I remember when I didn’t have kids. I could spend a day in bed with a cold, or a tummy ache. Heck, I could spend the day in bed to binge watch … lost or desperate housewives. Then the kids came along and I could still kick my husband out of bed so he could tend to them while I got an extra hour of sleep.
Homeschooling changed all of that .. and my husband commuting for work didn’t help either. So by the time the kids wake up, there is no other adult to help them have breakfast or get dressed.
It’s just me..
And that is the problem.
As the main homeschool parent, we are the center of stability and consistency in our homes, our children depend on us (the one parent) for most of their needs. Not just their education but also their wellness, nutrition, and entertainment. So much so that it starts to feel exhausting day after day, hour after hour without a break in sight. Because you go from being a teacher to mom at any given moment, even when ‘school’ is over.
As selfish as it may sound, you really do come first. It’s like when you are on an airplane and they tell you “in case of an emergency the oxygen mask will drop down. Put your mask on first before helping anyone else (including children)”. I have always struggled with this idea of doing something for myself before doing it for my children. I mean it does sound a little selfish… but self-care is not selfish; it’s one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Whether that means a few hours out of the house to sit at the coffee shop, go to target by yourself or going for a walk all of these can re-energize you to get back to playing with blocks, teaching, making dinner and taking care of everyone. It’s when you don’t take a break that you can potentially experience a burnout.
Actionable tip: Add self-care to your to-do list, make time for it just as you would anything else on that list.
We know the importance of kids having a routine and work hard at getting them into one when they are young. A routine provides kids with a sense of predictability, and a sense of security. A routine lets a child know what to expect and when to expect it. For parents a routine can have the same effect, it keeps our lives on track and transition into the next part smoothly. You may have a morning routine, which starts before the kids wake up. A lunch and nap/quiet time routine, afternoon routine, dinner/bath time routine and an evening routine. Each one leading to the other, in a predictable and peaceful way.
Actionable tip: Optimize the routine you already have (and you most likely already do) to work with your family’s needs. Think about what is working (that you can keep), what is not working (that you can get rid off) and what you would like to add to your routine.
I can already hear my dear mother’s voice telling me not to start doing the dishes if I wasn’t going to finish it in one standing. For some reason, I would start a chore and just sit down halfway through it. I can not imagine doing that now but I do find myself constantly starting something and just stopping. Our homeschool is no different, I get overexcited about something like a new preschool theme, I get onto Pinterest pin everything I can find, print some worksheets, go to the craft store to buy supplies and a week later …crickets. The novelty wears out and the kids start asking about it, which makes me feel even worse. My mantra now is less is more, plant one seed at a time and if I loose focus of that I have my husband keep me accountable and that has been ‘life changing’.
Actionable tip: Accountability works, so tell your friend or spouse what you want to do, achieve and when (be specific).
but it is fulfilling and by developing good habits along the way we can increase our chances of finding the success we all seek and define for ourselves.
As always If you have enjoyed reading this article do hit the share button 😉
& If you are a homeschooler let me know if you agree/ disagree that homeschool success depends on parent self-care, routine and staying consistent?
Share your thoughts by commenting below..
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Interview with Dr Gemma Elizabeth of Our Muslim Homeschool
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