Having kids is a sacrifice.
If more parents went into parenting understanding, accepting and at least somewhat preparing for this, I think their jobs would be a lot less stressful!
Whether you home educate or not, you are teaching, training and raising your children. YOU are responsible for their education, even if you delegate that responsibility to someone else, and let’s be honest… it’s a whole LOT of work!
This costs you your time, your energy, your planning, your patience, your money, your relationships, your hobbies… there isn’t an area of your life that you don’t sacrifice for your children.
With this in mind, being built up in the Lord, and in your marriage, is so crucial; to have balance in all the hats that home educating moms wear is what keeps us pressing on day after day, month after month, year after year.
These may be tips you’ve heard before, or they may be one’s you never thought of…
(1) Devotional Time
I know, I know you’ve probably heard is a million times, but you NEED this.
If you don’t have this down yet, then take the dilligence and discipline to make it happen. And really, in the morning is your best bet. Trust me, I am still dealing with horrendous morning sickness and exhaustion from my 7th little blessing growing inside of me, yet I make it PRIORITY to get up BEFORE everyone else and read my Bible, go over my notes from Sunday and Thursday services, pray over the people in my church and small group, and cover my day, and my husband and children in prayer.
Make it a Habit!
(2) Date Night, Family Night, Sabbath
A date night is for you and your husband, alone and is, preferably, at least 4 hours away from the kids. Talk, plan, cry, snuggle, eat, watch a movie, laugh, and go shopping. Just get away!
Family Night is for you to see your husband interact with your kids and for you all to build memories lounging on the floor eating popcorn and playing board games, reading ANOTHER chapter of a book that you just can’t put down, running to the park and playing kickball in the feild, moseying around the Science Museum or Costco isles you’ve never explored before… every week.
Sabbath is a time where chores are lax, we all sleep in and snuggle way too late into the day, and everyone knows that plans are at our own discression. Discussions rise up, fears are vanquished, dreams are cultivated, rejuvinating happens, and true strength is built.
(3) When Dad is Home, GO TO HIM!
In our 10 tips of 10 years of marraige video, my husband talks a lot about this. He is a BIG avocate and reminds the kids constantly when they come to me with questions or concerns that “DAD IS HOME! WHEN DAD IS HOME YOU COME TO ME. Mommy answers all these questions all day long, now you run these things through me.”
The amount of descisions I need to make goes from 10,000,000,000 down to only a few and I feel like I can go from running to a nice walking pace, maybe even sit down and tune out for a while.
(4) Church Involvement
If you’re not participating in the Women’s Ministry at your church, then I suggest you start. That weekly Bible study that you think you can’t fit in, that “secret santa” program that seems like too big of a committment, or those game nights and prayer meetings you’re too tired to go to… just GO! Never, ever do I leave any of these events thinking, “Man I would have been so much better off watching my Netflix show in my bed then getting away from my normal day to day and opening up to my sisters about the things I am facing and getting wise counsel and prayer…”
Again, you’re exhausted, your busy, I get it. Beleive it or not, we ALL are… but just go.
If you do not have a home church, PLEASE FIND ONE! Find one that teaches the WHOLE BIBLE and that seeks to apply it and live it out. Preferably a church that teaches the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse… whole counsel.
(5) Food and Exercise These are important. You have a lot of things to balance, and in my case, a baby I’m growing inside of you! You also need to keep in mind the MANY MANY years of endurance and energy required of you. You NEED to take care of my body so you can take care of my family.
Eat real food, cut out that garabe drinks and snacks and start up a decent exercist routine to keep yourself in shape. Everyone will thank you for it… who won’t benefit from this?
Forget what the professionals say about 30 minutes a day, 4 hours a week… just do something. Make small habits like parking far away and walking, walking after dinner, doing more active actitivies for family nights, stretching in the AM and doing pilates in the PM… anything!
There are seasons for all sorts of activities and there are seasons that warrent different activities. I get that! My first trimesters involve me being pretty sedentary, so I focus more on eating well. When second trimester rolls around I get back into a good routine, then third trimester hits and I pretty much just walk. Post baby, I am trying to get a grasp on sleep and kids and life… then when baby is around 3 months or so I have a good grip on a routine again…. then I repeat this cycle over and over and over 🙂 – This the joy of life!! Enjoy each part and do your best!
(6) Please Get Organized
This removes so much stress.
Purge your house. Find new ways to handle all the back packs, random socks, toothbrushes, and school supplies – all those problem areas that bother you and just don’t flow smoothly. Invest time (and money) into getting organized with your TIME, MONEY, MEAL PLAN and FLOW OF THE HOME (chores, schedules/routines).
Again, life has it’s seasons and this looks different when you’re expecting a new baby, getting ready to move, have a chronically ill child, have toddlers vs high schoolers, or you’re traveling for a long period of time. Whatever this looks like in your season of life, getting organized is an AMAZING way that any women striving to manage her house house well will benefit from.
(7) What can you let go?
In order to home educate… you have to educate.
Mind Boggling isn’t it??
So what’s most imporant?
Example: I used to NOT BE ABLE to do anything in the afternoon if my house wasn’t spotless after lunch. I realized that as long as the house is clean before bed and for the next morning, I was okay! So I let go of my strict standards for that part of the day so that we could focus on what the afternoon hours could hold instead. (They still do chores after lunch… just not as many).
Example: I used to rewuire my kids to do their devotions straight way in the monring, like I do. I realzied that they actaully can invest more brain power and are more quieted down if they do them in the afternoon (during the littles nap) or before bed. I got it! When they did them didn’t matter, but that their hearts were ready when they did!
Example: A detailed meal plan doesn’t work for my family. Instead I have learned that having a specific peice of meat I am going to cook for that meal made things so much more flexible. If I found some beans I forgot about, we aren’t STUCK with chicken pasta.. I can do chicken tacos instead!
This made the produce and other odds and ends in the fridge and pantry not go to waste quite so often.
Example: Extracurricular activités outside the home sound so … FUN! Sports, music, co-ops!! Oh they sound so glorious!! Until you have to pack 7 kids into a van in February and keep the babies sitting contently for several hours a week while you’re all starving for dinner and crabby from rushing feeling of so much going on…
Maybe this isn’t you, but this is definitely us in our season.
We decided that if it can be done at home, we will pray about it. If it requires us to go somewhere (outside of church events), then it’s probably a no unless there is a friend that is also joining and can take you, or your old enough to drive yourself.
WE CAN’T DO EVERYHTING! But we can do what we ARE doing, and we can do it WELL.
If you notice this list doesn’t include things that simply feed the flesh or include idle time doing nothing to build yourself or your family up. I don’t believe these “flesh feeding ‘me time’ expenditures” are truly restful… These are all prodcutive things that feed your spirit, your mind, your foundation. These are the ways that we can find time to truly take care of “us”. I am not suggesting that a nice bath and a Netflix day isn’t “good” or is “ungodly” (I love both of these things!!!!!), I am simply suggesting that implementing these things on a REGULAR BASIS prevents burn out in the long run as they not only give you that “break” you feel you need, but they actually build you up in the areas that are often the core of why we feel burnt out to begin with. 🙂
Praise the Lord Jesus for His enduring Word and everlating hope!!
Marantha Lord Jesus!