This week we took a week off from school to enjoy Winter Break. My kids were so excited to see a few playdates in our plans. While I was writing their fun activities for the week on the calendar I wrote in my own “playdate”. I was looking forward to checking out a new running store in town and having lunch out. Alone. After spending a couple of hours out I felt refreshed and relaxed. Maybe my kids felt a little refreshment too from getting some space from Mommy. When was the last time you did that? When have you set aside time to go do something for fun without the kids?
It is not uncommon for me to hear homeschool moms say, “I can’t remember the last time I did something for me to just relax.” If they do take time to go out for coffee with a friend or read a book of their own for a while they are shocked at how good it felt. Why is that? Why are homeschool moms so surprised when they get a break from all of their daily demands?
As moms in particular we are the nurturers in our families. Our children always need our help in one way or the other and they always will. Whether they are small and need to be put on the potty or they are older and need a ride to soccer practice or eventually when they are adults and need help with the grandchildren, our kids will always need us. As long as you have a child whether they admit it or not they will need you. That’s the joy of being Mom, you get to be there for your child. However, all the needs of your family can drown your own needs as a person. It’s sad for me to see moms become overwhelmed, suffer from health problems, or drop out of homeschooling altogether due to fatigue and frustration. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see moms more fulfilled and energized because they are growing as individuals by pursuing a personal goal or passion project on some level? Doesn’t every mom feel encouraged after meeting a friend for coffee, taking a walk, spending time on a favorite hobby, or for goodness sake taking a nap? These are valuable things WE need. Do we even get to say that? If you don’t believe it is important and necessary, then making time for yourself won’t happen. You will nurture everyone else except your own self.
If it’s been a while since you took some time for yourself then I would suggest starting out small so you (and your family) can adjust.
- Leave the kids with Dad and go for a short walk.
- Go into your bedroom, close the door, and call a friend to chat for a few minutes while the kids have screen time.
- Sit down and make a list of five things to do that make you feel happy and pick one to put on the calendar. Remember you are not being selfish.
- Maybe you do take time out for yourself fairly often. Is there another mom you know who could use a break too? Reaching out to encourage her to join you or offering to watch her kids for an hour might be the thing that will give her a boost to persevere for that week.
Taking care of yourself is healthy. Taking a break is healthy. You are investing in your own success as a person, a parent, and a homeschool teacher.
Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog sarahswritingcafe.blogspot.com and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.