Back in the days when two of my three children were in school, I lamented the morning time, when we were rushed off our feet to get out the door on time. Packing lunches and bags, making sure school uniforms were clean (well, cleanish) and homework completed felt like a herculean task. I wasn’t really very good at it, and it made me feel incredibly stressed. Often, I ended up shouting at the children and the day started on the wrong foot. I’d wave them into school, then I’d squirm uncomfortably all day as I waited for them to come home so we could make up and start over.
It’s an unpleasant memory. I’m glad we don’t have to do that anymore.
That said, sometimes I catch myself being that manic, stressed lady who wants to get out the door on time, but just can’t seem to get each of the planets into alignment. Turns out, school or not, I find it hard to get everyone dressed (and keep them dressed) (let’s not talk about the child who likes to take everything off minutes before we leave the house) and out the door. Turns out I overfill the day and we end up rushing from one thing to another. Turns out that even as a home educator I find myself shouting at the children because of the pressure to be somewhere.
Fortunately, we can start over a lot sooner. I don’t have to wait all day to say sorry, take a deep breath and just calm down, for pete’s sake.
When I’m doing that hare-brained thing I do when we’ve got swimming at 9.30 and violin at 11.10 then a meet-up with friends at noon, followed by clarinet at 4.30 and a run scheduled straight after, I have to stop for a moment and say, “Lisa, what on earth are you doing?” Kids are overscheduled, yes, but what about mothers? I’m overscheduled and I hate it! (Someone do a research study about us!)
So I take a deep breath and I step back and think about my priorities. I imagine what my ideal day would look like, and I think about what my children love doing most: cycling around nature reserves, going pond-dipping, reading books on the sofa, drawing, watching documentaries together. And I wonder why I’m doing any of that other stuff. I slow this tightrope walk down, circle my arms in the air for a bit, rock from side to side and attempt to regain balance. I want this to be enjoyable. I want it to be graceful. I want it to be fun.
I think we can easily achieve a consensus that rushing and getting stressed is not fun.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a yoga teacher. As such, I believe in the power of thoughts. My latest mantra (repeated words or phrase that shapes our thoughts and distracts us from unhelpful ones) is, “I have all the time I need.”
I have all the time I need.
Because I do, don’t I? We have time to read books on the sofa. We have time to cycle around nature reserves. We have time to draw. We have time to lie on our bellies and stare into ponds.
Sometimes it’s worth just taking a deep breath and reminding myself. I have all the time I need. And so do you. Let’s go stare into a pond together. I don’t mind if you’re not on time, because, really, I can’t guarantee that we will be.
LISA HASSAN SCOTT is a Yoga teacher, breastfeeding counsellor and freelance writer who home educates her children in Wales, UK. She blogs at lisahassanscott.co.uk, and she’s a regular contributor to the home | school| life blog.