"
"No Jennifer."2+2= 4 and 3+1= 4 and 4+0= 4
I recently shared how I am working on letting go of control
. I have been reading Karen Ehman's book, Let. It. Go.
In the book, Karen shares a friend's wisdom: "There are many ways to get to the number four."
There are a variety of ways to teach my daughter the curriculum she needs to learn. I don't need to follow a textbook, we don't have to do it like someone else. We can arrive at the same outcome by a different route and by our own educational journey. Indeed, there are many ways to get to the number four.
The challenges, the reflection, and the reassurance has made me completely change the direction in which I want to proceed. Even though we're "done", I will be using a fully integrated, everyday learning approach for the rest of the "school year."
This past weekend I scrawled out pages of plans. I wove my own curriculum on the foundation of a gardening project and incorporated social studies, math, writing, reading, health, Bible, and art into the curriculum. This is what is natural for me! This is what I know.
So for the next little while we will be rolling up our sleeves and getting dirty. I can't wait!