Sorry, but yes, I get there sometimes. I've been reading your blog.
I'm glad for you that you have 16 children, all homeschooled, and all perfectly neat and tidy in the pictures (matching outfits, too. How did you afford that? And then, what threats did you have to use on your teen male to get him all dressed up like that?). I admit that I'm glad mostly because then I could at least point to someone else who has it all together and say, well... it isn't the "lots of kids" or the "homeschooling" that makes us dysfunctional and odd... it's just us. That's oddly comforting, because if the problem is us, all we have to do is pray reallllly hard while clicking our special red shoes and reading the correct Bible verse, and we will *change* and become different sorts of people. Nice ones, even.
I must admit to you at the present moment that I'm continually tweaking the schedule here at the Mrs. C house. I'm so tiiiired of trying to homeschool through the little ones screaming that I'm very, very tempted to just throw a book at some older children and log that down as "literature time." Then I can spend my morning with the little kids and Mr. Potato Head. It's pretty challenging to homeschool while dealing with the toddlers wanting to get out of the downstairs area. Trouble is, there is NOWHERE ELSE to put them that they won't cause a lot of trouble and cleanup... and be more of a distraction than just letting them howl downstairs in the middle of their roomful of toys because God forbid I left them for a bit and am visible through the doorway (!). Woodjie tends to throw toys and scream very loudly even under the best of circumstances, so I can't "just" have him in the same room while I'm homeschooling. Other parents can do a lot of "just" this or that things that I can't... such as "just" take a shower while this or that is going on, or "just" do the laundry WITH the little kids and don't use prime "alone time" for that activity.
You would just have to see the special needs Woodjie has and visualize the horrendous layout of our home to know what I mean (it's a nice enough house, but a HORRENDOUS layout considering our situation... but how were we to know that 12 years ago when we purchased the place!??)
There is an air intake vent here that must not be blocked, doors opening onto stairways that can't be cordoned off, electrical outlets that have been painted over so many times that one can't put safety covers over them (it MUST be blocked with heavy furniture because it's an older house and nothing is grounded). Then we have poles downstairs, which are useful for holding up the house and all, but sure put a crimp in the ol' decorating and arranging of furniture. Computer must go where the telephone jack is located. And we have to put the TRAMPOLINE somewhere (Yes! We are white trash! But the trampoline goes with the picnic bench we are storing! In the family room! Besides which, the basement is too full of metal leatherworking SKEWERS and needles, Christmas trees, boxed curriculum and bags of children's clothes stacked five feet high. I kid you not, and no, I'm not posting a pic.)
Woodburning stove? Some previous owner decided to plop that puppy right in the middle of the family room. It wasn't a big problem when Patrick and G were little and we bought the house, but now we have gates snaking about downstairs.... big metal monstrosities that look terrible but keep tiny kids from getting into the electronics. Someday these kids are going to escape the gate and then... then... the two really *good* hours of homeschooling I get done each day will be out the window.
Yes, I play with the little kids. Yes, they have toys. They just don't get constant attention and they dislike that part. I'm trying to do the picture schedule... first "playtime" (so Mom can homeschool/clean the kitchen), then "arts and crafts" (you sit there with a crayon at the kitchen table, or some playdoh), then more "playtime" so Mom can clean the mess, then "lunch" and for Woodjie, "bus time."
I'm beginning to think that I should "just" homeschool when Woodjie gets on the bus. He leaves at 1 p.m. and Patrick comes home around 3:15. That would be two hours and fifteen minutes. It's hard, though, if the homeschooled boys have had a break BEFORE school stuff gets serious, to pull them away from what they want to do. I like to have rewards for AFTER school. Then there's the "Mom needs to eat an actual meal SOMETIME during the day" factor, and honestly? I'm downright crabby by 1:00 and want to get away from people.
Then I go back and think I might just be crabby because I'm not eating properly. Sure, I don't have time for meals, but that doesn't stop me from grabbing and eating an entire bag of cookies, three candy bars and five cups of coffee here and there. So don't worry that I'm starving here in my 3x pants. I keep getting these stomachaches, too, but of course that can't be from poor eating habits. It must be stress.
I hate screaming in my house!! If only, if only, if ONLY I could teach Woodjie to SPEAK, there wouldn't be so much yelling because the little girl will follow his lead. We could do some things like... oh... I don't know... ask for stuff we want and have a discussion about "sure, I'll give it to you in five more minutes" or "no, because (reason)" or my fave: "YES! HERE IT IS! I'M GLAD YOU ASKED AND USED YOUR WORDS INSTEAD OF HOWLING AND POINTING and making me do a dance all over the room, grabbing things and going, 'This? No... um... This? No? How about this?' and handing you random objects you don't want. Good job, buddy!"
I'm all for the neurodiversity thing, but I'm so not for the kid being miserable, wanting stuff and not being able to tell me what it is, and my not being able to talk back to him in a way that he can understand. Good grief, that stinks. I'm so tired of it!
If I had some big chunk of money that was all mine and D couldn't stinkin' well veto my purchase, I would hire a special-needs consultant to help me design and build a house where we can all live in peace and harmony. I'm really having some trouble figuring out what goes where and when to do everything I need to do.
I know some things need to change. There are folks in my home on a regular basis (another story!) and whatnot, and they don't see a "problem." Is it just me? Am I too sensitive to the fact that my kids yell? I want a quiet and peaceful home with no clutter that is clean and organized. I am very, very, VERY blessed. I am just either very sensitive about the children crying and the faults of my organization system, or I am needing to change A LOT of things and not knowing where to start.
God's grace meets me where I am, but I think it's the latter.