It’s been one of “those days”.
You’re lonely, exhausted, and you want to quit.
Maybe you woke at the crack of dawn to your little one announcing, “Mommy, time to wake up!” As you rolled out of bed, you wondered how in the world you were going to make it through the day in one piece.
You’re so exhausted.
Or maybe it was your toddler refusing to get dressed while your other two kids squabbled over breakfast at the kitchen table.
Why can’t everyone just be content?
It might have been your tween rolling her eyes at her writing assignment and slamming doors to really show her irritation.
Why has she been so moody lately?
Perhaps it’s the memory of leaving co-op earlier and feeling like as much as you long for community, it just doesn’t seem like the right fit.
Did the piles of dishes in the sink cause you to groan and let out a sigh?
Are you wondering if your son will ever memorize his times tables?
Dear Homeschooling Mom who’s had a hard day…
I see you.
I’ve been here too.
Lots of times.
And while I know it feels relentless and never-ending, you are not alone.
I’ve heard it said that “homeschooling is like parenting on steroids”. And in so many ways, this feels true.
The reality of all we need to accomplish in a given day often seems impossible. And this is before we add the layers of expectations we all too often place upon ourselves.
If only I lived nearby and could swing by with dinner so you could put your feet up for a bit and relax.
I’d love to pick up your kids and take them to the park so you could read a book or watch a movie or take a nap.
I wish I could sit with you on the couch and listen to your worries and frustrations, offering you tissues and making you a cup of tea.
But since I can’t do these things for you, I want to offer the next best thing, which is reassurance that you are not alone and that you will get through this.
I’m going to ask you a few questions and I want you to answer them honestly.
- Why did you decide to homeschool?
- Do you have a strong support system?
- Can you delegate more?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you practicing self-care?
OK, so let’s start at the very beginning.
1. Why did you decide to homeschool?
Is this a decision you made willingly or did you find yourself homeschooling unexpectedly?
Was your decision made because you were unhappy with your local schooling options? Did it have to do with specific challenges or special needs faced by your child, or children?
Or did you make this decision fueled by excitement and enthusiasm, hopeful when thinking about all of the rich educational memories you would create as a family?
Regain focus and clarity by revisiting WHY you decided to homeschool.
2. Do you have a strong support system?
Who in your life is supportive of your decision to homeschool?
Whether you have lots of supporters or just one or two people, write their names down on a piece of paper.
This might seem like a silly and unnecessary thing to do, but I promise you, seeing these names written out serves as a powerful visual reminder that these people love you and support you.
When you feel weary, overwhelmed, full of self-doubt, and you want to quit, these are the people that want to comfort, love, and support you.
Give them the honor of reaching out to them when you need support, OK?
Are you part of a homeschooling co-op, church group, extracurricular activities, or another form of live, in-person gatherings?
If so, do you feel connected to and emotionally supported by the people involved in these groups?
If you do, I urge you to reach out and share your struggles.
You don’t have to share with everyone and shout it out from the rooftops, but I do encourage you to find one person to be brave with.
And if you are feeling completely alone in your homeschooling journey, I want you to poke around online and see which communities resonate with you.
Over the past few years, so many incredible homeschooling resources have popped up. Some of them are completely FREE and others require paid membership, (but VERY affordable.)
Here are a few of my favorites that are GREAT places to start:
The Kindred Collective – Four homeschooling moms, (who are also bloggers) have collaborated to create this online community. They offered their first ever online conference in March 2019, ($25 for an all-day event) and it was incredible!
The Homeschool Sisters Podcast – This is a wonderful podcast created by two of the women who are involved in The Kindred Collective. FREE and provides an excellent regular does of support and encouragement.
Not the Former Things – This is an especially fantastic resource for families raising children with special needs. FREE blog.
Other Goose – An online homeschooling membership site for homeschoolers with young children. This requires a paid membership but the fee is VERY reasonable.
These online resources are places I encourage every homeschooling mama to check out!
3. Can you delegate more?
Are you trying to do way too much by yourself?
This is a common trap that many homeschooling moms fall into. For some reason we feel like we’re supposed to be able to educate our children, keep the house organized, cook healthy meals, pay the bills, run the errands, be a great wife, friend, mother…
The list is endless!
The sooner you enlist help, the sooner you’ll be able to experience less overwhelm and greater peace.
Who can you ask for help?
Notice I’m NOT asking, “CAN you ask someone for help?”
I want to know, WHO in your life can you ask for help from NOW.
Start by revisiting your list of supportive loved ones that you wrote down. If there is only ONE person on that list, then you reach out to that ONE person!
See if your spouse can help out with some of the cooking, cleaning, and errand running.
Check in with friends to find a good babysitter. And if that’s not currently in the budget, consider trading childcare with a friend. She can watch your kids one day a week and you can watch hers another day.
Consider ordering groceries online and having them delivered.
Order take-out once a week if you can afford it.
Don’t feel bad about making frozen meals during these times.
And when it comes to homeschooling specifically, please do yourself a favor and do some outsourcing!
There are simply too many fantastic and affordable options available; there is absolutely no reason why you should feel the need to do this on your own!
If you’re fortunate enough to have supportive friends or family around, ask them for help!
I know it’s hard and uncomfortable to reach out like this. Believe me, I’ve spent my whole life feeling reluctant to ask for help.
But the more I get out of my own way and do it, the better of I am. And the better off my family is too.
So even if you’re uncomfortable, you need to look into ways you can delegate more. This is going to help tremendously!
4. Are you getting enough sleep?
Before you start listing all of the reasons why you can’t get more sleep, I want you to understand something.
Getting enough sleep is vital to your overall health and well being. And YOUR overall well being is essential to your entire FAMILY’S overall well being.
Now, if you’re in a current life season where sleep deprivation is a given, (new baby, young child frequently waking throughout the night, or another specific life circumstance that is causing you to go without adequate sleep) I still want to brainstorm ways you can get at least a little more rest.
In addition to delegating tasks like I’ve already mentioned, I want you to consider actually resting during this time when you have delegated to someone else.
Instead of rushing around trying to get things done, how about prioritizing sleep? Take a nap. Put your feet up. Rest.
If you don’t already have a daily quiet time established in your home, I HIGHLY encourage you to establish one NOW!
If you have little ones that are napping, try implementing this quiet time to align with nap time. Otherwise, choose a time frame you can stick to realistically.
I’m a fan of a solid two hour quiet time, but do what is reasonable for your family.
Audio books, books, (relatively) mess-free arts and crafts, puzzles, legos, sewing, and imaginative play are examples of activities that can keep kids busy for quite awhile.
So set them up for success in their bedrooms or another area of the house and establish this quiet time as a daily ritual.
It might be tough at first, but I guarantee your kids will get used to the routine soon enough.
As much as possible, prioritize your sleep. It often makes all the difference in the world.
5. Are you practicing self-care?
Before you start thinking that I mean manis/pedis, spa days, and coffee with girlfriends, I’m not!
Any of these things would be wonderful, (of course!) and if you have the ability and finances, then PLEASE, you go and treat yourself!
But what I’m referring to here are the simple daily actions you can implement that will cost you little to no money.
The following are some simple and FREE suggestions:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Get fresh air whenever possible.
- Get a little bit of physical activity everyday, (walking around the neighborhood and stretching both totally count!
- Consider 10 minutes of meditation.
- Sip some afternoon tea.
- Listen to a podcast or some of your favorite music.
- Pick out a book or audio book from the library.
- Start a gratitude journal. Simply write down ONE thing each day you are grateful for.
- Snuggle up with a pet. If you don’t have a pet, watch some of those ridiculously adorable pet videos on YouTube.
- Connect with a loved one. Whether you text, call, see them in person, use Voxer, or contact them on social media, reach out and actually connect with a loved one.
What can you do, (starting today) that you enjoy? This self-care is critical to your overall well-being.
This homeschooling thing can be so hard.
It can stretch us to our maximum and leave us feeling lonely, exhausted, and wanting to quit.
But with intention, some minor lifestyle changes, and support, your days can be filled with more joy, ease, and enchantment.
If you implement these suggestions, you will be well on your way to a more peaceful and fulfilling educational adventure with your children.
So, to recap…
- Revisit WHY you decided to homeschool to regain clarity and focus.
- Consider your support system.
- Delegate more.
- Prioritize your sleep.
- Practice self-care.
This is a season. A tough season that will NOT last forever, even though I know that right now it probably feels like it will.
Hang in there, mama.
You WILL get through this.
And you’re not alone.
I hope some of these suggestions work for you. And if you have any questions for me, please reach out by responding in the comments section below.