I’m convinced. One of the things I would do more of if I could go back to my fifteen years of homeschooling is to do more for myself without feeling guilty. I would still give 100% but not 150%. Who has the time you say with a schedule full of field trips, co-ops, basketball practice, potty training, and laundry? You do. Sometimes we just have to say no to one more thing that our children want to do and say yes to something that would support our well-being as a person. After all stress can be accumulative like a boiling pot of water and we need to let the steam out.
A marathon runner knows they must pace themselves if they are to make it to the finish line. That’s what we must do as homeschool moms- we must pace ourselves to avoid burnout and make it across the finish line. The goal cannot be only to get to high school graduation with well trained, God loving, kids, full of Christian character. We must make it across the finish line as well, still intact.
As a pastor’s wife I encourage young homeschool moms to go out every week if possible and take time for themselves. Rejuvenate, take a walk, have coffee with a friend, ride your bike by yourself, exercise, get a pedicure, anything that supports your emotional and mental health.
Sarah, homeschool mother of eight, calls it Mental Health Wednesdays. It started out as sessions for counseling and became so healthful she continued on and found wonderful ways to refresh herself. She says, “It’s put a bounce in my step and has given me a more positive outlook on life. I feel happier.”
How can it be done at your house? Older children can watch the younger children. A Starbucks card or pet fish can be payment for watching younger siblings every couple of weeks. Anything that’s important to the older child can be used as barter. And there’s always grandma or swapping with another mom who needs time out too.
So don’t wait another day! Give yourself a New Year’s Gift: Declare a regular mom’s day out for yourself. Take a regular Mental Health Wednesday. You will be happier for it and be assured to make it across the finish line still standing and ready to go on to the next phase of your life.