what I've learned

co-educating with daddy

It was a generous offer. Not one I have often chosen to take when offered.

I knew I should have.

I know I’m better for it.

I know the KIDS are better for it. But my mother bear comes out in its fierce, protective, sometimes controlling ways–and I don’t surrender my primary parenting role well.

Two weeks locuming in others’ doctor’s offices and two hospital emerg call weekends in small town emergency wards–you’d think my hubby would need a break. Not come home to lessons and driving the kids to their extracurricular activities for nearly the entire week.

He willingly offered; almost insisted that I take a break, and remember this final week pre-forty as a time away to write.

Not trying to push me out the door…but also knowing that finding time to do the things I love is rare–time few and far between, and because I’m better for it, he finally convinced me to leave Monday afternoon.

There aren’t nearly as many afternoon coffee breaks as when I had the kids in school (and there weren’t many then). There is no time in the day when all the housework is done, for even ten minutes. We live and work and play in this three-floored rectangle and we mess every square foot of it.

I’m also continuously thinking, planning, considering what each of them need next in their education. My Pinterest activity is techno-collaging, which is theoretically relaxing, but it’s always planning for the next week, thinking about the next year, the next season.

For all those with occupations they love, my work is hard to mentally disengage. If I’ve blogged three times that week and read or watched something for twenty minutes at night, I have done well to find time for myself.

I hope you find your rhythm easily“, my hubby tells me as he tidies the Great Room for afternoon studies.

Yup, gotta hope. Don’t know what it’ll even look like“. I’ve got four and a half days to go to ‘work’ (aka the library, sometimes the café).

I’m not accustomed to ‘working’ apart from home. For awhile I had Wednesday afternoons available…the first hour I’d have to ‘come down’ from my mommy-multi-tasking ways:

zipping from one kid to the next explaining fractions…

then adding manipulatives…

has anyone checked the washer?

Madelyn, are you practicing voice or messing around?

Rachel, you don’t hit your little brother!

Zach, sorry, honey, I’ve not come, have I? Let me sit for a minute and watch you explain this new Lego vehicle…

Left, right, up, down…Left, right, up, down…feels like my mind is doing four things at once, or five, six, who knows…

If I leave for an afternoon away, I have to let that mental zooming wind out. How about an hour walking the aisles of Chapters or Winners with a latte? That’ll help. But that’s a third of my time whittled away.

By the time my two hours are complete, I’m into my creative groove….and kaboom, I’m done.

Now I’ve got four solid workdays! And I don’t want to leave home. No, I WANT to leave, I don’t know HOW to leave.

Let me show you the study schedule…” I tell my husband, once this morning, and once last night.

“I tell Zach he needs to quietly read 20 minutes before he gets to play minecraft on my iPod”.

“Oh, if Madelyn needs to narrate her zoology, get Rachel to read to Zach on the earth’s rotation in this book…”

“Hannah needs help with her next math lesson”.

“Oh, and I’ve told the kids they only need to do ten minutes of typing practice…ten extra minutes to practice their choral songs”.

This continued for a LONG time…

My husband is a capable multi-tasker of course…regularly functioning in emergent situtations, intubating, medicating, thinking off the top of his head, calmly (pretty sure he could qualify for a ‘cool under pressure’ award)….

But teach HIS kids morning and afternoon, dealing with my minute-by-minute schedule? Mwahahaha.

Apparently I have my doubts…or perhaps, more than anything, I am revealing my mama bear, gotta be in control of the kids side…and maybe it’s time to practice that ‘let the dad do his thing‘ role….That effort that is required if you actually want your husband’s help; if you don’t want help, don’t let him do things on his own without your wifely guidance. Then you’ll be free to do everything your way, by YOURSELF.

I’ve had years to understand how each kid tackles their topic, how they interact with each other, what to do with each when the other is busy, or requiring my help. I know when I hear complaining or when I hear honest confusion. So I’ve got experience, right?

1:40pm–I finally leave….

2:38pm–I’m still talking about it…to you…

2:39pm–Words I spoke to a friend last week come back to haunt me: “How is your hubby going to learn how to deal with the kids if he doesn’t have time to practice?”

Mwahahaha…that’s always the way it is. Give a bit of encouragement to a mom whose husband lacks in childcare attentiveness and discover that the very same lesson you thought you learned, you didn’t.

Time to let go of control in the education of my children, and let him learn what I did…the same way I did, by EXPERIENCE.

On the second morning, I walk down the front steps, turn the corner to the van and see through the study window a ring of light encircling my husband’s head as three kids cluster around him with their math workbooks—it’s the ‘Day Light’ blasting its UV rays brightly behind his form. But to me, he’s an angel!

July 2013 048iPod 421

How did the week turn out? Tune in next week to read the unedited interview…

4 thoughts on “co-educating with daddy

  1. I can totally relate. This year Sean and I sat down to see how we could make things work a little better and he offered to take over math for the two older one. My first thought was no, but wait… that saves me a lot of time and stress. I am so thankful and amazed after his long busy day to come home to teach math for an hour or so after supper. Sure makes my day brighter and the kids like it too.

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