Monday, March 2, 2015

Doing it All is for Amateurs

I had some emails and Rav PMs after the last podcast and I answered them all. But then I saw people at Stitches West, and I decided to answer it here, because everyone keeps asking: How is this working? How are you DOING IT ALL? I mean, I'm working and homeschooling the boys and going to school myself, then there's the health stuff and the regular house and family life things that go into just plain living- how is it all coming together?

The answer is: The "Doing it All" myth is for amateurs, and I know at this point in my life that it's just not possible. And I'm totally okay with that.

There are a lot of factors that make this work. I'll talk about many of them in a moment, but you have to know before this post really gets going that there is one secret weapon. One BIG thing that pulls together all the little details.

Little things first:

1) This is not a long term situation. Knowing that makes all the difference in my psyche. This one semester is really tough schedule wise, but after this everything about our schedule gets a little looser and knowing that life is only like this through the first week of May is a short term projection I can deal with.

2) We are schooling on a way alternative schedule. Math, latin, grammar and all the other school things are being covered in the appropriate amount of hours, just not like a normal school schedule and not at all like we used to do it. Saturdays have become a bigger school day for us and Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday are like "maintenance" days. They have a selection of their work to get done on their own in the morning and then I check it all with them after I'm finished with my work or school. School may go all the way to the end of June to finish our hours, but that's fine too.

3) My creative time has been slimmed down in a way, but I'm cranking through some things during class. Knitting while listening to lecture really helps me keep my focus- I know that may not be true for some people, but keeping my hands busy lets my brain concentrate on what I'm hearing. I'm going to call it a side effect of listening to many audiobooks while knitting and doing housework over the past several years.

4) I am more organized than I was before. I went back to a paper planner so that as I think of tasks that need to be completed I can dump it into the correct day on the planner to make sure it gets done and free up my brain space for what is right in front of me. Homework assignments, readings, work -related projects, kid stuff- it all goes into the planner and I'm doing really well with this system. I look through the week's worth of things to do on Sundays to get myself organized for the week, and my florescent pink planner is the workhorse of this semester's schedule. 

5) Taking care of my body is more important than ever before. Between the schedule and the autoimmune disease sleep is the most specific priority and I am making sure that happens every single night. I don't include inflammatory foods in my diet and I'm making sure to get my steps in every day (which is super easy now that I leave the house more frequently- working from home has it's perks, but incidental exercise isn't one of them).

But I told you earlier- it really all comes down to one BIG secret weapon.

See, back when I was first considering the whole "Back to School" thing, I looked at the math of the situation and threw my hands in the air. There was no way it was possible. And thinking about all the back and forth of the situation was dizzying. It seemed right to say no, and I did. It was my husband who looked at it all, and promised me that he would help make it work, and he has been true to his word.

He helps the boys with their math lessons and supervises the evening madness of dinner and showers and bedtimes on the nights I'm working late or escape to a knit night. He finishes laundry I started earlier in the day, and makes sure the kids help around the house. Really, he's the reason I can even do this at all.

I have family (most specifically my mom) who are willing to help out on a regular basis by watching kids and getting them to trampoline or gymnastics or whatever when I have class or doctor's appointments.

It's all about support.

I had to let go of a few things too. The dishes are not always done, I'm *always* behind on laundry, and "free time" is spent plate balancing- what needs attention right now so that nothing crashes into a firey explosion? But I'm not the only one plate balancing- Brian is right here with me, asking what he can take over, taking the kids to the park for an hour or two so I can take a quiz online, all amidst his own work and commitments.

So there may not be really cool craft projects (my kids are kind of awesome at making up their own anyway) and not as many field trips. There may not even be a garden this year (Okay, there will probably be one, but it will be small. Miniscule. Probably.) But, it's a thing. A thing for just right now to get me to somewhere I need to go, and it's going to be a good place.

If only I can pass Anatomy and Physiology. That would be great.

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