Tuesday, 10 April 2012

crash and burn

We are still doing stuff. HE stuff. But the winter lethargy is taking a long time to shift.

The past month I have finally had a few weeks off my course at the same time as not having work in the evenings. I had GRAND plans for those evenings. For months I have been home edding in the day, working 2 evenings a week, doing a course 2 evenings a week, and studying or writing all the rest of the time (and more) while looking after my own or other people's kids. Even summer was spent writing and working towards my course. No rest for the wicked as they say.

So what have I done with my precious free evenings?

Well mostly I've mooched around, poking things, thinking about my endless list of jobs, shifted some furniture, and not really getting around to doing very much. I've finished my latest assignment. I've thought about my portfolio, started and then not got anywhere. Planted a few seeds in the garden (and then neglected them). And grunted and nagged the kids, while trying to be enthusiastic about educational things until the momentum fizzles out because I have no energy or inclination left to drive it and actually all the kids want to do is spend 8 hours a day on the pc (and I run out of good reasons why they shouldn't).

Truth is, I am tired.

And bored.

Yes, probably the boredom is worse than the tiredness. Tiredness is usually cured by stopping whatever you are doing. Boredom requires you to do something. And I'm too lethargic to do anything. I am bored. Bored with food. Bored with tv. Bored with routine. Bored with spending time with the same people doing the same things (sorry people, nothing personal, I just have a low boredom threshold). Bored with my hair and my clothes and my sagging middle-agedness. Bored with my 15-year old music collection. Bored with Weetabix. Bored with my inability right now to lift my sorry butt out of boredomness.

Most people would suggest a holiday as a cure. And that sounds wonderful. At least in theory. I certainly could do with a change of scenery. Apart from a week camping at HESFES we didn't have a holiday last year. We didn't visit friends. We didn't go out. We stayed in every night (when I wasn't working or studying) like all home educating parents seem to do (sadly I've never known a home edder with an inclination to drink and party all night - where are the HE party animals?). And we watched tv. A lot. That was our 2011. And so far 2012 doesn't look much different.

Wonderful though it is, as I told dh, camping just isn't a holiday for me. Camping is doing what I do at home, but in a field. Camping is simply transfering the cooking, cleaning, childcare drudgery to a sleeping bag under canvas and a smaller gas stove, while being expected to be extra jolly and enthusiastic and organise even more day trips than I do every week when I'm at home and beating myself up because I'm supposed to be enjoying myself. And I would have to sort out someone looking after the pets and greenhouse. And empty bins and fridge and dishwasher before I go. And then there's that week taken up with packing before we go and the week required to unpack and wash everything afterwards. But of course, when you're not lethargic these are very simple obstacles. Supermom could do it with her eyes closed and no doubt while juggling pre-frozen meals made using her meal planner. And yes I am sounding like an ungrateful grump, I know. Don't get me wrong, I love camping. But right now, I really can't be arsed.

So, what would be my perfect holiday?

Well, assuming that noone is going to pay for me to go somewhere hot and sunny (and chain me to a deckchair with a lifetime's supply of alcohol, good books and knitting wool) while a relative looks after the kids, the next best alternative would be for everyone else to go away on holiday and leave the house to me. ALL MINE! Yes. I could eat chocolate, and chilli sauce on cream crackers, stay in my pjs all day, watch day-time tv without guilt, sleep on the sofa, go to the theatre or cinema ON MY OWN (without children hanging off me pressing my guilt buttons, or having to fork out for everyone to go), I could play MY music loudly, order takeaway, pretend to read something intellectual, not have to have discussions about the contents of the dishwasher, or whether the washing needs putting away, not have to nag anyone about anything.

I could (joy!) leave items in a place and come back to find they haven't moved (something I haven't experienced for 14 years). I could have responsibility for clearing up my own crap and noone elses. This is what single life is like. I have vague recollections of it. It was unbelievably self-nurturing and wonderfully irresponsible.

Yes. I could pad around the house at 3am without having to explain myself, knit if I wanted to, eat in bed, go out without telling anyone where I was going and what time I'd be back. I could refuse to answer the phone or door. And for just a few days I would not have to think about meals, would not have to cook, clean or organise 4 other people or clear up after them.  Now that's MY idea of a holiday.

Looks like it'll be a week camping, then.


Carol said...

Sounds like you're pretty burned-out! Totally sympathise on that one. I can't imagine how you've managed to fit so much in for so long. I struggle and I don't work (well not the paid type anyway) nor am I doing a course.
I decided to nurture myself a little bit for a while- that translated into doing less HE and catching up on some of the things I wanted to do...........it's been therapeutic and not only do I feel more enthusiastic about getting back to HE now, so are the kids! I have felt a bit guilty about it though.

Trouble is, if we're not in good shape then everything falls apart - I find that pressure a bit much at times. It makes me feel angry.

As for camping - it just feels like being at home but with extra hassle and dirt. It didn't used to when it was just two of us but it does now!

Hope you get your holiday at home soon - it sounds fab.

Serendipity said...

I totally sympathise as we are in a similar position at the moment. I am really struggling and keep telling myself it will get better....trouble is I am not sure if I actually believe it at the moment. Still only a couple of weeks left for one of my courses, if I ever get my portfolio finished then it is only 4 evenings at work and one evening for a course. you just have to keep swimming xx

Anne B said...

Thanks for being so honest - especially about the camping because I was starting to feel guilty about refusing to do it with my family.

All I can say is that summer is coming and stuff seems better then. Or so I keep telling myself...

Ruth said...

Camping is my idea of hell. I'd sooner bore out my eyes with a spoon. You sound as fed up as I am. (((hugs)) xx from another mum who never has re frozen food ready either. xx
P's I used to be a party animal ;)

Ross Mountney said...

This is all too familiar! Went through it all too! Successfully surviving home education is less about how the kids turn out and more about parents keeping sane meanwhile and finding some time for themselves. But, take heart, this does all change - says she writing in an empty house. How I longed for it sometimes. Nowadays - yes - you've guessed it - it's far too quiet! xx Blessings coming your way.

MadameSmokinGun said...

I keep muttering the same thing. Holidays are more hard work than staying at home. We managed to sell all 4 monkeys for a whole night - and the 3 boys for an extra night - the first time EVER Mr and I were in our own place with no kids. It was bloody lovely. Trouble came when they all came back - our patience was non-existence - we had more shouting for the rest of the week than ever. We'd got used to a nice house in that tiny space of time and then it was all taken away again. Still, we'll always have the memory of those precious few hours!.... sigh.... I think if I had the house to just myself for a week I'd change the locks and refuse to let any of them in again ever.

kelly said...

I'm still not on top of 2012 and now we're in mid April! Probably the least motivated I've been since we started home educating but I'm trying not to stress out too much!

If you have the pennies, I can recommend Centreparcs. We didn't go last year as we moved but normally do a cheap out of season mid week break and it's fantastic.