Let’s talk a bit about homeschooling with twins underfoot, shall we?
(That was your cue to start breathing into a paper bag.)
(Of course, if you have toddler twins, you already are breathing into a paper bag.)
So… um… this is really hard. I mean reallyreallyreally hard. I’ll be completely honest here and tell you that there are many days when I wonder if homeschooling well with twin toddlers underfoot is actually possible.
I am cranky and therefore refuse to quote Philippians 4:13 in this post, so instead I will tell you that this past year, my seemingly never-ending optimism has been severely tried.
Recently, I wrote just a little about how overwhelming I’m finding homeschooling with twins to be. It’s the everlasting plight of the idealist that reality never matches the vision inside her head, sure, but scrap the beatific visions- my idealist self curled up and went to sleep in the corner about two years ago. This is just blasted hard, that’s all there is to it.
After that post went up, one of my fellow twin-mama readers sent an email, “I can only read aloud when they are sleeping,” she wrote, “If they are awake, they each bring a book and demand to sit on my lap, and then shove each other and yell about their books, which means it’s too chaotic to read for anybody else. We can’t pray either – they fight over the hymnal, or my lap, or they sit on the big kids’ laps and distract them. It’s all hysterically funny and tragically frustrating at the same time.”
And that is, exactly! It IS hysterically funny. We laugh all day around here- the toddlers’ antics are endlessly amusing. But it’s also tragically frustrating in that sense of looking up to heaven and thinking, “I think this might be impossible. Actually, I’m fairly certain that this is impossible.”
There are tears too, and plenty of them. But it’s not because I’m ungrateful. Far from it, I know these babes are God’s grace wrapped up in pinky flesh. And in the moments that I’m awe-struck by what God has seen fit to do in our family, the overwhelmed part of me fades just a little.
But only a little.
I have this compulsive thing I do…
I ask moms who are further down the road for their perspective. If there’s one thing I know for certain about motherhood, it’s this: all I can see right now is trees. Trees, trees, trees- everywhere I look. You can tell me there’s a forest, but I’m just taking that on faith, because I sure as heck can’t see it.
Someone just a few steps further down the road has perspective that I can only dream of. I know this. It’s why I never ignore a wiser, more experienced mama when she tells me what her biggest wins or greatest regrets are. It’s why when a woman reminisces on her homeschooling years, my ears perk up and I shut out the rest of the world to hear what she has to say.
It’s why I wish I could tell my younger self to chill out with the preschoolers, and to focus on the one most important thing every time there’s a new baby in the house. It’s why I changed our whole summer school plan after a 40 minute conversation with Cindy Rollins last month.
So when Angela (mama of eight and a homeschooling mom and blogger I have long admired) popped into the comment box of that post, I dropped what I was doing and paid close attention. This is what she said:
Honestly, I look back on myself as a younger mom, when I had so many little ones all at once and the twins were little, and I wonder what I was thinking. I had such unrealistic expectations of what I ought to get done every day, when so much of my energy went to taking care of a baby and making sure the twins didn’t destroy the house or themselves.
I wish I had stopped stressing about it so much and just accepted that it was hard and that was okay, our homeschool was never going to look like the homeschools I read about on blogs.
I guess some of the pictures I shared from that time looked impressive, but trust me — sometimes what I put on my blog was the only thing we did that day. And of course you couldn’t see the rest of the house, or the fact that we were eating frozen pizza for dinner – AGAIN.
Emphasis mine. There’s more goodness to that comment, so if you find yourself hungry for more of Angela’s insight, you can read the whole comment here.
So I left off reading the comments in that post and immediately hopped over to write this one. I am buoyed up by knowing that I am not alone, and I’m betting that some of you are too.
If you’re homeschooling with baby or toddler twins, know this: it feels so hard because it IS so hard. Hold onto those hysterically funny moments and let them carry you through the tragically frustrating ones. Kiss all four of those little cheeks and while you’re down there on your knees, send up a prayer as well. You need it. So do I.
But we’re in this together.