One of the big questions I often get asked now that I’m flexi-learning (my made up word for the way we are home-educating) is ‘but when do you get time for yourself?’. Now I don’t remember anyone ever asking this of me with I was at home with two pre-schoolers and I’m guessing that if I was working with the kids at school I probably won’t hear it either. So why is it that people suddenly worry about my lack of ‘me-time’, or otherwise, since I’m flexi-learning with our kids? It is a valid question I have no doubt about that and I love the fact that people are concerned. The truthful answer? Well the truth is that I probably have far more ‘me time’ now than I ever have with the kids!
When they were younger, and maybe because they are close in age, my days were a constant blur of feeding, washing, changing, cleaning (well actually to be fair it was more tidying than any real cleaning), and cooking. I was a dab hand at finishing one job just in time for another to start and as the kids were little their attempts to help regularly ended in more jobs or more time being used. The only ‘me time’ I got was when my eyes were closed! Honestly even when I needed to relieve myself the door was open and someone was always with me! Now I’m kind of embarrassed to put this out there for eternity however I know that many of you can relate and when you are living in a two story house with the only toilet upstairs and you have toddlers that are into everything the minute your back is turned it was enough of a mission to get everyone in sight without the added luxury of privacy.
We did try the kindy route and I have to admit that aside from me getting over the pull of leaving my wee ones with someone else and a whole bunch of others I ended up feeling like I actually had less ‘me time’ to do what I wanted. I was constantly watching the time for pick- ups or to see if I could fit something in before pick-ups and then when I did finally get my precious back she was more like Sméagol than the wee girl I’d left in the morning. Once her brother begun kindy too, with a different pick-up time, it really set my wheels in motion and I turned into a taxi driver without the luxury of paying customers. Our mornings were a rush to get out the door and our afternoons were plagued with grizzles and grumblings of tired savages.
Deciding to have them home wasn’t an easy decision and it isn’t for everyone. It was the just the right one for us. Gone are the stressed morning rushes. The grumbling is still there some afternoons however now at least I know why and I have had lots of happy, good times beforehand. They are with me pretty much 24/7 however now that they are older I have so much more freedom and privacy again. We have routines that work for us, they help with the morning chores, we have quiet time where we all go off into different rooms after lunch, they can play outside in our yard without constant supervision, they can reach handles, they can pour their own drinks, they can even manage to cook meals for us (with a little help of course). I get to have lots of time to do what I want to do during the day because our flexi-learning is exactly that – flexible. With only two we can fit into a morning what would take a whole day when organizing a class full. We work with and around each other so that we all get what we need out of the day. It isn’t always plain sailing I’ll give you that however there are very few days (now) that I think that I need ‘time out’ from them and I never wish I had chosen a different route. My happiest times are with my family, it may sound corny but it is true! I still have time completely to myself each week however the ‘me-time’ I have when everyone is around and busy doing their own things while I do mine is just as rewarding. ‘Me time’ is what you make it and how you direct your focus. I’m living a lifestyle I want with the people I want and if that isn’t ‘me time’ I’m not sure what is.