Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Even Know Where to Start Today...

They say that the best laid plans often go awry.  This is the motto for this past week.  I find myself being terribly unproductive at work today because I am sort of mulling over what went wrong, and what went right, and how to restore the balancing act that I call my life.

There is a constant background list in my head of all the things I want to do, all things I have to do, all the things that would be a "Good Idea" to make progress both at school, at home, and around the farm.  There is absolutely no way that any of these lists will ever be done, except for certain finite tasks like grading a certain stack of papers or folding a certain pile of laundry or trimming sheep hooves.  There is always the knowledge that sooner or later, those finite tasks will be repeated with a different pile, stack, or set of hooves.  I feel pretty happy when I get maybe 7 or 8 things on this background list - get kids to school, get kids picked up (on-time!), feed animals, feed kids, run necessary errands, cook dinner - basic, need to do every day things.

When things get out of balance, when one area becomes consuming to the point of only being able to do the bare minimum in the other areas, I get frustrated!  This week, the unexpected imbalance came in parenting.  My third child needed more support in his homework and more emotional support this week.  It was highly time consuming - 4-5 hours a night.  I am ashamed to say that I had to remind myself that being there for this kid, right then, was the most important thing I had to do on any list.  I had the older two cook dinner twice this week.  I did the bare minimum with the animals.  My poor husband had to come home to a rather disorganized family room (I usually straighten up before he comes), just so I could help this kid with his math and his feelings of failure.

This son is the intense one - a B is as good as an F for him.  The school has a grade check tool, and he had two F's on it last night because he had two missing assignments.  One of them was homework we worked on for an hour and a half and he couldn't finish, and one of them was a paper he did, had in hand, but didn't turn in until the end of the period because he was having trouble printing the Works Cited page.  On top of that, he overheard the teacher saying, "These kids don't deserve this school."  He is the kid who will take a generalized statement like that and apply it directly to his own heart.

The happy news is, after a huge meltdown, calm down, back rub, motivational speech, and an explanation that I really was the best person to explain the math to him (because it was hard for me, I can explain it at the very basic level of a beginner - yeah, I was surprised that worked, too), we got all 40 problems of two days of math done - graphing linear equations takes forever, I will have you know, when there are 40 problems..... When I asked him this morning if he could handle the quiz, the reflexive, "I hate math; I am a bad person" statement reared it's ugly head.  I rephrased and asked, "Linear equations - do you think you can do that today?".

He said with utter confidence, "Yes. I got that."

Okay, now I feel better that the horse stall has only been cursorily cleaned and we've been living off macaroni and cheese and even that the house was far messier than I would normally like to welcome my husband home to.  I am still facing a mountain of what I didn't do, but I will take the advice I gave my son: sometimes the only way over the mountain is to just start.  One step.


From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

You did exactly the right thing. I can remember nights like that at my house. Hours sitting at the dining room table writing questions and answers on index cards for someone's test. In the back of your head your thinking how long is this going to last. One bright spot, it is Friday and there is no homework on Friday's.

Faith said...

Aw, poor guy. I tend to respond to generalized statements in the same way, so I understand.

I found myself wishing that our Skype program would let us video chat over the Pacific so my son could help yours if he needed it.

Sounds like you were the perfect mom! And perfect also means if the house isn't spotless because your son needed you, you were there. :o)

Did you ever make one of those "every fifteen mintues' lists when your kids were all young? I did that once and it finally opened my eyes to why I never got anything done. Caring for children is a full time job.

So you...
Work full time
Parent full time
Have a full time farm

Yup, you've got a list that will never get done. LOL

It's hard to do it all. I have so many things to do and it's a scramble to make a dent. I think you're doing a great job.


NancyDe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NancyDe said...

I got a little snarky; I am going to be nicer now :). I know my kid is usually really well behaved in school, but I also know that procrastinating has been rearing its ugly head - I bet the truth of what's happening is somewhere in the middle.

The teacher was not entirely professional, but I am sure she has had just as long a week as the one I have had. I am going to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, let the boy sleep a TON this weekend, and have us all start on a better foot next week....if that doesn't work, the dreaded parent-teacher-kid meeting will take place to the complete embarrassment of my son....only had two of those in the 6.5 years he's been in school...both in 5th grade which is when his dad started working on another island.

NancyDe said...

Faith, I know my Skype works across the Pacific (and the Atlantic as well). I may just ask you if your son wouldn't mind helping sometime....I had to relearn everything on linear equations this week! There is definitely a reason I am not the math teacher. FIne doing taxes and paying bills, not so fine with Algebra.

Faith said...

You know what? I just realized - of COURSE it works to Hawaii, I video call my OWN sister there. LOL We haven't done it in a long time, though. I was having some trouble with it for a while. I think it's working again.

At the moment, I was thinking it was only good for the mainland. Well, gladly, my son does not have the same brain disease I have.

If you like, comment on my blog with your Skype name. I pre-approve all comments, so I can get it that way and delete the info without it becoming public.

I was trying to relearn Algebra with Michael, thinking that "two heads are better than one" for him, and also so that I could take the CLEP with him. But it was so time consuming. 2 to 3 hours a day. There was so much to do around here that was not getting done. So I finally quit about half way through Algebra 1. He is now about 1/5 of the way through Algebra 2.


NancyDe said...

I was just talking to my oldest about taking CLEPs to reduce her loans; she says she would rather take the classes. I will talk to her some more, but thinking she might have to make her own mistakes. The harder classes in college are the more fun ones, once you get used to the work load. More ideas, more thoughts, more fun.

I will send you a comment with my Skype name. I was having trouble with it, too - I could only chat on it for awhile - I could see my sister, but she couldn't see or hear me. It is working better now.

Thanks so much. Oh, and by the way, Lucas told me he got a 10/10 on his quiz yesterday, so somehow I was able to teach something I haven't seen for 25 years. Yay! Not relishing having to do it every week, though. Your son's help would be great. My son is only in Pre-Alg right now, so 1/5 the way through Alg II would be helpful. My older son is in Trig, but he always tries to do everything the hard, trig-like way and confuses everything....