It occurred to me the other day that things just aren't like they used to be. Not in a bad way, of course, just in a different way.
I'm not really sure why this has hit me over the head recently. I think one day I just looked up from my daily routine, the one that hasn't changed appreciably in four straight years (besides adding a kid now and then) and realized "Crap. This isn't working anymore."
Isn't that just a kick in the pants?
I have been making all these changes in my life and neglected to remember that change changes things! Riveting news, I know. It seems, though, that I have been living in this world where I could homeschool and still sporadically keep up with the laundry with few consequences. I could diddle around online looking up curriculum and forget to actually start teaching until 4pm and still fit in the days work without much trouble. I could organize my closets when the feeling struck and not have to rearrange my schedule at all.
At some point, though, I stopped being able to do all of that. Like I said, this isn't a huge deal, but it was one I SO should have seen coming. I mean, you can only add so many things into your life without needing to take others out. And you don't really think about it until you're knee deep and don't have any interest in turning back. It was so easy for me to add homeschooling preschool into my regular schedule that I didn't stop to think about what the actual, physical repercussions of this decision would mean for me. I knew that with science projects scattered around my house would never be on a magazine, but let's face it, it wasn't going to be regardless of my schooling choice. I knew that all the homeschool articles talk about making sure Mom's get free time so they don't go crazy, but all my kids still napped or rested, so that was easy enough to accomplish.
What I failed to see, though, was that you don't see every consequence immediately.
Homeschooling is fantastic, but it requires time time time. Time spent researching, planning, making, arranging, gathering, searching, and actually teaching. And the older your kids get, the more time you need to spend on all of those things. School for the Tot no longer takes only 15 minutes a day, you know? Now we are spending closer to an hour and a half. It's not all workbooks and time drills, most of it is really fun, but it still requires time. Cloth diapering is great, but it still takes over the washer/dryer for a good portion of the day a few days a week, which isn't bad unless you have some one wetting the bed every other night adding four loads of laundry to your already heavy load (haha). Making baby food, cooking with whole foods, talking on the phone with friends, cooking every night, exercising, cleaning the house, organizing the nooks and crannies, playing on facebook, yardwork, grocery shopping, having quiet time, going on dates, and the list goes on. All these things aren't bad - most of them are even awesome - but they still take time. They take even more time when you add juggling three children on top of it all.
And at some point, the day is just over. There just isn't any time left.
You can't keep adding things - even good things - to your life without other things having to change. By waking up early to have Quiet Time, you are changing the amount of sleep you get - or at least the hours you get it. By switching to cloth napkins instead of paper towels, you are changing the amount of laundry that will need to be done regularly. By having another kid, you are changing the amount of free time you'll have. Like I said, not bad changes, but changes.
Which brings me to my point - Something has to change here. I've been trying to shove too many things into a very finite amount of time. As much as I would like to think that I really can do anything I want, that I can replicate anything that anyone else does, I can not do everything at once. And even if I can for awhile, even if I can handle many more good things on my plate that I thought - or other people thought - that does not mean that there won't be consequences later. In the form of a headache, a neglected spouse, a neglected body, or just plain old burnout - there will be consequences.
My job now is to weigh what I most want to do - what is most important to me - and then weigh the consequences that will come now or come later, and see if it's worth it.
Oh Unsinkable, you have some thinking to do.