So here’s my life summed up: I’m an Army wife, minister’s wife, homeschooling mom, doctoral candidate, homeschool tutor, a board member for a national homeschool association, mom, wife, daughter, sister, and sarcastic coffee aficionado-addict really. My husband is gone for weeks at a time to different states, which isn’t a big deal but there are times I need his companionship – AKA backup. Because of his travels with the Army, he has taken a step back from active ministry due to his military obligations. While this seems totally out of the norm for us, we believe it is God’s way of giving both of us time to prepare for our phase in life after the Army. Which brings me to my next role as a doctoral candidate, it takes hours and hours and hours of reading research studies and articles about varying topics. My research focus is on homeschooling and gifted children.
Hence the addiction to coffee! My research focus is on homeschooling and gifted children.
I also homeschool three gifted children, one of which is twice-exceptional. My daughter has a rare form of Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, which requires many doctors and specialist appointments. My youngest child has a gluten allergy, so meal planning and shopping take extra time.
I’m also a daughter and sister. I talk to my family in Arkansas several times a week. We are all very close. I’m talking My Big Fat Greek Wedding close, except a redneck version. They are my support system when life gets hard and I need a hand.
I’m a mom and wife not just a military/minister’s wife. I have to remove myself from those roles and just be. I won’t go into detail about anything else, but you get the idea. I’m incredibly busy. There are weeks where I end up sleeping in a recliner because I’m working around the clock on research.
One thing I get asked often or a general state of inquiry is:
“I don’t know how you do it. How do you manage it all?”
Other people just call me crazy. (Keep saying it because guess what…that’s just fuel to motivate me!) Honestly, I have sat and contemplated how I do it all. So how to I manage it all…
- First, God is my strong tower. (Please tell me you are now singing that song! “The name of the Lord is a strong tower…”)
- Second, sarcasm is my comic relief. I can’t stand to be serious all the time. Life is too short not to laugh and smile.
- My husband always checks in with the kids and encourages them in their behavior. He is never too far away to hear about negative behavior and removes privileges. They know daddy IS ALWAYS involved in their lives no matter the distance.
- I have a strong support system. My family is in Arkansas and my husband travels a lot. BUT!!! They are there for advice, encouragement, and they laugh at my bad jokes. My kids have even acted out while FaceTiming with my dad and he scolded them for not being respectful to their momma. THANKS DAD!!! I believe it takes a network to raise children with the parents drawing the line at what’s not allowed. It doesn’t take a village because the village always has an idiot. It takes those who can “speak life” into a child.
- My children have a few set chores that help me keep the house running but for the most part, we all work together to handle the housework. I’ll write a post about this soon.
- I follow Matt Maddix’s advice of working in blocks of time. I have set times that I work on my school and the children read or play quietly in their rooms. This is usually for one hour. Then I let the heathens loose to play. (Yep, I called them heathens. Sarcasm people! Seriously, they can look so sweet and get along so well. Then suddenly it’s like a WWE brawl in here. Yes, that’s sarcasm.)
- I am dedicated and passionate about what I am doing. If I didn’t believe in or like what I do, I wouldn’t do it. It’s too much work for me not to enjoy it.
- Fitness is hell and Shaun T is the devil. However, I need to be fit so I do it. Each morning the kids wake up before me and eat breakfast; usually, I’m laying in bed trying to make myself wake up-not a morning person. After breakfast, they get tablet time while I workout. I choose30-minuteminute workouts so that by the time I have done a workout, drank a recovery drink, and showered it’s only been one hour they have spent on screen time.
- I DO NOT SCHEDULE SCHOOL TIME!!! Sorry, all you scheduled people who swear by schedules. Schedules suck the fun out of life! We have routines and schedule appointments but never all day every day. We have too much going on that can derail a daily schedule. I have had my husband call and need something. My daughter’s joint issue has flared up requiring a doctor’s appointment. Being a military family, we have friends around the world who may happen to be PCSing and driving near where we live. Heck yeah, we are going to stop what we are going and go see them if we can! The only school schedules we keep to are our Classical Conversation days and museum, zoo, and library days because these are scheduled out of my control.
- Routines are key. Everyone knows what to do during the morning and before bed. We adjust our routine based on what’s happening each day. But each child knows what is expected of them each day. We are always flexible. Flexibility is the key to reducing stress, going with the flow, and managing to do so much.
- HAVE LOTS OF FUN! We have a lot of fun. We see movies, go to museums, visit parks, and overall find as much to do as possible during our free times.
- COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! I tell my kids everything that’s going on with my goals and daily activities. They are very much aware of their dad’s schedule and mine. We have created a family that is a team. I have explained to them that it is a team effort for the family to function as it does. No, they are not my equal. Yes, I am the parent. BUT they are ever much a part of this family and my decisions affect their lives. I include them in many decision-making processes and help them understand the logic and rationale behind the choice. There are times I change my mind after hearing their input, but there are times when I’m the mom and my say goes.
The key to everything is God, humor, love, flexibility, fun, and communication. We can be late to events. We do not always get along. We are not perfect. We strive for love. We strive to support each other. We do remember that NO MATTER WHAT we are family.