Oh, February, you got me again, I think. I went into winter thinking all would be fine and all I know is for about three weeks I have felt….
A little lost with how to continue to juggle all of it in homeschooling and my own need for self-care and self-nourishment….Even frustrated….
Juggling children of three wildly different ages within the Waldorf curriculum is often difficult. Going from nursery rhymes and baking and fingerplays to geometry and algebra and historical events back to drawings and working on basic early grades skills through mythology to fielding housework, outside activities, the unexpected is a tall order……Oh, February, really, it is too much for one mother at times.
And for everyone, the things that will drive one to darkness will be different. For me, it is not the cooking or cleaning on top of homeschooling that trips me up. Those things are fine. The harder part is the mental exhaustion from the juggling of three very different ages, stages and attitudes. I am so very tired by the end of teaching time for three separate people that I really can’t combine due to large age gaps… The harder and darker part for me is often juggling the “should” for each age and how the “should” would look if the entire school day was devoted to each child’s grade or developmental level…. and maybe there would be some hours for me…instead of an all day, all hours being “on” from 5:30 in the morning until 8 at night….Have you ever felt that way? Perhaps not, but that is where my feeling life has been the past few weeks.
I talked to some dear friends on Friday, which left me feeling more cheery – to have just laid my soul bare in an honest, almost angry-sounding way and to have people not judge or try to fix it but just to say that they often felt the same way. This was, in and of itself so very freeing. This beautiful freeing gift. Because then what I could find in it all this weekend was the peace.
Peace that what I am doing and striving to do IS enough, even on the days I fail.
Peace that it is okay to juggle things, to move things around, to ponder. To plan anew or to cut things out.
Peace that it is okay. Just okay is certainly enough.
Peace that I am human…..
But the peace is also coming in seeing the whole, big, wide picture. The big, wide, picture is what often carries me through….. Coincidentally, I was today reading the “Teacher’s Manual” for a Waldorf fourth grade grammar program (“The Teacher’s Manual for English Workbook for fourth grade” by Ted Warren). One thing that struck me was this beginning sentence: “The main goal with teaching is to guide our children into a healthy relationship with their thinking and willing between the years of seven and fourteen…”
Am I doing that for my children to the best of my ability? The big picture prevails.
Is it perfect? No, of course not. Nothing in life is. But is it acceptable?
Can I always strive and change things to flow better, feel better? Of course.
February, you have not won. I am finding the peace in my weeks of feeling darkness toward the endless juggling. I can continue to juggle for a bit longer. At least until the end of the school year!
In the meantime, friends, I am going to encourage you to start planning now. Planning really saves you in times of February darkness. Planning, rhythm and community help you shore up what meager reserves you may feel you have left until you feel restored again.
Because you will. February doesn’t win forever.