Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life isn't always peachy...

So how shall I put this?
Erm, today hasn't been the best of days.  Nothing horrendous has happened, we've had no upsetting news or anything like that.  It's just been a not-so-perfect day in a stupid niggly sort of way.  I did wonder if I should bother blogging it.  But then thought that readers may like to know that we have down days too, afterall this is meant to be a blog about our whole life, I shouldn't just add the good bits to the bag of pick n mix. 

I've got a confession. We, in the home of the Classroom Free lot, don't always live in total harmony.  I'll go one step further and say that there are days when even I look forward to the children being safely tucked up warm and snug in bed (should I admit that?)  Yes, I love my children dearly. I love them unconditionally.  But, sometimes they drive me mad.  Hey, I'm human, deal with it.  I'll toss my perfect mother crown in the nearest strawberry patch on my way out.

I'd like to be able to tell you where, when and why our day went downhill.  But I can't.  I'd like to be able to explain what went wrong.  But I can't.  Early signs demonstrated that today was going to be yet another good day (are you bored of those yet?), so I had no idea it was going to go horribly irritatingly pear shaped by tea-time.

The first job of the day was a trip into town to do important banking stuff.  I say important - we haven't come into a fortune or anything - but stuff needed sorting before my parents move to Spain.  The visit to the bank was much shorter than I had envisaged, so I was happy.  Even happier when I realised I had more time to browse around the charity shops.  I only bought two things though.  One was a book of Scrapbooking ideas that I hope to use with my lapbooks.  The other was the game of Cadoo. 
Now from what I can gather, this version is no longer available "new", but you can get it on Ebay and Amazon, and I'm sure if luck is on your side, through a charity shop (like I did). It cost me just £3.50 and it's in perfect condition if you discount the original playdough that was rock hard - as expected.  You could even be cheeky and ask if anyone has an unwanted version of Cadoo on Freecycle/Freegle if you were that way inclined.  I know that someone was fortunate enough to be given one through there.

Anyway, I digress. After sorting out some more playdough from our home collection, the game was ready to go. 

Chelsea, Tiegan and Callum settled down to play - Joseph was outside with his dad helping him prepare the car for it's MOT tomorrow (Gulp).  Well, upon initial observations, I love this game!  It is great for the children (and fun for the adults no doubt) as it involves so many different things - Drawing, acting, playdough modelling, question answering, and rushing off to find things.  It isn't a game that the children can play quietly *grin*.  I know it's going to become a firm favourite here.

This is where our day started to slip downhill.  Cadoo was safely packed away ready for it's outing tomorrow no doubt.  The children went off to various locations, a couple in the garden, a couple in the kitchen.  We have decided to do the "Love and Hate" experiment with two jars of Rice.  Chelsea went off to sort out the rice, and Tiegan wanted to help.  Voices became raised and there was obvious discontentment within the ranks.  I try to let the children sort it out.  I try to switch off and ignore the bickering. I try so hard to take deep breaths and keep my nose out of it, but sometimes, just sometimes, I feel the need to do something.  Why is that?  Anyway, I waded on in there, explained my take on the situation, and waded back on out of there.  Then felt guilty for interfering and not really helping the kidlets to solve the problem.

Then round two.  This time in the garden.  Callum crying, Tiegan shouting, Joseph doing goodness knows what.  I know that all children bicker.  I know that being together for such a large majority of the day is going to cause friction occasionally (I say occasionally as to be fair to my lot, days like this are a very rare occurance).  Again I sat.  I listened.  I could feel my frustration building up.  Argh!  I hate hearing children crying.  I hate hearing children arguing. I hate hearing children upset and feel as if their points of view are not being listened to.  I know I should know better, but I couldn't take it anymore and once again I waded on in there.   But I know that me trying to referee when I'm agitated is a bad idea.  I know I'm not helping the situation.  I get annoyed, I get cross, I use a sharpness of tone that I detest.  So why do I do it?  Because I'm human. Because I'm a mum who gets agitated and frustrated at times when her perfect bubble is burst.  Because I'm not perfect.

I'll learn.

I thought I would try to encourage a couple of the children to help me make a video.  I was thinking distraction.  Involvement.  Concentration.  For a long while now I've been promising to show people how I put together our lapbooks, and how we go about doing them.  So I set up the video camera, sorted out some bits and pieces, got an old lapbook out to demonstrate, and put together a "here's one I made earlier" kind of thing.  Take 1 - disaster.  Take 2 - not good enough.  Take 3 - ran out of time by a long way (limit is 10 minutes on Youtube) and a little person failed to tell me as we were filming.  Take 4 - Argh!!!

2 hours later I had made numerous lapbooks as demos, but didn't have a decent video to edit and show.  I had a tantrum and packed everything up.  I'd had enough.

 *Note to self* -  Don't try to do something you feel is important to you when you are already standing on the losing patience rung of the ladder.

You get the idea anyway.  Today is a day that will go down in our history as the day of bickering and discontentment.   There were other stupid niggling annoyances, just like I have described.  My day has been filled with playing peacemaker, and not just between the children! *grin*  I tell you what, United Nations could learn alot from us mums.  I know I learn alot every single day, but that's what life is about isn't it?  Learning from our mistakes and ensuring we try to deal with things better next time.  And rest assured, there will be a next time. 

Just now I've had one of the children come down and complain that one of the others won't get off their bed...

I need to take a deep breath and remember that tomorrow is another day....

In more positive news.  Each of my children have come up and given me a hug and told me they love me today, some of them more than once.  I can't be doing that bad a job now can I? :o)


  1. Love this post, so honest and real. Your family of six seems like another world to me with my little family of two!
    For what its worth, it sounds to me like you're doing a brilliant job X

  2. we have those days too. Thanks for blogging this. When we have one of those days I just dont blog at all, after all we always feel we shouldnt whinge or be seen to be speaking negatively about our kids.... but truth is we all get days like this. Im glad Im not alone. This post has made me think really, I wont be so worried about sharing this stuff
    BIG BIG HUGS and hope today will be better xxx

  3. I know, I know, I know. The number of days like this I've had, my girlfriend and I have so often said we'll do job share as Secretary General of the U.N. when they're all 18. I think so many people concentrate on the great side of home ed, but the day to day dirty reality is so often brushed under the carpet...or something, I often usually can't be bothered to get the brush out. Hope tomorrow's better.

  4. Oh Jules - thank you soooooo much for sharing your day of disappointment and frustration but an especially huge THANK YOU for your absolute honesty.
    Days like you describe are few and far between in our house too - thank goodness - and that's why I think it takes so much out of us all emotionally.
    You are a fabulous mum, with awesome talents, blessed with a wonderful family who mean everything to you. You have been, and continue to be, an inspiration to a huge number of people and have earned the admiration/respect of so many via various forums and of course your blogs. Continue to do what you are doing - you do it so well - and I guarantee you will ALWAYS end your day knowing you are loved by those who mean the most to you. There is no greater reward xxx


  5. Thanks for your honesty, makes the rest of us feel a bit more normal :)

  6. Yes, I am pretty sure that we've all had days like that. What I'm not so sure is that most could have written about it so honestly yet eloquently. You've got a wonderful, God-given talent of being an encourager AND writing.

    Blessings to you!

  7. sorry you had a not so good day. But actually not at all sorry to hear about it - sometimes it seems in blogland that all around are perfect families, doing lovely things, and peace and harmony reigns (and I'm as guilty as the next on my own blog) Yet the reality is the black clouds of yelling, teasing, snappy mumma and warring siblings do gather over our little house from time to time and rain down their misery. It's good to know we are not alone, and good to hear others tales, as it puts our own into perspective. Thanks for being so honest.