Real Life Work

Healthy Working Homeschool Mom – Part 2

Last month I began talking about what it means to be healthy. I specifically focused on working homeschool moms, however any busy homeschooler will definitely benefit from these posts. My goal with this series is to open our minds to the possibility that we may be running ourselves into the ground as homeschoolers–especially if we work outside of the home. As a nurse, I see the long-term effects of treating one’s self harshly. I’ve also experienced this first hand with Adrenal Fatigue. Trust me, in the long run it is not worth it, and it will always catch up with you eventually.

Do you work and homeschool?  Check out our working homeschool moms resource page that contains more articles about how to balance homeschooling and working.

Healthy Working Homeschool Mom Part 2

I’ve mentioned many times that homeschooling one’s children while also working outside of the home is definitely possible, but it requires a fine balancing act. Some work full-time and others work a more selective part-time schedule like myself (more on this in my scheduling post). But with both types of workers, we MUST take care of ourselves before we can even think of adding homeschooling to the mix. Or at least we need to make a strong effort at doing this.

Last month’s post focused primarily on getting sleep, however I provided several questions for us moms to ponder. This included things like what you are eating, what your spiritual life is like, if you have hobbies, etc. This month I want to remind you that you do have permission to give yourself – the mom – time away from your kids…and from work. When was the last time you had any amount of quality peace and quiet or just a moment to yourself to do whatever you wanted? Yesterday? Last month? The beginning of time?

Through the interactions I’ve seen on other posts, especially the ones about scheduling, I assume many of us don’t put much emphasis on scheduling time to relax. Because of the demands of the day or season, we are physically or emotionally hard-pressed to get much more accomplished in a given day or week. This leaves little space or time for ourselves. It can be almost impossible to get a real break. Do you think this is good? Do you consider rest important or a moot point?

Consider this….God doesn’t think it is a moot point…

“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. (Gen 2:2 ESV)”

Did God rest because he was tired? I don’t think so. I believe that part of God’s desire to rest was so he could actually enjoy his creation – to take it all in. It is difficult to do that if you can’t even stop to smell the roses – if you can’t pause long enough to observe the beauty around you. And since God knows all before it happens, he knew that when he was done with his masterpiece he would rest. The Lord planned on resting on the 7th day before his work even began. He MADE time for it. I believe he gave himself this gift to enjoy it all.

Even Jesus put a great deal of concern on rest and work life balance…

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31, NLT)”

Jesus acknowledges the great need for resting the mind, soul, and body. This gives a person time to decompress, to think, to take a breath of fresh air, and even to eat. It provides a moment to renew one’s self. By doing this, continuing our hectic lives becomes just a little bit easier. We can now enter the stress of our days with a new gift of clarity and maybe even an extra boost of peace and energy.

Ecclesiastes is a book full of wonderful wisdom and advice….I suggest you read the whole 3rd chapter.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: (Ecc 3:1 ESV)”

Not only is there a time for work, toil, learning, etc., but there is also a time for peace, quiet, and rest. Work is worthless if you cannot sit back and enjoy life from time to time. All the hustle and bustle with no play is not worth running your body into the ground. It will totally hinder your ability as a homeschooling mom. I would rather see us busy homeschoolers take many much needed breaks rather than cram tons of work into a short period of time. This way our bodies and minds can be renewed regularly.

How do we do this?

Now I know that working and homeschooling is a fine balance. Time doesn’t appear from thin air. But I want us to consider making it more of a priority to take care of ourselves. We must make a way. Start with some of the suggestions below…

  • First, pray! Ask God to help you with your time. Ask him for clarity on designing not only a schedule that will get everything done but also one that leaves room for rest and enjoyment. He doesn’t want you to never have fun or rest–quite the opposite actually.
  • Second, find someone to take the kids off your hands once a week or so. Recruit another mom to swap time with you, leave the kids with dad, use the in-laws, hire a baby sitter, or schedule some kind of class for the kids which leaves YOU time. If you have older kids, enlist them to watch their siblings. Many churches have “date nights” or “mom’s night out” too. Some sports places also have free kid nights on select nights. Our karate place does this so parents can have a night out.
  • Take a daily walk – in quiet. Use this time to ponder the day, be in the presence of the Lord, or to rest your mind.
  • Go for a drive…with all the windows rolled down and the music turned up. This one is possible with kids in the car. You either can’t hear them or they fall asleep! It’s a total win win. 😉
  • Go to a park by yourself and read. Pick a park that IS NOT seeping children out of every corner.
  • Go lay out in the sun and soak up some vitamin D.
  • Get up early. (not for me 😉 )
  • Set up a strict rest time every day in your home and don’t break the routine.
  • Take a 15 minute decompression time in your car before coming home from work. I also do this before starting work.
  • Find a hobby. Mine is my little urban farm. The kids help with this frequently, but a lot of my quiet time is spent staring at my tomato plants or milking a goat.
  • Put more emphasis on friendships. This is more important than you realize.
  • Give yourself a coffee date with a good book or just people watch.
  • Go get a massage or mani/pedi…my favorite!
  • Join a sports or exercise group. I do karate!
  • If all else fails, take a mental health day at work if you can afford it.

There are so many more things you can do by yourself that are not included above. Be creative. Please make yourself top priority as a working homeschool mom. I want you to succeed! Give yourself the gift of time. Plan for it and schedule it. If it wasn’t important, it would not have been important to the Lord.

What do you do for yourself? What do you plan to do for yourself in the future? I’d love to hear!

About the author

Heather

Heather is a Christian gal who lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she married her high school sweetheart in 2001. She has 3 children ranging in ages from 4-12. Asperger's and sensory processing issues are also in the mix. At this time, Sonlight is their main curriculum which Heather and her husband find nice for the working homeschool family. Heather juggles the responsibilities of being a part-time RN and police officer's wife. She has a reputation of creating kitchen disasters, but loves collecting new recipes and learning about natural, holistic living. Also in the family is a bunch of animals like chickens, goats, a few dogs, and cats....

2 Comments

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  • Rest is definitely something we moms give ourselves the least of. I squeeze in an hour a week with friends from work at a quick happy hour or lunch. I do treat myself to a 30 min power nap on Thurs since my 6 hour nights of sleep usually catches up with me by then. I remember when the kids were little and my husband was home with them while running a real estate business and working a part-time job, we had ‘family siesta’ where all of us were quiet for 2 hours a day. It was great. But those went aside when the kids started school.

  • The more you need rest, the harder it is to achieve. My situation is different, but I found I had to articulate my need to friends and family to get them to make room in their busy schedules to take my kids every week. It was hard to approach them because of my 10-year-old’s special needs, but it has made me a better mom.

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