To the mom with over-used ears:
I see you. I know you are out there. I, too, heard too many words before my coffee was finished, before the school work had even been started before the reading lesson was launched before lunch was even prepped. I am one of you.
We come in both introverts and extroverts, us with overused ears. Even the chattiest person needs some time to process their own thoughts, especially in the morning. Those that would lump themselves into the introvert camp can have a hard time homeschooling since the kids are around all the time. And surprisingly, extroverts can have a hard time also, for similar reasons.
You have permission to take extended breaks in the bathroom or occasionally hide in the closet with a snack. Obviously, make sure the kids are safe before going into the other room. Alternatively, you can let them know to come and get you in 10 minutes so you all can start chore time together (see if they give you an extra 10 minutes to delay tidying up).
If I could give you some quiet space, I would. If I could entertain your kids with dense, educationally rich activities, I would. If I could fix you a cup of iced tea, I would send you out to the back porch with it and a plate of cookies all to yourself. But, dear ol’ tired-ears, I can’t. But know that I would if I could.
I am about mid-way through my homeschooling career and I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel. As my kids are growing, they do talk a bit less each day, but their words are so much weightier and I listen more intently. But, with their growing age, they also realize that mom needs a little silence as well. These years that overflow with words feel arduous, but they truly are short. With a little support for the sidelines, we can make this trek successfully and sweetly.
On those days when you feel overly spoken to before the day even starts, slide that to-do list off to the side for a little longer and allow yourself to slow down. The dishes will get washed. The meals will get prepped. The spelling words will get copied. Don’t be in a rush to launch into a day when you aren’t ready. And, later in the day when your ears are raw again, rinse and repeat. Slowly fold that laundry while you hide in the basement laundry room. Steadily make the beds with a little more attention to detail than you normally do. The chatterbox can follow you, you can listen, and your hands getting things done will help settle your mind a bit.
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.