January. The first few weeks are a long, deep breath, as we plunge back into routine, grateful to return to "normal" after the holiday chaos. But, after that deep breath has been had, the days get a tad ... long. The skies seem especially grey. It's too cold outside to play. The kids get restless.
And just when you feel like winter couldn't possibly get any longer ...
... February arrives.
Now those grey days seem impossibly long. That cold air feels a tad relentless. The restless kids seem to be climbing the walls, as you clutch your cup of coffee and try to remember the warmth of the summer sun. February is HARD.
Especially, when you homeschool.
I remember being warned of the month of February from wiser homeschool moms I know. "Hunker down," they said. The shortest month of the year feels like the longest. Playing outside is part of our lifeblood. Now, going outside is like walking into a refrigerator. And in our state, snow is a rarity. So we can't even look at anything pretty. It's just grey outside. And on the days when the sun has the audacity to shine, it's almost always too windy to enjoy it. Meeting friends for playdates in the park just can't happen.
Do I sound like I'm complaining? I am. Ha.
I absolutely love cloudy days. I love being cozy in the house. A fire in the fireplace is my happy place. But everyone knows that too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing, ha! And boy, it can be hard for me to look at the "good things" on these dreary days. Amidst the chaos, my mind tells me to simply send the kids back to school. They would be more active, have more interaction, I would get a break (bless it). And my heart hurts. Because that's not what I want to do. But self-doubt is a big jerk, happy to creep in at my most vulnerable times. It tells me I'm cheating my kids by keeping them home. It tells me they are behind, that I am doing them a disservice. It tells me to look at other kids, and compare mine. Comparison is the thief of joy, right? So my joy is drained. And I have all the time in the world to brood over these thoughts because WE ARE STUCK INSIDE. February, you're brutal.
February happens to be a dirty liar as well.
My kids are happy. Our home is cozy, safe, vibrant. My husband tells me I am doing an awesome job (a big deal, since he's more of the "strong, silent" type, ha), and I feel supported and loved. And you know what? We have some really grumpy days. I'm off my game a LOT. So, what do the kids see? Imperfection. What do the kids learn? That attitude affects everything. That a day can be turned around with a simple prayer and perspective change. Get off the couch, quit pouting, do something about it. We learn a lot about forgiveness and grace. We get creative. The couch becomes an obstacle course, the doorframes are for climbing, the paints come out and the laundry room wall becomes an art gallery. My thoughts become clear, my resolve is in focus. I know why I'm homeschooling. So let's keep that going.
So, February, I appreciate you. Because of your shadows, the sunny days of March will be that much sweeter.
Hunker down, Moms. You're doing great.
Have a lovely day!!