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So school started around here. I have 6 kids in school this year (2 in high school, 1 in middle, and 3 in elementary) and one still at home. I have sort of a love/hate thing going on with school starting.
I love that my kids get to have a new adventure. It’s like a “reset” on life sort of, and they can choose what they want to do with it!
I love that they will (hopefully) be learning new things everyday. Extending ourselves into new potentials with new knowledge, new experiences, and new challenges is AWESOME!
I love that we have a schedule. It’s nice to have a bedtime and a wakeup time and to have some semblance of organization in the day and week.
I love that my house stays cleaner during the day. I mean come on … 7 kids at home ALL day makes for a very messy and constantly getting messier house. I deal with it, but having just one here, during the school year, makes for a much tidier place … at least until the people come home.
I love that my house is quieter during the day. Yes, I said it. I love that. I love my kids, but they’re loud and they fight and pull the “I’m bored” a lot. I appreciate a little break from that. I know they like getting out of the house and seeing other people too. It’s a win-win for all of us really.
Where does the “hate” come in? Well – hate is a strong word. I probably harbor no hate for anything, but I do dislike greatly:
The paperwork! Ew. Boo. Hiss. Yuck!! I really don’t like it. The stack of papers currently sitting on my desk is of epic proportion. I cannot understand why there is so much! Sure we need to reaffirm many times that yes, we do live at the address we said we did, and yeah, that’s the phone number I gave you … but you’d think in our technology rich world we’d be able to have the option to electronically reaffirm these things? And how many calendars and handbooks does one family need? Certainly not 6 of the same district calendar and handbook. I don’t know about you, but the sheer magnitude of the amount of papers sent home, I find to be crazy. And I don’t need more crazy in my life.
I do need a paper shredder. (oh wait, I have one. I will be using it right after I pull it out from under the mountain of paperwork I didn’t shred from last year.)
I also dislike the schedule. But wait, I said I liked the schedule. Yeah, have I mentioned I’m a paradox? It’s true. I like it and I hate it. I LOVE having the kids home all day. I love having nothing on the calendar. I love staying in pajamas if I want to. I love the potential that an unscheduled day holds. I love those … so the schedule? Eh. It’s a “one moment I love it, the next I’m over it” kind of thing.
I also dislike the homework. I think it’s mostly unnecessary. My daughter’s teacher told me that they don’t want kids watching tv at night so they give them homework to keep them busy at home. She’s 5 and in kindergarten and already “they” are trying to control her life. Awesome. (<< that’s sarcasm. not awesome … SO not awesome.) I find this kind of mentality scary. I am her parent, I am well aware of what she does and does not need, I do not need you to give her extra work to do at home so you can try to control her after school life too.
Can you imagine being 5 years old and forced to sit at a table for most of the 6 hour school day (they don’t do 3 recesses anymore like they did when I was in elementary school) and then to go home NOT get a break from sitting and doing school work but to have MORE school work just because the teacher wants to be sure your parents are not “damaging” you by allowing you to watch tv?
sigh Ridiculous is the word that comes to mind. And unnecessary. And maddening.
I need more yoga when I think about this. (serenity now!)
I do think once you get to high school there are some amounts of homework necessary. I guess that’s part of the learning process. But kindergarten?! Nope. No. Uh uh.
So here’s the thing. I can whine about all of this stuff that’s on the “hate/dislike” list (there are more I could share probably), or I can just breathe in the “love” list and deal with the disliked things when I have to. They are there. I can’t change the teacher that thinks kindergarten kids need homework or the magnitude of paperwork they send home with elementary school children, or the pick-up and drop-off line at school. I can’t make those go away.
I CAN live with them. I can accept that they’re there. I can not focus on them. And I can not whine about them. (which actually just keeps them in my focus and makes them a more important part of my life than I’m willing to allow.)
I really love walking out to my car in the early morning when I have to drive those first kids to school. I love breathing in the cool air and feeling like the day is a fresh start and the opportunities are endless!
I really adore sending my kids off with an air kiss and an “I love you! Learn new things! Be kind!” as they jump out of the car and into a new day with smiles on their faces. (sometimes there are tears and not wanting to go, but mostly it’s good starts)
I love getting home after dropping everyone off and having ALL day to do whatever I want. Yes, there’s a little 3 year old boy here that will follow me around like a shadow. Yeah, there’s laundry and dishes and meals and grocery shopping and bill paying and all of the things on my “to do” list … but there is freedom in the fact that I can do them when I want, how I want, the way I want – I can think about what I want while I do those daily chores. I can listen to music or a book or just the 3 year old boy making rocket noises as he plays with his pretend rocket ship on the floor next to me. I can watch a Christmas movie in the background if I want to pretend it’s the holiday season while I work on a project. I can lie on my bed and read a book while my little one takes a nap.
I am abundantly free to choose how I go about my day. I don’t have to focus on the parts that I dislike. Does anyone LOVE scraping dried food off of dishes? Do you realize that when everyone leaves for the day there are at least 9 cups, 9 bowls, 9 spoons, or 9 plates JUST from breakfast that need to be cleaned?! It’s a lot. It would be silly to focus on the drudgery when I can choose to focus on lovelier things instead.
So I will scrape the cereal out of the 9th bowl with a song that I love in my ear bud as I watch my toddler become an airplane in the family room. I will breathe in the cool fall air every time I get into the car to chauffeur someone somewhere in the day (there are MANY trips everyday for this one). I will get excited to hear how everyone’s day went when it’s time for them to walk in the door in the afternoon. And at the end of the day, I will look forward to bedtime for the kids, when I get the 1 or 2 (if I’m lucky) hours of the day that I get “to myself.”
There is so much to love about life – so much to be grateful for. I guess I’ve realized that choosing to focus on the stuff that I love makes for a better day, a better week, a better life. And since I prefer the “better” the “happier” the “lovelier” and the “good” parts of life, I’m going to only look at those when I can, I’m going to think about those, expand upon those, embrace those, knowing that as I do, my life will more joyful.
The “dislike” list is still there. It always will be I suspect. And there will be moments of hating all the things that are annoying and stupid and lame and ridiculous. My goal at the end of the day is that the moments of loving and gratitude and fun and excitement are more often than the moments of annoyance; that those good moments are the focus instead of the lame stuff; and that those awesome moments are the “theme” that carries me through to the next new day ahead.
As with all things, the choice is yours. That’s the beauty of it. You can choose what you focus on. You can choose what you dwell on. You can choose what to embrace and expand upon. There’s POWER in that fact.
Claim your power and make your day exactly what YOU want it to be!