Busyness. Competing priorities. Activity. Constant, incessant hum. White noise.
This can describe life for the primary homeschooling parent when it comes to making decisions between their marriage and children. At least it does for my life. And they don’t even realize it until they are forced to think about it.
So every so often I will post something that I have learned and found helpful in keeping our marriage in tip-top shape. Well as tip-top as two fallen people can make. And who knows! Maybe Honey would want to chime in at some point also.
When we first started the schooling years my oldest, Sleepy Gi, gave me the blues and continued to do so when we started homeschooling! So much so, that when my dear husband walked in the door, I let him know everything that happened or, for lack of discipline, didn’t happen that day. Nevermind that he got up early, spent an hour driving to work, 8 hours at work, and another hour driving home, I needed to vent. Talk about stressful! So what would possess me to do that? It’s all in what I believed.
Belief #1. Working outside the home is like a vacation.
Nevermind the fact that I’ve worked outside of the home and knew it was not a vacation, far from it some days, but it sure did seem like one after I’ve been talking to my lovely children about child things all day, every day for 3 years straight.
Belief #2. You’re my only adult outlet!
Because we didn’t know anyone else who homeschooled, I had no one in whom I could safely confide my struggles without hearing “Just put him back in school.” Our family thought we were crazy, the people at church thought we were crazy. Our neighbors thought we were crazy. Enough said.
Thus, when he came home I would start spewing. I mean, as soon as Honey came in the door I would start with my list of what we did and didn’t do during the day. After about two months of this he became distant and a little angry at times, and that was certainly out of the norm for my go-with-the-flow man! So, during one of our pillow talks I asked him what was wrong. That night I learned that my husband needed time to debrief and decompress from work before he could deal with the issues at home. Just a measly hour could change things around! Ultimately, I deduced that I was so focused on my needs that I totally neglected his. My poor husband!
From that night I began to understand and implement a different plan. The plan was to allow Honey time to relax when he came home and do whatever he needed to get comfortable. If that meant getting in some comfortable clothing, eating, or reading the paper for a while, so be it. And when he was good and relaxed he would even run interference for me by keeping the kids attention for a while. When that happened then I knew he was ready to talk. We would talk about his day, then I spoke about mine, which of course involved my topic of interest, the kids. But by this time a funny thing happened. Instead of “He did this and didn’t do that”, it became “He didn’t do this, but I think this may be why” or “He did this because I think he was frustrated with this”. That extra time provided by his debriefing and interference actually allowed me to decompress as well, giving me time to think and process. From there we were able to problem solve together.
Four years later and we still implement this plan. We can wholeheartedly say it has worked well for us! Although some days I slip up and pounce as soon as he gets home, they are far and few between. And we have grown closer as a result.
Now not all working husbands and wives are the same, so be sure to ask their preferences. Some may actually want to talk as soon as they walk in the door. The thing is you won’t know until you ask. And for the working spouses, your homeschooling wife or husband really needs you to be on their team and to hear them out. Sometimes they just need to talk it out and other times they need to bounce some ideas off you. They just need that adult time with you and some friends. You would too if you were the one at home. So both of you should seek to understand and serve one another.
-Communication is key.
-Every married couple should have some form of a pillow talk.
-Decompression time is a Win-Win.