Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Not-To-Do List?

I commented recently on a friend’s business Facebook page regarding a video about, prioritizing; making a “not to do” list.  The speaker made the point that sometimes children approach with things that are clearly, not something you are going to interrupt your time to do.  My comment was that sometimes the unimportant things your child approaches you with, are really important to them!  I really do agree with this man, because with all that I have to do, I do routinely say, “no, we are not doing that right now, to my child.”  But sometimes I look at the activity and find it unworthy of my time.....then I look at the CHILD and I say, “okay, let’s do that.”

Children are important.  I think that many parents are at a disadvantage because their children are away from them 8 - 10 - 12 hours a day. How can anything in the remaining 2-4 hours be unimportant if it means spending time with your child?  

I feel like I have the advantage.  I homeschool.  I am with my children for most hours in a day. Please don’t think that homeschool kids and moms are home 24/7. My kids do go out to activities, visit friends, and on field trips with me and on their own, but I don’t have the limited time with my kids that many parents have.

I do a lot of things.  I own 4 dairy goats that must be milked each morning and evening along with other care that they need periodically.  I make my own soap and cheese. I have chickens and ducks.  A garden in season. I run a non-profit homeschool organization of 250 families.  And, I homeschool my children.  People ask me, how do you do it all?  I would say the answers are:  routine, delegation, flexibility, and multi-tasking. 

I do have an every day routine.  Goats are milked morning and evening at the same time (roughly) every day.  Chickens and ducks are fed and watered as well.  I eat breakfast.  Check email.  Make my bed.  I shower and get dressed every morning. The dishes are washed and put away. I have homeschool time with 10 year old.  Dinner is prepared (or reheated.) These things happen every day.  

I have trained my kids to do basic chores.  I have not succeeded in making them do them on their own, but they will do anything I ask them to do with a relatively good attitude.  I delegated putting the dishes away to my daughter this morning while I showered.

Older children are responsible for their own school work.  Much of this depends on them.  Not all of them are the best time-managers.  Some things are undone, some things are behind, and some things they are ahead on.  I am trying to re-instill routine in them to get them on track with everything, but they are old enough now to do school on their own and they do.  One of them is in college and doing well; she is completely on her own.  Two of them are taking a CCRI class and they complete their assignments without my intervention. This shows me that much of their schooling can be delegated to them confidently.

Many of the events, tasks, and planning for the homeschool organization I run, are delegated away.  I merely need to make sure that the events are delegated to trustworthy volunteers.  I said recently to a speaker at our Conference that I was nervous about it and she said in jest, “oh, is that tomorrow?”  That was not something I was concerned about.  I find people I can trust and I give them a task and then trust that they will do it.  No one has failed me yet (that I can recall!)  Church events are the same, if I ask someone to cook for a Fellowship lunch, I just trust them to do so.  If I trust someone to cover games for VBS, I am confident they will. Again, no one has failed me yet.

Today was a flexible day.  Homeschool routine with 10 year old was postponed so that I could do some things that become urgent at this time each month, namely, the homeschool organization newsletter and paying my bills.  I was awaiting a few items for the newsletter and kept putting my daughter off.  Fortunately, she is very good at self-entertainment, and in an educational way. 

And Multi-tasking:
I managed to do 1/3 of my daughter’s schoolwork with her while I was waiting for someone to call me back about the newsletter (they forgot about me!) and I paid my bills while I was waiting for another call. Once the newsletter was taken care of and bills were paid, my 10 year old and I went to run errands and to the library.  Now school is done.  It is later than usual, but today had to be a flexible day and I am happy to have completed some of it in what I originally thought was going to be wasted waiting time. 

So, in re-reading this, I am thinking that I sound really unorganized.  There is truly a balance between structure and flexibility, especially when things are ever-changing. I often wonder how women and men who work outside of the home do it.  How do YOU do it?  I want to ask.  How do you spend quality time with your children?  When do you go to the dentist?  When do you do your errands?  When do you make your dinner?  The structure of having a job outside the home leaves little flexibility for those things that you just can’t put off in life.....some things just can’t go on the “not to do” list.

(Now, to be fair, I should have my next post be a not-to-do-list!)


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