As the summer comes to a close, I realize how the chaos around me has reached a crescendo. I need a routine and order to bring some sanctity to my life. School (or for us, homeschool) provides the structure that brings predictability and measurable progress. I often get a comment that has pricks my curiosity, strikes a nerve, and ultimately inspires a lot of introspection. It goes something like this, “I could never homeschool my kids. I need my me-time.”
I feel like answering this common question publicly.
When my children were preschool-aged, I regularly sent them to hourly childcare and part-day pre-school. I would also call babysitters on days I needed some more help. Then, whenever my hubby was free, I was happy to leave them with him. This was my pattern. If I am being honest, my existence as a mom began to resemble something from a Bravo Housewives episode, revolving mostly around me-time activities: gym, shopping, lunch with friends.
Yet, even after hours of being away, I would come home to the kids, and quickly get irked at how they’d get in my way and distract me from doing the things I really needed (er, um, wanted) to be doing. I was becoming unhappy–begrudging them and my days. Where was that peace and refreshment the me-time was supposed to replenish?
Here’s the thing. No matter how much me-time I rack up during the week….it never feels like enough. The more I get, the more I crave.
It sounds like I don’t love my kids. I do. I just had a warped idea of what my life was supposed to look like. By the grace of God alone, I’ve recognized my shameful pattern.
Over time, as my outlook on me-time has transformed, I’ve become a lot more relaxed in the day-to-day operations.
The me-time that I DO get to myself, I deeply savor.
It is less frequent, but far more satisfying. That paradigm shift also helped me have the courage to go ahead and venture into homeschooling. So, yes. I am with my children daily. (So is Heather now!!) We all have to go to the grocery store together, and I often attend appointments with all of them in tow. Then there are ideal days where we have the freedom to go to Barnes and Noble for reading and warm drinks, or on a bug hunt to fill their watch-a-bugs.
Have you thought about what is going on in the world all around us? Togetherness is a privilege.
It has been such a blessing to change my expectation of my me-time needs. This is all a delicate balance. Life’s chaos ebbs and flows regularly; embrace the crazy instead of fleeing it. :) Hear me out—we do need periods of solitary retreat to recharge our batteries from time to time. But ultimately, we need to look daily to the One who came, so that we may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10) He spelled it out very clearly:
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Enjoy your journey!