March has been a month of madness, and I am quite glad it’s over.
I began the SAHM gig on 1 March with three kids who clocked their last day in full-day childcare and infantcare on 28 February. There would be no more alternative caregivers from that day henceforth. The caregiver was to be me. The alternative option now, well, would still be me.
I spent the first 24 days of March being mother, teacher and trainer. The first few weeks were spent getting used to seeing each other every waking minute and unlearning some very bad habits that’s not been corrected by a full-time working mum who at times chose to indulge her daycare-going children. Habits such as not responding immediately when a parent calls, sleeping too little, bargaining too much and mucking around too often at mealtimes.
The first few weeks were also spent trying to find the groove of things and learning not to fly into a rage every time a child misbehaves. This I have MUCH to learn. The kids have figured how to press my buttons – and what buttons to press – and I’m still trying to figure out how not to react.
Amidst the getting used to, we had some fun times. There were more stories told, more artwork done, more outdoor trips made and more values taught. More than I ever did in all the years as a FTWM.
Funnily, the kids became clingier, and stuck stickier than glutinous rice balls. They barge into the shower, interrupt my meals, and demand to see me the first thing they wake and the last thing before they sleep. I’m not too sure if this is a good or bad thing, but it’s practically left me with no space to breathe. Someone please tell me that the feeling of suffocation may eventually lead to ecstasy, yes? no?
On 25 March, we made some adjustments and started a new routine. I can no longer call myself a homeschooling mum now, because we have decided that the kids would go to the church kindergarten 20-minute away from our place by bus for a three-hour daily programme, just so that they can socialize, and just so that I can have my sanity break.
Initially, I wanted to keep them at home without the option of school or enrichment. I wanted to stay home and homeschool them. This soon became not too dandy an idea because they started to miss having friends around to play with and I started morphing into a monster mum who is frazzled and snappy.
So I worked out a new routine every day whereby they would have blocks of 15-minute learning with me before they go to kindy and when they returned, which I call “lesson block”; I do my homeschooling curriculum with them and pack each lesson block with a quick activity in tracing, reading, colouring, flashcards, Logico, counting, exploration and teaching a readiness skill. Apart from needing to settle into their new environment and getting used to not having me around for three hours, the children are much happier with this new routine. They look forward to taking the public bus with me daily, and making that slow long walk from the bus stop to kindy. We take time to chat, sing and look at the little things around us on our way to school, something we never really did rushing every day when they were sent to daycare.
Best of all, they look forward to learning with me, because every day I hear them say, “Can we please have some lessons now?”
It’s going to be a crazy month in April, I know it. But I’m sure it’s also going to be excitingly fun!