"I could never homeschool! I don't have the patience for it."
How many times as a homeschooler have you heard this? Myself, more times than I can count.
Where on Earth did people get the idea that homeschoolers have infinite patience or that we never get burnt out??? People don't assume you have boundless patience because you are a parent but the moment you say homeschool ideas of saint worthy patience pop into people's minds.
I have to admit, it makes me laugh! I do not have a lot of patience. My kids will tell people I am driving the crazy train and I think they are secretly enjoy the fact that they help to put me in the driver's seat.
There are ways to ward off the craziness and parental burnout. Here are mine:
1. Mommy Time-Out. Calling for one will likely make your kids giggle but trust me, you will thank yourself. When I call a mommy time out it is usually for 10-15 min. I go in my room, shut the door and turn on the music. They have to quietly occupy themselves for that time and they cannot come talk to me unless someone is bleeding or dying. ;-) If you have little ones who you do not want left unsupervised that long, do what my mom did.........designated quiet time. Have them lay in their beds for a designated amount of time. They don't have to sleep but they have to either look at books or play with a quiet toy. I know 10-15 min doesn't sound like a lot but you would be amazed at how much better you feel.
2. Take time to enjoy the things you love. I love music, cooking, books, gardening, soap making and Herbalism. I don't have as much time as I would like to dedicate to all of them but I try to fit it in whenever I can. A great way to do this is to share what you love with your kids. That won't work? Call a mommy time out and kill two birds with one stone. Are the things you are super passionate about complicated and require lots of time and total concentration? Get up before the kids, go to bed after them, work out a time with your significant other where they take the kids so you get your time or work out a schedule with someone of your friends where take turns babysitting for one another. Being a mom doesn't mean giving up who you are. Sure, you will probably do it on occasion because that is what we do but the important thing is to get the balance back.
3. Kid-free time with your spouse. One of the biggest pieces of relationship advice is that you need to have a date night. Well, lets be realistic for a moment...most people do not have the ability to go out kid-free on a regular basis. That doesn't mean you can't get kid-free time with your spouse. Have a picnic after the kids go to bed, curl up on the couch and have wine and dessert, cuddle up in front of a movie, have the kids play in their room or outside so that the two of you can get 10-15 min. of adult conversation, get up before the kids and have coffee together, cook together or drag them into the laundry room for a kiss that won't be accompanied with any variation of, "ewwwww", "GROSS" or "Get a room!" As parents we provide the foundation that our family's stability rest on, if the foundation is rocky the house will come down.
4. Spend time with your friends. This is when getting involved with local homeschooling groups can be of great benefit. I get to see many of my friends on a weekly/biweekly basis because they are also homeschoolers. I also go to a monthly book club meeting (no kids) and we'll get together every 2-3 months for dinner at a local restaurant. The only kids are the ones that are still nursing. It is so nice to be able to sit and enjoy a meal and adult conversation. Wherever, whenever and how ever you get together isn't important....what is important is the maintaining that connection with people who are important to you.
5. Pamper yourself. People hear the word 'pamper' and start seeing dollar signs, I promise you this doesn't have to be an expensive proposition. Go out and buy you a bag of 100 tea lights (they are dirt cheap) and take long baths once a week by candle. Hell, go wild and add some soft music, a book and a glass of wine. Like iced coffee? Buy a bottle of your favorite flavoring (they aren't expensive and will last a while) and enjoy a glass during your mommy time-outs. Heck, enjoy one every afternoon just because you can. Do you like sugar/salt scrubs? Make them! They take seconds (no kidding, I make them all the time), feel great and you probably have most if not all of the ingredients in your house right now. Love being outside? Get up in the morning and watch the sunrise or grab a glass of tea and watch the sun go down. BTW, lose the shoes and feel the grass under your feet! Need more ideas? Check Pinterest, there are thousands.
Now, for the disclaimer.....
The writer in no way guarantees that you will not go crazy or burn out. In fact, she guarantees that at some point you will go completely cookoo for coco puffs. The writer does, however, promise that the above suggestions will help to reduce the number of times your family has to pull out your special white jacket.
What do you do to keep the craziness and burn out at bay? Share it in the comments!
Have a wonderful day!