This is a guest post from Satya Khan. I met her when she hired me for a coaching session, and I've remained friends with her since then. She has a daily newsletter about her experience raising young children. Her writing in the newsletter is breathtakingly beautiful and wicked smart and you can check it out here.
My husband, who teaches at a private school, is against homeschooling our kids. "That's the path to crazy," he said, when I suggested it for our sons. But he wasn't talking about them. He was referring to me.
I planned ahead in my twenties to be home freelancing with my kids in my thirties. I dreamed of working away in my cozy home office, while my baby played in a pen at my feet. Instead I met the reality several years later of taking client calls topless, trying to get my baby to nurse and not cry. When my second came along, I quit.
My personality type is not one of the nurturing ones fulfilled by raising children. But it is one that believes so deeply in research that I do it anyway. I am consistently frustrated by my inability to tame the chaos of my baby and my three-year-old, who thwarts any attempt at feeding him by getting naked and doing yoga. So when I first read here about how public school is really just free babysitting for working parents, I thought, "Great! Sign them up!"
But Penelope is right about everything. I'm embarrassed at giving up all the accolades, and at one point a six-figure salary, to now do everything at home while my husband earns the money. But it works. The problem is, I thought it would be working for a lot shorter time until the homeschooling question came up.
So now that I know the realities of being with kids, and that homeschooling is a likely scenario, I need to plan now to survive the long homeschool haul without going batshit crazy.
1. Yes to freelance – but no to clients
I couldn't hack the demands of clients, and trying to call them during naps. But I can't let go of a project for myself and the game of earning money. So I'm starting over with self-publishing my creative writing. The one thing Penelope was wrong about in my case is that despite having no time and energy to start something new, I'm so desperate for stimulation that I make it happen anyway. Note that making it happen anyway leaves no time to watch Mad Men.
2. Get a bigger car
Everyone I talk to who homeschools talks about the driving, and Penelope is no exception. But the only way I see that working is to consolidate efforts with those around me. I traded in our Forester for a car with a third-row seat. Now I can haul a few extra kids to music lessons or beekeeping seminars. And in return, some lucky family will haul mine.
3. Join a group of top performers
Since I know I am the average of my peers, I'm trading in the moms at the playground. Instead I joined a community where we hang out online and dissect productivity hacks, advanced networking tactics, and negotiation. It makes me feel more accomplished than comparing notes on our kids' poop. Dudes in there are making six figures while getting shredded abs and starting lucrative side gigs. Maybe it will rub off.
I know that I won't ever feel fully prepared to homeschool, but given the limitations of my personality type, it reduces my anxiety to start planning ahead for it now. I've talked to moms who took one look at kindergartens and were shocked at the abysmal options. But I can see what's coming enough that at least that won't be me.