Self-care for homeschooling moms can be a real hot topic of conversation. Opinions range on a scale from “Love the life God gave you. Take care of your family. That should be enough.” to “If I don’t have a solid four hours of alone time every day, including a lengthy bubble bath, mani-pedi, and meeting friends for lunch daily, then I won’t survive.”
I’m not here to tell you which attitude is the correct one or where you should fall on the self-care scale.
I honestly believe that people can have varying needs. Personality coupled with changing life circumstances can both play a real role. Finding the balance between fulfilling our responsibilities as homeschooling parents and taking care of ourselves can be precarious.
If you’re a new homeschooler, you may need to find new ways to take care of you. Your schedule and increased time with your kids might not allow you to continue your usual routines. The same goes for changing seasons of life like adding a job outside the home or having more babies.
But it’s important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty bucket!
Scheduling nice big breaks, like retreats or weekends away, can be a huge boost and reset. While these events are helpful, they may not always be feasible. And they only happen every once in awhile. Waiting for something big to come along before you take care of yourself can lead to frustration, discontent, resentment, and ultimately burn-out.
I think it’s more important to focus on little daily practices.
Work to create a life you don’t constantly feel the need to escape from. Will you still feel like you need breaks? Yes. Will you still have off days and get frustrated with your kids? Yes. But your days will feel lighter, your load more manageable, and you (and those around you) will be happier.
Self-Care for Homeschooling Moms:
1. Adjust Your Mindset
This may not be what you want to hear, but I think mindset can make a world of difference in how we feel about our daily lives. Are we always looking for a way out? Or are we generally content?
How is your inner dialogue?
Do you consistently wake up with thoughts like, “This day is going to stink. I don’t want to show up today. I’m so done, and the day hasn’t even started yet.” If you don’t relate, you’re one step ahead! If you do, trust me when I say reframing the way you look at your day to day life will make a difference.
I’m not saying to just put on your rose colored glasses and sweep all your problems under the rug. That’s not a healthy approach either. But It’s true, that what we choose to focus on really matters in shaping our experience of reality.
If you’re interested in some of the science behind this concept, read more here.
Here are some examples of what I mean:
Try practicing gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal.
Make a list of specific things you love about homeschooling and each of your kids. Find times to naturally express these things to your family.
Take time to intentionally notice when you have positive experiences during your day. Try to be present and feel the positive emotions associated with those experiences.
Give yourself permission to enjoy your life! You don’t have to listen to the naysayers who express, “Oh, I could never homeschool. I would go crazy!” There’s not something wrong with you if you like homeschooling.
2. Do What You Love!
If you’re having a hard time finding things you actually enjoy about your day, do something you love.
Work things into your homeschool day that you enjoy doing. These can be with your kids or without, homeschool related or not. Intentionally placing little things you love into your day can really build you up.
Here are some examples:
Share something you’re passionate about with your kids. Don’t even worry about whether or not it “counts” for homeschool. Just do it! Show them how to bake your favorite treat, teach them to play your favorite game, paint a picture, dance to your favorite playlist together, have a Harry Potter movie marathon. It doesn’t have to be big.
If you would like to do something you love without your kids, there are ways to make that happen. It may be trickier with lots of little ones, but it is possible. Ask your spouse to support you in having time for a hobby once a week. Trade babysitting with a neighbor. Train your kids to have a daily quiet time with reading, a nap, or a TV show so you can focus on something you love for 30 minutes. Little snatches of time add up, even though it doesn’t seem like it would make a difference. It does.
3. What Rejuvenates You?
It’s important to know what type of activity will help you to feel the most relaxed and refreshed. Will you get more out of a 15 minute power nap? A bubble bath? A brisk walk in the neighborhood? Inviting a friend over for lunch?
This is different from choosing to do something you love, although it is related.
Maybe you love baking, so you bake something with your kids. But by the time you manage flour, sugar, and eggs with four kids, clean up all the spills, wash the kids and the dishes…you’re far from relaxed. You’re glad you did it. You’re happy. But, depending on your personality, maybe you’re not as refreshed as you could be.
This category is for specifically setting aside time to do things that help you feel “like new.” I’m sure you know what I mean. I can’t tell you specifically what that will be for you. Maybe it is baking with your kids (for me it would not be–ha ha). Maybe it’s yoga, reading a couple chapters of your favorite book, walking around the lake with friends, or driving around the block while jamming out to your favorite tunes.
Whatever it is for you, intentionally set aside time for it. Even if it’s only 10-15 minutes a day.
4. Personalize Your Environment
Intentionally create an environment that helps you feel happy and at ease. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive changes. You don’t have to completely redecorate or renovate your home. But if you can be in your space and feel little touches that make your heart happy, it will brighten your day. Learn to look beyond the clutter and the lived-in-ness that comes from having kids at home, and focus on the intentional things that lift your spirits.
Again, what those things are for you will have to come from you, not me. Maybe it’s a scented candle, your favorite movie soundtrack playing softly in the background, a bright table runner, a quirky piece of art on the wall. Maybe you want to keep one surface in your home completely clear of clutter.
Do you want your space to feel bright, airy, and energizing? Or calm, cozy, and subdued? Think about it, and give it a try.
5. Set Goals
Set some personal goals. Anything you want. Big or small. Maybe it’s something you’ve always wanted to do. Set goals and make baby steps toward that thing.
The only rule I’m going to make here is that these goals need to have absolutely nothing to do with homeschooling. Not that you should never set goals related to your homeschool. You absolutely should. But these goals are for you.
Maybe they’re self-improvement related, interest or hobby related, mini-goals towards a large future dream. Whatever suits your fancy. Be working towards something that’s just for you. It will do wonders for your state of mind.
Here is an article about how to set effective goals. It is written through the lens of business and work, but you could easily apply the same strategies in your personal life.
6. Focus on Health
Last, but definitely not least, make your health a priority. And I don’t mean just your physical health, although that’s one important aspect. Take a self-inventory. Think about your physical health, mental health, spiritual health, and the health of your relationships.
Don’t try to improve every single area of your health at once, though. Choose the area that you feel needs the most improvement and start there. Once you have better habits established in one area, you can continue those habits and move onto another area.
If you need more guidance, here is a link to a personal health inventory.
There will be times of forward progress as well a set-backs. But making sure you stay aware of your health and working to take care of you is the true key to self-care. Drink your water, exercise, meditate, spend quality time with your spouse. You won’t regret it.
If you found this article helpful, read more here to learn about how to deal when homeschooling gets hard.
Thanks for listening, friend.
Find out what a heart-based education can look like in your home by reading more here.