Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Keeping the Balls in the Air

Okay, I think of myself as having 4 major tasks to manage. Homeschooling, homekeeping, cooking/meal planning, and laundry. I know there are others, such as parent time, me time, finances, etc...but they can be fit into smaller blocks of time, and honestly, if one is dropped for a few days there isn't a huge impact.

Now I have always been able to keep 2 balls in the air at a time, say homeschooling and cooking, or cooking and homekeeping. Laundry is one of those things that is so close to being integrated, that I would say that I juggle that as my 3rd ball successfully most of the time. I am rarely more than 10 minutes away from being caught up on laundry.

Right now cooking and homeschooling are going well. Laundry is okay. But I have dropped the housecleaning ball. Beth writes in Book III of the foundation guides to set aside a certain amount of time for household tasks and only work for that time. I've been doing that, but usually that just means that I put away clean dishes, load the dirties, wipe the counters, clean the sink and stove, and sweep the floor. On the weekends we'll get the bathrooms clean, and perhaps the front of the house dusted and the floors cleaned.

But suddenly, clutter is a huge problem. It's not all clutter, but there is an awful lot of stuff hanging around in my bedroom that doesn't belong there. Stuff that belongs outside, stuff to eBay, stuff to return, stuff that belongs somewhere, but we just don't know where that somewhere is. Too much stuff! I declutter and declutter and it is never enough.

The front room piles up with things that belong elsewhere. We have no entry, so sweatshirts, keys, sunglasses, receipts, etc. are tossed onto the dining room table when we walk in the door. I had a basket for this purpose, but it was recommissioned as a cradle bed for a stuffed animal. Games and toys are scattered across the living room. Books, CDs, and magazines are strewn here and there. We definitely live in our living room.

All week I tell myself that I'm doing what I can and we'll catch up on the weekend. By the weekend I am exhausted, and do just the bare minimum (if it is a weekend we are at home at all).

I hate it! Having a clean, uncluttered house is important to my state of mind. I like being able to tell people to go ahead and "drop-by" without being embarassed. I have to figure out how to juggle that 4th ball.

Homeschooling can be tough. Unschooling or a relaxed Waldorf style was far easier than Enki. Grade 1 is a lot more work than kindy was. I know that I am asking a lot of myself, to learn an educational philosophy and methods in such a short time, and to put them into action right away. But at some point you have to stop telling yourself that you "can't get behind", because you have a 7.5YO who isn't reading but is ready to learn, and it isn't in his best interest to wait 6 months while you get everything figured out. Last April, when we first started with Enki methods T wasn't interested in reading. The Town board and Word Family stories got him to a place where something clicked and he is excited about learning to read, and I have to keep going with that, dust be damned!

Last night we walked out the door and away from the mess, and had a fine evening at the Redlands Bowl. First we joined in the community sing, which I think fits perfectly with the essential energy of circle. We went to the library (across the street), then walked back over just as the Marine Corps was playing the national anthem. The boys loved it! I thought we would leave at intermission, but they wanted to stay and this was the first time ever that they made it through an entire bowl performance. They were tired at the end, but didn't act up or talk. In fact, J-Baby practiced conducting through several numbers, and he clapped and swayed and had a grand time.

And so, after an exhausting day yesterday, I was mentally revived. The evening was delightful and cool. The Bowl is beautiful, especially as twilight falls, with the moon and Venus setting in the southwest, and the 17 stars that make up the Inland Empire's night sky. Even the walk home was pleasant, with a tired J-Baby's little hand gripped firmly in mine as he chattered away about the evening and postulated as to how many steps it would take to get home.

2 comments:

Blissfulbee said...

It really is a juggling act and sometimes balls fall down. It is all part of taking on so much and wanting things to come together in a way that suits our vision of our lifestyle. Im dropping balls left and right over here, but I also think it is really important that I am even trying.

Look at what all we take on in just the diet and nutrition areas of our lives, it is way more than the average American family does, we then choose Enki, a great harmonious program, but also a bit heavy on the Mother for her work load. I know I way over do it with the house and pay for it with the labor I have to put into it. But am I willing to really not have a nice home?? No, it is important to me, so I throw that ball in the game along with the others.

I think the important thing is what you pointed out, we can focus on the juggling act, but we really need to also recognize the times when one ball need to be put down so we can really focus on another "dust be damned" is exactly the approach when you know your kids are in the midst of a breakthrough time educationally. The fault or the real loss would be if we were to focus just on keeping those balls in the air, and lost sight of each individual ball and its needs. Then it would be all an act, rather than a true lifestyle and committment to the things we choose to "juggle".

Your rocking over there, and your house and the dust will be there when the boys are in a less absorbent time.

I just try to remember that when my kids are grown (which will be too soon) I will have WAY too much time to clean and dust and make things perfect. Right now, I may have to let some things slide a bit, so that I can really remain present with them.

Obviously a topic I am working through too!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

I can relate to what you are saying.It is hard work, to maintain house with all its sub catagories of service from cook to clean and all else in between, homeschool with all the reading to getting ready just to be able to start with lessons, and all the while watching how fast the children are growing, and you do not want to settle for less than perfect( maybe Thats Me)and feeling inadequate about being prpared taking on so much, whew, time to take adeep breath.

lisa