Homeschooling from a mountain top is like any homestead, small town, isolated place. It’s you, your kids and if you’re super lucky a parenting partner for back up. Nevertheless, there is a fine line between savoring your time together and getting all together touched out, talked out, space invaded and fed up with family time.
As parents we often feel this way and there are piles of social media posts, blogs, and books to back it up. Memes about needing mommy time, wine o’clock, date night or any excuse for a breather flash across a parents screen daily. It’s natural and it’s reasonable. There are days, weeks or even months when your little one is extra clingy, touchy, angry, or needy. The truth is that although there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way, we rarely give our kids the opportunity to feel the same.
Today during a typical “Why can’t you just be kind to your brother?” conversation, my eldest started to walk away. I called him back to finish our conversation. His response was “Do I have to?” So, true to form I told him that he did. You know the whole obey your parents, it’s rude to walk away in the middle of a conversation, you need to talk things through, blah, blah, blah. However when we were through, I thought to myself he’s just peopled out and I didn’t give him the opportunity to feel that. We’ve had a long couple of weeks as I have been sick and practically useless. The boys have been a fantastic help and taken excellent care of me, but now that I’m on the mend we’re all starting to show the signs of needing some alone time. We’re edgy, and short fused and wanting to be somewhere else for a few minutes.
Parents own the need of occasional personal space and alone time. We are so confident that it’s OK to feel that way that we write jokes and memes and we even get it printed on shirts and the bottoms of our socks. Growing up my mother had a magnet on the fridge that said “Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a chicken.” She would laugh and laugh, show all her friends and I always felt bad. I didn’t feel bad for me or my brother, but I felt bad that that was the feeling she was taking away from being a parent. Luckily, I don’t feel that way about parenting, but I do know that I need healthy breaks for my sanity. These breaks don’t even need to be away from my family, they can be in the garden, or in a book, or in a hot bath, or with a quiet whiskey under the stars. They are simply small moments alone with my thoughts.
Our children have the right to these breaks as well, and typically we snag that from them. We have all this “rule and order” that’s been passed down generation after generation on how kids should behave, but we rarely give them the same space to compose themselves that we take ourselves. They need a moment to walk away and regroup, a moment to think about what they’re feeling to prevent a meltdown, a moment to not get corrected, hounded and managed. Maybe they just need a little peace and quiet or the ability to say “in a minute” and keep playing with their toys without getting scolded. With all I have in my heart I love my children, but sometimes I need a moment and so do my boys.