“You’re amazing! You have five kids and homeschool. I could never do that!” Most likely I could never do whatever image you have in your mind of what “homeschooling with five kids” looks like. Because most days it looks messy and chaotic.
Yesterday was my second day flying solo after my in-laws left. Day one the toilet overflowed right before Dave left for work and he forgot a meal i had cooked for a dear family whose dad just had double bypass surgery. I got to practice scraping some homeschool plans on the fly, which I haven’t done very often up until this point because it feels like defeat.
So, day two arrived and the chaos got turned up a notch. I was sitting on the couch nursing Benji while Lexie sat beside me reading out loud. Our two year old was restless and had just dumped out the bin of Marble Run pieces on the floor in front of us. He teetered with the bin held above his head and started lunging toward Lexie, ready to clobber her on the head with it. I stuck my leg out to block him. He bounced off my calf and stepped on one of the Marble Run pieces he had dumped on the floor and plopped in his bottom. He starts to cry and looked at me like “how could you, mom?” So I try and comfort him while trying to reinforce “you can’t hit Lexie” and keep Benji content all the while. Then I turned to Lexie and said, “You can be done for today. I can’t give you the attention this requires right now. I’m sorry” Deep breath.
I think Dave calls it “organized chaos” or orchestrating a circus. I call it character refinement. A friend texted me the first morning I was flying solo, “Take it one moment at a time. The Lord has you.” This stuck with me as the toilet water got cleaned up and a colleague stopped to pick the meal train meal up. Each situation resolved and as I shortened my list of things to accomplish, I became lighter and the kids seemed freer. And in the end, you know what? We actually “got school done” for the day. 70% of the subjects were covered, they played kickball outside with the neighbors at 8:30 am (yea for other homeschool families!) and the kids practiced using knives to trim green beans. I want to not cling so tightly to control. But instead see how God can do beautiful things in me and around me when the fear of not calling all the shots dissipates.
Yesterday I should’ve pitched more things overboard before the crazies set in. I wish I would have listened to more of my four year old’s made up story about Buttercup’s (her little stuffed bunny) birthday party, and I wish I would’ve given some undivided attention to my two year old, perhaps that would’ve curbed some of his hair pulling and hitting with tubs?!?
These days I have been rereading this passage and using it as a prayer of examination at night:
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
Why did I get so irritated? (Because I feel like I need to follow the rules (most of the time) and others should too.) Why am I sad about the choice one of my kids made? (I’m afraid of not knowing how to handle the situation if the one oft occurrence turns into a continual pattern.) Why did I go silent when Dave was cleaning up the toilet overflow and silently blame him my morning wasn’t smooth sailing? (Because I was disappointed that I couldn’t have a more tender pep talk from him on my first day solo with the kids for the first time.) Ah yes, this is why I was discouraged or sad. Oh put your hope in Him, Heidi, and praise Him. My hope isn’t in a toilet that never overflows or a child who never needs to repent, my hope is in God who will never leave me or forsake me.