When the well runs dry, we have nothing left to give. If our well is dry, homeschooling (the good and the hard) can feel impossible. When we home school we don't get planning periods or really even lunch breaks. We don’t get a pay check, paid time off or teacher work days built into our schedules. Our days are dictated by the things we say yes to.
Yes to dance lessons and helping friends when they ask.
Yes to one more read-aloud, meal prepping, co-ops, Sign Language classes, and play-groups.
And yes to everyone in the car, everyone out of the car, and back in again day after day.
We can say yes to all these good things and still feel run-over, our well dry. Why? Because so many of us, moms especially, say yes to everyone's needs before our own.
And this tendency can create resentment and anger. Have you ever felt the resentment build to the point of anger? This can be a struggle for home school moms who are always saying yes. And let's face it, there are so many good things to say yes to. There are so many great opportunities as a homeschooling family, that we feel the need to say yes to, because that's why we are homeschooling right?
Here’s the thing. We can say yes to ourselves and yes to our family and friends. We don’t have to choose. In fact, when we fill our well up, we’re doing our family a favor. When we take care of ourselves, we have a better self to give. We are more present, we probably check our phones less often, and because our needs are met, we enjoy our time with our children. The time we give to ourselves matters and can help us to let go of any resentment and anger.
As a home school parent, we have to schedule time for ourselves the same way we plan a lesson or a playdate. Time for ourselves can be as simple or as complex as we want to make it. What matters most is following through with our plan.
Create time in your home school schedule just for you. A time to fill up your well. You are worth it.
Step 1: Choose something you love to do or desire to do.
Step 2: Schedule it, plan it and just do it.
If only it were just that easy. If you’ve spent lots of time taking care of everyone else’s needs for a while, You might not know how to even begin to do it for yourself. Here's some help.
1. What Did You Enjoy Doing Before You Had Kids?
Think back to before kids and before homeschooling. What inspired joy inside you? Did you love being crafty? Did you have fun taking photos, knitting, or drawing? Did you enjoy the outdoors, sports, or gardening? Were you an avid reader, gamer, builder, TV watcher?
Make a list of the things you enjoy doing.
Make a list of things you think you might enjoy doing.
Make lists of ideas from friends and family to try.
2. What Would Feel Good Right Now
Analyze your brain . Not really, but assess how you are feeling: sluggish, anxious, sore, scattered?
What might help you reset your brain? A bath, a run, a walk with a friend, writing in a journal, going to bed a little earlier, drinking a glass of wine or a hot cup of cocoa, or enjoy some quiet time by wake up before the kids wake up?
Make a list of the things your body needs.
Make a list of the things your mind needs.
Make a list of how to get those things you need.
3. Make Space in Your Day
Whether we recognize it or not, our day is made up of the choices we make. We have to say yes to ourselves just like we say yes to giving our time to others. When do you feel your best? Your worst? When are the kids asleep or preoccupied? When is that spin class you've been meaning to take? When can your friends meet for coffee?
Maybe take time for yourself in the early morning, during screen time, or head to bed early a couple of nights a week. Maybe take some time throughout the day. Making time for ourselves is okay. Look over your schedule, readjust it if needed, and carve out some time, every day, just for you.
Put something for just you on your calendar.
Better yet, carve out a little time for yourself each day or at least once a week.
Say "No" to something and get it off your schedule.
4. Call in The Troops
How many people do you help on a average day? Home school parents are helpers, and my guess is you’re not only helping your kids, but you’re also offering support to your family, other homeschooling families, friends, your community, your spouse, etc.
They can help you, too. Your spouse can do bath and bed a few nights a week; your older children can make breakfast or lunch, friends can child-swap (a win-win for both moms), or your family can take your children on a special field trip or come over and do a lesson.
We don’t and can't to do it all. We’ll do things better, when we take time to care for ourselves.
Who is your support team?
Who could take your children for a bit in exchange for you taking their children another day?
Talk to your spouse, friends, or family and find time for just you.
Who can you call if you just need to talk.
5. Steal Time
Busy days and busier schedules mean we need to be prepared to steal these moments when things get quiet. These moments do happen, but we have to claim them. The kids are all reading quietly. A reading lesson runs over, the neighborhood kids invited yours over to play, or maybe you have an hour-long drive to the art museum—take me time.
Whatever you do, don’t do laundry or dishes or make the phone calls you need to return. This is bonus me time, and it’s important to take it.
Keep a book or journal in your car or purse. Download an audiobook or podcasts and listen to it while you drive. Grab your sneakers and walk while the kids have practice. Make your favorite drink and sit on your porch. We don’t have to be busy all the time, and it’s okay to see an opportunity to take a break and seize it.
Be prepared for bonus time.
Put a few things you enjoy doing in your car or bag.
Download podcasts or audiobooks onto a device.
Buy your favorite bath salts, snacks, and magazines.
Taking time for ourselves isn’t a luxury or a privilege, it’s a necessity. You're not being selfish. It’s self-care for the home school mom, the better we care for ourselves, the better we will care for others in our life and the less anger and resentment we will feel. So create your self-care plan, know that in doing so and in implementing it, you and your children will enjoy homeschooling that much more.
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