I’m trying really hard to make friends in our new town.
Truthfully, it isn’t for me. I have some great friends about an hour and a half away from here. I text message them throughout the week and we’ll occasionally meet up. In fact, I’m meeting one of them at the halfway point in less than a week and I am dying to sit and sip some tea with her while we catch up on anything that didn’t make it into a text message this month.
Truthfully, that’s all I feel I have time for. I’m floundering a little bit right now. I’m trying to unpack and set up a home that’s still not completely done inside (no doors or door frames = nothing that needs to be inaccessible to baby; no baseboards/trim = no bookshelves anchored to the walls = none of those maaaaany boxes of books just yet), I’m homeschooling, I’m raising four young children, I’m managing my home, I’m doing my best to be a good wife… and even though I personally think that reads like way more than a full course load, I’m also doing 20-40 hours a week of writing work to help make ends meet.
I want to do a meaningful Bible study, to bake paleo blueberry muffins from scratch and breeze through the door with those, my pretty color-coordinated notes, and four clean and polished kids (three of whom have had their long locks combed into an adorable bow). I’d also love to host a fun little group of TGTB kiddos who come over for science and nature study once a week.
I really tried to make that happen this week. I checked out a new homeschool group and was trying to do mental math (never a very good stress reliever for me) to figure out just how I would juggle all this. Homeschool group 9-12 Mondays. Bible study… Wednesdays? Thursdays? Groceries Fridays? Groceries Saturdays, but likely have to bring all the kids since Ryan’s working on a vehicle flip at the moment? Church + family time Sundays. My introverted heart is so overwhelmed imagining all that, and that’s before I add everything else back in. Our normal homeschool curriculum, quality mama-monkey time with books and coloring, bubbles and dollhouse. When will I find time to make our meals, to exercise, to surprise my husband with his favorite cookies or to plan a meaningful date night? How can I keep up with all of that, plus dishes and laundry, plus cleaning out the nooks and crannies?
I can’t. It’s not physically possible. I wrote it all out and there literally aren’t enough hours in a 24-hour Earth day to make it all happen… and that’s before I add in a few hours for Bible study or a few hours for a homeschool group.
I want my children to grow up with friends, with grown-up family friends and with kids they love playing with… but more than that, I want them to grow up with fond memories of a mama who was sweet instead of stressed/frazzled/rushing through life to make it all fit.
My new plan is to adhere fairly strictly to our homeschool schedule four days a week. One day each week is noticeably lighter curriculum-wise, since we only do math four days a week and we do most-but-not-all elements of language arts on that fifth day, too. That day is for socializing. It’s for field trips with friends or library story time or art class. It’s for inviting friends to come hike our property with us before a picnic lunch, or to sled on our little sled hill and then come inside for hot chocolate and board games. They will have friends. They will have lots of friends. They already do!
I have no doubts that my children will grow up to be very socialized, indeed. They already know several people in our new town and meet more new people every time we go out. Still, I got caught up in it this week. I fell into that familiar old trap of worrying, of being stretched so thin I’m about to snap in half but still worrying I’m not doing enough as a mother.
I know families who do more. I know kids who are involved in several activities and who have a larger social network at age eight than I’ve ever had. And if that works for those families, great! There is a lot of good to come from organized sports, AWANA, Boy Scouts/ Girl Scouts, robotics, dance, karate, Bible Bowl, community theater programs, music lessons… but there is also a lot of good to come from hiking in the woods with their mama, learning to play xylophone songs at the kitchen table, putting on puppet shows in their bedroom, and meeting up with friends once a week for quality time with someone besides their mom.
I am back to doing what works best for my family and if you’re trying to fit your round little self into a square hole this week, I hope you’ll recalibrate and get back to it too. You don’t have to do it all. It’s okay if you’re stressed out by art projects. It’s okay if spending a quiet day at home makes you feel a little out of touch. It’s okay if you aren’t outdoorsy or if you only like to read really short picture books or if you really don’t like to cook. For every mom-skill you think you’re lacking, there’s a talent you’re totally rocking.
You, thanks to the grace of God, are enough. Mama, you are doing great.