There I was standing with my back to the stove, bawling with my face in my hands. It had happened again, just like it happened every fall when school (and my work as a math teacher) started back after the summer break. This full-time working mama with two littles was overwhelmed. AGAIN. We were a couple of weeks into the school year now.
The house was a wreck, the laundry was out of control, and I was trying to get some supper ready. After feeling like I had a handle on things over the summer when I had a lot more time to devote to stuff like that, once started back I would always have these unrealistic expectations for myself. I would never, ever be able to live up to them. It was my husband who called me out on this, and reminded me that I needed to be realistic and give myself some grace.
You know, sometimes things don’t turn out the way we want them to. Or expect them to. I had a similar experience with unrealistic expectations a couple of weeks ago.
I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom these days, and I spent a lot of time planning for this school year. I planned out our daily routine as a time budget, knowing that I would probably have to adjust it as I always do, but thinking it was probably pretty close. I mean, every year when we start up the school year, I have to readjust a little because what I’ve planned turns out to be unrealistic in the actual day-to-day. But I thought that this year I had really taken the time to think it out REALISTICALLY. Haha! (insert laughing-until-tears-come emoji here)
Here’s the lovely daily routine with time blocks I created for my family as we prepared to start the school year:
If you’ll notice, all our official school work is completed by 12 noon. IN MY FANTASY WORLD. 🙂
LET’S. GET. REAL.
Okay, so I’ve heard so many other homeschool moms say that they just love the fact that their kids finish school by 12ish. I’ve read blog posts about Charlotte Mason education where she encouraged the practice of finishing by noon so that a child can have adequate time to just play and process what has been taught that day.
I want that. I want my girls to have free play after lunch until 4:00 (when their mean mom finally lets them watch T.V.). I want to be able to blog or plan or read or _________ during that entire time while Isaac naps.
I planned for that.
The first week of school, we started out slowly, with just Breakfast & Bible and Morning Time. Then a few days later we added in math. Then we added in handwriting and the other subjects one or two each day, until one fateful Tuesday we were doing the whole schedule.
That was the day we were schooling until 4:00.
That was the day that broke me.
That was the night I posted this on Instagram.
What I realized over the next two days was that, once again, I needed to let go of my unrealistic expectations.
At first, I thought I would just have to readjust my plan to finish by lunchtime somehow. But as I went through that next day, reminding myself of the verse God had shown me the night before, I felt Him leading me to just REST IN HIM. To savor instead of stress. To enjoy instead of rushing through. To let go of my plans to embrace His.
So, are we finishing by 12? Nope!
I have had to let go of that fantasy for now. I realized that it was indeed a fantasy, at least for this season of my life, for many reasons. I am pregnant, and I simply need more rest in the morning than usual — sometimes meaning a later start to the day. I have a two-year-old, who doesn’t simply disappear when it’s time for school to begin. He’s with us all day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s not that we are schooling from 8:00 until 4:00 straight through. There are meals to be prepared and enjoyed, lots of messes to clean up, and chores to be done together. There are vital relationships being developed and savored in the midst of our school day.
So for now, I’ve let go of my fantasy. I believe it will be more doable to get done early when all the kids are school age. Maybe… we’ll just have to wait and see when that day comes. 🙂 We’ve still got a while.
For now, I’m content with the place God has me. Sometimes it’s hard, but I know that God is strong enough to handle it for me. And He’s big enough to let me know when adjustments need to be made.
Do you ever struggle when your actual day-to-day life doesn’t line up with the way you’ve imagined it would be? Does it knock you for a loop when things don’t turn out the way you’ve planned? You’re not the only one.
The next time that happens, take a step back, close your eyes, and just breathe. Let God’s peace flood your spirit.
Rest in him! As you do, you will feel Him lead you in the way you should go. And you can trust that the day that is given to you is exactly the day He has given you the grace to handle. And His grace will never let you down.