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Making room for Dad is an intentional act. Can I just be a little bit honest here?
There were days my husband would just show up and hang out on a rare unscheduled day off. It would throw off my groove. Sometimes I would get a little huffy and resentful. After all, I had a plan for the day. How dare he be the fun one, right! Have you felt that before. We all have.
Then I would watch the kids play with him and just melt. My kids love their Daddy. He worked long hours to provide for us, especially in the early years of homeschooling. So, I determined that the kids would not miss out on their Daddy. Homeschooling became an asset to their relationship.
These three things helped us make Daddy a priority in our homeschool and in turn, our kids lives. Just because he had less hours with us didn’t have to mean he got lower billing.
Early in our homeschooling life, Doug, my husband, worked roughly 80-100 hours a week. We were young restaurant owners with our own place. The restaurant business is a beast for marriages. We knew that from the start. When Daddy works long hours, Mommy takes on a ton of responsibility. If you are not intentional about your heart you can grew weary, resentful or feel neglected. I felt all of those things from time to time. We had some huge, audacious goals and it was going to take big action from our family. Keeping our long term goals central helped me to focus on the fact that even though we were in two different places, we were both supporting our family’s goals, together.
In those years of sacrifice, if Daddy showed up, it was time to just climb all over him. (The kids, I mean) I learned that the highest priority was not my math lesson, or the spelling test for the afternoon. The highest priority for our family was to love one another extraordinarily. We did that by laying down our agenda for the thing that was better, a lot of the time.
I often use the expression, “What do you win?”
If you are mad that your husband shows up and ruins your school day (remember I lived this, so I had those days too) what do you win?
I flex because, I want to win the long race. I want to be side by side as each one of our kids graduates. So, in your homeschool day, let Daddy show up and mess up your plans. Embrace it and let it bring you joy to be with him as well.
When my husband was home during school time he sincerely wanted to help us. The trouble was, I had been teaching with Miquon Math and using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I was very familiar with them, but to just jump in proved difficult. I saw the opportunity to reject or embrace my husbands offer to help. My choice was to embrace it, and it changed everything. I began looking at our curriculum differently. I searched for a new curriculum that had clearer instructions and broke tasks down better so we could share the load sometimes. It was to both of out benefits to create a structure where we could work together. Instead of me feeling pushed off track or my husband feeling out of the loop we supported eachother’s need to feel valued. What to know what happened when Doug was off of work for a whole month? Check it out here
We did not cause ourselves expectation problems by giving my busy husband daily core schoolwork. In the very early years, when Science was bonus subject, Daddy was in charge of it. I knew it would be fine if “Science Day” was shifted because my husband got called into work. I was one subject off of my plate and it set a goal for my husband to be intentional when he was home t meet with the kids. Let me just warn you, it did not last long. Restaurant people don’t get to pick a lot if they are going to get a place payed off and keep it open. Doug went back to long hours, and I took back science. I did it with grace and love. Deal with your expectations and your disappointments honestly. Flexibility has served me well through all of these years. We had years where Dad read Bible at the table during meals, or bed time stories (or school reader books) at night. Now matter what the schedule shook out to look like we found a way to make Daddy a priority and a part of daily life.
Do you want to know why we have beat all of the odds as married restauranteurs? I made sure we saw Daddy no matter what. We never accepted the lie that we had to live two distinctly separate lives. Was it easy? NO! Was it worth it. As we celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary, I say yes.
How do you see more of Daddy when you have 5 kids five and under and Daddy works 80 hours a week? You get creative. You build your own schedule.
For me that included driving an hour to hang out in the kitchen for a few hours while the staff passed around our two little baby boys.
Later, at our own restaurant, that included totting 5 little kids with workbooks and papers into a booth at closing time to eat supper with Daddy.
That included years of 11pm bed times for little kids and letting school start at 11am.
Bed time and wake up times are relevant to your life. Don’t get caught in a trap that says you have to get up at certain time and that kids should be in bed by 9. Kids gotta sleep, and they will, but seeing Daddy was more important that appearing reasonable to strangers. I had 5 little ones under the age of five, I should have known that I was never going to appear reasonable to anyone. It was hard work, hauling all those sleeping kids into the house one by one on late nights. It was inconvenient and exhausting, but so was my husbands day. We were a team and I made sure we always felt like it. The kids always saw their Daddy, no matter what it took. Tired doesn’t last forever, but you know what does, strong relationships. They last forever. As a Mom you have more power and influence over how your children perceive their Daddy than you think. You need to use it wisely.
Have you set up a homeschool that will win your children’s hearts to their Daddy?
If not what will you win? A wise woman once wrote,”Do you want to be “right” or do you want to be married?” I think of that often, when I get my plans ruffled, or my husband fails to follow through on something he had planned on doing for our school. Those things are temporary, but the relationship is forever. I want so much for everyone to have the relationship Doug and I have. It has been long fought for, protected and nurtured.
My greatest hope is to see your homeschool family finish the race stronger that those early years. I want to see you hand in hand as your children graduate and begin their lives following your example.