I really should be known as Queen Procrastinator.
I am absolutely awful at managing my time. I know that at 37 years of age you would think that I could manage to sort myself out by now, but no. I get distracted easily, go off on tangents too readily and the task I am meant to be doing is soon forgotten.
This needs to change. I am juggling far too many balls in too many areas of my life for me to time waste. I need to focus on what I need and want to achieve in all areas. I have children to care for and home-educate successfully. I have my wifey role of course, as well as being the main keeper of our lovely home. There are animals that rely on me for their daily care and needs, and land that needs to be tended to. On top of all of this I need to gain an income of some sort, as mentioned previously.
So, what am I to do? Just how can I keep merrily juggling along? Now don't get me wrong. I love my life. I mean I absolutely really and truly love my life. In a rather strange way it feels like I am on a constant holiday. Not because I spend my day idling along doing less than nothing, but because of our beautiful tranquil surroundings and the peace. Have I ever mentioned the peacefulness this place overwhelms me with? To be awoken in the morning by beautiful uninterrupted birdsong is the most awesome thing. Gone are the days when I was alerted to the latest daily drama as the emergency vehicle sirens screamed past our door and off into the distance. No more are the 3am rude awakenings as the drunks stagger and stumble down the street, ensuring local residents are alerted to their presence as they attempt to serenade us all accompanied by the bang bang bang rhythm of the battering of the bus shelter as they passed not so quietly by. No longer do our thinking spaces have to put up with the constant constant constant drone of traffic, day and night, the engines whirring, the horns beeping, the screeching of brakes or the abusive shouts of disgruntled drivers. We can sit in our garden or in the back field and hear nothing. Nothing but the sweet sweet birdsong and the occasional bleeting of goats. If you listen hard enough you may here the moo of a distant cow or the baa-ing of a mother in search of her lamb. Obviously there is the occasional vehicle - often of the tractor variety, that passes us by, but that adds to the flavour of the countryside.
I'm in heaven - but look, even now I'm getting waylaid and straying way off topic.
Back to my time management issues.
I have a good morning routine. There are daily chores that need to be done. No matter how I am feeling or what the weather is sharing with us, the animals need a routine of care. The goats, chickens, ducks, quails, cat, dog, and rabbit need to be checked on and fed, let out (or in the case of the cat, let in), water vessels need replenishing and cages/coops/stables need cleaning. That isn't up for discussion. It isn't up for negotiation. It needs doing at around the same time each day every day. So that routine is pretty much set in stone and I'm more than happy to fulfil it. I love the daily greetings I receive from my furry and feathered friends. I love the cluck cluck morning hello the chicken ladies offer me as they jump from their coop and peck around my feet in the hope I may have a few tasty morsels to offer them before they seek breakfast from their bowls. I love the quackety quack the runner ducks shout out as they follow me around the yard watching my every move - just when is their breakfast and fresh water going to arrive? I even love the fact that almost every morning I am made to jump a little as a wild bird emerges from their compost heap rummage in swift haste once alerted to my presence. I receive tender nose nudges from the goats as I serve up their first feast of the day and the cat welcomes me with a meow and a leg rub telling me of his nightly exploits I'm sure.
But then the rest of the day beckons and I start to weaken, floundering around, feeling like I'm doing much but achieving very little. A quick check of emails leads to an hour or two of screen time. An online grocery shop takes me off into a world of recipe searching and foodie blog reading. A sit down with a cuppa and swift nosy on Facebook leads to useful link following, bookmarking and advice giving or photo admiring. Hours can pass before I know it (if the children allow me to be undisturbed - obviously it goes without saying, if I'm needed I'm not online, end of).
I am rather fortunate in that most days I have two teenagers willing and capable of keeping an eye on the younger ones. Tiegan at the age of 11 is like a second mama to 2 year old Taisia. The relationships my children share with each other are beautiful. They are so close. Their days are interlocked with one another and it is rare to see one sitting alone. An older child can often be heard reading to a younger one, or in deep discussion with them in answer to a query they have shared. A younger sibling can often be heard telling an older one what to do in the role playing game they are developing and more often than not the elder is more than willing to go along with the plan. Board games are played together, computer games shared, current affairs discussed, watched programmes talked about, and views and opinions readily given.
This can mean that I am sometimes what could be referred to as a 'spare part' in some ways. I'm not really needed. My presence is welcome but not required. I am there, but as a bystander. I offer freedom. I take the lead from my children. If they want me involved I am there, if they are happy to do things alone or with their siblings only, I'm happy to take a step back. They really don't need me hovering around, lurking, trying to be needed to fulfil my own must mother needs. They are becoming independent and free-thinking, two things I actively encourage within our family unit (although it has to be said, an independent and free-thinking two year old can lead to a roller-coaster ride, one which I am more often than not glad to disembark at the end of the day!).
I feel that I need to be strict with myself and figure that one of the easiest ways of doing this is to section my day into categories. Now thinking back, routines and rotas and the like have never worked for me (my Queen Procrastinator crown is always well and truly firmly planted upon my head). I have difficulty sticking to anything and all good intentions soon leave via the back door. This time there is a sense of urgency in a way. I'm floundering. This could also be read as struggling. Take your pick. I don't like to show weakness so will use floundering as it rests easier with me. I get cross with myself. I know I have a to-do list. I know there are plenty of hours within a day to fulfil that to-do list. I am also a realist. I know that there will be times in the day when my children/goats/chickens etc won't have read the to-do list and will throw a curved ball or three into the mix. I can deal with that. Well, I can deal with that if I feel I have still managed to accomplish something and haven't been sat on my bum drinking tea and getting involved in the latest online drama. Life is progressively changing and I need to adapt and change with it. I have more responsibilities than ever before, I have more dreams and plans that I could have ever previously imagined and I know that I can make things work out - if only I could stop being led astray by the procrastination fairy.
So here we go, my routine outline. Before I offer the link I will just say this is open to change. It's not a set of rules for me to follow and not break. Life will change, days will vary, some days my children will need me more and of course there will be more than the odd occasion where we throw everything up in the air and head out for the day. Who cares? Not me. I am just offering myself a guideline, a simple pattern that I can choose to follow but won't beat myself up if I don't. During the 'business time' I will be on hand, at all times. I will be within earshot of the children. I may be in the kitchen in my little sewing corner, or I may be sitting outside in the summer house with the doors open wide listening to the ensuing laughter as my children roam the land. If someone needs a cuddle, my arms will be open. If someone has a question, my mouth will be seeking to answer. If someone needs to talk, my ears will be offered. I will not be neglecting my duties as a mother or home-educator, but I will be striving to earn the extra needed for us all. Think of me as you may for doing so.
Obviously there are things absent from there that need doing but not on a daily basis - bedding changes for example. Those will be fitted in as and when. I didn't put every single chore on the list or else it would have been a dozen pages long.
Now I can't post here without a photo offering can I? We have spent a beautiful day out in the sunshine, soaking up all that life in the country has on offer. We listened to baby birds tweeting fiercely as they begged their busy mama's for more food, and witnessed that mama obligingly flying to and fro the next with plentiful supplies to feed gaping mouths. We noted the woodpecker on the feeder, gracing us with his presence three times in a day, and stood in awe of the Nuthatch as he allowed us to stand so close to witness his feasting. We listened to the blackbirds song, the tune of the chirruping great tits and blue tits, and laughed at the young goat girlies desperately trying to fit into a cardboard box too small for one let alone two.
The children appear to be loving the freedom they are privileged enough to receive here, as do the chickens now they are allowed to free range the near acre.
We need to invest in a new climbing frame and swing as this one gets so much use...
It appears we had a rather special delivery...
And Taisia was up to something with the camera lenses...
I love this picture, the expression really makes me smile. I really don't like posed for shots, much preferring to capture moments as they happen. My children are so used to me walking around with camera in hand (and a big DSLR at that, no compacts for me!), they don't even flinch. Do excuse the mess in the background. We are having another sort out.
Our lovely Rosie, such a gorgeous girl...
And finally a picture or our stunning Poppy, our beautiful mama to be - very much the focus of our thoughts at the moment.
A big humungous thank you to those that have placed a vote for Classroom Free on the Top 25 Homeschooling Moms blog list. We are currently at 90 votes. Just to remind you that you can vote once a day if you think the blog is worth it. I'd truly love to sneak into the Top 25 again if possible.