This weekend I realized that my stress levels were out of control. One reason has to do with family issues and the other with how we've structured our school schedule this year.
I think it is time to take both in hand before something explodes (that would be me LOL). Three items on our schedule are causing the most amount of stress for me. One of the reasons we homeschool is because we like flexibility. Three things we are doing have totally taken away our flexibility. Shira is belongs to a Nature Girls Club that meets on Sunday afternoons from 3-6 pm. It's a great club. She loves it, her fellow club members love her, the leader is a gifted teacher and truly inspires the children, BUT, if the girls miss three meetings they are tossed out of the club.
You have no idea how stressful it is to have this restriction placed on our weekends.
Shira is also a member of a children's chorus that meets every Tuesday from 4:30-5:30pm. The children's chorus has a policy that children who miss 3 lessons in a semester are either booted from the choir, or are not allowed to perform at their concerts.
This is slightly less stressful than the Nature Girls Club because the semester is only 3 months long. Nature Girls meets every week all year round. However, they hold concerts on weekends which makes life awkward when we want to travel.
The last schedule stressor is this phenomenal history program we're doing. We signed up for the live classes. These classes are held every Monday to Thursday from 1- 1:30pm. I have been very, very surprised at how stressful it has been to arrange our schedule around being at a telephone every day. So many of the extra curricula activities we want to do start at either 12 or 1 pm.
Today the children and I decided that we're going to change our history subscription to the recorded lectures. We'll still listen to his lectures daily, but won't be tied to a clock and phone.
This will do much to reduce our daily stress but we're just going to have to live with the other two. However, I suspect that she may get kicked out of Nature Girls as we, her parents, are not going to let Nature Girls stand in the way of family commitments and travel plans.
Of course, this is causing stress because the child loves this club. We don't have local family. To see family we have to travel. This club makes it difficult for us to get the kids to see their grandparents. This club issue is going to come to a head in the next few months as Shira is going to miss meetings in October because we're going on vacation, November for her great grandmother's 94th birthday party and then two weeks in January while we travel with my cousin.
Part of the family stress has been resolved and I am adamant that steps are going to be taken to reduce the remaining family induced stress.
My parents came to visit us earlier this month. Since they live half a world away, they have to live in our home when they visit. I do not enjoy house guests. I dislike how my routines are interrupted, I hate how I have to have a happy face on all the time. I am a loner, I don't like people in my space (husband and children are exceptions and even then I need time away from them once in a while). Even though my parents are very easy house guests, and we enjoy their visits, it is very stressful having them in our home.
To further increase the stress, while my folks were visiting, my stepdad starting losing his balance. By the time we cut their visit short and sent them back home to their doctors, he was almost unable to walk and was very confused. It turns out that he had a subdural hematoma from a fall 4-6 weeks prior to his visit. Thankfully the surgery to relieve the pressure was a success and he will be out of hospital tomorrow, but the fear was that he was not going to survive. Stress like this is not fun.
While. this was going on, another family member decided that this was the prefect time to start making demands of her own and despite very clear answers from both Marc and me, she decided, in her wisdom ignore our wishes and to continue with her demands.
She took an already stressful situation and made it exponentially worse.
I made a decision yesterday that she's done this to me for the last time. In future, if she questions Marc's or my answers to her demands I am just going refuse to take her phone calls or take the children to visit her. My days of indulging her and putting myself out for her are over. She decided that her wants were more important than my or my parents' needs while we were facing the very real possibility of my stepfather's death. This, to me, shows that she has no respect for me and as such deserves none from me.
How do you all deal with family members who act as if their wants are the only ones that matter and who make the lives of everyone around them miserable until they get their own way? The reality is that I cannot remove this person from our lives, so I'll have to settle for second best. All our interactions will now be on my terms, not hers. None of her wants will be met by me any longer unless she is completely respectful of me and mine.
I just hope that life is going to become less stressful. We're going to do the prerecorded history program, so the daily stress over being at a telephone has been taken out of our lives, I've started preparing Shira for the fact that she may end up being kicked out of Nature Girls and I am taking a stand with a certain family member. No more emotional blackmail. She may get her wants that require my input met, if it suits me.
The biggie is that my stepdad is well on the road to recovery.
Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with yet another cat
3 days ago