What I Knew From Home Management
Growing up in a household that included grandparents and a young uncle, I never thought about home management. We never really brought the subject up.
What I knew was that my grandparents worked while my uncle and I went to school. We were responsible for our rooms (when I finally got my own room) and our schoolwork.
My grandmother made sure the bills were paid, the house was clean, clothes were available when my uncle, grandfather and I looked for them (although my grandfather was partial to his overalls), and she managed to keep us all fed. Never mind that my uncle occasionally fed the neighborhood boys after school.
We had our separate chores to do. At least, I think we did. I honestly don’t recall my uncle doing very much of anything outside of practicing his breakdancing moves or spintable tricks. Maybe that’s the reason I now put the kitchen cleaning off to the last item. I can still hear my grandmother saying, “I’m gonna LET you clean the kitchen tonight.”
The idea of preparing me to be able to take care of myself in college couldn’t have been the reason for the privilege of chores.
For three years, I didn’t have to cook my own meals. Cleaning my room reminded me of being back at home. The only schedules I had to manage were class and rehearsal schedules.
Once I started joining and heading student organizations, the juggling became a little more intense, but not much. I managed to maintain my focus for three years that way.
Then, I decided to move off campus. Different story.
I had to make sure my portion of the rent was paid?!
This wasn’t something the school administration automatically did like with the dorms?
I had to make sure the lights stayed on?!
I needed transportation to and from school to get to classes?!
Home management skills were in serious lack.
Reality check #1!
But that too passed and I was able to begin juggling those things in a semi-masterful way. I managed to get by for my last year and a half of college, anyway.
My pseudo home management system worked for me for the remainder of my single years. I eked my way through employment, theatrical shows, musical groups and other various public appearances. All this while still managing to have clean clothes and food…barely.
Then, I decided that I wanted to have children. I figured I would be ready for it.
The first six months of motherhood were complete bliss. Yet, upon reflection, when I compare myself to some women who were pleasantly surprised by their bundle of joy, I was SOOOO not ready for the task.
Don’t get me wrong. There were no child services issues going on, but I constantly found myself absolutely out of sync with my usual roll-with-it attitude. It was – once again – blaringly obvious that my home management skills were lacking.
Going to the bathroom became a luxury. It was my spa experience. A moment away to breathe and think.
Until the kids learned how to work the doorknobs. Afterward, a private walk to the bathroom became something to write about in my gratitude journal.
Reality check #2!
Once I learned that getting up an hour before the kids gave me 10 minutes of personal time and 30 minutes of ‘spa’ time, my journal became more diverse.
Then, I decided to homeschool.
Or rather, I decided to homeschool my own children.
When I was younger and had the energy of a bunny rabbit, I homeschooled a friend’s two daughters. That time in my life brought me a lot of joy.
There were also two moms in the house sharing the homeschooling duties. It was the cooperative of my dreams.
Yet, with my own daughters, there was no “extra mom” sharing the homeschool and home management load. Even dad was out of the house. No. For us, there was mom, kids, cats, house, yard…and clients who occasionally like their calls to be answered.
Reality check #3!
All of those elements motivated me to look for a scheduling solution that WORKED.
They also motivated me to look for a masseuse, a housekeeper, a baby sitter…but, first things first.
What I found was that it was not about SCHEDULING my life – and the lives of my little “dreams”. It was about being able to MANAGE the elements of my life.
Manage NOT Control
I am a control freak by nature, but that doesn’t work for our household at all. Things are far too unpredictable on a daily basis.
Which is why I loved reading through Amy Roberts’ guide, Home Management for the Homeschool Mom.
(Or, HMHM as I like to call it.)
I have always maintained status quo for our household. However, it has not been without a lot of bumps, bruises, loss of sleep and many opportunities to get sick.
The slightest disturbance to my schedule always set me off and I was nearly ready to rumble. Probably because I was still tired and irritable.
What I found out through reading Amy’s guide is that I was trying to fit my square peg into a round hole. I was forcing my family into one category (SCHEDULED) when we are totally the other (ROUTINE).
I loved these concepts! They made so many things so clear to me. I finally understood what kind of mom I actually am.
It gives me more perspective on what tools I need to seek and what I need to let go.
Knowing and understanding how my family operates best took away a lot of the guilt that constantly tries to creep up when my schedule falls flat.
It can be difficult some days to manage all that comes at you as a homeschool mom. When you wear so many other hats (educator, accountant, administrator, housekeeper, chef, etc.), the unexpected disturbance tends to happen. But, understanding yourself and your family helps you get through those days.
Even before knowing what type of family you are, Home Management for the Homeschool Mom gives many avenues to simplify your life.
Simplify your meal planning, homeschool subjects, homeschool schedule and housecleaning. Amy suggests many helpful systems and tools for whichever type family you discover you are.
There is no need to feel overwhelmed. There is no need to have major reality checks in life. If you find the system you are using isn’t working for you as a family in a particular time, it is simple to tweak.
So, in those days when you feel like you’ve lost control, BREATHE.
As a homeschool mom, know that Home Management can still be achieved.