Homeschool Mom you’re a treasure, but it is so important to the health and wellness of your homeschool. Stop! Homeschool mom, you don’t need to take notes, just read and relax. Today we’re going to talk about giving ourselves a break.
Let’s start with not being so hard on ourselves. I think the homeschool mom is more critical of themselves than most other moms I know. We worry if our kids are getting a superior education, are we missing something, proving how awesome homeschooling is to our family, friends and strangers. And we still want to keep a clean house, cook healthy meals and lose 10 pounds.
Homeschool Mom – Give Yourself a Break!
None of those concerns and ambitions are inherently wrong. But they can become strongholds that strangle the joy out of homeschool and family life…not to mention leave us feeling deflated and defeated. Remember you’re only one person and perfection is a quality only God possesses.
I could write an entire article on gaps and what constitutes a superior education. I am certainly not encouraging you to slack on your teaching, grading and planning. But it is also a good idea to accept the fact that no school is run without gaps. Things may get skipped or not fully understood…and that’s ok. You can visit that theme, topic or skill again; I promise.
When you get tripped up on gaps and educational superiority, it is time to revisit your homeschool whys and goals. Have you made that list? The “why are homeschool our children” list? I suggest that you and your husband make this list, revisit it yearly and keep it handy during your times of uncertainty. Just a little FYI, if our only goal is to make sure our child is a genius then 99% of us are bound to feel frustrated.
I think as homeschoolers, and I am certainly not immune, we are hard wired to feel like it is our mission to prove homeschooling is awesome. That our kids are socialized and receiving a better than private school education. We rarely retreat from the chance to defend it. But it is ok if you do. Sometimes I see a comment on Facebook that really gets my feathers ruffled. But I’ve learned that I don’t always have to type a response. I’d like to say I prayerfully consider every response I make or don’t…but honestly if often just comes down to asking myself if I really have time to take on the battle.
Are you preparing your current grandiose list of ways to impress Aunt Edna at Thanksgiving? Yeah, been there and done that. Why not just smile and allow Aunt Edna her 10 minutes and then offer her a piece of pie? No, you may not offer it in her face! Take that burden of proof off your shoulders and just enjoy your family time. You may find another member of the family is more willing and able to come to your defense but you’ve never given them the opportunity with your prepared speech. Relax mama…when the day is over you know you’re kids are happy, educated and it’s working for your family.
Let’s touch on that idea of a perfectly clean house and healthy homemade meals 3 times a day. A clean house is attainable with a system and delegation firmly in place. But it may not look as clean or smartly decorated as another mom’s house. We are home more than the average family. I know many people think that should mean our homes are cleaner because we are there. NO. No it means that there is a constant string of things that need to be cleaned, picked-up, swept, dusted, and wiped down. I don’t know that I can ever say my house guest ready. I do my best and I wish it was cleaner but at some point you have be happy with kind of clean. I figure if my kitchen and bathrooms are clean then I’m ahead of the game. But I can honestly say I’ve had breakdowns when someone wants to “pop over”. So get a game plan in order to keep the house up so you aren’t feeling like you’re in front of a firing squad every time your in-laws want to come over, or is that just me?
As far as healthy, homemade, meals 3 times a day; well I can hardly tell you to feed your family junk can I? I most certainly will not do that. I believe healthy meals are the foundation for a productive day. But…and this is a BIGGIE. Don’t let the guilt of taking your kids to Chick Fil A eat you up either. Cooking, just like cleaning, doesn’t happen without a pretty solid plan in order. So look at your week before you start planning your meals. If you have 3 appointments on Wednesday what is the likelihood that you’re coming home to make a 3 course, well balanced meal with all the fixings that day? Save yourself the guilt and plan to put something in the crock pot before you leave in the morning. Then when you get home you can toss a salad together and dinner is ready. Easy peasy, right?
Remember to get your kids involved in planning and preparing meals. Don’t try to make everything you do a lesson…keep it simple moms, keep it simple. Just ask the kids to come up with 5 lunches that they like and are able to make. Weed out the junky stuff or make some substitutes. Even my 8 year old can throw a lunch together. Don’t try to be June Cleaver ladies…she didn’t homeschool.
Last note on this line of thinking…don’t beat yourself up about ten pounds. I do think that taking a walk, especially alone or with a friend can be down-right therapeutic. But if you make it a chore, it will feel like one. Put your scale away and focus on healthy living. Stop saying you look fat, feel fat or any other negative and derogatory remarks. You are wonderfully and beautifully created mamas and you are working hard. In the eyes of your husband and children you are a masterpiece so try seeing yourself that way more often. If all else fails slap on some mascara and lip gloss…this always makes my kids ask where we are going and you’ll probably feel better too.
I think you already know where I am going with this. My fellow homeschool moms you are trying to do too much. You cannot expect to be wife, mother, teacher, taxi cab driver, scout leader, coop teacher, Sunday school organizer, Moms night out planner, social director, chief, cook and bottle washer without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Focus first on your top 5 priorities. If those are being accomplished well, timely and without frustration then and ONLY THEN should you consider adding onto that list.
We have to learn that it is ok to allow someone else to serve. If you’re always the one doing, then you could be robbing someone else of their chance to be a blessing.
I know that we feel like our kids may need to be in various activities, coops and classes to round out their homeschool experience and education or frankly just to get them some friends outside of siblings. But if you have an activity or appointment every day of your week it will start taking a toll on your home, your school and quite possibly your sanity. Take this advice from an over-achiever, over-yesser. Yes this is a lesson I am still learning. And just when I think I have it, I volunteer for something I know I shouldn’t be doing. Sadly this may not just hurt you and yours but can ultimately damage relationships because you have pull out or unintentionally drop the ball at the last minute.
If you aren’t sure about something, really sure, ask your husband. Mine tends to be a lot more logical about these things where I put and emotional attachment to them. When in doubt, say no; it is much easier to say yes later if it looks like it will work than to back out of a commitment.
You are one person. No is a powerful tool that can save you from over doing it. Please use it my fellow homeschool mom!
Now I want to touch on a literal break. No not breaking something but a vacation, a time of stillness, a fun-cation if you will.
I think as homeschoolers when we do take a school break we tend to fill up that time with a great big to-do list of stuff we want to accomplish during that so-called break. Stop that.
The Roman poet Ovid said, “take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Now if you aren’t a farmer or a gardener this may not make as much sense to you. But even soil needs a break. It must rest and rejuvenate to once again produce. No, you aren’t a field of dirt but you do need a time of rest to fill your bucket and be ready to bring in a bounty in the next season.
Whoa, someone quote me when I waxing philosophically here!
5 Signs that a Homeschool Mom needs a time of rest….
Sign number 5 – you stare at vacation commercials like you’re watching a documentary.
Sign number 4 – you go to the bathroom, even when you don’t need to pee.
Sign number 3 – you’ve worn out a corner in your walk-in closet from rocking there in the fetal position
Sign number 2 – you dream about your husband…and he’s wearing your clothes and cleaning, schooling and doing the grocery shopping
And the number 1 sign you need a time of rest – you keep saying the words, “I’m so tired”.
Ok, I’m being a little silly but it is all based in a simple truth. Sometimes we require respite, a breather, a break, a little relaxation to get ourselves revived and ready for the tasks ahead of us.
I know the temptation of using a school break to clean out closets or organize the garage. I know it may seem like the best time to have your semi-annual yard sale. But what if you just didn’t? What if you went out just played games, worked on a puzzle or read a good book…not a homeschooling how-to book, a novel, for fun.
What if you and your husband took a weekend away? Or just let grandma or a friend watch the kids so you could have a night to yourself.
These times of rest are also a chance to connect with your children a new way. Away from school goals and work and just have fun together. I’m not trying to say that homeschooling can’t be or isn’t fun but even fun in school has an ulterior motive…aka learning.
What if our break was to have fun with no motive other than that? What would we gain?
I say clear your calendar, reschedule appointments and just be. Our kids need to see us enjoying life. We are their prime example for what joy looks like. There isn’t a lot of joy in the, “I’m so tired” statement every single day.
When we don’t take that rest time even the things we love can look more like a burden than a blessing. Your school can become a noose around your neck instead of contented time of learning. Ok, contented time of learning may be a little heavy handed…but you get the idea.
Homeschool mom (or dad) you are not superman. And for that matter even he had a place to rest. You are more than a school calendar or your appointment schedules. If you allow yourself to forget it you’ll eventually hit a wall to painfully remind you.
Burn out is a real thing. I have seen it ruin otherwise happy homeschooling families. All too quickly mom is putting the kids in school, maybe getting a job and forgetting why she wanted that homeschool life all together.
So here we are less than a week from Thanksgiving. I’m going to share what has worked for our family for years. We stop schooling from the week of Thanksgiving until New Years. We school year round so this works out really well for us. We bake, and play and watch tons of Christmas movies. We love to make Chai tea and play scrabble or Uno. It isn’t just a time of rest for me, my kids need it too.
If taking that entire block of time off isn’t possible why not just start with the week of Thanksgiving? You’ll be all rested and ready so Aunt Edna gets a smile and a hug instead of a pie in the face. Right?
Remember, homeschool mom, you are an important asset. If you crash and burn so does homeschooling. Take care to take care of yourself. Be good to yourself. Even if you just start by giving yourself a little quiet time in the morning for coffee and prayer and work up to a big break. I encourage you to start today.