Letting go of my fantasy homeschooling-self - That Homeschool Life
My 'fantasy self' is an idea I got from one of my fave bloggers 'Dawn - from Minimal Mom'. It's true that she talks about the idea of our 'fantasy self' in relation to purchasing items and things we have in our homes but I think the same notion definitely applies to homeschooling too.
So what is our fantasy self?
Here's how I would describe the idea of the fantasy self:
Our fantasy self is really the IDEA of who we want to be or who we thought we might become. It doesn't always line up with who we actually are and the life that we are ACTUALLY living.
I LOVE the idea of being a homeschooling mum with LOTS of energy and the ability to do ALL the fun things. I love the idea of being a homeschooling mum who starts writing and book clubs that thrive and homeschooling mums groups through which we organise retreats away. I love the idea of being a homeschooling mum who can stick to more routine than I do. I would also love to do more record keeping more regularly.
These are all great ideas but in reality, they are my homeschooling fantasy-self.
In reality, most days I struggle with chronic illness to have energy and when I do, we have to take use it when a surge hits. In reality, any clubs or meet ups I've tried to get started haven't stuck (mostly due to the lack of energy mentioned in the last sentence). In reality, although I would love more routine, I am a mum who often forgets she has laundry in the machine and it has to go on for a second time. In reality, I leave my record keeping to do in chunks. In reality, our days are flexible (which I know has it's bonuses too!)
Can you see how my fantasy-self and my real-self are just different? Neither is better or right (I mean, I really am aiming to not forget that I put the washing on but hey, it happens *shrugs shoulders*). I have just found that when I honour my needs (and my family's needs), am honest with myself and when I let go of my own self-imposed expectations, I can really be much more at peace.
Do you have this issue with reality and your fantasy homeschooling-self? Let me know in the comments below.
My five top tips for letting go of my fantasy homeschooling-self
1. Acknowledge the notions of your fantasy-self
By doing this, you are really being honest about what you had hoped/thought/planned even if it is not who you are right now. It is ok. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come by recognising what your fantasy homeschooling-self has thought/dreamed/hoped. For some people this might involve grieving and for others it might look more like action (see point 3). It will look different for us all.
2. Let go of the guilt
Stop beating yourself up! Stop comparing yourself with the Pinterest boards, the amazing photoshoots you've seen or the curriculum your friend swears by....it's ok. Just do what is right for your family. Don't know what that is? It's ok. You have time. Years. Months. Weeks. Days. Moments to live it all out and sort it all through. The journey is yours! Walk it out together and learn as you go.
3. Get rid of the excess stuff that lines up with your fantasy homeschooling-self
This kind of is an extension of the last point really. Do you keep dreaming that you'll be a family that does kickboxing together in the mornings and so have purchased boxing loves, mats and punching bags but you NEVER get around to doing it? Let them go. Do you keep imagining yourself with children who love playing with Lego but they haven't taken an interest? Perhaps you could pass it on. By doing this, we make room for the things that we really DO have interests in and that we are more naturally taken by. Honestly, holding onto the stuff that aligns with our fantasy homeschooling-self for that 'one day' is really just hoarding and letting go of it can be very liberating.
4. Make a note of all the things you DO ACTUALLY get done
Sometimes we can surprise ourselves. When we take stock of the things we actually do, we can be surprised by the things we have done. I will admit that I would have loved to have been a family that has done lots of traveling in motorhomes but we just haven't! We have however camped in a tent (in our backyard - because that's what we could handle at the time), we have also taken the kids on little mini-vacays over the years to coast and to the mountains. These things warm our hearts when we think about them and look back over photos. Sometimes our mind wants us to dwell on the things are aren't or tries to remind us of the 'have-nots' which is why I think reminding ourselves of the 'HAVES' is really important.
5. When in doubt, return to your 'WHY'
I know I probably say this a lot but really, returning to your 'why' is such a good motivator and leveller. It helps to remind me WHY I started the homeschooling journey in the first place. Never written out your vision before? It's never too late. You can print off my vision/goal template HERE.
Pin this image so you can find the post later
The goal of doing this is not to focus on how we have missed the mark; it's to recognise that many times these ideals are self-imposed pressures that we have made up for ourselves. By letting go of them we really can open ourselves up to relieving the pressure and allowing ourselves space and peace to be who we actually are (hands up all those who forget to hang the washing out). Now...where was my coffee? ;)
More soon, Lusi x