Finding an Outlet
Since I was 14 years old, I have worked in some capacity or another. I babysat for various families, I worked at a grocery store, as a waitress, in my college’s payroll department. I worked as a tutor and teacher. There has never been a moment in life that I wasn’t working outside of the home, until now.
While I was working, I always dreamed of having the ability to stay home. It was a goal to someday be a stay-at-home mom. I am living that dream, but it is a slightly different version of my dream. In my dream, I was cuddling newborns and toddlers; in my real-life version, I am homeschooling pre-teens.
Although my variation is different from what I imagined, I am living the dream. I just don’t think I was prepared for what the dream really entailed. I love my life, I really do, but I find myself envious of those people who work outside the home.
Why is that? For one, the interaction that they get with others provides them with an outlet. Having a bad day, you can vent to a coworker. Needing some reassurance, there is someone for that as well. When you work outside the home, you build friendships. With these friendships comes comradery. A sense of being in the trenches with someone.
When you work outside the home, you can take “sick days.” However, as a stay-at-home mom, no matter how sick you are, you can’t call in. If you have an amazing support system, you may have a parent or friend who will take the kids for a few hours, but ultimately you are on your own.
As stay-at-home, homeschooling parents, our days become routine. We have a schedule that we must keep and the pressure of your child’s education. At times, it can become too much. We need to provide ourselves with opportunities and outlets.
So, how do we do that? The first thing that needs to be done is to enlist help from others. If you aren’t already a part of a co-op, either join one or create one. Having this group of women who are deep in the trenches with you will help you have a support group. They can give you ideas, and vice versa, while providing your children with the bonus of making friends and taking instructions from people who aren’t you.
There are other ways to enlist help from others. If you have friends or family who have special trades or skills that your children might have an interest in, see if they will mentor your child. For example, if your son shows an interest in carpentry and you have a friend who builds furniture, ask if your child can help. This will provide you with time to do the things that you need to do.
To break up the day-in and day-out rut, schedule days of fun. The joy of homeschooling is that you make the schedule. If you need a day of rest or relaxation, schedule a day of games or a trip to a local area of interest. Take the pressure off you and the kids and start to enjoy your time together.
There are so many ways to provide a freshness to your homeschool endeavors. We are truly lucky to have this time with our children, but we need to make sure to provide ourselves with the support that we need. Homeschool burnout is real. It exists, and it is one of the reasons why parents stop homeschooling and enroll their children in public school.
Joanna Yates – I am a 36 year old mom of 3 beautiful children. My husband and I adopted our 3 children from foster care. We live in Kentucky, but live to vacation anywhere with a beach. I taught public school for 12 years before stopping to homeschool my children. I am a Christian.