Parenting a gifted kid(s) is a hard gig - it's not all merit certificates and museums! It's also intensity, tears, over-sensitivity (to everything), and questions - oh my dear lord, the questions!
Parenting a learning disabled kid(s) is a hard gig - it's also tears (mostly mine), frustration (his and mine), finding medication/food/strategies that work, and patience - oh my dear lord, the patience!
Homeschooling is a hard gig - you are not only the parent, but the educator. It's not all playdough and glitter (well, in this house, it's never glitter!) - it's a never-ending search for resources, science kits, maths programs that suit, some P.E. that you kids will actually do, and the mess - oh my dear lord, the mess!
Given all these things are so hard, it is vitally important to look after yourself so you can answer the questions, have the patience to deal all manner of tears and tantrums, and cope with the mess that homeschooling 2e children brings.
So without further ado, I bring you Ingi's Top 8 Ways to Look After Oneself Whilst Trying to Homeschool 2e Children:
- Eat Well - by this I mean avoid crap. Aim for food that nourishes you and provides what you need, without the added calories and weird numbers for ingredients. It'll help you and will definitely help your kids behaviour. Bonus points if you lose weight. I am totally crap at this. As I type, I am sipping my second glass of sav blanc, whilst ordering pizza because I have spent all day on my feet and cannot face cooking dinner. I managed to lose 10kg at the start of this year by being VERY GOOD but am currently working very hard on regaining said kilos. Potatoes are totally vegetables, right? Wine is made from fruit, yes?
- Exercise often - when the going gets tough, the tough go running. Or take the dog for a walk, jump on the trampoline, get on the exercise bike or go do a few laps. The kids are very keen on karate (FINALLY - we have found a sport they like) and so they have been using the gym we've setup in our shed. Exercise gets the blood flowing, the brain functioning, the stressing melting away, and depression at bay. I bought a new running top 3 weeks ago. I have yet to wear it. I hate running, but I love the feeling afterwards. I ran in a 10km race earlier this year (I came third last - no one told me it was a 'race'), but have failed to get the running shoes out much since.
- Chill, baby - you really have to pick your battles. In the big picture view of things, it really doesn't matter if your kids make their beds. But I like them to have good manners. Decide what's really important for you and then let the other stuff slide - you only have so much energy, so use it on what counts. Or you can let it bug the crap out of you - like dog fluff on the stairs: does NO ONE else in this house see it????
- Keep in touch with your other half - (if you don't have one and are doing this single - KUDOS!) remember that one day, really soon (a girl has to have dreams) your kids will have flown the nest and be off in the big, wide world, living the dream. And you will be left with the man/woman you married (or whatever). Don't be in the situation where you look at them for, like the first time in 20 years, and say "who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house??" I don't do date nights. It all seems like so much effort to actually leave the house. We do now quite regularly find ourselves all alone in the loungeroom as the kids have retired to their bedrooms and their i-thingies. It's quite bizarre.
- Hang out with your friends - for women especially, having a natter over a cup of tea or coffee is bliss. It's so important to a like-mind to bitch about the other half, whinge about the mess glitter makes, and have a chat about the really important stuff milling through your mind, like WTH was Miley Cyrus thinking and WTH is "twerking"??? Except, of course, when are busy juggling two "casual" jobs, homeschooling, volunteering and um...what else...Oh yes! Looking after the household! Catching up with friends runs a distant 3rd or 4th or 5th. Luckily they are fabbo friends who love you anyway!
- Hug your kids - OK, you homeschool your kids and so by default, you get to spend LOTS of time with them. But what I'm talking about here is just nice time. Snuggle up and watch a video that's not a documentary. Lie in bed and talk about how they are feeling. Give them a hug for no particular reason. You'll feel better. Trust me. Today my son told me that it was nice spending time with me as we were moving our shop from one arcade to another in our little town. That's a bit sad. I say "not now, mum's busy" too often to requests for board games or playing catch in the backyard. For a 'homeschooling' mum, I really miss my kids sometimes.
- Practice saying "no" - No. I can't take that extra shift at work (even though the $$ would help). No. I can't just review that letter. No. I haven't done your ironing and I have no intention of doing it today. Or...you could say "yes", "sure, no problem" and "Ummm, will Wednesday be OK with you?". And see just how much spare time you are left with.
- Breathe out - self-management should include time just for yourself. Not spending time with your kids, your husband, your friends or your ironing. Do something you ENJOY. Whatever floats your boat - spend some time each week doing it. I have enough grey hair to be mistaken for a granny. I don't do mani/pedis. I work in a library, yet struggle to finish a novel before my (extended) due date. The only shopping I've done lately is for homeschooling resources that my kids can do without supervision while I'm at work. I got a gift certificate for a beauty treatment for my birthday (yanno, back in early July) and I have yet to book said beauty treatment, because I haven't had time.
This homeschooling 2e kids is a hard gig. Try to make the time/space/priority to look after yourself. Or you can do as I do, ignore it all, and end up crying whilst typing, showering, making breakfast... You see, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and the kids aren't the only ones who find life overwhelming.
It depends on how you react to things, but if you don't follow the golden rules, then migraines, back spasms, tears, over-dependence on alcohol (or worse), high blood pressure, anxiety (and possibly, depression), hives, and all manner of physical manifestations of a high stress existence will infiltrate your life and MAKE IT MISERABLE. Trust me. I know of which I speak.
So, take Ingi's advice and follow my rules. And you know what? I'm going to start following them too - right this minute, from today. Because all that other crap can wait - I need to first and foremost look after myself, because then I will be a better mum, wife, teacher, employee, friend and person.
Joining in again in Gifted Homeschool Forum's Blog Hop! This month is all about self-care (and not before time!). Check out the link to check out other great posts on this topic.