Spaces In Our Togetherness

They may be cute, but they can be challenging!

Today is a day marked with mixed emotions as I send my older two children off to school.  Next week #3 and #4 head off to preschool as well.  It has been a brilliant summer–one of new experiences (belonging to a pool and swim team!) and adventures (to the caverns, to Maine, to museums and theme parks!)  I love having my kids home.  I call myself a wannabe-homeschooler because I send my kids to school during the year, but then summer is my chance to put some teaching/learning ideas into practice.  We share good times, see the world together.

While the summer has been grand and full, however, I must admit that our most recent days have been stressful ones.  A few of our children have been going through transitional phases simultaneously, putting our family in turmoil and making us look, at times, like a parody.  Parenting is no joke, people.  I am living that mantra as we sort through issues and attempt to steer our crew on the straight and narrow.  This is no easy task.  Among the kids there is fighting and terse words, hitting and lots of whining.  Who’s kids are these?  Add in late summer bedtimes and excessive sleep deprivation.  Add in more sibling conflict and feistiness.  Add in their ages and points of development…  And boy does today start to feel more like a reason to celebrate than it does a reason to cry!  We need BIG spaces in our togetherness right now.  Today is the kind of day when I am grateful for the option school provides our family.  Frankly, it is the option to get away from one another for a few hours and we’ll take it! ;)

Yet isn’t she one of those Princeton moms who’s supposed to have the perfect family?  Have it all together?  Get along and sing Kumbaya?

I know I’ve said this to you before, but here’s a reminder:  I don’t.  My family doesn’t.

So let’s stop pretending.  The Facebook, Pinterest, Blog-perfection sort of image we’re all after–can we please just throw it out the window for a second and be REAL with one another?  We’d all do ourselves a favor by not trying so hard to measure up.

This journey is hard.  Parenting is not easy.

It’s been so challenging lately that I’m willing to admit I’m ready for a change.

“My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.  He is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.  On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.”  Psalm 62:5-7  h/t Tim Tebow via Twitter

I love my children beyond measure.  I entrust our family to the Lord.  And today I celebrate the spaces in our togetherness.  Without them, none of us would be at his best.

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    Is it bad that I want space in our togetherness and I’m homeschooling? LOL! But I do think that the set rhythm and schedule of “school,” be that at home or out of the house is really important. Kids don’t have time to fight and get ‘too close’ if they are working on their schoolwork and have their own stuff to get finished! My most challenging children are those who are not yet able to go do their own thing (not school age), and so can’t be given a list of tasks. So perhaps in my case I need daycare!

    But we all need a break from our kids and I think moms who can’t or don’t admit that are on the fast track to burnout. I hope that your week of transition back to school goes really well! We started 2 weeks ago and my patience is already thin ;-) establishing new routines is so tough!

    • Bethany

      Kel, lol! I was a little worried about posting this for all of our homeschooler readers just because I know you don’t get to ship your kids off to school! Thanks for making light of it and helping shed wisdom about how homeschooling families find spaces even though everyone is still at home. I could have done a much better job with scheduling our hours this summer, which would have done great things for all of us. alas, our home is a work in progress!! Xo

  • Kat0427

    I love this phrase. “Spaces in our togetherness” sounds so much more poetic than “We are driving each other nuts and need a break from each other!” The next time I am feeling this way, I am going to say to my husband, “Honey, I think that the kids and I need some spaces in our togetherness. Do you have any ideas for me?” :)
    I do find that back-to-school time poses its own problems, especially when different kids are in different schools and some are still at home. The pick-up can be grueling, and the re-entry of older siblings into the home isn’t a pretty sight to behold in our household. Nothing is perfect, though, so we just make the best of it!

  • Juris Mater

    Amen, sister. Our summer has been filled with one roadbump after another. When my kids walked into school this morning like they owned the place then I headed off for my first (relatively) calm, babies-only grocery shopping trip in ages, I was doing a happy dance. My kids gain so much from our little classical Catholic academy that I can’t give them, and my soul desperately needs a break from all the background noise!

  • Mama A

    Thank you for saying all of this! I think the ages and development makes such a difference in the house – having kids going through certain stages simultaneously is so tough. It really can spread a Mama too thin, particularly mamas who have bigger families or kids with special needs.

  • CSmith

    I think your picture caption should be “They are cute, but can be challenging.” It’s more accurate. ;)
    When my homeschooled daughter was younger I remember times wishing I could send her to the local school for a couple of weeks…usually during math class.

  • Catie H

    What a great post! Homeschooling or brick-and-mortar schooling, the end of summer = ready for firmer structure… at least within these walls! And I second what Kellie said. As a homeschooling mom, I would *love* some quiet time during the day without the older kids… but I’m also finding some “space in our togetherness” just as a result of a more formal routine. When the older kids are working quietly, it’s almost like they’re not here!

    I’m also liking the idea of some daycare. ;-)

    You ladies are ever helpful.
    Catie


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