Homeschool life is a muddle, there’s no denying it.
I think we are all familiar with the feeling of being overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done and frustrated by how quickly everything needs to be done yet again.
We’re always wondering if what we’re doing is right or the best way or if there’s some magic sauce we’re missing that will smooth the path for our daily business and daily interactions.
I’m sorry. I have searched and searched, but I have no magic sauce.
However, I do have some hard-won principles.
I’ve slipped and slid and still stumble. Every pregnancy and newborn phase, every sleep-deprived season has felt like a “Return to Start, Do Not Pass Go” phase.
I have learned how to get up and keep going. More importantly, I’ve learned how critical the determination to get back up is.
In my twenties, I was all about efficiency. I wanted to get the things done fast – not well – just done and checked off. It wasn’t long before I figured out that the fastest way to get to done is never to put it on the to do list at all. I started questioning if I had to do any of it. What was it all worth, anyhow? Why?
I slipped into becoming a petulant two-year-old housekeeper. Thankfully, that was a hard fall that I got pulled up out of quickly and I began fighting for a reason to do any of it. I honestly didn’t care if the house was clean or not, so could I therefore forget about it, please? I cultivated my disinterest so I could get out of the work. Guess what? That didn’t end well.
Instead, I had to cultivate my interest.
I took the reins and decided being a homemaker was my job and I would do my job well. I read Flylady and Sandra Felton’s How Not to Be a Messie and jumpstarted my change of attitude about housekeeping.
I needed an attitude change for progress to happen, but I also needed straight, raw practice. You can’t go from zero to sixty overnight in housekeeping skills. And every pregnancy and newborn seemed to roll me back down the hill I’d been trudging up.
I had another low point during sleep deprivation time with our fourth baby, and as I crawled out of that state, slowly but steadily, I wrote down an action plan that would get me from where I was to where I wanted to be. I planned 2-3 months to work through it, but it took me over a year. It was good. Things were starting to hum.
Then I was pregnant again.
I thought I’d keep up the systems just the same, because I was a whole new person now. Ha. Nope, back down the hill I slid, and while I was recovering from my c-section, I outlined a plan that I acknowledged would take a year. I worked through it and I realized I had honed in on what was essential to get from recovering-from-sleep-deprivation to humming-home-systems. Our house is never ALL CLEAN, but we’re never very far from company-ready and we never fall to pieces so much that it takes more than a morning or a day to get us back on track.
There is always more that could be done, always something that needs to be cleaned or washed, but nothing is embarrassing and our family life functions fairly smoothly most of the time. We weather the bumps and my wallowing moments come less frequently and last for shorter periods.
Becoming a competent homemaker has not been something that comes easily to me, but has rather been a hard-fought battle to achieve – a challenge I still have to take on every day.
How to Manage the Muddle
I recommend focusing on three stages to move from chaos to progress. Not three steps to an end point, but onto the road toward healthy, humming routines that work for your family.
- Clarify organization
- Clear the decks
- Cope with muddle