Journal, October 27: The Control Issue

it has come to my attention that i am controlling. i mean, some of this is good, right? if i wasn’t able to see outcomes in advance, i wouldn’t be homeschooling. even gathering ingredients for dinner requires some control, so it isn’t necessarily bad until you turn your gaze on other people. which i have been doing so hard lately! just glaring through closed doors + snapping screenshots of my kids’ screen time to show them we’re not spending time together.

(you now understand why they’re hiding.)

i listen to pam laricchia’s podcast when i’m in a decent headspace. part of me dislikes hearing how screen time isn’t really an issue for any other family, + that doesn’t feel good. usually in fall i am brimming with ideas + don’t need more, so i listen to nothing. this is normally a high output season for me. fare of the free child, sage family and exploring unschooling episodes bank until i’m ready for input again.

but yesterday i climbed onto instagram for two minutes. the unschooling blogger i’ve followed for years, sara, had a beautiful post with these words:

“there is no hierarchy of subjects. that’s a school invention. they make us think that reading, writing, math, and science are more important than anything else. that they are the priority and the others are just for fun. obviously we all know that there are many ways to be educated, and that art or music or playing in nature are just as important as these things, right?… The point was never to replace those subjects with other things, or to live a life that looks as different from school as possible. if you’re celebrating some types of learning over others, then you’re doing the same thing as school.” – sara of happiness is here, via instagram (lowercase my own)

while i often find sara inspiring, these words seemed to come at just the right time. stress is creeping in, that familiar “not doing enough” feeling. we’re on the go all day mondays + tuesdays, so the rest of the week passes in a blur of catch-up + home time. my kids are on screens half of wednesday + the weekend. to me, it feels bad.

this has been such a beautiful season, fall dragging on an entire month. yet we cannot seem to squeeze in our hours outside. we will fail the 1000 hours outside challenge. again. (i regret not insisting on the last weekend of camping for the easy win.) yes, i am saddened + oh-so-frustrated by that, even tho it’s petty. few of those 950 total hours would have been remotely possible with my kids in school tho. we have been outside so much more than most people – it’s just that our nature time only whets my appetite. i am greedy for riverside art + meandering trails.

so i’ve sat at the table while my two smalls game and my partner works, crafting spreadsheets to encourage us to get out there + making lists of who’s doing what this week + what we’re eating. it flexes that tight fist inside of me, loosens it a bit with knowing i can direct this small arena. what’s the point of it, tho, if it doesn’t address any underlying issues? i am wasting my time, energy + personal power making lists!

sitting in this space, i realize i have some work to do around control. judging my kids harshly on their choice to use the screen time available to them isn’t helping them feel good about flexing their personal freedom OR making our time together very enjoyable. yet i do have needs, + i’ve been belittling those too.

i’d love some help around the house. what i feel – largely frustration – is valid. my needs aren’t being met, and all this busy work that i do alone keeps me from tackling larger issues. they are big ones: purpose, connectedness, a dream for the future. some small things, haha. instead of reaching for them, i am focused on power + control via scheduling. what a tradeoff! i need out of this ridiculous tailspin + to soften the outward gaze. my people need more acceptance from me, more love. in this season of high energy, i know where to focus.

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