Thursday, February 4, 2016

To Teach or To Clean..

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Years & years ago, when I was homeschooled, at one of our end of year ceremonies each family handed {Dad’s & kids} Mom’s roses & thanked them or told them a reason they were grateful for their Mom/wife.

One particular husband got up & made a compelling speech that he use to get annoyed that the house wasn’t perfectly clean when he came home from work, but then he realised that his children were perfectly educated & if he could only have one of those options he’d take the educated children any day.

At the time it made quite a buzz amongst the group because those words hit the hearts of many Mamma’s who realised quite a few things that evening, the biggest being that they weren’t alone in their quest to try & do it all, but fall short. It’s a pretty big myth that any person can do it all, much less on their own. Yet many of us still hold ourselves to such insane lofty goals.

All those years ago I was a teenager & while I was very aware of the buzz that was created by this mini speech I’ve never forgotten how much it meant to so many Mammas who were giving their all to their own special families, my own mother included.

Yet, when we first started homeschooling I still saw to it that my home was clean before we began lessons, & let’s face it when you have young children in the home a clean house is sorta like looking for Bigfoot, it eludes you constantly. Our days were fraught with an imbalance of cleanliness over education, but more importantly undue stress heaped upon my own shoulders.

My husband has never once complained about the condition of our home. No matter how dirty it was he’s never said anything. So the guilt & stress that I was feeling was 100% made up guilt on my own behalf. And why?

I get it, I get that many of us, including myself, thrive in a beautifully tidy home. Everyone loves seeing a sparkling kitchen, a clean floor, & an empty laundry hamper. But here’s the thing, my kids aren’t going to remember how clean the kitchen was, or how empty the laundry hamper is. They might remember the drudgery of it all, & that, my friends was a thought that hit me square in the face one day.

Did I really want my children’s biggest memory of childhood to be the fact that Mom was a raving lunatic unless the house was clean, the laundry folded, & the dishes done? No, no I did not. It scared me. It scared me that my children might never come home to visit me for fear they’d muss something up & I’d make them fix it. I feared that if I’m ever blessed with grandchildren my children wouldn’t bring them to visit for fear I’d flip out about the toys on the floor. 

But you know, I also realised that I wasn’t teaching my children while I was busy fussing over the tidiness of my home. Which made me remember the words spoken all those years ago, & made me realise that I too would prefer my children to be educated than that my home was immaculate.

Now don’t get me wrong, we don’t wallow in filth. We all have chores we attend to each day, generally in the evening after school & hobbies have been attended to. We have spaces that aren’t picked up daily so that creativity can flow.. 

There’s often a desk covered with art supplies, half drawn pictures, markers, & half built games. Our rumpus room is often covered with lego projects, random lego pieces, half built puzzles, musical instruments, & countless paper projects. The main rooms of the home are tidied each day, but these other spaces where creativity flows are left alone until the projects are completed & then we clean things up before beginning another one. We work together to deal with dishes, bathrooms, & vacuuming. Everyone is responsible for their own laundry & bedrooms.

I no longer feel that I have to choose between educating my children or cleaning my home, but if I falter I only have to remind myself that I’d prefer well educated children to a clean home.

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