Something major has shifted in our homeschool rhythms in this lockdown. I was thinking, I don’t think I have ever spent this much time at home in my life. Like literally ever! We have barely left the house except to get our mail from the post office and to pick up bits from the shops. As much as there is so much I miss mostly hugs from loved ones! I am finding I am becoming more in tune with the rhythms of nature and the land around me. I am feeling renewed I am sleeping better, more calm and connected and have really let go of ideas of being constantly busy and therefore have given the kids permission to as well.
I mean don’t get me wrong in comparison to most peoples days rushing around with children ours are pretty gentle in comparison, one of the reasons I love this way of life. I try not to over schedule and leave lots of time and space for the children to play and get lost in activities. That being said this has been a whole new layer, I have really wanted to support their mental health and with all the restrictions on them at this time really allow them to make their own choices on how they spend their time. They have had more free range on screens and allowed to watch movies and tv if they feel all day. Initially at the beginning of lockdown I had really big anxiety surges, had days where I felt like I needed to rest in bed for half the day. I needed to regulate my nervous system and allow my feelings to just come up and out. We have had a lot of uncertainty in our personal lives, like many and it really knocked the wind out of me. I actually had a realisation that sometimes I’m trying so hard to be positive that I bring on my anxiety by not allowing myself to feel the genuine feelings of worry, pain, hurt… ect A real self realisation of it’s ok for all the feelings to be present and surface. We need to let them come through and out of us right? Sometimes I need to just feel sad, upset or angry! I also thought about the kids, instead of trying to keep them busy and positive constantly, perhaps they just needed to decompress in moments too. Is it so bad to get lost in a film, or play some video games to self regulate? Why is it ok to get lost in books and art for instance but not on screens? I really had to sit with this as I realised I wanted to just watch a movie and switch off the negative news, or chat with a friend online to feel connection, why would I hold different standards for these guys?
In all this I realised how at times what I expect is so much, what everyone has expected of children throughout this pandemic is so much! They have unmet needs, they are trying to self regulate on the shifting carpet and all I hear is things like ” I cant get them to listen”, “they won’t do their school work”, “all they want to do is play all day”… yeah because they are kids just trying to be kids! Their whole worlds have been turned upside down too remember. It’s a lot to expect them to just get on with things as if these ever changing rules don’t apply to them. It’s a lot for them to feel the loss of freedom, friendship, connection and yet literally not have a say in how they can respond. I have felt more grateful then ever that we homeschool. Not because the education part is all set up, but because the relationship part is. We spend a lot of time together and so we have been on a journey of learning not only how to find rhythm with the education aspect of home education but with learning how to relate and meet everyones needs emotionally too. It’s actually the biggest part of the journey thus far. Different ages and stages and making sure everyone feels they can express themselves and be heard. We always have open conversations about how everyone is feeling me included. If I’m feeling overwhelmed around the house with washing or chores, I ask for help and I explain that even small amounts of everyone contributing means I can spend more time doing the fun stuff. We talk about in order to live this path we all need to work as a team.
I have observed so much within myself at this time and learnt to be more kinder to myself then ever before. The slow and easy pace has given me space to actually observe within myself how my nervous system has been responding and show myself some kindness and compassion and in turn have the capacity to show that even deeper for my family. We can’t do, be or give to another what we can’t do, be or give, to ourselves. So we continue to try and be the best individuals we can. Instead of looking at them on the screen and thinking “should I tell them to get off?, how long have they been on it ?” and feeling like I need to control and dictate how they are choosing to spend their time. Instead I look at them, notice what’s happening around? Are they all huddled around giggling at movies Otis has edited of them being crazy? perhaps this is a deep moment of connection, are they deeply absorbed in a film, movie, documentary or cartoon that is bringing them joy? are they creating something in a deep state of learning? Are they absorbing music or trying to find an answer to a question? Before just jumping to a conclusion that they don’t know what they need, before breaking up something that could be magic and inserting my know it all self in there?? Asking myself how can I connect with the over this? Is this an opportunity for me to see what they are enjoying so much? To know them better, understand them deeper? Am I missing an opportunity? could I drop what I’m doing and sit and have a cuppa watch the movie with them? giggle with them? learn with them?
In this time and space it’s easy to get lost amongst the weight of it all. We are all doing the best we can, facing some pretty big stuff that quite frankly no one knows the answers too. We are all dealing with so much that is out of our control, but what I have found so useful is to concentrate on the small things within my control. To make choices in those seemingly small spaces that feel aligned with the sort of life I want to be living, the sort of mother I want to be, the sort of change I want to create and watch it grow. When I think about my life, those big moments stand out, you know the highlights but the true treasures that are encased in my heart are the small moments, the ever so seemingly small choices I made to get to those highlights. It’s all the small stuff that leads to the big moments, the small choices accumulate and they are what truly shape us, the stepping stones on life’s path, they are what define us in the end. So my friends just take a breath, focus on the small choices, moment by moment, one by one….. show up how best you can in that tiny window of time, be kind to yourself and keep dreaming up where the moments of now will allow you to flow.
Love and light