This type of post – Homeschool Mom Self-Care – is a little out of the norm for me as I spend a lot of time here educating parents about learning differences. The reality is though that teaching kids who learn differently, even from one day to the next, can be difficult and even confusing. So if you’re in need of a hand up today, this post is for you!
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked as a veteran homeschool mom is, “How do you get it all done?” followed closely by “How do you stay sane homeschooling all of those kids?”
I wrote a post last year during National Homeschool Burnout Month (aka February) where I shared my top 6 productivity hacks. Those tips are still true for me and the more of them I follow, the more I get done in my homeschool each week.
This year, today in fact, I’m going to answer the question of how I stay sane homeschooling all of these kids because, let’s be honest, all homeschool moms (and dads!) get to feeling a little loopy now and then.
How I Stay Sane as a Homeschool Mom
In all seriousness though, we moms have a tendency to give and give and give until there is nothing left, after which we crash and burn(out).
After over 20 years of homeschooling, I’ve learned to better balance how much I give to others and how much I give to myself. Whether it’s experience or age (I’m tired!!) I’ve learned the value of taking care of me.
The ‘me time’ enigma
As a new mom, I mourned the loss of my time alone. I elevated ‘me time’ to the sole source of my happiness. Trouble was, after I got some coveted time alone, I wasn’t content to be back with my kids.
I learned over time to be content at home. Making home a place that I wanted to be by focusing on my relationship with my kids and a daily ‘quiet time’ where basically, the kids aren’t allowed to talk to me.
Seriously though, I love my kids and I love hearing their hopes and dreams and thoughts on life…BUT, I need some quiet each day to think my own thoughts and connect with other adults either by meeting a friend for coffee, reading a non-homeschool related book, or connecting with my blog readers.
These days, besides a glorious trip through the grocery store or Target by myself, here are some ways that I take care of me and keep my tank full so I can continue to pour out the love and attention my kids need every. single. day!
Homeschool Mom Self-Care
First of all, my apologies to any homeschool dads reading this. I can’t speak to homeschool dad self-care but I’m sure you need it too!
Be kind to yourself. In today’s social media infused world, there seems to be this Pinterest-perfect facade surrounding home life. I am no interior decorator and my school room (the dining room table) is usually a total uninspiring mess of half eaten toast, piles of unopened mail, and whatever else my kids have been playing with.
When I accept my limitations and work around them I am more content. I love social media but unfollow people who make you feel like a failure because your house doesn’t look like a Pottery Barn ad and your homeschool looks like, well a place where children are learning and playing rather than a staged metropolitan museum.
Mind your health. As I get older, I find my body needs more careful attention. Lack of sleep, eating poorly, and dehydration take a bigger toll on my energy and mood than when I was younger. Ways that I take care of my body are:
- Drink a lot of water. I use this 25 oz stainless tumbler everyday.
- Water aerobics. Our local YMCA has water aerobics every morning in the pool. I bring my kids who swim, play, and join in when they feel like it. It is an amazing low impact workout.
- Sleep. I used to set my alarm and get up between 4:00 – 5:00am every morning. I would have some quiet time and then work on my blog. Maybe it’s my age, but that just wasn’t sustainable for long. I am naturally an early riser but I no longer set an alarm. I allow myself to wake up when my body is ready. One of the perks of homeschooling older kids!
Cooking and cleaning. Nothing sucks the life out of me quicker than the monotony of cooking and cleaning. I used to LOVE to cook. Now, after 30 years of family life – not so much.
Ways that I make homemaking easier:
- Delegating: My kids help quite a bit with cleaning and have been doing their own laundry since they could reach the controls on the washing machine. They also can prepare their own breakfasts and simple lunches so I don’t do that unless I’m inspired – maybe 2-3 times a week.
- Bagged salads. I know I won’t win any homemaking awards with this tip but can I just say, dumping out a bag of precut and washed lettuce with delicious toppings has been a game changer at dinner time.
- HelloFresh or another meal prep service. I used to judge people who used these meal prep services. Basically, you get everything you need (food and a recipe) to cook amazing meals at home. Like, can’t you just meal prep and buy the stuff yourself? Um, actually, no. H O W E V E R…. a friend sent me a discount code so I bought some meals for while my husband was on an extended out of town trip and WOWZA! Look, you only have so much brain space. If prepping meals is bogging you down, a meal prep service may be just the thing to help you prepare delicious home cooked meals again (with a bagged salad on the side!). Here’s the discount code to save $40 off your first box.
Get outside. Your kids don’t need to have matching socks (or shoes) and you don’t even need to go anyplace particularly interesting. Just getting outside really helps with perspective. Our current favorite things to do is walking our new puppy around a field near our house.
Reader Sanity Savers
I asked in my Instagram story yesterday what you all do to refresh yourselves. Here’s what you said:
- Coffee and wine (of course!)
- Early morning quiet time
- Exercise or sports
- Asking for help when overwhelmed
- Going for a walk
- Watching movies or going to a show
- Quiet time with or without a nap
- Quilting or knitting
- Go to a coffee shop for an hour to read (love this idea!!)
- Going to the library alone]
- A spa day with the girls
- An evening bath
- Hula hooping (not sure if that was spam or not – haha!)
If you’re on Instagram, come join the fun on my page here. I’ve been making an effort to get on my page there a few days a week to share my current school plans, thoughts, and curriculum finds.
What do you do to refill your tank during the school year?
Great ideas mama! I’ve been writing a book on homeschool mama self-care and shared your wonderful post on my Facebook page this morning! I’d love to hear more about your unique self-care practices as a mom of kids with learning challenges. Have a great day.
I picked up your book on the way to our local Center for Home Education, where my daughter takes theater classes every week (and I read for 90 minutes). I must say, I needed the perspective your book offered, AND I needed this timely encouragement and reminder.
Thanks for all you do!
A fellow homeschooler, mom of dyslexics, and left-brained writer-at-heart…
I’m so glad Kristy! We’re not alone!! 🙂