Joy?

I have not had much fun with my kids lately. (understatement of the year!)  We have all been sick, tired, bored, cranky.  We haven’t laughed much together. In fact, there hasn’t been much togetherness at all; which is my fault.  Though I’m not proud to admit it, I haven’t had much… er…. any… joy in my job lately.  (Again, my fault.)
Last year, I homeschooled our oldest for the second half of the school year.  Obviously, educating him gave me a lot more time with him and shifted my focus to doing activities with him.  I also had our youngest at home last year.
This year with all of them in school, it has been challenging for me to engage with them.  When they get home from school they’re hungry, cranky and mentally exhausted.  They want to eat, unwind, and play with no structure.  However, my oldest has homework that takes about two hours every night.  Some days more, some less.
Everything’s a rush.  I have to do carpool for my daughter’s prek, so that is an hour commute in the a.m. and again in the  p.m.; and as soon as 2 of my kids climb into the truck, it’s a rush to get them buckled and race home to meet my 3rd and his bus.  Then it’s a rush to make them something to eat.  Next, homework (add much complaining and whining here)… then it’s time for me to start dinner…. The kids aren’t following directions… the chickens are hungry….  the dogs are hungry….  the cat is hungry…. the husband calling (he’s hungry too),….. kids are tired (and hungry)….. and me?  I’m just ready for bed!  One child needs help with his homework, one has a pile of papers for me to sort through, one has forms that need signing.  Then there is always laundry that needs to be done, and some to put away.
Life really does fly by.  We keep adding to our schedules until we eventually double-book ourselves!  I don’t think it’s for the best, either.  I spent this evening looking through pictures taken over the past year, and I had to admit to myself that I was much happier last year.
Crazy, right?  Last year, I didn’t have a car to drive!  Well, of course we had the van, but my husband’s car died and he took the van everyday.  I was stuck at home, homeschooled our oldest and had our youngest at home yet.  Now, our modern worldly view would clearly tell you that without a doubt that is the makings of misery.  (Solitude, eww!)  At times, it truely was miserable, or at least terribly inconvenient.  But as a whole, I was much happier last year.

I’ve done it to myself!  I love to help people, to be involved, to give of myself.  So, maybe to make up for lost time, I signed up for every activity the schools held this past month.  Maybe if we lived near family this would have been better because I could have sent the kids to grandma’s for a few hours to rest…. or maybe if we all haven’t been sick… but honestly, the real problem is I forgot my place in life.  I lost sight of the fact that this family, our home and our joy is my most important job.  I lost sight of the fact that if I don’t volunteer at those events, someone else will!  They don’t need the best of me, my family does.   When I got sick for the second time this month, I realized I’d tried to do too much.  The true spirit of Christmas isn’t about rushing through our days!  It’s about stopping to smell the roses.  Being thankful for the gifts we’ve been given.  Giving of ourselves, but most importantly, to those we love.  Taking the time to count our blessings!  Or in my case, slowing down enough to enjoy my kids.

I came across this picture tonight.  My son and I were so pumped to battle my other two kiddos in the ultimate water balloon fight.  Look at his smile!  He is so happy here.
So, instead of being upset with my kids’ behavior tomorrow, because they are crying out for attention, I am going to refocus all of myself to the three beautiful kids God has entrusted in my care! ❤

As a side note, I just realized another benefit to homeschooling.  You really get to know your children.  I miss it.   I miss them.   I have a goal to be homeschooling my children within a year! 

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