Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Welcome to Chaos

Although I like to portray myself as the ultimate in Super-Momdom and frequently gloss over my numerous faults as a homemaker and mother, there comes a time when brutal honesty is absolutely mandatory.

My life is in utter shambles.

There, I said it. This whole juggling thing, which I truly thought I had mastered with incredible finesse and grace, has come crashing down around my ears.

On the homeschooling front, the advent of a new satellite dish from which we record the various and sundry classes our 4 children must take was supposed to the be ultimate in time-saving devices. Push a button to record the appropriate class, do a little presto-changeo editing and burn to DVD. Voila, a teaching assistant to free me from the sole responsibility of trying to teach 5 subjects to 4 different grade levels in the space of 6 hours (you do the math).

However, we have discovered that the process to set up the DVR to record all the different classes for all the kids takes about 4 hours of intense research and programming each quarter. That is, unless there is a black out because of weather conditions, which means that an additional recording session has to be scheduled and that increases the time significantly. Then there is the whole editing and burning process, which is currently taking 8 to 10 hours a week.

Then we have 4 kids who can't seem to figure out how to operate the DVD remotes and keep jumping forward or backward out of the current lesson and have to spend umpteen minutes fast forwarding and rewinding to find the spot where they should have hit the pause button instead of the skip button. Frequent bellows of, "MOM - I NEED HEEEELP!" can be heard by most of my neighbors on the block on a distressingly regular basis.

Add to this the fact that we have 3 televisions with DVD players and a portable DVD player, scattered throughout 3 floors of our home and I spend an inordinate amount of time running up and down stairs, in answer to the calls for help. Where I used to sit at the same table with all four kids, helping them on an individual basis, either doing chores or knitting/crafting in the quiet interludes between active teaching, while seat work was completed, now I am on the run from 8:30 to whenever everyone is done with their schoolwork. By that time, I am extraordinarily worn out and have no energy left for the household work that needs to get done to keep a family of six in clean clothing, home cooked meals and a semi-clean, healthful environment.

So, on the homemaker front, I'm chronically a load behind on dishes, 6 or more loads behind on laundry and I can't seem to get to the grocery store before we have run completely out of toilet paper or, worse yet, peanut butter every week. I cannot see my bedroom floor, for piles of clean laundry yet to be folded and put away and I don't even want to mention the scummy stuff that is appearing on every bathroom surface throughout the house.

On the blogging front, I've had no time to catch up on my favorite blogs, no time to work on projects for my own blog or to even answer the queries that have be posted in my comments.

Now, I am a big one for silver linings. Although it has been a bit more challenging than usual to find those glimmers of positives in the hard times, there are a few good things I see coming.

1) According to a friend experienced with the whole satellite/DVR thing, it will get faster and easier, especially since we won't need to re-record the classes we've already burned. When Dancing Diva hits 9th grade, all the DVDs will be done already and Bubba's 3rd grade DVDs will be available for Peeps in the future. By the time Peeps is ready for high school, all the DVDs will be done and ready for her.

2) The kids are all getting better at managing the DVD players and remotes and the time spent on each DVD is decreasing rapidly. Given that my older kids are already more technologically savvy than I am in other areas, this doesn't surprise me. In time, the DVDs will save me time and effort, if I can just survive the adjustment period.

3) All the running up and down the stairs has got to count as exercise. If it continues for awhile, I will have a great looking A**.

4) The utter lack of progress on basic house cleaning and maintenance has gotten so serious that my kids are starting to clean on their own, without being asked. While it is embarrassing to admit that the house is so dirty that my rather slovenly kids can't stand it, it is so exciting to see them take the initiative and help out more.

5) As far as the blogging, there just doesn't seem to be much positive about not having time to stay current with my friends. But, with time, perhaps that will mend itself, as the kids continue to get familiar with their new curriculum and continue take on more housework for me.

In the meantime, I haven't forgotten you and will do my best to get back into the routine again, soon.

Have I completely shattered all your illusions about me?


Carissa said...

No, you are human after all. Praying that things get easier soon! Everything will get done eventually, and maybe the kids will even keep helping out around the house!

trek said...

I think I feel tired now...zzz...

Rani said...

Nope. I still don't know how you do it. I have kids AWAY at school and my house looks like something out of a COPS episode crack-house - (no crack here, though, except the one's in the ceiling and floor boards).

Don't worry. We'll wait. If you slow the blogging down, I'll be on standby. I check every day anyway and will continue to do so until you delete your blog. So hang in there woman! YOU ROCK!

RandomRanter said...

I'm tired just thinking about that! Phew! And running up and down stairs s totally great exercise.

Guinifer said...

Heh - my house looks like that and my kids LEAVE for 7 hours a day! (It's after they get home that things blow up). Don't worry, we'll be here when things all come together for you again.

Sheepish Annie said...

I feel your pain...sort of. A couple of years ago, my class consisted of twelve students, grades K-4. I was insane!!! And I don't do that anymore for that reason.

You'll figure it out, I'm sure. I think that you are being pretty hard on yourself, really. You do a lot in any given day and even the best of schedules is going to fall apart sometimes. Hang in there and don't feel like you owe us anything. We know how much you have going on! And we are in awe of it on a regular basis!

The natural knitter said...

You are too hard on yourself. Just remind yourself how important this stuff is with the kids and how unimportant the mess is. You are a superwoman. I think we all work too hard - we need to get together and spin or knit? What's your email? Bonny

Ellen said...

Charlotte Mason says, "Never be within doors when you can rightly be without."

So, if you really need a break, call it Nature Study and get away for awhile. Or, consider the Montessori method of every child doing a job. I still think this makes MY job harder but at least everyone will know how to clean a toilet, do laundry, unload the dishwasher, balance the checkbook.

We still think your socks are well knitted, your house is spotless and your children perfect - after all, it is the Internet! Best wishes for a more peaceful school year.