Thursday, April 29, 2010

Clearing My Plate and Starting Over

I had really been struggling again... just had anxiety that I couldn't kick no matter how hard I tried...

But, yesterday I had an amazing day.  A friend of mine here at camp asked me if I wanted to go to town with her, and I'm so glad that I did.  I got out of the house and had great conversation.  It was a nice, relaxing time out and about (believe it or not with 4 kids total!).

Through prayer, through some conversation with this friend, and through conversation with another friend of mine, this is what I'm doing: clearing my plate and starting over with only what I need. 

I've decided to take a step back from many things that I've been focused on, things that I thought were for our family, and things that I've wanted to do but haven't really asked God what He wants, and start over.  I know that I've said this many times... but I'm really going to do it this time :).  I'm going to be much more proactive about it this time. 

I constantly go back and forth about things, I have a very difficult time with balance, and I struggle daily with things that shouldn't be a big deal.  So, I'm "hitting the reset button."  I'm also deciding today to not allow blogs, what other people do, and what I think others are thinking rule our decisions about our family.  I've decided to stop reading blogs for a while and to stop being a part of online forums and things for a while (cafemom, mothering, etc).  What would I do if I didn't read what others do?  What would I do if I had no outside influences telling me what they think is best? 

I also need to start submitting to my husband's wishes and desires for our family instead of doing what I read about and see in others' lives.  Homeschooling is one of those areas.  Robert, from the start, did NOT want to homeschool.  I had basically just made the decision to homeschool... and just hoped that Robert would follow suite.  He has sort of followed along, but after talking to him last night, I realized that he's still not sure  that homeschooling is for our family!  What a wake up call.  This is going to be a HUGE area of prayer for the next year (can you believe we only have a year to decide!!).

The reasons why we wouldn't homeschool are (or reasons why it would work out better/fine):
1) Karis is SUCH a social person and would LOVE being in school.  She talks about going to school all of the time. 
2) We're not ones to think that it's necessary to shelter our kids from the world... we feel like as long as we are being the parents we should be, they will be okay... maybe even thrive.  That has never been one of our reasons to consider homeschooling.
3) Whether or not the kids are in school, their education is still our responsibility... so where the school is lacking, we can pick up here.
4) Being realistic, knowing me, I'm not sure if I can handle teaching three different "grades."  Robert is unsure about this as well.  It's a LOT of work... and as much as I think I can do it, I'm not sure that I could.  Ideally it would be great, but I'm trying to be realistic these days.
5) We feel like there should be Christians in school.  I've seen this as a way for others to come to know Christ.  If there aren't Christians around non-Christians, how else would people come to know Him? 
6) Robert and I both went to public school and we turned out fine (I think! ;).
7) God will take care of them!

The reasons we would homeschool are:
1) The ability to choose curriculum and style of education,
2) The fact that the school is 25 minutes away!
3) Robert's schedule here at camp.
4) Being together more.  

I realize that every family is different and has different reasons for things and does things differently.  I'm okay with that :).  This is just where we are.  I have peace that God will give us both peace for what He wants us to do, in His time.  What a relief!!

Here's a list of things that I will be praying/thinking through for a while... to decide if they are for our family... without any outside influences... just prayer and discussion between Robert and I... some of these things seem little, but I'm literally starting over:
  • Cloth diapers vs. disposable vs. a mix of both
  • Natural products/cleaners vs. conventional vs. a mix of both
  • ALL homemade foods vs. some processed (yet healthy) (this includes crackers, bread, tortillas, cereal, etc)
  • Eating in the dining hall... how much?
  • Farmers Market shopping every week or every other week (and Azure Standard), or just shopping at some local stores (HEB, Costco, and Newflower Farmer's Market) and using those resources sometimes. And just going as I need to...
  • Letting our kids eat "unhealthy" stuff in moderation vs. not allowing it at all
  • Only having local channels vs. getting Dish Network again... I miss TLC and the Disney channel for the kids!
  • Breastfeeding... how long do I continue this?  How long do I continue trying to do both?  Should I just take it one day at a time?  Or should I set a goal (like 5 months or something)?
  • Are chickens, goats, and a large garden realistic for our family?  With the amount of hours that Robert works, I'm not sure.  Maybe in a few years?  We'll see.
  • Homeschooling vs. public school (would love to put them in Faith Academy but can't afford it!)
  • Whether or not I will go back to teaching if we put the kids in school.  If so, I have a lot of CE's that I need to get for my certifications!  150 hours for one, and another 50 for the second (EC-4 and 4-8).  I would most likely have to take graduate courses in order to be able to get enough CE's.
  • Church- we love our church, but it's far away and in a direction that we never go anymore... especially if we put our kids in school.  I want to be where our community is.  We always come to the same conclusion when we talk about it right now... we love it too much to make any changes presently.  This will take a LOT of prayer as well.
  • Immunizations... I haven't talked much about this because I have been very undecided.  Karis is completely caught up.  Ethan, we have been selective and delayed... and we're doing the same thing with Levi (the alternative schedule from Dr. Sears).  It's been a very tough thing for me because Robert would just completely vaccinate... and I've struggled with it.  I have a very patient pediatrician that understands my dilemma and will just do what I ask her to.  We'll keep praying about this area.
  • Discipline... doing what we're doing or trying something new... I think things are going okay as is... so we'll see.  
  • Vitamins/supplements/etc?  What's necessary, what's not?  They are expensive!
  • What to give and where to give it... but we need to give more.  This is something that I've talked about a lot but haven't actually taken the "plunge" to make commitments to anything.
  • Trying to have a specific schedule of doing everything, or just going with the flow?  I will always think some things are important like nap times, but I've never been able to follow a schedule, so why keep trying?  I feel defeated constantly because I try to follow a schedule and can't. 
  • Planning meals- how should I do this? 
  • Should I get someone to clean my house once a month?  I've had friends that did this and said it takes a huge load off!
  • Should I try to plan lessons for the kids?  Or should I just let them lead their learning at this time... and learn through play and life experiences?
For each area, I will ask these questions:
  • What does God's word say?  Is there a definite answer for this question, or is it a gray area?
  • What does Robert think?
  • Is it something that we have to decide right now?  Or can we just wait a while?
  • Is it an area that we can just do what we want at the moment?  (for example, how we shop, where we shop, etc)  Or should we just make a decision and go with it and let our "yes be yes and no be no?" 
  • What will help me to be "mentally healthy?"  What will be too stressful for this season?  A "mentally healthy" mama is best for the whole family :).
If you think some of this is silly, then we're in the same boat :).  I agree :).  But, I need to start over in every area, and this is a great way for me to think through everything.
So, here I go... just living today, praying/thinking through things, and allowing God and Robert to lead our family instead of trying to do it myself!


Valerie Hunter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valerie Hunter said...

Courtney, you are so not alone in having to try to find the balance on these things. We have access to so much information about what we *should* be doing with our families, but no two families are alike. What works for one, doesn't work for another. I sometimes long to live in some third world country where my only concern would be the survival and salvation of my family! Seriously! We are so consumed about what we feed our kids, how we educate them, what doctors we take them to, we can't even enjoy what it means to be a's a luxury and a curse at the same time! As I pray over some of the these same issues for my family, I'll be remembering you in prayer, too!

The Man Crew said...

Courtney, I think this is great! I had a friend recommend the same thing to me this week as I was fussing over never having enough time to get everything done in one day. She told me to just toss all my old to do lists that were incomplete and just start a new one. Well, why didn't I think of that? : ) So I'm doing some of the same things as you this week. Let's pray for each other, OK??
Hugs to you!