Need some encouragement: Here’s The Why and How of Self-Care for Homeschool Moms.
Homeschooling really relies on Mom staying healthy and semi-sane.
Self-care for mom is an important but often-overlooked component in a strong homeschool. Moms need enough self-nurture to keep strong and healthy so that they can care for their homeschool families. Here’s why:
Children require lots of attention.
We homeschool moms try our best to be good stewards of our responsibilities to teach and guide our homeschool high schoolers and youngers. Ever go to bed feeling exhausted? It’s kind of part of the job! However, a mom who is perpetually exhausted has little attention to give. A zombie-mom is not typically an effective teacher. So, we must find some time for self-care!
Homeschooling means that mom has to deal with the multiple responsibilities of teaching her children about life and about academics.
If there’s an argument over what to have for breakfast, that same irritated child is going to be sitting in front of you practicing spelling words a half-hour later. Stress from one area spills over into the others, and it takes a mom who’s on top of her game to juggle that stress spillage. Believe it our not, self-nurture can make the difference in a mom’s stress spillage!
A mom’s identity can very easily become completely dependent on her child’s homeschooling.
It makes up so much of her life that she can forget her other, super-duper important roles like daughter of the most high King, wife, daughter to her earthly parents, sister, cousin, aunt, friend. We need God’s wisdom on balance. Remember, this phase of life doesn’t last forever but it sure is busy while we are in it. Homeschool Mom, give yourself the self-care of prayer to maintain balance!
Teaching our children requires us to be constantly learning new things.
How can we keep up on techniques for teaching, the details of subjects with which we’ve had only a passing acquaintance, community resources and options for the homeschool. Mom needs to be mentally sharp enough to stay savvy. Stay sharp with some self-nurture AND continuing education. But make your continuing education fun and easy. Listen to this episode of Homeschool High School Podcast for doable how-to’s.
That’s only a few reasons, but even those four have me convinced that moms need to take care of themselves to be effective homeschoolers.
Here are some of the ways we can do it:
Set goals and establish quiet time to revisit them at least once a month.
Use a tool like our download Scheduling Backwards to help set good plans in place, then check in with yourself regularly to keep the bigger picture in sight. Living reactively moment to moment will drain and frustrate most of us. 7Sister Vicki raves about this scheduling method that 7Sister Sabrina taught her. It helps get life routines and projects under control without adding MORE stress of a complicated system.
Also, check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast Episode on Scheduling. It is an interview with the scheduling and organizing expert in our lives, Dr. Melanie Wilson of Homeschool Sanity Podcast.
Say this with me: “Sleep is good. I like the inside of my eyelids.”
Sleep is absolutely necessary for mental acuity and physical health. Some studies indicate that sleep-deprivation of just 2-3 hours less sleep than you normally get produces cognitive and motor impairment similar to driving at the limit for alcohol consumption. Read this post on sleep deprivation and homeschooling. You’ll be convinced!
Stable blood sugar makes your brain happy.
And your moods. And your body in general. So eat wisely.
Catch more tips on Psychological First Aid (practical self-care tips for moms and teens) in this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast.
We need people, so set reminders for yourself to have time with grown-ups who are good for your soul.
Conversation on the phone is helpful, but face to face time is much richer. Try some of these ideas. What would you add?
- Don’t just drop and run for your teens’ co-op classes. Stay, volunteer and chat with the other moms. (Did you know this is how most of us 7Sisters met?)
- Hire a sitter and have coffee with a friend.
- Get to Sunday school or small group at church.
- Listen to this powerful self-care episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast: The Power of a Homeschool Mom
Take time for mindfulness.
You might only have 2 minutes while you’re in the bathroom but do some breathing and work on calming your body down. Do some quick prayer. Mindfulness helps keep body and soul healthy. Want some ideas? Read this post in Vicki Tillman Coaching about mindfulness for people who don’t like mindfulness 🙂
Download this freebie on how to do deep breathing (it’s called Progressive Relaxation…doesn’t the name make you feel awesome? *I’m practicing my Progressive Relaxation!*)
Why do we often resist taking care of ourselves?
Why do homeschool moms often put off our self-care and self-nurture? Because we’ve been brainwashed or pressured by these things:
The SuperMom Myth.
We believe we MUST be Super Moms! WHO says?? Refuse it. Your kids need YOU as their mom because God designed it that way. They do not need a mythological mom. Here’s a post from our beloved 2:1 Conference on how to reject the Supermom Myth.
We feel selfish when we take care of ourselves, but the truth is we will parent and homeschool much more effectively if we have first made sure that we are fit for duty. Vicki always reminds us that *motherhood is all about guilt* but that guilty feeling is just there to remind us to take it to Christ. We can rely on His grace over our guilt. Grace, God’s grace, gives us the power and strength to do our jobs well enough. And well enough is good enough because of God’s grace. Here’s another 2:1 post about dealing with Mom Guilt.
Lack of support.
It’s humbling and hard to ask our husbands, friends, grandparents or others to watch our kids for a bit so we can spend a little time on self-care, but there’s just no replacing the benefits that come from doing it even if it’s hard. If you don’t have support right now, start praying about it and ask God to help you find minutes for self-nurture in the meantime.
AND get a little support for loving your homeschooling and engaging your homeschoolers in this HSHSP episode and allowing yourself to take a break in this episode.
Plus you will love our silly and wise advice about handling tough homeschool times (or tough anytime) with this episode on homeschool mindset…not platypus!
And if you have a friend or family member who doesn’t appreciate homeschooling high school, share some homeschool success facts with them from this response to Harvard Magazine’s “Risks of Homeschooling“.
Your turn: What do you do to take care of yourself on a regular basis?