Successful families have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. When every member of the family plays his or her part, the family runs smoothly. No balls are dropped (well, very few). Hospitality is practiced in abundance. Needs are met. People grow, and no one feels slighted or resentful.
In our family, I’m responsible for just three things: 1) educating and training the children; 2) maintaining the order and cleanliness of the home and ensuring regular, healthy nutritious meals and snacks; 3) bringing in my share of the bacon. I don’t earn a lot more than Mr Mom, and sometimes he earns more. But mostly I do earn more.
Now, in my mind, each of these things has a priority. The children are by far the most important on the list. The window of opportunity with them is small to begin with, and because it’s taken me 4+ years to persuade DH to let me home school, we have a lot of ground to make up. If you add to this the fact that DD#2 is speeding through her work while DD#1 has to claw her way over each new fact with grappling hooks and a team of belayers, we have a problem brewing: DD#2 will soon catch up to DD#1 and I simply don’t have the finances for the counselling that’s going to require. So I have work to do. Lots of work, little time. (That is to say – very few years to catch up the lost ground and achieve each child’s potential).
However, earning money is the most urgent. My income is more predictable than DH’s, for the most part, and that stability needs to be guarded like fine jewels. I am building two very different businesses, one for now, and one forever(ish). So I need to invest time and effort into each one to ensure their success. I need to deliver on my promises, on time and on budget. Sometimes that means working through the night for free to build a reputation (as what? A charitable workaholic insomniac?). But if I don’t work we don’t eat. I can’t buy education materials for the girls. I can’t take them on outings. I can’t even take them to the library or the park. In other words, my work is urgent. It isn’t more important than the girls, but it IS more urgent. For now.
Finally, we need to live somewhere other than Chaostropolis. We need to eat healthy, balanced, affordable meals at regular intervals. We need to buy and take our awesome vitamins every day. I need to model orderliness and discipline to the girls, or they’ll never learn it. And believe me, they have a lot to learn in this department! Besides, I can’t get anything done when I’m surrounded by chaos, and it’s just plain unhygienic. Ick. We can’t be sociable or hospitable because we Can’t Have Anyone Over Sometimes (see what I did there?). And I’m also a little OCD about being organised.
What I’ve discovered is that I can only just manage to get about two of these right at a time. So I can just about stay on top of work and the house. OR I can sort of balance work and school. OR I can possibly fit in school and housework. But in a month like October, which featured about 200 hours of work and regular, healthy meals, by the end of the month the house was a mine field and we’d done less than half a month’s worth of school work. *Sigh*
This month started with a firm resolution to be better, but it’s only the second of the month and I already have two pages of To Do lists for work (some of which includes writing entire websites and SEO campaigns. One line on a To Do list can be deceiving). The house is a disaster and the girls are banished to their room all day to sort it out. We’ve spent three weeks doing one week of Maths, and simply revised basic phonics. I received my first volume of Konos yesterday, which should be exciting but is, instead, so daunting that I’ve hidden the file out of sight for the time being. I have no idea when I’ll get to it or how long it will take to understand it and prepare for the work that lies ahead.
The irony is that in the face of this overwhelming volume of WORK ahead of me, I have been struck down with the worst case of No-Mojo I’ve had in years. I can hardly bring myself to create one Facebook update for one client, let alone the 60+ I should have done already. I’ve flattened a pot of filter coffee and double-dosed my Tre En Ens, but all I want to do is crawl back into bed. How do I get out of this, and what happens if I don’t? Ever been there?