December at the Weeden's home is busy. It's busy with good things; important things. It's also full of distraction and distracted children! December feels like a hurried ride on Santa's sleigh to finish delivering all of the presents like in one of those Christmas movies. As I write this, I'm caught up in competing thoughts,
"What food are we having for the game meetup?"
"I need to check on this friend!"
"What day should we assemble the gifts for the Manor?"
"Where are we going to meet?"
"I need to return calls from three people…"
"What am I going to do for 3 hours tomorrow with the 3 little kids while the boys hang out?"
Too much "stuff" threatens to pull me away from my usual easy-going, joyful attitude. It slowly chips away at the time I spend with my children. It takes away time from our homeschool. It makes me feel flustered, and stressed.
Whether this is your first year homeschooling, or you are a veteran, December can do this to you. If you celebrate a winter holiday, chances are you understand my feelings here. But what to do? Here are a few things that help me when busyness starts to steal my joy:
Make a list. Yes, write down everything that you need to do- then rewrite the list in order of importance. Consider letting go of a few things at the bottom.
Say "No." Well, more like say, "I am so glad you thought of me, but I just can't add anything else to our schedule right now."
Tune out to tune in. Kids acting wild? Commitments becoming too much? Stop and breathe. Carve out time when you can turn off all electronics and do something that you enjoy. Coffee date? Crafting? Looking at Christmas lights? Praying? Coloring? Shopping alone at Marshall's? (That last one is mine!) The cliche "you need to put your oxygen mask on before you can help others put theirs on" or some such thing is TRUE! It's REAL! You can't be a refreshment to the souls of others when your soul is as dry as dollar-store jerky.
Calm down with the Pinterest. Stop comparing yourself/your kids/your homeschool to others. Highlight reels make Instagram; real life has dirty dishes, a budget, and bills.
Lower your expectations. I said what I said. You didn't have time to make all 5 kids their own Advent calendar? It's ok. Eating frozen pizza more often than not? It's ok. Only have enough for a couple of small gifts for your own kids? It's ok. Your children will remember your gratitude, peace, joy, and calm far more than stuff.
As December comes to a close, the stillness will make January and February drag on for what feels like forever. Plan some fun experiments, crafts, or hikes. Feed your soul with whatever sustains you. Homeschooling has its ups and downs, and hopefully this pep talk lets you know that you are not alone! Reach out to us in the Facebook group anytime, we are all in this together.
By Amanda Weeden