Last night I was thinking about the things I wanted to do today - nothing major, just stuff like yoga and writing...my stuff - when I noticed myself mentally scanning the day for chunks of kid-free time. As you can imagine with Liam homeschooling and Finn home with me all the time, these moments are few and far between.
I have Finn's nap time and when it happens to coincide with one of Liam's classes (like it does today!), I'm golden. But that only happens once a week. Other than that I usually have at least one boy with me all the time.
This is hands-down what I get asked most about homeschooling. "How do you find any time for yourself? I don't think I could do it without a break..." It always kind of surprises me. Not because I think it's a weird question - I'm sure I'd be asking the exact same thing if I were in a different boat - but because I honestly don't notice I'm with my kids 24/7 until someone points it out.
This, I realized last night, is a fairly new thing. Not that I'm with my kids all the time, but that I don't feel like I'm with my kids all the time. There was definitely a time in the not so distant past when I felt how together we were each and every minute of the day. But I think we may have turned a corner!
Finn is 2-1/2 now which means he's basically a different person every single day. He's growing SO MUCH. What he can do today seemed impossible a month ago. And tomorrow? I'm sure he'll surprise us with something new.
It's really fun to watch him discover himself and his world. I love seeing the look on his face when he's done something even he didn't expect he could do.
He's always been an independent little guy but now that he's growing more capable, he's taking it to the next level. He knows where everything is, helps himself to what he wants and asks for help when he really needs it (if I can't understand what he needs after a couple tries, he just motions for me to follow him and says, "come here," as he runs off to show me what he needs).
Now that he's talking more, he and Liam are having much more fun together, too. Finn used to get really angry when Liam got too bossy with him and would sometimes bite or hit or purposely mess up Liam's things. It was all he could do to try to make himself heard. But now that he can tell Liam to knock it off, things are going much more smoothly.
Which is awesome for them and, I realized last night, awesome for me. It's probably been like this for a couple of months now but for whatever reason I never really tried to take advantage of it.
Honestly, the last time I can remember trying to do something I really wanted to do while both boys were home and awake was last summer. Okay, that sounds crazy. But I think it's true! I do stuff, just not a lot of stuff I'm super excited about. Because there's no quicker way to make me frustrated than when I'm trying to focus on something important and my attention is getting pulled in a million directions. When it happened to me last summer (I was trying to write while the boys watched a show), I got so bummed out I decided the only thing I could do was stop trying to compete.
Which is what I've been doing more or less since then. But I'm thinking it might be time for me to give the whole multi-tasking thing another go. Not like cruising Pinterest all day while they fight over the remote but meaningful multi-tasking. Like doing a yoga video or going into the office to write. Maybe starting another illustration project?! Or trying to do something with the ones I've already finished...
I hope this works out for two reasons:
1) I will have more time to do the things I love to do.
2) My boys will have a better idea of who their mother actually is.
This is the part that I think is most important. Because if all they ever see me do on my own is fold laundry and unload the dish washer and make lunch and do crossword puzzles (which I enjoy doing but I think it's mostly because I don't have to focus very hard to do them) and flip through magazines (again, like reading but I don't care if I get distracted) and putter around the house doing all the day-to-day stuff that has to get done but isn't exactly setting my heart on fire, they might grow up never really knowing me at all. If I save all the stuff I really love (or even the stuff that's just for me) for when they're asleep or at school, how will they know what I'm passionate about? Will they think I eat, sleep and breathe them? How will they describe me to future friends or potential mates or their shrink?
I feel like my kids probably know me better than just about anyone, but I still think it's important for children to see their parents in action. If for no other reason than to show them that your world doesn't solely revolve around them. At least, not all the time.