Homechooling is a blessing, but it can also be a tremendous challenge, am I right? Meeting the needs of our children as mothers AND teachers is a tall order. We have very little time for ourselves, we have to put up with the whining/crying/moaning of kids who are just being kids, and because they are always at home, we have to deal with constant messes and clean up. It’s enough to make any mom a frazzled, impatient, selfish mess. I know I get that way at times.
Learning not only to be content with this path we have chosen, but learning to be grateful for it as well, is the only way to handle tough days. Here are some ways to help you develop a content heart and beat the every day stress.
1. Count your blessings. I mean literally count them. At the start of every day, or before bed each night, mentally tally at least five things you are grateful for. Even if it amounts to being grateful for a working coffee pot and a soft pillow, those things count! If it’s been a brutal day and you are struggling, watch an intense episode of Grey’s Anatomy that features sick/dying children. Perspective is a beautiful thing and a jolting reality check.
2. Carve out time for yourself. I know it can be hard, but you need to find a way to give yourself *at least* 30 minutes each day; a hour would be even better. Take a bath, read, go for a walk…whatever makes you feel reset and refreshed. Enlist your spouse’s help with this. The 24/7 demands of a homeschooling parent are overwhelming. You do need time to just be YOU each day.
3. Pray or meditate. Taking the time to connect on a spiritual level is important. Pour out your frustrations to God, or imagine them washing away with ocean waves. Do what works for you, but find a way to dump the garbage and breathe in some peace. It’s simple, but effective.
4. Be silly. When things get tense, put on some loud music and dance with your kids. I triple-dog-dare you to feel grumpy while blowing bubbles. Scream gibberish words as loud as you can. Being silly is important to your kids and it’s important for you. We are all still children at heart and the stress of grown-up life is constantly gnawing at us. Find your way to be silly and go for it. Yes, you do have time. The dishes can wait for five minutes and a few wrinkles in a dry load of laundry is not a big deal.
5. Feed & move your body. I know some of you skip meals when you get busy, or you eat crap. I know because I do it, too. Never underestimate the power of healthy food and regular meals to stabilize your mood and reduce stress. Move your body, too. Stretch, do some jumping jacks, do sit-ups, or go for a walk (you notice I have mentioned that twice now?). You are someone’s child, too. Take care of yourself as well as you take care of your kids.
6. Rethink how you do things. If your days are a constant struggle, and you always feel overwhelmed, it might be time to evaluate how you are choosing to do some things. Life is too short to feel frazzled day after day. Maybe your method and curriculum are not right for your family. Maybe you need more, or less, structure. Maybe you need a better plan to be organized with homemaking. Whatever it is, search your heart and be brave enough to make the changes you need.
It also never hurts to keep a little chocolate around the house. 😉