I am depleted; a shell of a former, once active, effervescent human. I can carve out time to run but I don’t want to. I can paint, but I don’t want to. I can sing, but I don’t want to. I am emotionally and physically drained. I feel vulnerable and fragile yet this is not who I am. I am strong, capable, motivated, bubbly, charismatic. What happened? When did I get lost? Apparently I took a detour the day I added unschooling mom to my CV. While some families take this path by passionate choice, we did not. Two years ago, only 2 months into kindergarten, our son made it clear that he was a non-conformist. Compliance, prescriptive learning and worksheets were a no go. Add Type A controlling teacher to the mix and we had ourselves a lethal situation that apparently no amount of collaboration could repair. So, mama bear entered the scene to provide protection and much needed nurturing to our bright, inquisitive, yet differently wired 5 year old boy.
Admittedly, I was looking forward to rediscovering myself once our son attended school “full-time”. And yes, I love being a mama. It was a long road to get here. I was simply salivating at the idea of having quiet naked empty space to do what pre mom me wanted to do for a few precious daylight hours. Part-time work, adult conversation, private bathroom sessions—the good stuff. I had never given homeschooling, let alone unschooling a solitary thought. It sounded daunting and overwhelming. And like so many things, not until you are thrown into the mire do you make any real sense of it, or at least try to. Homeschooling was undoubtedly the best decision for our son but it wasn’t the easiest path forward for me.
I spend my waking moments thinking about how to better his life; how to help him engage and grow and find joy in the present. Somewhere along the way, I forgot about myself. Hypocrite. He is watching me and I’m sure he’s onto me. How can he not see my lackluster self? I need polishing.
Sure, many days exist where I feel joy as a result of our decision to do this. I am grateful that my husband has agreed to carry on the pressure-filled task of being breadwinner so that we have an option to traditional schooling. And then there are the days where I am resentful, tired and bored. I am human.
I am unschooling a bright yet differently wired 7 year old boy. He plays big, he argues big, he screams big. Fortunately he loves and cuddles bigger. And so the journey continues…