Growing up, all I wanted was to marry a white-collar worker, live in the suburbs, and send my kids off to school. Here is a peek into my entrepreneurial home school family life on ten acres in a swamp and how I use Brain Gym® techniques to support my sanity.
First comes love, then comes marriage…
Once upon a time I met a young handsome man at country music two-step dance lessons. He wore a button down shirt with a tie to his day job as an engineer, was willing to bake me banana chocolate chip muffins while I attended evening staff meetings, and was active hunting/fishing/camping/biking. “First comes love, then comes marriage…” We bought our first home in the suburbs where I opened a Montessori school for 3-6 year olds.
Then comes Cindy with a baby carriage…
Parenthood brought many changes besides the obvious (kids). We moved to a different house in the same suburb and hubby decided he really wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps drilling underground. In less than three years, my marriage to a shirt/tie man dramatically shifted to a mud dude. We were now running our own business, which was/is dependent on the economy and weather while raising a family. Forget about a stable paycheck. In my mind, this seemed about as close to farming as one could get. But wait…
Over the next ten years, my own life journey shifted, too. Having kids has a way of directing one’s path. One kid had unexplained hives. No one in the medical field cared. I discovered “alternatives” for his hives. Simultaneously, a parent in my school attended a Brain Gym® Seminar and thought it worthy of my pursuit. I pursued and I liked the results. My Montessori school was closed after a family expansion: the third Goldade protégé was born. I focused on sharing with adults why and how to move as a self-help tool: mentally, physically and emotionally.
Along the way I discovered that the more I know, the more there is to learn. Lyme disease appeared as did eczema. There were academic challenges with focus and reading. We decided to “try” this homeschooling thing. (Kids are now entering 11th, 9th, and 6th grade—every year we reflect on our educational decisions.)
Our family story gets even more adventurous! We moved again so that hubby could multi-task as a dad while tinkering on his construction equipment. One summer, kids and hubby built a hutch and filled it with two rabbits. Another year we rought home a rescue dog, whose anxiety provoked me to do Brain Gym with him (successfully). Next came chickens. 4H entered our lives. A horse was leased and middle child began riding. (My irrational fear of animals required a lot of Brain Gym!) The next thing I know, all three kids are riding horses AND grandpa offers to add his pony to our menagerie.
Then an essay is written and a foal is won. Now, hubby digs all day and horses around nights and weekends.
Guess what is happening this summer? A portion of our ten acres has been cleared and a pasture is being built. The horses we’ve been boarding elsewhere will come home at some point. I’d say it is official—we are farmers.
If mama ain’t happy,…
Maintaining my sanity as the “Family Chief Operating Officer” is a priority. During these transformations, I find myself consciously and unconsciously using Brain Gym® and other tools.
First, I chuckle as God does have a sense of humor! Remember my dream to marry a shirt/tie guy, live in the suburbs and send kids off to school? This middle-aged man now wears monochromatic blue-gray construction clothes. We live on TEN acres on a dead-end road—not exactly suburbia. And the kids are homeschooled, hanging with their mom 24/7. Laugh! It is funny! Laughter releases all sorts of feel-good hormones. Laughter brings in oxygen supporting the whole body and mind. Laughter connects us socially.
Second, I breathe—loudly at times. This spring I found myself hauling three horses, three kids, and two of their friends to another horse arena. Throughout the trek, audible sighs were escaping me. The kiddos asked what was wrong. They brought to my conscious attention the fact that I was holding my breath and then letting it out loudly. It is important to breathe, especially while driving all that precious cargo. After gaining awareness, I worked on a more balanced inhale/exhale rhythm.
Third, I drink. Water. It can be tempting while hanging out at other people’s barns and at saddle clubs with port-a-potties to avoid all beverages in order to avoid “having to go.” However, water hydrates us. It moistens the lung sacs, which dry out breathing in all that dust. Water helps us think clearer—again, important as we are moving around large animals. I believe water helps us get along with others—it is my first conflict resolution tool from toddlers to elders. Look online for cool graphics and info sheets about water.
Fourth, move. This comes naturally at a horse show. Trailer to arena. Back again. Repeat umpteen times. Walking, skipping, sprinting all utilize a cross-lateral movement. The brain LOVES activities that use both sides of the body because signals are sent to both sides of the brain. Knitting, piano playing, juggling, and (dare I say) even riding horse are other whole-brain movements.
Fifth, stretch. Muscles get tight after standing at the fence watching kids ride or driving critters and kids. Reach for the ceiling. Reach for the floor. The Brain Gym® Lengthening Activities offer a full-body reset. My first Brain Gym instructor did all six as a bedtime routine to release any stress accumulated during the day.
“How are you?” When I’m asked this question by friends and colleagues around the world, I answer, “I’m blessed. Life is abundantly full.” What if my kids were gifted and talented straight A students? What if we didn’t allow them to follow their dreams? What if there was no Lyme, eczyma, SIBO, leaky gut, etc? Our house would be empty during the school year. The yard would be devoid of trailers, tack, and animals. What would I research? I might even have time/space to become (gasp) bored. Instead, life is full. I keep living and learning, while celebrating every success and joy along the trail!