The Importance of Self-Care As a Homeschool Mom
As Moms, we spend a lot of time taking care of our kids and making sure their physical and mental health needs are provided for. I don’t know about you, but I find myself asking my son questions all day long about how he is feeling and how his day is going. If I’m honest with myself though, I should be turning around and asking myself these questions too. The community of homeschool moms has helped me discovered the importance of stress relief and self-care.
Wowie! Burnout sure happens as a homeschool mom, doesn’t it? Especially towards the end of the school year. How can we avoid or minimize the impact of burnout? What can we do this summer to refresh and refuel to begin a new school year? Our mental health is extremely important to be able to take care of our kids every day and help them thrive.
First of all, you are enough!! Really, you are. Don’t worry about having the *right* homeschool books, taking the *right* field trips, joining the *right* co-op. Know what your kids want? You! Truly, all they want is an engaged parent who loves them and will help them learn. All the other stuff can sometimes take the place of the value of 1:1 interaction and time with our kids.
Homeschool mom, you are enough and your kids are grateful (even if they don’t always show it!)
Self-Care Tips for Homeschool Moms.
I hear and see it time and time again, we are our own worst enemies aren’t we? So often the burnout comes from our own internal pressure rather than from the kids or homeschooling itself. This is why self-care is so extremely important, especially in this high-pressure social media era. This concept of self-care seems to be something new. In previous generations this wasn’t something that was discussed. We can theorize all day as to why this is, but truly there is a need for self-care in today’s culture. Without it we burn out fast and meltdown alongside our kids.
Here are some simple, easy tips to implement more self-care into your homeschool day-
- Don’t go at it alone. Embrace the community of homeschoolers around the world, and try to connect in person instead of just online. Moms teach other moms, and understand one another, in a way no one else can. We are hardwired for community and support. No one is meant to go at it alone.
Involve relatives, neighbors, or friends. Just as above, mamas need help and that’s OK. Even if it’s just an hour a week that Dad can help kids review math facts and read some stories so you can have a break! Do you have a relative with a job your student is interested in? See if your student can shadow or have a once-a-month Saturday afternoon learning from them. Perhaps an elderly neighbor is a retired teacher and would love some time with children. Or get together with other homeschool moms and work out a rotation for teaching different subjects.
- Brain Dump. This is a funny phrase but an amazing concept. Take 10-15 minutes when you know you won’t be interrupted to work on this. Grab a journal or a piece of paper and start writing what comes to your mind . It doesn’t need to follow grammar rules or be formal writing. You might end up writing out To Dos, reflections on the day, stressors, conversations you’ve had recently, dinner ideas, etc. Whatever is on your mind, let the rabbit trail go and write.
- Have a plan. When we’re stressed and busy it seems like the worst possible time to take extra time to plan. However, this is the very best time to plan! Take an extra 5-10 minutes in the morning to make a game plan for your day. Spend a few minutes after breakfast on Monday morning to get a family plan scheduled for the week, it will help immensely.
- Delegate and let go! Use your brain dump and your plan to get an actual To Do list together. Spend some time with it and figure out what you can delegate to someone else, what immediately needs to be done and what can be let go. You’ll be surprised by what you can hand off to the kids or just let go all together.
- Pamper those feet. Don’t have time to take a bath? Something magical happens when we care for our feet. Give yourself a nice foot soak to unwind. Kids even enjoy them too. In our house, we foot soak while we read Literature sometimes. It’s so refreshing for both of us. Give yourself a little pedicure and enjoy!
- Exercise. Study after study has shown how much stress relief is provided by exercise. Find at least 30 minutes a day to move your body. Have a dance party with the kids, go on a nature hike, or do some yoga. Whatever you choose, get moving and see how much it helps your stress levels.
Meditation or prayer. Again, multiple studies have been done to show how beneficial prayer and/or meditation are to our mental health. Take some time to learn the basics and practice them on your own, and to teach them to your children. Guided meditations are often included in part of a Montessori classroom and Maria Montessori was a proponent of this as well.
Pick a couple of these and begin with 5-10 minutes a day. If you begin incorporating these over the summer while school is not in session, it will build a better foundation for self-care in the school year.
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Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.