Thursday, January 8, 2009

Woe is Me

You know, I just don't know. I don't. I just don't see how I can be so extremely happy with my life, my family, the people whom I surround myself with and then so insanely insane, at the same time. I mean, I keep going through this metamorphosing thing with homeschool. I'm changing, my kids are changing, we are all going through these phases as we are all still getting the hang of it and of each other. But it's all good. I mean, I'm at a place now, this week, this day, where I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to do this with my kids. It is the coolest thing ever. I see my kids in a way that I never would have if I hadn't started homeschooling. I interact with them differently, I get to see the light come on in their eyes when they learn something, I get to see them want to do better when they botched a test, I get to tease them about having the absolute coolest teacher in the world and then watch them laugh when they see I'm making a joke. But they tell me, you are mom.

The way this experience has changed our relationships has been so rewarding, too. I feel like they are truly my buds. My confidants. My playmates. My guinea pigs! Because if something doesn't work, we try something new or get a new lesson. But don't get the wrong picture here. Trust me--I'm also a bitch. I'm a nagging, "pick up your stuff", sarcastic, always using reverse psychology mean mom that gets tired and cranky and yells. Well, not so much yells as just nags a lot. I know I do it. But I talk to them like adults about why I do that and how I hate being that way and if they would just..... But you know this new "relationship" that we have developed or bond we have made through homeschooling, has given me a better sense of where I stand with them and where they stand with me. That unconditional thing that your kids have for you--it's priceless. I mean, the fact that you have to be their parent while you are being their "buddy" at the same time can just ruin it sometimes. My kids know what we're doing, why we're doing it and what the alternatives are. They know that they are old enough to make choices on their own and are also old enough to endure the consequences. If I got a dime for every threat I made I would have been rich after the first month of school. My bark is definitely worse than my bite and therefore I bark a lot. That's my biggest downfall. They sense that, too, but somehow, I think they know my limits. Starting back up after Christmas was as much to my dismay as theirs but we do what we have to do. And this week has been the best week of my "homeschool" life. Class has been so much more productive and successful with Karly than it has ever been, I guess the break was for a reason. Emma had 3 tests this week and hardly skipped a beat being out for nearly three whole weeks. They make me proud. And being their teacher, I know proud in a whole new perspective. Each time Karly recites a "special sound" or math fact that she pretends not to know, I feel a little victory. And whenever Emma completes a test in Math or History and I have to look up the teacher's book answers to tell her why I'm right, I know she's on the right track, too.

Now the insane part, right? These same angels that give me so much pleasure and so much love, also subconciously know what it takes to push me to the edge. No, I don't think it's at the top of their list every day to do these things, but when it turns 5 o'clock (or 1 o'clock, or hell, even 8 o'clock a.m.) and I'm in one of my nagging, "pick up your stuff" modes and their dad--my husband, my best friend, my soul mate--walks in and says "Man, you're nagging ALL the time at them. Whatever you're doing, it's not working. You're doing something wrong and you need to figure it out," I go insane. Those words, reverberating in my head. How do you know? Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for checks and balances in the whole parenting thing and I feel like that's how we are there for each other. If I'm all over one kid and ignoring the other and I am not aware of that, I need you to tell me those observations. We get so caught up in this thing called life some times that it's nice to have your significant other there to point out the obvious when needed.

But this was a little too much. I mean, you aren't with us 24 hours a day, practically in each others' space. You don't see all our ups and downs and how we make it up to each other. I get more hugs and kisses in a day now that I'm homeschooling than I would have in a month of sending them to school. I get them in the middle of Language class, during a spelling test, after Math is over, before science starts, AND when they wake up in the morning, before they "go to school", at lunch with them, before they go to swim practice in the afternoon, when they get home from swim practice, after supper and before bed. Do you? And that's before and after all that nagging you just heard and criticized me for doing. Now don't even get me started on the fact that pregnancy hormones are running wild in this 6 months along body and all the stress that comes with managing a household when the economy has stricken and no funds are available on which to manage! And have I ever told you that you suck at what you're doing? No, because I wouldn't. You may have been specifically talking about some nagging piece of laundry I said to pick up, but what I heard was this whole job of not only raising the kids, running the household (which you have also told me I suck at) but also and more importantly TEACHING them. You're doubts about homeschooling, though you 100% supported the idea when we made our decision, are constantly protruding. "Just send 'em to school then" when I'm yelling and frustrated and in tears because of a school day. That's not the support I need. And frankly, that's just not support.

I could not be happier with my life. I have a great husband whom I am attracted to and in love with, three amazing kids and a belly full of kicks and punches right now constantly reminding me I will have one more being to love as much as I do the rest of them in about 2 1/2 months. (Is that all?) But I also feel like I'm crazy sometimes. I don't know if I'm not handling it well, if I think I'm doing a good job and I'm not, if I think I'm prepared but I'm not, or what. But what I do know is that even amidst these daily arguments or nagging episodes or apparent negativity, I am getting all I need in the human love factor. And I couldn't imagine it any other way.

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