“I’m sending them all to school.”
These words are very familiar to burned out homeschooling moms everywhere.
The kids are arguing more than usual. Housework keeps piling up. School isn’t getting done. You haven’t had a good night’s sleep all week (or month). It’s easy to get burned out when constantly on-the-go.
Sooner or later, you will want to give up. Not because you’re selfish or lazy. It’s usually a matter of feeling like a failure, like sending the kids to school is better for them.
Before you march down to the local school, take a deep breath, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and read these tips.
REMEMBER: You Are NOT Alone
It’s easy to compare yourself to other moms and feel like you are the only one unable to manage. However, life gets chaotic for all of us. Homeschooling is messy work. There will be times when the laundry gets backed up, or dinner comes from a box. Worksheets will go undone and attitudes will be less than stellar. This is normal. We all fall behind, we all fail to accomplish important things, we all have crumbs on the floor and kids in pajamas all day.
It’s OK To Take A Break
I’m not talking about a five minute break to scarf dinner down, or even an hour long bubble bath (with or without kids yelling through the door). Sometimes those small steps are enough. A little self-care and “me time” can break the monotony and allow the mind to recharge.
Sometimes that’s just not enough and the gas tank is still empty. Taking a longer break may be necessary for everyone. Stop the schoolwork, cut back on extra obligations.
Guess what?? The kids will still learn. Things can go undone. Trust me when I say it’s possible to eat off of paper plates and allow clean laundry to pile up in the living room for extended periods of time.
Ask For Help
No one will take it as a sign of failure, yet it’s easy to feel that way. We see the wisdom in the child that asks for help pouring the milk, avoiding an unnecessary mess, but feel like we have to shoulder everything in silence.
Be honest with your husband. Chances are, he doesn’t want to send the kids to school but he also doesn’t want his wife on the verge of tears every day, stressed and unhappy. Come up with a short-term plan to get through the times that become overbearing.
Local friends and family can also help. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Nothing deepens a friendship like honesty and walking through tough times together. Maybe that friend is also feeling burned out and could use encouragement.
Break the routine. Do something out of the ordinary, even if it’s as simple as having a pajama party in the middle of the day. Go to the park and get fresh air. Snuggle those kids all day while watching favorite shows. It will help build relationships and recharge everyone. Kids can get stressed and burned out, too, causing an unending cycle of drama and tears.
Focus On Long-term Goals
Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and look long-term. Sure, life is crazy right now and it feels like the kids’ futures are going down the drain. That’s an emotional response to the stress of self-imposed standards that ultimately have little to do with success.
A sink full of dishes and an eight year old that hasn’t bathed in a week does not set your children up for failure. The child that is behind (by whose standards?) is not destined to live in the basement.
Write down the pros of homeschooling. Remember why you chose to do it in the first place. Often that alone will be enough to fight feeling burned out and stick with it for another week.
Write down goals for each kid and think about small steps that can be taken each week to move towards those goals. The steps don’t have to be big. Neither do the goals. This will help that feeling of “going nowhere.”
Ultimately, don’t allow your worth or ability to teach your kids hinge on the day -to-day realities of life. You are called to raise them, and God’s grace IS enough.