Parenting and home education especially is a full-time job, and even when I am not specifically doing something with one of my children, I am always thinking about them and thinking about things we could do.
I have an in built guilt if I have some time doing something for myself, there is always the voice in my head with the list of other things I “should” be doing…. especially housework 🙁 or making sure R has done something “educational”, or should I be checking up on L and her homework?
It has taken me a long time to realise that not only do I want to spend lots of time with my children, and do my best for them, I also want to set an example of having a happy life…. which means doing things for myself too and enjoying what I am doing…even if that means my house is not the tidiest place.
It also means stepping back and letting my children have time to explore their own things, without timetabling them myself. It is ok if we’re all off doing our own things in separate rooms sometimes, it is ok for them to sit and watch cartoons or Minecraft videos some of the time. I know that we do come together, and we do lots of other things and that time pottering is a good thing… something that a lot of children don’t seem to have a lot of now. I remember loving to just spend hours doing my own thing, and I think my girls are the same.
I now feel less guilty when I paint, or read (though admittedly the reading is often something to do with education or history or science) but then I have rediscovered my love for learning since home educating… maybe I have finally deschooled myself? (Well mostly!)
Every time my children see me reading, or watching an interesting programme or painting, or pottering in the garden, it is a powerful message, far more powerful than telling them to do things they enjoy… it is showing them. I don’t have any guarantees this will work, but they have a happy and interested Mum (and Dad) and hopefully by modelling what we see as important in life… family, friends, time doing nice things, learning, community and happiness that will lead them to a life that they want to lead.
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