Confession, Goals, and Questions

So here’s my confession… well my confession is really about my goal. LOL. I’ve made a goal that is, of itself, a giant confession. I believe in making only one or two goals at a time, and doing them faithfully for 2-3 months, before moving on. Hopefully by then they are habits and will automatically continue to happen, and I can move on and make a new set of attainable goals and continually improve myself.

So my big goal right now??? To shower. It’s not that I don’t ever shower, but it has definitely been happening a lot less often than it should lately. Being a SAHM, struggling with an autoimmune disease, tackling homeschooling, and still trying to be everything to everyone… well it has really been taking a toll on how much I am able to do for myself. So for now, my big goal is to shower at least 3 times per week. (Hangs head in shame) I’m choosing Tuesday, Thursday, and either Saturday night or Sunday morning. I’m two weeks into the goal and have so far been able to keep up with it. 🙂 I know it’s a bit gross and TMI, but there it is. Perhaps if I can realize this goal, I’ll be able to add a little exercise on those days (eg, exercise then shower… because really if I exercise on a day that I don’t shower then that’s just plain disgusting.) But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My next “goal” is more of an adjustment to homeschool. First, homeschooling is great! But doing it every day, all day, plus lesson prep… well like I said, it’s eating up all my time. My house is messier. Meals are thrown together. Free time with the kids is sporadic at best. And time for my husband or for myself… well it just doesn’t even exist anymore. I’m doing a really good job at being a homeschooler, but at the same time I’m not being AS GOOD of a mother, wife, home maker, and self. I’m not doing horribly at those things, but just I think I’ve gone a bit too far and need to adjust my schedule/priorities so that I can keep everything going at the same time. Right now I feel like I’m dropping the ball in every other area just to get homeschooling up and going.

So my “goal” is really just that I’m going to cut back to 3 days per week of official, sit down classroom  homeschooling. We’re already quite a bit ahead of where we’re “supposed” to be in the curriculum, and days that aren’t in a classroom setting can still be very educational as far as application of knowledge (help me figure out how to double this recipe) and basic life skills.  So I think I’ll do the recommended (from the private school we’re working with) Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday classroom schedule. I’ll take Mondays to focus on housework and chores and Fridays for a family play day and sometimes field trips. Saturday can be just normal Saturdays… do some chores, make my lesson plans for the next week, run the errands, play a little, and get ready for the Sabbath.

I’ve been limping by, hoping to sort of “get the hang of it” and make the 5 day schedule work… but this past weekend taught me, in a very brutal way, that I’m simply taking on too much. That’s the only good thing about an autoimmune disease/chronic illness… it’s my alarm bell that lets me know almost immediately when I’m out of balance. So I’ve had a pretty rough summer with my health… Usually for me a good day is still a sick day… The best way I can explain it is to have you think about the day before you come down with a bad cold. You feel wiped out and so tired that it’s hard to get anything done. You know you’re about to be sick and you’re just waiting for it. Mainly just tired, weak, and some sporadic tension or pain. Got it? That’s my every day “good day” scenario. Always fighting against the feeling that my body is about to fight off a big illness… because it is always trying to fight off an “illness” … it’s just that the illness is itself. It’s fighting against itself. A bad day… well it’s just much much worse, with varying degrees of full illness, pain, and nausea.

Anyway since taking on all the homeschooling, I’m nose diving. I’ve even been getting those blisters on my eye balls that are indicative of more autoimmune activity. It’s so gross to have blisters on your eyes. And it’s depressing to always be so sick. My whole body is in open revolt to my current schedule…. the blisters are only the (very disturbing) tip of the iceberg. And this past weekend I had a full autoimmune breakdown… complete with a major migraine, kneeling in front of the toilet for hours, and lying in bed writhing in agony. Three days later, just barely starting to function on a “normal” level again. So I’m taking the hint and cutting back where I can before I end up in a downward spiral. So yeah, trying the 3 day schedule and hoping that will work better for all of us.

But my big question in all of this is the 2 year old. How do I spend the kind of time teaching my 6 year old… that he needs in order to get a good education… and still not just ignore her needs? It’s quite a quandary for me lately. I’ve read lots of advice on it… and all of it boils down to the same basic ideas… and none of them really work for me.

Again, I’m pretty sick for a lot of my life. I don’t think that anyone without a chronic illness can really fully appreciate what it’s like… and that’s okay, but it does color their suggestions. Things that aren’t “that big of a deal” or are only “a mild inconvenience” for a normal person, are just overwhelming and completely out of the question for me. Getting up earlier in the morning, to get schooling done while she’s sleeping… yeah that would just about kill me. There is literally no way possible for me to do something like that without having serious repercussions.  Giving her activity stations that are “a bit messy” like sand tables, water tables, even blocks or play doh… really they’ll just become a giant mess.  And as far as being able to rotate them periodically to keep her attention… pssshaw. That’s laughable. Remember here, my big goal is just to shower… that’s the level I’m working on right now.

So mainly I have her with us at the table and try to get her involved, let her color… I have a little play area of her favorite toys that she can get down and play with… but she never does. She mainly just wants attention and if that means running away with a crayon and drawing on the screen of a laptop, then she’s very happy to do that. If it means climbing up something dangerous and chewing on an electric cord, she is also very pleased to do that.

I also try to do snacks at her high chair… like a little prison with apple slices. It works for a few minutes before she’s sick of it and wants to be free to run wild again. Of course there’s always tv, but I don’t like to use it much… only when I get truly desperate and feel like I’m going to lose it.

Basically I feel guilty if I focus on just the homeschooling, because I worry that I’m not filling her needs… but I feel guilty if I focus on her needs because I feel like I’m not giving my 6 year old the type of focused attention that he needs in order to give him the best education possible. I take breaks often and spend little chunks of time with her, and then larger chunks of time teaching… but I’m just wondering if there’s a better way to juggle/balance this type of thing. I’m sure others have more experience with it. Does it actually get easier? Hopefully I can figure out a nice balance that gives everyone what they need. Just trying to figure it all out. It’s an adjustment, but I’m sure it can be done. It can even be done by me, with my more limited capacity… I just have to figure out how.

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3 thoughts on “Confession, Goals, and Questions

  1. I’m so sorry your body is giving you such a hard time- that totally sucks, and I wish I had more to say than that! Do what you need to do to keep yourself going and functioning- you are totally rocking the homeschooling and yes that’s important, but take care of yourself too.

  2. I have that same schedule for showers for my kids. I guess it’s good I go to work 1.5 days a week, it forces me to shower those days. Haha.

    I think only doing “organized” school a few days a week is an excellent idea. It can give you some of the balance you need. By need year like sister will probably want to “be big” like brother and might get in on wanting to aut for some school too.

  3. I so understand the shower schedule. Chronic illness is like walking with a brick on your head at all times while trying to accomplish the minimum of daily life. I am sorry this is your reality for now but like you said recognizing the need to step back and prioritize is so needed. Your health has to come first so you can be what you need to be for your kids and family. As for your toddler, can your Mom give her some attention during the day so that you can focus on your boy for a few hours? I have no advice in how to keep a 2 year old entertained for more than 5 min without turning on that big box :).
    HUGS

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