It’s been seven days. Seven.
Snow moved into our area last week, and then more came in at the close of what was already a 3-day weekend. Around here, it doesn’t take much snow to cancel school, and so students have been at home now for 7 consecutive days.
Especially when you consider that includes a not at all unpredictable 3-day holiday weekend, it’s really not that long. And yet on social media some of the comments have been amazing, like parents are absolutely losing their minds from so much time at home with their kids.
Now I’m not wholly unsympathetic to the frustration that results when kinks are thrown into your schedule. Nor do I underestimate the ability of children to push their parents’ every button and test their patience in incredible ways. Inconveniences aggravate us all, and every mom sometimes longs for a break — for some mommy time, a little adult conversation, an undisturbed shower.
But. Can we do away with things like this, please?
“I can’t take another day with these kids!”
Except that you can. Trust me. You can.
I know we speak in hyperbole often. It’s human nature to exaggerate, and sometimes we do it because we think it’s funny, or because we’re seeking kindred spirits, or because we’re feeling especially dramatic.
But let’s be real: You can spend all day with your kids every day and survive it. And we need to think about the implications to society and to the psyche of our own children when we act like their presence is one of the worst inconveniences of our lives.
The truth is, we are capable of doing a lot of tough things; things that aren’t necessarily easy and aren’t necessarily what we want at that moment.
I don’t want to hand wash all my family’s clothing, but I could do it if I really had to, or if I suddenly thought it was important to do so. Now I can guarantee you our family won’t be wearing as many clothes as we wore before! And we’ll likely be wearing them for much longer than we used to between washings, but I can do it! And probably with time I could work out a system that made it very doable, if not exactly convenient.
Because we adjust to new and challenging circumstances. And we make them work. Because we human beings are amazingly resilient creatures.
That means you can survive, even thrive with your children home with you all day every day.
I’m not saying it will be easy, especially at first, and I’m not saying there won’t still be some really tough days when you long for a break and for some silence and some adult conversation and that undisturbed shower. But you can do it! Take it from this homeschooling mom: I do not have the super power of patience, nor does any other stay-at-home mom I know! We just decided that being at home with the kids was important, no matter how difficult, and we’re making it work. And, amazingly enough, with time the necessary patience has developed. Maybe not perfectly, but adequately.
So to the mom struggling with the decision to quit her job and stay home with the kids, or to the one who is seriously considering homeschooling: Don’t allow the naysayers, or even the pesky little voice of doubt in your own mind, to convince you that you can’t survive that much time with your kids. Moms have been doing it since the dawn of time, doing it naturally, and doing it well, and you are no less a woman just because you live in a different age. Think about it: Our pioneering foremothers raised 10 kids in 12 x 14′ cabins, all while raising their own food and animals, spinning their own wool, making their own cloth, soap, candles, etc.
If they can do that, surely we can do this. Granted, there are new challenges now, but modern conveniences, too.
And to the mom who gripes publicly about another day she is “stuck” with her kids: Maybe it’s time to consider why being with your children is so overwhelming. Is it that they’re really so much worse than other children? Or is it just that you’re out of practice when it comes to being with your kids, and so all of you are a little out-of-sorts when you’re put back together? And if so, is that the way you imagined a family should be?
And maybe it’s time to think about the impact your words, even if said in jest, are having on your children. Could they make a child feel unwanted or unloved, like they’re more of a bother than a blessing? Are the statements being made, even in laughter, sinking into little hearts and minds and memories, and slowly driving wedges that are sure to reveal themselves later on?
Hmm. It’s something to consider.
But I can assure you, moms, you can survive being home with your children. And when you really consider the tiny window of time that they actually spend in your care, you can come to cherish moments together for the gift they are.
And you can learn not to dread snow days at all. 😉