Thursday, September 3, 2009

Also Attempting...

Today is the big test, the indicator of how things are going for me as a mother of four now that Shav is 6 weeks old. With Jeff's mom back in California, and Jeff being gone from about 5:00 AM this morning until maybe 10:30 or 11:00 PM tonight (with a quick break at home for supper before his evening meeting), this is where the rubber meets the road. Can I do it? Can I make it through a day with all four boys? :)

Fortunately, the situation is not that desperate. Six weeks have given us all a lot of time to adjust--and given me time to grow in confidence. But still, today's a long day. The good news though is that I haven't been alone in my care of the boys. Jenn kindly took Josiah and David to the park for a fun outing and picnic lunch there; and because I was so tired from a rough night last night (extra hard because Tobin has been a little under the weather), I asked my mother if she would take Tobin for a while this morning which she was glad to do. After everyone else had left, Shav slept in the swing; and I gratefully sank down onto the couch where I fell asleep in no time and slept deeply until Mother brought Tobin back for lunch. Receiving help from Jenn and my mom today has reminded me that even when I'm "alone" in my role as caregiver, I'm not really alone at all! For the umpteenth time, I'm so grateful for the support system with which I've been blessed!

Just for fun, here's a picture of Tobin at the fair last month. He quickly learned how to play this plastic trumpet; and the fair, with all its hubbub and happy chaos, was a good place for him to exercise his lungs and make a joyful noise! :) His cute little face inspires me, even when I'm tired and ready to collapse. Love is truly a powerful motivator.

Yesterday I mentioned some things that I'm attempting to do. I've thought of three main things to mention, but of course there are numerous smaller attempts that are part of the big three. In no particular order, here are my current attempts....

1. Attempting to maintain some degree of order and cleanliness in my home
~ I am not being a perfectionist about this, and I'm consciously striving to walk in grace towards myself in this area, realizing that at the end of the day, if I was a happy wife and mom, that is far more important than whether I did some laundry or ran the vacuum. But at the same time, I do want to figure out how to effectively be a keeper at home while having four children. I'm relying on FlyLady to help me out; and I find myself back to Day One of her BabySteps, reviewing the basics and getting back into the routines that make homemaking so manageable--and even fun. One more thought about FLYing: FlyLady says that FLY stands for "Finally Loving Yourself," but for me a much more exciting thought is that it stands for "Freely Loving You." After all, when I'm keeping up with my home and the various obligations within, I find it much easier to open my home and my life to those with whom I come into contact, as well as it being easier to be the happy wife and mom I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. When I know company is coming but the house is a mess and I have no menus planned, the stress I feel detracts in a large way from the peace and joy I would like to pour out upon our guests (and upon my family as we prepare for the guests). When I follow FlyLady's suggestions and stay disciplined with household tasks, I can much more comfortably open my heart and home to "freely love you." So that's my personal adaptation of one of FlyLady's points. :)

2. Attempting to homeschool
~ Our official school year kicks off on Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it very much because not only do I enjoy teaching my children, but I also think that they are reaching the stage of being a little bored with summer's freedom and getting eager for some return to our school routine and the interaction we have as we read and study together. As much as I'm looking forward to it though, I'm also wondering how in the world I'm going to be able to do it! :) But I know it will work out; and before long, I'll look back and wonder why I was so concerned about it in the first place! One very useful piece of advice that I received came from this blog. Julie, of Boys, School, and Fun, wrote about getting off to a slow start and not jumping into every subject on the first day of school. What an excellent idea! Because I (and many other homeschool moms) delight in having all our ducks in a row, my natural inclination is to work like crazy to make sure all my planning is finished so that the first day of school can be a fine example of how we're going to cover every subject that we're planning to study...and it's all going to be so wonderful...and I'll show everyone (myself, more than anyone) that I really can homeschool even with a newborn...and...and...I'll probably burn out within the first month! In this situation, being an underachiever seems more prudent than overachieving. :) I can relax and look forward to that first day, first week, first month, knowing that we'll GRADUALLY work our way up to incorporating all the subjects. Now, rather than feeling like I still need to cram to finish up my last-minute planning, I feel like I'm actually ready for that first day--not only ready academically, but ready mentally as I (again!) give grace to myself and set realistic expectations, rather than setting myself up for failure by shooting too high.


Rats. I wrote the beginning of this post earlier today while the boys were having quiet time and naps, but I didn't have time to finish it. Now somehow it's 11:43 PM (the hours until the boys' bedtime seemed to drag, but the hours since then have flown!), and I'm feeling like for some reason, I am incapable of getting to bed at a decent hour. Every day I tell myself that I'm REALLY going to get to bed early that night (even going to sleep before Shav's late feeding so that I can get a jumpstart on my night's rest), but every night something comes up and it doesn't happen. Rats, rats, rats. Anyway, I'm not going to take the time tonight to conclude my thoughts the way I previously intended, but I'll go ahead and post this part now after including one more picture: a beautiful rainbow (actually a double rainbow if you look closely) that we saw one day last week. Seeing a rainbow is always an exciting, refreshing, event for me--a reminder of God's love and faithfulness. And oh, how I need that reminder some days!


Anonymous said...

It's so hard to go to bed early when that's the only time you have all to yourself. All the things that you didn't get to do when you were doing what you had to do just seem to start happening. I just got back from bring my son to school, (I work 3rds) and fully intended to go to bed when I got home, after all it's 8:45 and I have to get up at 1 so I can pick him up. But here I am 20 minutes into reading blogs and somehow I"m just not as tired as I was at 4 o'clock this morning!! Davene you are so blessed, and I know with your faith and determination, God will help you find your way with 4 boys(and 2 in diapers) I read your blog everyday because it truly helps me to strive to be the best wife and mom I can be, especially when I am feeling sorry for myself, or guilty about not being supermom. God bless you and you are in my prayers. Jackie

Wayne said...

(I just realized I'm signed in as my husband - but it's me, Margie.)

I think I need to read FlyLady's advice about housekeeping. It's always the second, third, or fourth priority of the day, but by the time I get around to it, I'm stressed. And, as you mentioned, it keeps me from opening my home as readily or as often as I could.

And bedtime, yes! Why can't we go to bed earlier? Truthfully, I love the time to myself - to read, piddle, not have a responsibility to anyone else. But it can make the days after feel long and difficult. Finding that balance between mommy-time and alone-time is a real challenge.

I always enjoy reading about the way you homeschool. I wish I could be a fly on the wall and watch you work. I know you'll be successful this year, too, even with the challenges, and look forward to reading about the first day, first week, first month. I learn a lot from you.

mamajil said...

Davene, I remember the first day home alone after having 5...Josh fell and hit his head and needed stitches and I remember sitting on the floor crying thinking Lord didn't you know I couldn't handle this??? It gets better doesn't it....emotions balance out and rest makes life manageable!!!

Not that you are looking for advice (but I'm gonna give a wee bit) lol...
SLOW AND STEADY....don't jump into life too fast its only been 6 weeks give yourself time!! And as far as homeschooling....slow starts are best and remember that life is learning so everyday is "school" with a new born our school takes place where ever mom is nursing the kids just curl up next to me and we read, or discuss what ever it is they are working on... I am always comforted that home is not school its just a place where we live and educate through the course and events of the day and life that the Lord has placed before us.
You will have a great year!!! I love your blog! Take care and be of good cheer!