I ‘ve always been what I call “reasonable” about my speaking schedule. I’ve limited myself to four times per year (well, four times leaving the state — sometimes I added in a couple things that were within driving distance). I’ve not just placed these limits because of my family (though honestly I don’t know how I can be a good mom and wife if I’m gone most weekends), but because of me. I write The Low-Energy Mom’s Guide to Homeschooling for a reason!
When I first started traveling, there was a learning curve. I hadn’t traveled much since college! (I didn’t want leave my children until they were at least school age because I think the bonding is just too important in those early years.) But it was fun and honestly I love speaking and talking with moms. I learn so much from you, and I’m not very athletic, so I guess you could say speaking is my favorite sport. I love ideas and talking about them — spending a weekend doing that is very refreshing for me.
Or, at least, it was at first.
Great Homeschool Conventions was wonderful in so many ways — I got to meet so many of you and the company itself is wonderful and there is something very inspiring about so many different kinds of homeschoolers all under one roof — but the rigorous schedule took its toll on my body. It didn’t seem to matter that I enjoyed what I was doing. The reality was that recovering afterwards began to take longer and longer.
Somewhere in there, I turned forty, and this recovery problem was exaggerated. In the 2018 and 2019 seasons it often took me a month to get completely back to normal.
I’m not trying to get you to feel sorry for me. It is what it is. We all have to discover and then work within our limitations, right? Apparently, these are mine.
In the midst of it taking so long for me to feel normal again, I realized I was feeding my family too many leftovers. I mean this metaphorically. I love serving leftovers. My entire meal strategy can be summed up in cook once, serve twice. I cook for dinner; I heat leftovers for lunch 96% of the time. (This means that I’ve tripled and quadrupled a lot of recipes as my children have gotten older.)
But imagine if I never did the cooking part. If all I did was warm up second-rate food. That’s what life was starting to be like around here. Mom was always used up by other people and activities in distant places and the family was getting whatever remained after that. It was completely upside down and backwards from what it ought to be.
Sometimes, we have to give up objectively good things because they aren’t good for us or our families and local communities. Speaking and traveling can be a good thing, but not when it jeopardizes being a good mom or fulfilling primary duties. Some people are a lot healthier and tougher than others (and some homeschool speakers, to be honest, are actually away from their children too much), but none of that really matters because the fact is that it became Not Good for my family.
I have a senior this year. It’s likely this time next year I’ll be preparing to drop him off far away from home. But even if I’m not, it’s still the last year I’ll have all my children in our homeschool. I don’t want to miss a third of his school year because I’m too in recovery mode to be present. I want to have energy to accomplish the modest bucket-list my husband and I put together. These are the things we want to do as a whole family together before one of us flies the coop.
And, of course, there are other children who need my attention. Over the years, there were a lot of opportunities I said no to at the outset because I knew that saying yes would mean that I neglected a child who needed me in some way. But this is the first time I’ve said goodbye to something major that I loved.
So why am I saying all of this? I suppose it’s one-part group therapy. 😉 But more than this, there are some of you that I’ve enjoyed seeing each year for a number of years now, and that’s going to change. So this is goodbye, in a way. At least for now. I’ll still be online, and I’ll still be at the Scholé Sisters annual online local retreats, of course. But things are going to be different and I just thought you should know.
Thanks to all of you who came out to GHC over the years — especially those of you who volunteered so many hours at the AmblesideOnline booth. I’ll miss seeing you!
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