I have always considered myself a mom not afraid to discipline and generally speaking I am a tough cookie about lots of things. My children are well behaved and I really have no ongoing issues with any of them. I have been puzzled and upset though about the consistency and what we seem to be able to accomplish. I have spent these last few weeks in contemplation and assessment of our home life and home school, and I think I am finding some answers and some solutions. Knowing the problem is half the battle right?
We seem eternally behind around here. I go back and forth between "this is normal, everyone gets behind" and "it really shouldn't be THAT complicated, I've been doing this forever!" I spent about week in observation of my family without them realizing I was taking mental notes. I was stunned by the amount of work left for me by each of them.
It alway seemed like a small thing when I was picking up a dish here, a sock, a shoe, putting away the crayons, and putting up the peanut butter. When I stood back and saw the amount of time it amounted to I was quite saddened. I felt more than a little taken for granted.
In re-reading some tried and true support books (Charlotte Mason, & Education for the Wholehearted Child) I was able to recognize the problem was discipline and the root was me.
I must have the discipline to make them accountable. I am not requiring enough of them. I told them 2 days ago that these next couple weeks would be tough because I was going to hold everyone accountable for everything under their control. Last night they spent 30 minutes putting the smallest things away as I patrolled the house looking for anything left out of place. I wouldn't allow any of their personal entertainment or recreation until their work was done. Now I know, most of you guys are waaaay better than me in this regard. You hold their feet to the fire and you are probably thinking, "well yeah, no fun stuff until you do your chores, that's a no-brainer". I was that way once, but I have become inconsistent. The kids, knowing they had a 50/50 chance of getting away with not meeting the standard, would let it go and roll the dice. Half the time they were right and it paid off. Rather I paid off, like a nickel slot.
It was easier. For a good bit of time I have not had the energy to hold my own and make no mistake some days it is me against them. Making kids do right is not as easy as it reads in a book. I want us all to be one big Catholic homeschool loving team, working toward our common goal and finishing the work so we can build tee-pees and explore the world. But some days they don't want to be on my team. They don't even want to play in my league. They want their own league and then they want to go on strike. And, you actually have to pay very close attention, steer them back as soon as they veer off course, follow up, correct, direct, and discipline when it goes south. That's work. The way I'd been feeling it was better to let it go for the moment and then catch up everything when my body was having a good day.
The result was that I felt like I was treading water constantly and it was exhausting. More exhausting probably than staying on top of it I'm sure. Since following up with the doctors and feeling more and more like my old self everyday my energy level is on the mend. I have been (as you know if you are reading along) I've been knocking out projects left and right. I am working hard at not losing any ground anywhere else as well. I am not trying to do everything but I have resurrected my old habits that always served me well.
I do not try to take over the world but I do challenge myself and make time for myself too.
I feel sharper than I have in a long time. I think I may really be able to get back to the top of my game again.
Discipline. Habit. Consistency.
Oh and I have gone down one pant size :)