Can’t Do It All
Several years back, I wrote a blog post entitled “So You Wanna be Superwoman.”
I’m looking at you, kid.
When I was a young woman, newly married, I got to grow into my marriage and my adult life without the constant glare of social media. I still had expectations for myself based on others around me (we women tend to do that), but at least I didn’t feel I had to communicate all the “awesomeness” (or lack thereof) to the world at large.
By the time we began homeschooling our one and only son, things had changed. It was now easier to measure myself and my homeschool up against complete strangers across the country or the world.
And, frankly, I found my little homeschool (and myself) lacking. And there have been many seasons during our homeschooling adventure that I have felt like I was hanging on by my fingernails (desperate for a much-needed manicure).
There are many reasons for this, and most are too long to pontificate about in this short blog post.
But here is the biggest culprit.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve decided we can do it all.
I’m about to drop some truth in your life. We cannot do it all.
Homeschool Burnout is a REAL life thing, ya’ll.
Homeschool parents are some of the most creative people I know. I am always amazed at the gifts and abilities among the homeschool mommas of my acquaintance. They feel passionately about this marvelous experience and gift they’ve been given.
They also tend to walk in guilt.
Yes, WE tend to walk in guilt.
And let me be clear here. Moms tend to pile on self-guilt no matter where they are in life. Homeschooling or not homeschooling. Work-at-home or work outside the home. Single parenting or parenting with a spouse. We all do it.
I can’t give you advice for where you are in your particular season of life. However, I can pass along a few thoughts to consider.
SLOOOWW down. As I write this, the world at large is experiencing a pandemic. Most of us are practicing self-isolation at home with our families. This isn’t a completely unfamiliar experience for homeschool families. We are used to schooling in unconventional locations. What I have tried to practice is the art of TAKING MY TIME. I am in no hurry. I have no place to be. If I want to take a whole afternoon for an art project or binge watch an entire docuseries with my high schooler, I do it. I actually took 20 whole minutes today to change my ring tone. I have had the same ring tone for years. Who knew?
Don’t neglect your own education. Take the time to read books that encourage your skills as a home educator. Listen to podcasts that lift your faith. Teach yourself a new hobby or listen to an online lecture series from a university. Don’t feel guilty about pouring time into yourself.
Institute quiet times in your home. These are times that your children need to occupy themselves in a quiet manner. It might be reading, puzzle work, or handicrafts. Put on some soothing music and light a candle to create a peaceful setting. Practice calm.
Ask for help.
It’s HARD! We feel that if we ask for help that we are admitting that we aren’t in control or that we lack.
My friends, I have been in a place in my life that I had to help with every single act…including those of the potty chair kind. It was frustrating. It was humiliating. But it also allowed my loved ones to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Someone is ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus for you. Accept that offer to meet for a cup of coffee. Look into an online class for a challenging subject you dread teaching. When anyone asks if they could do something for you, don’t automatically respond with a negative.
As a pastor’s wife, it has been humbling for me accept offers from those who want to come mop my floors, bring me a gallon of milk, or garden fresh cucumbers.
Actually, it is never hard for me to say no to “garden fresh” anything. Who am I kidding?
It is also important to manage your expectations. Give those babies some tasks and chores and let them grow into them. My 18-year-old son still doesn’t fold a towel to my specifications. But, buddy, he folds the towel. And I’m certainly not going to deny him that learning experience.
Work off lists. You will be surprised how much better you feel when you are able to mark things off the list. I have been known to write things down AFTER I completed the task. I am going to take all the kicks I can get.
Just remember that the best gift you can give yourself is grace. Remind yourself daily why you are on this homeschool journey to begin with.
Rebekah Teague is the homeschooling mama to one busy and beautiful boy. She is married to The Muffin who is a pastor and a really great guy. In her spare time she can be found with a book and a cup of tea. She blogs at There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining.