The title says it all. Homeschooling & family life has not been going well the last 2 weeks. Early in the year I started a tradition in our house “Field Trip Friday” and the last 2 weeks FTF has been cancelled because of poor attitudes and not completing schoolwork.
Tonight, things got tough again at bedtime. It was 630 AKA clean up time- when the kids are supposed to clean up their messes, put on pjs, brush hair/teeth and go to bed. Allllll day Aubrey had been making huge messes saying “I promise I’ll clean it up!” and all the while I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Cue the circus music.
5 seconds after telling her it was clean-up time she fell into a puddle on the floor screaming “I CAN’T DO IT!” and it was that moment I decided I was done negotiating with toddler terrorists, swiftly grabbed a garbage bag out of the closet and began loading dolls, tiaras, stuffed animals, books, and more. The whole process she was screaming, hitting, rampaging and calling me a mean mom and a bully. After depositing the newly acquired blackmail for better behavior in the closet I instructed her to brush her hair and was met again with anger, tears and name calling and then spontaneously she screamed “I NEED A HUG”. At that point I needed one too, so I held the little girl that was hating me beyond all measure tightly and told her I loved her. When she calmed down a bit I put Jack to bed, my patience and mind fully exhausted from the whirlwind of energy that just swept our house.
In the moment that I wanted to do nothing more than send her to her room for the night, I ignored the shenanigans and continued to put toys away while she finished up. I walked into the kitchen and made a cup of hot cocoa, walked to the table and asked her to join me, sliding her the cup of cocoa in an act of grace and forgiveness and hoping we could have a moment to talk. She burst into tears and asked if we could sit next to each other instead. So we went to the couch to cuddle.
We snuggled under a blanket, tears continued to softly stream down her face and I asked the million dollar question, “what’s wrong”. She looked at me and said “I’m scared to go to a new school” Shit. She overheard me voice-to-texting one of my friends tonight when I said I was considering public school next year because of all the issues we’ve had.
I took a deep breath and asked her if she enjoyed being homeschooled. Much to my surprise she said yes. We talked quite a bit, she said she was tired during school lately. We agreed she needed to have time for rest (not tablet time) after lunch before school. I did my best to explain how important it was to learn and how much I enjoy teaching her, but lately I’ve felt very frustrated she fights with me every lesson.
After she went to bed I had a chance to reflect on myself as her teacher, and the simple fact was that my outside stresses were also leaking into our kitchen classroom. I’ve been distracted, I haven’t been fun as a teacher lately, I was hurrying things along so we could check off the box and I could move onto the adult tasks of calling our insurance adjuster, mudding corner beads in the basement, cleaning our hopelessly cluttered upstairs and keep up with everyday stuff. My husband has also recently switched shifts and I’ve been struggling to find time for myself (not to mention time for the two of us) and I’m not afraid to say I need time to myself to be able to function.
Tonight I realized that her behavior has been trying to tell me she too is struggling with all the chaos around her . It’s not just impacting the adults, it’s trickling down to the kids. A cup of cocoa unlocked the emotions I hadn’t noticed until I took the time to focus strictly on her. I’m thankful tomorrow is a new day.