Dear homeschooling parent
You know that feeling when you wake up and find you don’t know if you are still doing the right thing? You started with so much spunk and excitement, but now you wake up completely unmotivated. When you wish it was easy, but it’s not? I am on that journey at the moment.
I have realized a few things while on this journey, that I would like to share with you. These are not quick fixes, like an ABC or 123 of how to get yourself out of “homeschool burnout”. These are just the musings of a mom learning how to navigate these treacherous waters. Learning how to grow as a person, while leading my kids to do the same.
1. Get to know yourself
I have realized that I need to get to know myself better. This is difficult for me as my life, as with all of us, has been fraught with many “shaping moments”, good and bad, that define how I think about things in general. These “beliefs” have had a major impact on my life. I need to wade through the noise of what I was taught or what happened to me in my life and find a place within myself that I can call home. These beliefs scream at us from deep down inside and push us, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, in the direction of what we believe. We all know bad beliefs are detrimental, but even good beliefs can pose a problem.
Let’s take something silly like, “I believe that my children should eat apples every day, as I was made to eat apples because they are healthy.” In itself this belief is not detrimental, but when it is fixated on and you cannot be flexible concerning it, it can drive you and those around you crazy. And when your child decides that he doesn’t like apples, you get all upset and the relationship is strained as it conflicts with your belief of what that child should be eating. Even if this is a good belief and it pushes you to do this “good thing”, it also just might push you over the edge.
These things inevitably have an impact on our relationships and our homeschool journey. If I can work from rest, being at home within myself, not being compelled and pushed forward, everything should go smoother. If I can just be flexible concerning things that can cause unnecessary friction and things that are not “death and destruction’, as I tell my kids, then I can be more peaceful too. This, my friends, isn’t easy and is not a “quick fix” for that homeschool burnout!
2. The children are not the only ones that develop
I am finding that I need to make some space for myself to develop as a person. Development does not stop when you reach adulthood. I have not yet arrived, I am still changing and progressing emotionally, physically and spiritually. Many times I feel like I am going backward, but sometimes we need to take two steps back to leap forward. I need to rethink those beliefs and allow for change and growth. I am learning to allow myself to have good and bad days and have grace with myself while I navigate these changes that come with age and, hopefully, maturity. I don’t have all the answers yet, but at least I know a bit more than I did yesterday.
3. Cutting myself some slack
I am learning to cut myself some slack and not be so scared to “mess up”. I am human, I am not a robot. I have feelings and cannot just perform on demand. If I can learn to be more understanding with myself and take a breather from it all for a while and not feel guilty, I can come back with a fresh attitude and more grace with myself and my loved ones.
4. Being more present
I am trying to be more present while being with my family. I sometimes find myself pulling back and being preoccupied with other things that are concerning me while I should be engaging with and loving my family. I find that the times I am at home within myself, I can much more easily and freely engage with others and not be so preoccupied, tiring myself with fears and concerns, like whether my kids will be healthy if they don’t eat those apples…. I do feel more refreshed and content when I am connected to my family.
This is by no means an exhaustive “Homeschool Burnout” guide. You can find those everywhere online, giving you a myriad of fixes. These are just a few thoughts that might help in those trying times when you are changing and growing as a human being whilst leading a new generation of people to do the same.