I have been slogging through mud to get our homeschooling done lately. School this semester is HARD. Right now I have 4 kids who are all working in the 3rd/4th grade range, plus a kindergartener. The teens are pretty independent thankfully, but these younger kids need tons of attention. Between 9:30 when we start our school day, and 1:30 or so when we get (mostly) done, I literally never go 5 minutes without someone needing help–and most commonly 2 or 3 kids need me at the same time. This week I was on my last nerve by lunch time three days in a row. When I finally relaxed enough to smile, the stiffness of my face made me realize I hadn’t smiled for hours.
I am working hard to help the 9-12 year olds with their reading, since that is so crucial to … well … everything school-related. Once they all read well, they’ll be able to do a lot more independent work. Also on my mind is the standardized testing scheduled for my two 9 yr old sons in March. First time for both of them, so we are cramming in reviews of capitalization and punctuation and map skills and reading comprehension. I always worry the first time my kids test. It feels almost as much a test of me as it does my kids. What if I have slacked off too much? What if they read too fast and skip words, or get test anxiety and bomb it….? What if they can’t spell worth a hoot and it’s because I let them play Gameboy when they should have been reading?
I’ve been feeling frazzled, and when I am frazzled, I get too hard on everyone, including myself. I get frustrated with myself for not being everything I want to be: patient, creative, fun-loving. I truly want to major in the people and make our home a place where joyful things happen. But the to-do list keeps getting in the way. In the last few weeks I’ve been struggling to get my balance right, but I can’t seem to make a day look how I want it to look. The DOING sucks up all the time and leaves me at the end of the day wondering when exactly I really focused on the people that day.
I had an idea the other day. If mostly I just hum along in the ordinary way, doing the best I can– but IN ADDITION also consciously snatch a few quality ‘people’ moments 2 or 3 times during the day, that will be improving, right? It sounds way more attainable to change 15 minutes of each day than to aim for utter utopia all day long.
I decided that for the next month I’ll try to make every day 15 minutes better and then write about those little moments. My goal is not to present my life as utter perfection– it’s not!!!! I just want to encourage myself (and maybe you?) to be more mindful of the small opportunities during an ordinary day.
So here’s today. Not earthshattering stuff, but when I look back, these were some of the very best moments all day.
1. Before school started, I pulled my 3 and 5 year olds onto my lap and read them two stories. Five minutes at the start of the day. It was sweet time, and I think it made for a happier morning.
2. This afternoon I fit in a game of Go Fish with my 3 year old… I almost said no, since we were getting ready to go to swim lessons, but she was so eager to play that I changed my mind. It took 3 minutes and was just what she needed to feel cheerful after her nap.
3. This evening as my husband gave me a kiss before heading off to bed, instead absent-mindedly giving him a peck and going back to my writing, I really kissed him. And we curled up together on the couch for a minute and kissed a little more and discussed how mortified the teenagers would be if they walked into the living room just then. And then we laughed. And kissed a little more. When he finally headed off to bed, the grin on his face made him look 5 years younger than he had 5 short minutes earlier.
What about you? Want to make your today 15 minutes better? I’d love to hear how you did it.