Shadow of Doubt

A moment of self-doubt...
Photo: stock.xchng
When Robin first asked me to write a guest post I was honored.  Then as I sat down to write, a new emotion crept in.  Not fear,  I am used to writing.  It was a moment of self doubt.  What makes me qualified to write about homeschooling?  Well, that question is easy; I have been home educating my girls for 13 years now, therefore I have plenty of stories to tell, antidotes to share, and bits for knowledge I have picked up along the way.  Plus I have written dozens of articles on homeschooling in the past.

The doubt came from burn out, and I was embarrassed to admit it.  It seems that the homeschool parents I know are alway smiling and actively engaged with their well mannered children.  But not me, I was ready to throw in the towel.  I was tired of homeschooling, tired of the snow, tired of  wanting time for myself, and just plain tired. For the first time in my life I had a brief moment of understanding as to why someone would put their kids in school.  But that was it, just a moment, then I remembered all the reasons I homeschool.  So we  plugged along, and I got more tired and even bit grumpy.  To add to it, I am an immigrant in a culture where people don't complain, they suck it up.  And my family, well both of the girl's Grandmother's are former public school teachers.

Take time to recharge...
Now don't get me wrong, my girls are delightful.  Smart, happy, funny, talented and generally growing up to be the kinds of people I am really proud of.  So, why the burn out? I asked a lot of myself.  In Dec 1996 I was traveling in central America, single (although dating my husband), had a great job and was active in both sailing a dance clubs.   By Dec 1997 I was married with my first child and by 2000, I had two wonderful girls.   I was a stay-at-home mom by choice. Homeschool was a natural extension to our lifestyle.  My husband is a good guy, but busy too.  And we had somewhat traditional roles, so the kids were always with me.

So, how could I sit down and write about how great homeschooling is, when I wasn't feeling it?  So, I decided to ask my friends how they do it year after year maintaining a picture perfect family life - turns out they go on holiday.  No kidding; One went up north for a week, one to Hawaii and the third to Central America.  No husband, no kids - just a complete break. And they all recommend it.

Rhonda's girls
Now I realize we can't all do that, and many of us (myself included) wouldn't want to, but we can take time for ourselves.  And that is the number one lesson I have learned from this process.  Maybe a walk, a bath, or just to sit and watch a sunset or the waves crashing on the shore, whatever it is, I need some time everyday for me.  Lately I spend mine on-line. I use my creativity on Zazzle and write on Squidoo. Most recently I have started a slightly twisted humor blog, Laugh Quotes and Comedy Shirts so I can laugh everyday.  And, like everything else there are few surprise bonuses from taking time for me -   I am happier, our time together is more productive, I am a more attentive tutor, I have more patience,  my kids have become a bit more independent in a good way, and overall, I think I am a better mom.  And, the girls are spending more time with their dad and learning about his interests too.  My husband says, everyone is happy when mom is happy. 

Rhonda Albom, writes under the pen name of Pukeko. She sees beauty in everything and lives on the lighter side of life. She is a comedy writer, graphic artist and travel photographer. Her fun creations are featured on Zazzle, and on her blog, Laugh Quotes and Comedy Shirts. On Squidoo she is a "Giant Squid"  "Rocketmom" and "Squidoo Angel." Rhonda is an American expat living in New Zealand. She homeschools her children, races yachts, searches for summer and avoids wearing skis.