I was listening to a speaker recently that was talking to a group of women that meets once a month as a support system and encouragement for stay at home moms. The woman announced, "Kindergarten is your reward as a mother for sacrificing all of your time for the the first five years of your child's life. When your children go to school, you can start to have your life back." Several of us there were homeschoolers and just kind of glanced at each other and listened politely while this lady "encouraged" us for another 30 minutes. I have a bit of a different perspective. I enjoy having my children home with me it is not a "sacrifice" but a joy. Now I am not saying that every one of my days are perfect. They are not. I am an imperfect person raising 5 imperfect children. We all have moments of failure and impatience. I have on occasion met my husband at the door handed him the baby and said,"I am done parenting for the day, they are now yours." I have had several "calgon take me away" moments. Parenting is not an easy job whether you homeschool or not. Here are some of my sanity saving tips.
1. Knock before entering rule. We are all entitled to privacy (even though our children don't think that we are) The children have to knock before entering my bedroom or bathroom (except Christian) and they are not supposed to come in until they are invited in. If they forget and come barging in, I just remind them of the rule, send them back out the door, and tell them to try again.
2. Don't overload yourself with outside commitments. I am still working on this. I find it hard to say NO when there are things going on that the children want to participate in. But, limiting outside activities can help save your sanity. It is hard work packing up 5 kids and going out. You also get behind on housework and schoolwork, kids and mom get over-tired, and by the end of the day everyone is in a bad mood.
3. Have a quiet time set aside every day. While Christian and Anthony are napping it is quiet time in our house for 1 hour. Chelsea, Nick and Alex have to find something productive (and quiet) to do, and I have some time to myself to read, work on the computer, talk on the phone, etc. I do not do housework during this hour every day.
4. 8:00 bedtime for all of the children. Even Chelsea has to go to her room to read quietly for an hour. This gets the children to bed before they are too overtired, and also gives me some time in the evening to get some things done without all of my little helpers. It also gives Art and I some time to talk without 5 pairs of ears listening.
5. Have some fun! Kids are fun! Get down on the floor and crawl around with your baby, build blocks with your toddler, swing, slide, engage in a light saber duel, play a video game.
6. Pray! Pray for yourself and your children.
Most of all enjoy the time that you have with them. It really is such a short period of time that we have them home with us. I want to make the most of the time I have with them. I am glad every day that we chose to keep them home and do not think I am missing out on the "reward " of sending them to school. It is much more rewarding to spend time with your children and get to experience first hand everything they accomplish.