My life shifted on its axis. I’m freaking out. Are you? What to do when an earthquake hits your psyche.
Phew, dear Mama. It feels like the world is spinning out of control here. Are you feeling it, too?
For me, my whole life has shifted in the course of two minutes. Two minutes!
Here’s what happened:
I have homeschooled our three kids since they were born. Since my oldest is 14, that’s a decade of homeschooling. My whole life has centered around educating my kids, being with them all day, every day, guiding them, presenting opportunities, going on lots of adventures.
A couple of months ago, Kai, the oldest, decided he wanted to go to high school. Yep, because you know why? Hormones, that’s why. He has realized that girls are out there in the universe, and since he’s darn handsome, funny and kind, the girls flocked to him when he participated in track this year.
Lots of girls.
And lots of guys want to be his friend, too, and Kai wants to have friends, so there you go. A match made in heaven.
Look: can you blame the chicks for having a crush on this dude?
Bye, bye, homeschooling, hello social life. And girls. Oh, the girls. They need to fill out applications, and then I can interview them to make sure they are qualified to date my first born. Sigh. I think not. This is not how it works, right? Or maybe I could just… okay, never mind.
So. One day, I dropped Kai off at track practice, and his brother Luke, who is two years younger than him, saw how the girls googled and gaggled at Kai, and he said to me, “Mom, I think I want to go to school, too.”
And then little Eva, age 7, piped up and said, “Does that mean I have to stay home with you? All alone? I wanna go to school, too.”
Bammmmm! This happened in the course of two minutes. And my life turned on its axis.
I smiled encouragingly and told them that this was a great idea, and that I totally support them, while my stomach dropped into my knees, and I tried to keep from hyperventilating.
As the kids happily chatted about how great their new lives will be, I drove along our scenic highway, struggling with my emotions. My identity is being a homeschooling mother. And what about our freedom to travel any time of the year, regardless of school holidays? What about bullies in school? Drugs? Sex? Rock ‘n Roll?
What about the fact that I don’t believe in public education, standarized tests, brainless learning?
And who’s gonna unload the dishwasher, help me in the garden, do chores around the house?
And then I thought about how conflicted I have felt about homeschooling for the past one and a half years. How I’ve been running out of steam on curriculum, supervising my kids’ learning, checking their math homework. Yes, I taught all of my children to read, but after Eva learned how to do it, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach having to read all the books over again that the boys used in their learning.
I’ve been uninspired with homeschooling.
I thought about how I have yearnd for having some space to myself, to not have to worry about who will take care of the kids when I’m on the phone with clients, to have big chunks of time to work on my retreats, courses, coaching practice.
During all of our years of homeschooling, I’ve juggled doing everything while I’ve been building my own dream, while following my passion for getting my own gifts out into the world – and it ain’t teaching algebra and grammar, folks.
So anyway. It’s been a big week, with many other stuff going on that I won’t get into.
Point is, I have really gotten a good look at how we hold on to our old identities and resist change.
How does this happen in your life? Where are you stuck in a rut, believing you need to live your life a certain way, but maybe it’s not working for you?
But you’re too scared to admit it…
Where are you holding on with your teeth, while there’s a little voice inside of you telling you that this is not the best path any more?
What idea, person, ideal are you clinging to, but deep inside there’s a small voice whispering that it’s over, that it’s time for something new?
Do I have any advice what to do when an earthquake hits your psyche?
Sure I do: eat chocolate.
Yeah. Well, here’s what else I’m doing, and you can, too:
- Be very, very gentle with yourself. Don’t try to talk yourself out of your feelings, or tell yourself to suck it up. Validate to the scared/insecure/anxious/pissed/sad self in your body that this is a huge deal, and that feeling scared/insecure/anxious/pissed/sad is totally normal.
- Live in the moment. Seriously. One day at a time, or if it’s really bad, one hour at a time. Heck, maybe you have to take one minute at a time.
- Breathe. Deeply. Maybe go outside, while you lean against a tree and feel its grounding roots.
- Get support. Don’t isolate, please! Can you talk with a friend who has gone through similar circumstances? If not, find a support group, therapist, coach, mentor. How about this: Ask for help! Ask for support! People might not know what’s going on, and they can’t read your mind. Wouldn’t that be nice?
- Hold possibility for something good to come from all this chaos. Live with the uncertainty of it, expect that you and everyone concerned will learn from this. It’s easy to see this in retrospect. Have you ever had something traumatic happen to you, and a few years down the road you could see that there was some kind of blessing in it?
- Count your blessings. I know you can find something to be grateful for. You got a roof over your head? Did you have a meal today! Awesome! Did a stranger smile at you? Did you smell the scent of a beautiful flower? Yeah!
- Eat some more chocolate.