Thursday, March 8, 2012

The "Good Enough" Homeschool Mom

"Let all things be done decently and in order." I Corinthians 14:40

I must have read a zillion articles about putting away your "inner perfectionist". One of Fly Lady's main ideas is to let go of perfectionism and we see posts all the time about making sure that we don't to be everything to all people. But what of those who don't suffer from this "inner perfectionist"? What if we struggle with the opposite? What if, *ducking now*, what we actually struggle with is quite the opposite? What if we struggle with "inner that's good enough"? Or as some may call it, laziness?

I am pointing the finger at myself. When I see posts about slowing down, about letting the house be good enough, or about not stressing when things aren't perfect, I snicker. Sometimes I am even guilty of poking a bit of good natured fun at anyone who would spend all day scrubbing floors or the mom that never lets her child go outside without fixed hair. That just isn't me. And that is ok! What is not ok, is for those of us not blessed (or cursed) with this inner perfectionist, to let our homes become places of chaos which often leads to a feeling of self-pity as we "fail" to measure up. Here are a few tips from this "good enough" homeschooling mom:

1. Have a basic plan of attack. It doesn't have to be super detailed. In fact that will probably be another "failure" to your name as some of us are just not built for detailed plans! I have reviewed just about every type of schedule and the one that works best for me is the very basic one. I write down each room and I put how long I want to work in those rooms. Most of the time it is 15 minutes. On some days its 30 if I need to mop or do any other deep cleaning. Be sure to meal plan as part of your plan of attack! I also suggest at least one time a week cooking a double meal and freezing the second one. This will give you some easy on days where things don't go quite to plan.

2. Don't be an overachiever. I want my house to look great when my husband comes home, but if I try to be an overachieving house wife I usually end up either ignoring my children while I clean or running around doing bits and pieces without actually accomplishing anything! I went through a stage during our transition to real food where I wanted all of our snacks to be fresh, from scratch, homemade by me. That worked once. Find places where you can bend and then BEND. I don't make my own fruit leather. I buy it from Amazon and I feel no guilt about doing so. That goes for most of our other snacks as well!

3. Prioritize. Ask your husband what areas he finds most important. If it is the bathrooms, then put that at the top and bottom of your list (so that most of the work is done in the morning and you can touch it up in the evening before he gets home). After your husband's priorities, write yours. I like to do the top 3 for each person. If nothing else gets done, try to do the top 3. This goes for schooling the kids too. Do your kids do better in the morning or in the afternoon? Do you start strong and then fizzle? Write down your school priorities and work from the top down.

4. Purge. The less stuff that is shoved into a house the easier it is to clean. It's just a simple fact. This also goes for activities. If you have co-op on Monday, dance on Tuesday, baseball on Wednesday, a play date on Thursday, and you volunteer on Friday's it is no wonder you can't get anything done! Purge activities as well as possessions.

5. It's ok to have "off" days. There will be days when the kids are sick, when errands have to be run or when the day just doesn't work with you. That is ok! When you have a plan on your "normal" days things on bad days won't be nearly as stressful. This is the day to pull out one of those freezer meals we talked about!
6. Sometimes it is ok for things to be good enough but don't give into idleness. Sometimes things just can't get done, but be sure that you are prayerfully considering the order of your day. We do not (and cannot) be perfect, but we are not to be idle or lazy either. Be sure that whatever your hands and your heart are doing, that they are glorifying God.

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1 comment:

dushamoya said...

It was nice to read this. I am such a lazy parent. Having a basic plan and SLOWLY implementing new things has been the only thing that works. I've really had to learn myself in and out to really make progress. I used to want to be that perfect wife/mom, but I know that isn't me.

I'm such a slow learner, but four years into my marriage and two into motherhood, my house does actually look cleaner most of the time, and I do get more stuff done during the day. Who knows where I'll be in four more years?