Thursday, August 4, 2016

Finding Balance in Flux



1. a flowing or flow.
2. the flowing in of the tide.
3. continuous change, passage, or movement:

 I'm the kind of person that loves structure, until it feels like a burden and then I need change.

Right now life is very...loose. It's been interesting since Ziggy was born. Life has revolved around his sleep and how much sleep I am getting, and how can I get the most sleep possible?

Add to the fact that Hubby Joy sets his own hours and works all hours, some days he starts work at 7 and works all day without breaks until dinner time. He picks it back up after the older three are in bed. Other mornings we sleep in until 8 or 8:30 and he doesn't start work until between 9 and 10 works until 5 or 6 and our day (the kids and mine) works around that.
Working Late, Ziggy was helping...
Some nights he's up until 2 or 3 in the morning trying to figure out a problem in the project before the people on the other end need it the next morning.  So he sleeps past 9 or 10 and I get up and feed the  kids and start the day with out him.

His work load and deadlines change daily. Some weeks he works 6 days a week some weeks he takes more time off.

And then sleep. Any opportunity I have to get more of it I feel like I should take it, because if there is any thing in my life I'm consistently short on, it's sleep. Ziggy is a decent sleeper, for a baby he's fantastic, I put him down between 8 and 10 p.m. and he often will sleep 5-6 hours at a time. Some times he doesn't wake me until 5a.m. (7-8 hour stretches) and then he nurses for a long time while we doze. After three rough sleepers, he's a dream and it is working for us. But Friendly has been having a horrid patch again (sensory struggles mostly, upset and needing help) and she wakes me (and has for months) several nights a week and then I struggle to get back to sleep myself. So when the baby sleeps in until 7:30-8 (or some times later) I have a hard time saying no to the opportunity.

So I wonder? Is this the season I am in, and I need to just do what works and go from there? Or do I need to be the river bed for the family flow and set the foundation by being intentional and getting up earlier? The older 3 wake up between 6-7a.m., get some food (we fondly refer to it as "First Breakfast"), and work on projects until I come down.

When I come down Hubby makes the coffee and we work on getting a real breakfast on the table, we eat as a family and then the kids go off and do more projects while DH and I finish up our coffee and I do chores and he heads up to the office.

By the time I'm done breakfast and chores it's 9:30 and the baby is ready to nurse, he usually doesn't nurse long when he wakes up and so we snuggle for 30 minutes at this time. And then he plays happily and I get my shower and we head out the door to meet friends, or we do some thing else together until lunch time. I suppose this would be prime school time.

Do I try to make things flow or do I embrace the flux, the ever changing needs?

I'm torn. Because I know that in some ways our days are more productive when I'm up at before 7. On the flip side I am exhausted and stressed and long-term, unhappy in that scenario.

Here's what's working:

Slow mornings. After years of rushing through parts of our morning, either for Hubby Joy to get off to work or to welcome our Bonus Kiddo the year we  had her with us, well I didn't realize how stressed it left me feeling until we were free of it. A slow morning routine helps the rest of the day feel calm.

What does a slow morning mean?
Sleeping in isn't so much the issue, it's being able to wake up slowly. Hubby Joy and I take that time to talk for a few minutes while Ziggy crawls between us and snuggles.
 We need that connection time before we start our day surrounded by the kids.
I also need time to drink my coffee alone. I like to sit on the porch and read with my coffee. This isn't really possible with busy Ziggy, but I do still like to sit and enjoy nobody touching me or climbing on me. The kids know I won't read to them or do any thing with them until my cup is empty.

So what I think we'll do...
That said, I do think I need to set the alarm for 7:30 and be out of bed no later than 8 on week days, bad nights will happen but I don't think that will be a burden. I need to hop right into the shower.

We should shoot to be done with breakfast by 9.

Then coffee time.

Then FAMILY chores. That will be a change. The girls will unload and load the dishwasher if I ask them to help me. I think I would like them to be more involved in the daily running of the house. It's a fine line we are not sure how to balance. We don't want to raise entitled children, we want them to have life skills and understand the value of work, and just all that it takes to keep a house and family running. But we also want them to be *kids*, we want them to have this time to be young, to know a carefree childhood where housework and chores were some thing they did along side of us...Not some burden that they alone carried for the family and they were sent off and expected to do it no matter how miserable and nasty everyone was being (as children from larger families we may have a bit of baggage here...).

So I think involving them in housework will need to happen here. We have talked about every body having a day to unload the dishwasher (HJ and I included), make it a team effort to keep up with that sort of thing. I need to come up with a chart for that.  And have the expectation that I will have kids in my bubble and needing supervision and my involvement in the mornings.

And then after chores will be Pip's school time.

We'll be using Heart of Dakota, so I will do her Bible and Language Arts and a chapter (Life of Fred) of Math with her. Or maybe I will get Horizons Kindergarten for her and do a page every day it's assigned, I really want less reading aloud in my life...Or maybe we will skip math this year. We will be doing 2 years of Kindergarten unless she just takes off with reading. I don't really believe in pushing math before the age of 9 anyway...I don't really believe in pushing much of any thing before age 9, unless the child is interested, but there's the rub, she's interested. I think she'll really enjoy her "Mommy Date" every morning getting to do a cozy literature-based curriculum all her own, and math pages especially will interest her, she loves numbers. As a younger sibling from a homeschool family I know how much it means to DO SCHOOL with Mommy. Is it necessary? No. But any thing I can do to connect with this kiddo is worth it.

After  Pip's school time her assignment will be 5 books in the Skybrary and then 20 minutes of Teach Your Monster to Read if she wants it. Other wise it will be anything we allow from PBS Kids.

That leaves the older kids school time: We will start with Brain Integration Therapy and move to Phonics practice (Friendly) and The Main Assignments for the day from Build Your Own Library guide.

All that said and done we should be done with school by noon. With homework and left over assignments to be finished after lunch and on pleasant days we can head to the park for more read alouds and cold day we can schedule in some tea times too.

I have been hearing a lot about Bravewriter poetry and tea and I want to look into that for enrichment, I think Friendly would love it.

I think regardless this is going to be a lot of work and constant need for grace and being realistic. Some days we'll get a lot done, other days maybe we won't. But I think, even if it's not the best way to do it, I think this will be our best happy medium.

Next post, week days...Thinking through how I want to do our week. I do think a rhythm here would be good.

Monday Library Day...Tuesday Baking day...Wednesday Park day.. or some thing like that. I think those sorts of rhythms ground us. More on that and with the finished chore chart next time.

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