I can’t even remember the last time inspiration struck to write. Since whenever that was, it’s like the world has been turned upside down and shaken for good measure. It’s weird. We’ve been thrown off balance and had to redevelop our sense of normal and routine. There’s a lot going on and I don’t really want to be just another voice in the great chaos of internet chatter; that’s some of why I’ve stayed away. But feeling that little flicker of wanting this creative outlet again, has me hesitantly stepping out with some observations drawn from our intense, at-home time.
First, my energy level ebbs and flows. How about yours? Sure, I could pull out the archives of activities we’ve done and encourage you all to build them into your homeschooling STEM curriculum (they’re in there if you want them, more power to you!). But some days I’m just not feeling that over here. Usually it’s not wanting to add another clean-up job to the thousands of monotonous messes which daily require attention as 5 of us live 100% of our life in less than 1000 square-feet. And mustering up the energy for what’s required: schoolwork, 3 meals a day, tidying our small space so it doesn’t become one huge clutter pile…I don’t have much left over for all the myriads of ways the internet is suggesting we fill our kids’ time. Remember it’s more than okay to be bored. It can be wonderful!
Along those lines, I’m observing my strategy seems to be: let them play. And as I’ve done that, I’ve started noticing something. Maybe it’s just the luck of their arriving at better ages for playing together, but I’m noticing that my 6-year-old and 3-year-old are learning to disappear into their own joint world for hours, be it LEGO or a patch of dirt or seemingly every toy from their room strewn all over the living room. Don’t get me wrong, they fight too. And drive each other crazy, not to mention me! But join me in noticing the times they do leave us alone for half a minute. And if they’re breathing down your neck, raising a ruckus, wreaking havoc, let’s remember this is a crazy, temporary time and try not to feel bad about needing some extra screen time or a few million extra snacks or forced rest time in order to survive.
And going forward here’s my hopeful takeaway: reset what’s most important. Remember, the go-go-go of our lives screeching to a crawl for the time being can be a really good way to open our eyes again to the important things. Notice. Notice the ways this being stuck at home is a really good thing for our kids. Notice how eating so many meals together connects us. Notice how their little sibling relationships are blossoming. Notice how you’re getting creative with everything from snack time to rest time. Side note: there are plenty of days I’m not functioning on that wonderful, creative level. Sometimes I’m just surviving. Sometimes my best efforts are derailed, and then I’m faced with whether I’ll let my attitude and perspective be similarly derailed (spoiler: way too often, I do, as much as I hate to admit it). But let’s not be so quick to heap on the guilt. I find a deep breath and a step back to notice what wonderful, important things are filling these blurry, boring days at home is the best reset.
Share your at-home observations!