Thursday, August 14, 2014

Older, Wiser Me

For my status update tonight I posted, "Man, sometimes I wish there was an older, wiser version of myself that I could ask for advice. I could sure use that time machine. Or a Tardis would do the trick, I guess."

It's true. I know plenty of wiser (some older, some not) than myself, and plenty of older people (some wiser, some not) but none of them ate able to give me the advice that I feel so desperately in need of, which is how to be ME living MY LIFE and trying to do well at the things that I feel are important. I have homeschool friends and associates, but not many of them have toddler twins, or a particularly challenging student who challenges them in a similar way. I have friends who have twins, but they don't homeschool. I could come up with additional examples but you probably get the idea, which is that it is really tricky to forge your own path in life precisely because you are having to forge your own path. (Is that a phrase that is used? It just occurred to me that forging seems more like a blacksmithy thing than clearing a path...) I was talking to a dear friend the other day and we both shared how a particular challenge in our marriages was that we didn't have an example of how we wanted our marriage to be to look at. Both her and her husband's parents divorced and remarried. My parents and David's parents have stayed married, but I don't look to either of their relationships as something I want for myself and David. I hope ours lasts as long as theirs, but the dynamics of their relationships are not anything I'd want to emulate.  

I feel similarly with how I was parented. I am grateful to my parents for all they did for me growing up, but as the youngest by six years with both parents working full-time (until my dad's retirement), I felt kind of like I was left to raise myself. We never had the type of relationship where I felt comfortable talking with them about problems or challenges in my life. We saw very little of each other, and kind of did our own things. I also only remember two of my 5 siblings living at home, as the others are 12, 14, and 16 years older than me. To contrast that with my current situation: 5 kids within a 10 year span, homeschoolers, stay-at-home-mom. I have a hard time knowing how best to respond to the normal sibling squabbles because there really weren't that many that involves me as a kid. I remember we got sent to our rooms on occasion, but most of the time the parents weren't around. And by the time I was 12 (Noodle's age), I was the only kid at home, so I can't really relate to how irritating younger siblings are, especially when you are a moody adolescent and MANY things are irritating. 

So I'd like a role model, an actual real person who has lives my experiences and knows what works. I don't want to pick through the many gems of wisdom from a variety of sources to pull together my own brilliant plan. I've been working on that, though, with David's help, but the real problem is that every day the execution is left up almost entirely to me, and with so many people involved, each little hiccup or disturbance seems to wiggle the supporting beams of my vision just enough that by 4 pm I feel like it has all crashed down around me. I look at the mess and the casualties and my vision and hopes for my family just seem insanely ambitious and likely to do more harm than good. But yet it's time to muster up some energy and try to get goodwill summoned from myself and "the troops" so we can push forward and I can make dinner and maybe we can tidy things up enough so that David won't be too irritated when he comes home. And after they are all in bed there is still more cleaning that could be done, it would be so lovely to wake up to a clean counter, but its been a long day of cleaning and re-cleaning and picking that thing up again and changing the diapers and rotating laundry and answering the requests and pleas and whines and tears that I just want to claim that last hour or two for myself and maybe read or watch a show or do some homeschool prep work, even. And I go to bed and sleep deeply until 5:30 or maybe 6 if I am lucky, when Gub Gub's internal alarm clock must crow like an over eager rooster regardless of what time he went to bed, and he tells me that it's time to do it all over again.

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