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What if…

Confession.

I am at a parenting crossroad.

Or a mid-life crisis.  One or the other.

Because Covid was exhausting and making big life decisions like moving cross country is exhausting and this particular class of nine-year-olds that I’m teaching with post-Covid social and learning gaps is exhausting…I’m…well…exhausted.

However, what is more concerning than me being exhausted is me being too exhausted to feel like I’m being a good parent.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not SAYING I’m not a good parent.  I love my kids, I do my best, and I am enough.  What I’m saying is that I don’t FEEL like a good parent which means something completely different.

There have been so many times this year that I’ve reflected on my day and thought to myself, “I wish I could just parent my own kids instead of parenting everyone else’s kids.” 

I wish I didn’t have to care about who pushed who during four square or who knocked the basketball out of whose hands in line after recess.  I wish I could care about my own kid’s struggle in math instead of my students’.  I wish for a while that life would slow down so I could enjoy my own kids.

I’d like to talk to them.  Actually talk to them.  I’d like to say something other than, “Are you ready?  We’re already late leaving for school.”  Something other than, “Hustle and get showered because it’s already dinnertime.”  Something besides, “Have you finished your homework?  Okay, time for bed.”

I wish I could find out more about what makes them tick, and then actually devote the time to explore that.  I wish life could take a time out.

Because of all these feelings, as well as this (maybe) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that was given to us on a silver platter to relocate to another part of the country, I am finding myself questioning all sorts of things.

What if I took a break from the profession I’ve devoted the last 22 years to?  What if I tried something new, just because?  What if I decided to devote my days to my family and my passions instead of lesson planning and grading?  What if we just broke societal norms for a while?  What if we decide to hole up in our little corner of the universe and homeschool and work on things we’re passionate about while taking amazing family field trips to museums and historical landmarks and trampoline parks and camping destinations? 

What if…

The reasonable and rational adult in me has been thinking this for a while, but she’s still been screaming, “No!  You just can’t DO that!  It’s not how things work.”  But then there is a part of me that says, “Yeah, but what if?”

What if my kids spent a year homeschooling away from rigid schedules and stressful tests and mean girls at school?  What if they spent a year learning about cultures and history and things that were meaningful to them instead of taking timed tests and spelling tests and standardized tests?  Would it be so terrible to let them sleep in until 8:00 a.m. instead of waking them before six every morning and then rushing them off to school, only to rush them to bed in the evening after not even having time to ask them how their day was?

What if?

Would they miss out?  Would I miss out?  What would we be missing?  What would the rest of the world think?  And do I even care what the rest of the world would think?

To answer all the questions you are wanting to shoot off in a text to me right now, yes. 

Yes, to all of them. 

Am I thinking about taking a break from the traditional classroom?  Yes.  Do I still love teaching if I take a break from it?  Yes.  Does it scare the bejeezus out of me to even consider?  Yes. 

Am I seriously considering letting my kids homeschool next year?  Yes.  Am I worried about if that’s the right choice?  Hell, yes.  Do I think it might be worth a shot?  Absolutely, yes. 

Do I think I’m qualified to handle this?  Yes.  Do my kids even like the idea of this?  Yes, and yes.  Am I afraid I might ruin them in attempting this?  Also, yes.  Do I worry about my kids socializing and doing “normal” kid things if I pull them from the traditional classroom?  Yes. 

Do I think it might be the best thing to ever happen to us in light of the huge life change we have coming?  Yes.

Do I have all the answers right now?  No. 

This much I do know…in a matter of less than ten years, these kids of mine will be adults off on their own like their older sister.  I refuse to look back in ten years and regret the opportunity to enjoy my own children.  I can teach other children for many years to come, and my own children can decide they want to go back to a traditional classroom anytime they choose, but we won’t ever know what could have been unless we take a risk.  Maybe one day we will look back and laugh at that one time we tried homeschooling.  Or maybe it will be the best year of our lives that we cherish forever. 

Be grateful, water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.  You’re gonna need it.

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5 Comments

  1. Angie,
    DO IT! Your only regret will be not taking advantage of a golden moment in your lives. It will give all of you the opportunity to assimilate into a new environment and give you all a chance to meet people.
    We rarely regret what we have done, even if it’s not the perfect outcome; we only regret passing up opportunities and experiences that could enrich our lives.

    Annette

    PS. I love your blog. ❤️

    1. I just keep thinking about that quote about regretting the opportunities you don’t take more than regretting going for it. I think you are so right about giving us time to settle and just taking the risk. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!! I’m so glad you love this new project of mine!

  2. Freaking YESSSSSSS!!!! You have so much to offer you children, and yourself 💜 Field trips are not even a thing right now, so you can make them a thing! All of it is a yes for me!

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