Hello, New Year! Come on in! Just hand me those seven socks, would you please? I’m glad you’re here and all, and oh don’t mind my sick kiddo over there! Here let me just pick up her barf-bowl School?? Oh well, it hasn’t resumed . . . yet . . . So . . . How about this cold weather we’re having??
Is anyone else having a stalled homeschooling start to the new year?
Anyone else’s nerves completely shot already?
Good! Mine too! I’m glad we can be honest together in our homeschooling nest of sharing!
So, let’s be honest: when is the last time you’ve done something for yourself?
Why Is Self-Care Important for Homeschooling Parents?
You hear it all the time: “Taking care of yourself will only make you better for everyone else.” It sounds great, but realistically, how do you make it happen while juggling homeschooling?
The First Step in the Lesson of Self-Care: Realize You Need ‘Me Time’
You need to realize that you must incorporate self-care before you actually need it — preferably before burn out happens, you’re sick, or you’re snapping like a crabby-crab at your beloveds!
We do so much as a homeschooling parent ourselves. It’s very easy, but very damaging to just keep going through personal distress.
And, if you are fresh and new to the game, filled up and fired up with vigor all brimming over, then yes, you still need it too.
We all – every mother and teacher out there- need a minute or 5,000 to pause and just soak up whatever brings you joy that is not related at all to what takes so much out of you.
Lately, and I mean this entire school year to date, my youngest has had some difficult days in regulating herself. We are working tirelessly to help her with this — medical appointments, behavioral help, therapies, etc. This has been years in the making.
I think my fellow friends who have adopted or fostered a child might understand me when I say: trauma.
ALSO CHECK OUT : ALONE TIME FOR THE HOMESCHOOLING PARENT TO AVOID BURNOUT
I have a theory that all adoption is traumatic, no matter how young they are when they are delivered home. And we have to process it all together . . . while also taking care of the rest of the family and ourselves.
But we put our hope in this: God is the author of her story and He means it for good!
In dealing with a child with high needs for my time and attention, I have not been as readily available for my oldest who really requires more of a challenge in her schooling. And, I am struggling a little bit. (But aren’t we all?)
Parenting is nothing but struggling to raise your children up right. Salmon-swimming in a jello river ain’t easy. Perhaps struggling is not the best choice of words . . . Persevering! (I like that one better.)
So I have come to a point where I know that I cannot keep going on “burning the candle at both ends,” mainly because it is just not effective.
(I also have a home to take care of and my favorite shows are not simply going to watch themselves, right?!)
The Second Step in the Lesson of Self-Care: Understand Self-Care
Counseling has been huge for me. There were traumatic points in my life that God has shepherded me through with the help of a counselor. One of the biggest thing I learned was self-care.
We all have different requirements for self-care but, in general, the goals of self-care are: to find a state of good mental and physical health, reduce stress, meet emotional needs, maintain one’s relationships, both romantic and platonic, and find a balance between one’s personal and academic or professional life.
It’s basically doing activities or not doing activities that take you out of the hyper-focused tunnel-of-UGGGHHHHH you fell into.
It can be as simple as doing a puzzle, y’all. A little every day.
For some, it’s going to be taking a shower. Others, finding childcare and going to a movie (alone!). Taking a walk outside. Or taking deep breaths. Or both!
I love to cross-stitch. It’s a relatively new hobby I enjoy and it helps me not eat so many chips and salsa.
Ask yourself: are we being effective day-to-day? Or, is it just one scrambled-egg-hash plate of desperation and then sleep-time?
The Third Step in the Lesson of Self-Care: Apply Self-Care and Get Help with Homeschooling
With my current situation, I am looking into more outsourcing for my oldest who needs more challenge (by possibly adding science). Doing this will help me establish a day (okay 4 hours) each week where I can be alone and practice self-care (or, just fold my dilly-dang laundry) and also takes the stress of this subject off the table for me.
Finding childcare is of the utmost importance to me right now. I am not going to sidestep it because the kids need it and I do, too! Yes, it will cost us money. But I put a pencil to it. I’ve gone over the needs with my debt-free buddy and helper husband and we looked at our budget because we are all about doing things that coincide with debt-freedom.
And, it will work for now.
That is another key with incorporating self-care into your homeschooling life: “for now.” Homeschooling is a liquid in the forms of matter. It is constantly moving and needs to change form sometimes.
Another step I am taking is planning for fun. My oldest will go to her outsourced classes twice a week and some of that time will be used just for fun with my youngest. (And, that girl needs to run like a wild little colt of fury on the fields, or gym-mats, of fun!)
ALSO CHECK OUT : ONE OF THE BEST EDUCATIONAL LEARNING TOOLS WE HAVE EVER USED
The Fourth Step in the Lesson of Self-Care: Be Honest With Yourself
Do you need to take a long look at homeschooling and how it is affecting your life (and your sanity)?
I will be honest, I am keeping private school thoughts at bay right now. I’m tucking this option away in the maybe files.
(And, there is NO shame in whatever parenting choice God leads us to make. Can I get an Amen?)
I think if we honestly look at ourselves, with homeschooling comes a wee bit of pride in the form of control. (Pride seeps in everywhere). You do so much to get your kids to places. And, along with that is a sense of control, but gosh. We ultimately do not have the final say — there’s free will and the Lord’s plans.
The best part of incorporating self-care, my dears: Your kids will see what to do when they are overworked and stressed. You are teaching them the very important lesson of coping, persevering, and doing what needs to be done to get help for yourself. (Yay!)
I want my children to see me fall, get up, dust myself off and get back on the horse. I actually did that once when I used to ride and show horses. My horse wasn’t feeling it one day in the arena and bucked me off. I didn’t give getting up and back on any thought. There was no other option! And that was the only time I have ever gotten a standing ovation (all 30 people!).
Listen, guys, let us not forget what we are REALLY teaching our kids — whether you homeschool or not — is HOW TO KEEP GOING in this life-race. I do not run because my delicate eye-lenses might fall out, but I think stopping to get water and pacing yourself are just about as important as the finish line!
Keep on trucking and don’t forget to fill up on self-care!
Gillian homeschools her two daughters and focuses on the funny in life through imperfection over at her family’s blog: www.fournicholstwocents.com. Follow The Four Nichols Two Cents on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest.
affiliate links are used in this post