This morning as everyone sleeps I sit down to work on my computer. I am trying to finish countless projects while keeping quiet so everyone can rest. The kids have been sick and my husband has worked some crazy shifts. Something occurred to me as I sat down to work this morning. You can learn more about a mom in the quiet moments than you can by her Facebook or her actions in public.
I am a huge advocate of self-care. I think being a mom can wear on you. Before you know it you have made it through the entire day without speaking to another human being or finishing your morning cup of coffee. Then some well-meaning person tells you that it is important for you to make time for self-care. “Pick up a book. Go for coffee with a friend. Watch your favorite show.” I think someone needs to tell them the truth about self-care.
The Truth About Self-Care
Am I the only one that wants to just cry when someone mentions self-care in that context? I’m over here working, blogging, homeschooling, trying to keep my home livable, and still be a decent mom and wife. Then they want me to add in this magical time to take care of me. Ha! I laughed at it for a long time. I swore the minutes weren’t in the day and the time for that didn’t exist.
Guess what. I found the solution. It’s about a change in our perspective on self-care. Yes, self-care can be a good book. I would probably read all day every day in a comfy chair with chocolate if I didn’t have responsibilities. Who doesn’t love a night out with friends? What about a good ol fashioned Netflix binge? These things aren’t always practical, though. With kids in activities and moms trying to do it all big gestures don’t work.
You know what works? Self-care moments work. These are small moments throughout your day where you choose to focus on you and what brings you peace. I had to really find this in the busyness of my life. I couldn’t read a whole book but put that bad boy on the toilet and it gets a captive audience for a few minutes. (Sidebar, reading quiets the little people talking to you through the door. They aren’t really quiet. You just don’t hear them as well.)
Maybe it is a special treat. Mine lately has been a delicious strawberry sorbet I make. (recipe coming soon) I will wait until both hyper monkeys are in bed, sit down for two minutes before starting the next thing and enjoy a few bites of my treat. It doesn’t change the to-do list but it is a small recharger that helps me to keep trucking.
So how could this work for you?
What recharges you?
What gives you a little extra energy on a hard day? Is it a devotional? Maybe a bite of chocolate? Is it a shower? I know, maybe it’s five minutes on your own without anyone asking you for anything. Find the thing that recharges you first.
How can you break that into tiny time commitments?
Can you read a bit on the toilet since you are sitting anyway? Could you listen to your devotional instead of sitting to read it? Can you stash chocolate in your sock drawer to enjoy while “putting away socks?” What about saying yes to something that won’t hurt the kids to give yourself five minutes to yourself? The goal is to take what recharges you and figure out how to add it to a busy day.
It doesn’t have to be sneaky but it does have to be for you.
Many moms talk about hiding in their closets with a chocolate. You don’t have to sneak around. Self-care doesn’t have to be a big secret. Instead, make it an expectation your kids have. Let them know that there are certain points in the day when mommy gets a time out. Lock that bathroom door. Send them outside to play while you sit down and eat that chocolate. Give them something to color while you read a few pages of a book. You don’t have to be involved in every moment of their day. Take a minute for you.
There’s no guilt in self-care.
So many moms I talk to say that they feel guilty when they do things for themselves. I completely understand. However, it is not something to feel guilty over. Instead, it is what you need to keep giving your best at home. A worn down exhausted momma is not good for anyone. Take that same momma and give her a five-minute break for self-care and she’s a whole new woman. You aren’t being selfish by making time for you. In fact, it could be just what your kids need.
Are you trying to focus on self-care? Many of the ladies in the More Than A Homeschool Mom Facebook group talk about self-care tips and tricks on a weekly basis. Join the group to join the conversation.
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I have been homeschooling for over 6 years and it has been quite the amazing adventure. I have taught them to read, write, and identify colors. We have gone on countless journies through the covers of great books. We have laughed and joked and played and experimented. It has been a beautiful journey. However, homeschool isn’t working anymore.
Homeschool Isn’t Working!
Last week my daughter informed me she wanted to go to school. I was terrified. I won’t lie. I ugly cried about it. Suddenly, all of my insecurities and fears reared their ugly heads. I was worried I failed her. I was scared about her dyslexia in a traditional classroom. I was scared she would get bullied. I was so wrapped up in my fears I didn’t stop at first to hear why she wanted to go back to school. Once I got over myself and sat and talked with her the truth came out.
She didn’t want to go to school but homeschool just wasn’t working the way we were doing it. Last year my husband changed jobs. It was a very needed decision that I am extremely thankful for. However, it brought a lot of change to our house. He was making less which meant I had to work more. I have worked most of her life from home but I wasn’t pulling the hours I pull now.
That’s when I realized I failed..
You see, when I added to my hours I changed everything. I found the most independent learning-focused curriculum I could and let them do their school work completely on their own. It seemed great for me. I could let them work and I could get my work done. Then the rest of the day was free for whatever we wanted to do. That’s what I sold myself but that wasn’t the reality.
My daughter informed me that she was feeling ignored and overwhelmed. She felt like she was bothering me because I was so focused on work. She knew my job was important but she needed to feel important too.
So we talked..
R and I sat down and had a long talk. We made a pros and cons list Gilmore Girl style. We listed out pros and cons for school vs homeschool. When we did this we found that it wasn’t that she wanted to go to school. She wanted her homeschool back. She wanted a mom who wasn’t just making her unit studies, but one who did them with her. Once I really heard her heart on this it changed everything. The schooling atmosphere and her temperament have changed drastically.
So what changed?
I have set business hours for myself.
These are unmoving. I know what times I have assigned to work and I stick to them. This has helped them to respect work time because there is an end in sight. It won’t be “let me hop on and just work on this one thing.” When work is over, it’s over.
We set a family schedule.
With my husband working an erratic schedule and my lack of consistency things were getting chaotic. R asked if we could have a schedule. Even better, she sat with me and helped me to figure out what the schedule would look like each day. Because of this schedule, I have more freedom in certain areas while offering more structure in others. It has been really good for our family.
I scheduled in alone time.
R was getting fed up with her little brother. What kid doesn’t? She asked for alone time separate from her daily quiet time when she had the freedom to tell him she didn’t want to play with him or talk to him. We put this time on the schedule for lunch and dinner prep times and it has made a world of difference. She hasn’t even used it much. It was more about having the freedom to say it is she wanted than actually saying it.
I’m teaching the way they learn best.
For a time I was really surviving with the best I knew to do. It wasn’t easy or pretty or perfect. I got away from the most important thing. I forgot to teach them the way they learn. Since going back to some of the basics of homeschooling things have improved considerably.
Are you feeling like homeschooling isn’t working anymore? Don’t throw in the towel yet. Maybe it’s time to look at how you are handling things and have an honest conversation with your kids. Your homeschool may just be like mine and need a bit of tweaking for it to be the best possible homeschool for your family.
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