Trying so hard

It is hard to explain exactly how the last ten weeks have gone. My last post in September ended with "We're diving in head first. This might hurt." Yeah. It has hurt. It has been hard to know just how much pain we can handle. Homeschooling is not for wimps!! And really truly, personality matters.

Me: pretty highly introverted, sensitive to noise and easily-overstimulated by conflict and clutter and toooooo much responsibility on my plate
Ezra: pretty highly extroverted, high energy/bounciness and easily distracted by his brother, who sometimes drives him crazy, not easily persuaded/motivated to do anything, also sensitive to conflict

Both of us have battled over these past few weeks. Battled with each other, battled with unmet needs. There have been a lot of tears. Some days I have really felt like I'm cracking and everything is draining out. I know he has too.
Parenting in itself is very hard. Lots of battles to fight regarding sleep and hygiene and diet and quality time and habits and more. I'm naturally more comfortable with pleasing people than not, so my kids run the risk of getting what they want too much of the time. I try really hard to be consistent, to not let them get away with things, but I think what might come naturally to other parents genuinely takes a lot of effort for me. I have to dampen the guilt. I have to deal with their crying and complaining. That in itself, just the normal parenting part, is exhausting.
Please don't give me more battles to fight.
Ezra has some pretty giant social needs that really aren't fully met by mom and brother. He needs his own friends, not even just friends shared with big bro.

They both need other adults in their lives, telling them what to do. Adults who will encourage responsibility, keeping them accountable and honest. They need other people -- positive role models who they look up to -- confirming that what mom says is true. She's not cuckoo. They need friends to help motivate them to do things, academic and otherwise. They need recess, PE, and music. They need much more than I can provide.

And I need a little more peace and quiet. 

So, the experiment is over. We're pulling out the khaki pants and uniform polo shirts, making sure they have the right school supplies and stocking the pantry with lunch items. It feels right, even if there is a part of me that can't ever quit something, no matter how bad it is. I want to be the mom they come home to with stories from their day, the mom who makes smoothies and homemade muffins. The mom who has saved a little extra patience and energy to dish out after school. I have put "PLAY TOGETHER" on my schedule between 3-4pm. We tried doing school at home together, but it wasn't good for us. Thankfully, we have a good school to go back to.
These photos were taken quite a while ago, before the snow came and the leaves and temperatures dropped. We haven't been out for a bike ride in probably six weeks. I miss it a lot, but we've been hiking out on our hills lately and that's almost as much fun. And we've been hitting the rock gym, the skating rink, and last weekend went skiing for the first time this season. We keep finding fun things to do.

It helps me soooo much to take photos, to process my thoughts into a blog, to make a life collage, to remember all the good things when my emotions threaten to overtake me. Blogging is therapeutic. I'm guessing life will still get me down, but I need to remember to count the blessings and keep things in perspective. It'll all be okay.
Happy Thanksgiving. I'll let you know how things go...