It’s no secret that our lives change forever the moment our children are born. There are two different time periods: who you were before you had kids, and who you are now as a mother. Add on homeschooling parent, and life changes even more drastically. For me, and so many moms, we can lose ourselves in the process of mothering and homeschooling. In this post I share how I am finding myself again, and things that I do that bring joy outside of being a mother and homeschooling parent.
Don’t Forget About You!
From the moment my oldest son was born I knew I was meant to mother. I was more than happy to leave my old life of clubbing with friends, spontaneous adventures, napping whenever I wanted—just complete freedom. I gladly traded it for motherhood because I thought that it was required. I thought that letting motherhood consume me in every way imaginable was normal. Because of that, making time for myself has always felt uncomfortable. It felt wrong.
I’ve known for a while that I’ve needed to deliberately take time for myself, but I didn’t know where to begin. Imagine that, not knowing where to begin to make yourself smile outside of being a mom. This mothering thing is a trip.
It wasn’t until someone asked me pointedly, “how do you make time for yourself as a homeschooling mom?”, that I had to pause. I realized that it was a problem that I didn’t consistently take time for myself. Sure, I had the occasional massage or pedicure. But, I was not consistently scheduling time for me. Time that was all my own to do things that remind me that I am an actual person outside of motherhood and homeschooling.
As mothers, it’s terribly easy to forget about ourselves. We often let our wants and needs fade away into the background as we take care of the things and people around us. What’s difficult is making yourself a priority as well. If you’re like me, taking consistent “me” time may feel incredibly selfish. But, I promise you, it’s not. We need it.
“You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people.”
Get (back) to Reading
I used to be an avid reader. With being a mom and now homeschooling parent, I couldn’t remember the last time that I completed a book that wasn’t curriculum. However, my passion for reading has been reignited. It may take me longer to complete a book these days, but I love it all the same.
Reading may seem simple, but it’s a great way to relax and learn new things, or fall in love with characters and a storyline not featured on TV. Use that library card and get a book for yourself next time. There are also several websites that offer free or reasonably priced digital books.
Sweat it Out
Exercise is an awesome way to reduce stress, invite relaxation, and help you feel good. Take a walk around the block and soak up some Vitamin D. If you want a more formal workout, joining a gym or watching workout videos online is also a great option. I started out exercising at home with YouTube videos. Two of my favorite fitness channels are Grow With Jo and Sydney Cummings Houdyshell both will give you great workout and have you feeling amazing.
Exercising gives me a mental release after stressing about curricula, homeschooling vs. unschooling, etc. It feels good to simply concentrate on challenging myself to get stronger with each rep or exercise.
Spend Time with Adults
Spending time with people other than your children is so beneficial. We obviously love our kids, but having time to let your hair down and have fun apart from them is vital. Luckily, my mother lives nearby and is able to watch my kids so my husband and I can have date nights. I also am so grateful for friends that also homeschool. We have made it a point to get together each month to hang out and have fun.
Learn a Language/Skill
Taking time to learn a language or skill is another opportunity to take time out for yourself. I have been in love with the French language since college, but I’ve never been fluent. I found out about Duolingo and I’ve been hooked ever since. Each night after the kids have gone to bed, I’ll open the app and spend 10-15 minutes doing lessons and others activities. I’ve been doing this for 160 days, so I guess you could say I’m committed. It feels good to increase my knowledge of French while I journey to become fluent. If you are looking for an engaging FREE app to learn a language, I would absolutely recommend Duolingo.
Picking up or improving on a skill is also great outlet for releasing some of the stress that comes with being a homeschool parent. Experimenting with art has been very fun and relaxing for me. I get so focused on the task at hand that it feels like everything else momentarily floats away. DollarTree and Five Below have a variety of art supplies at a reasonable rate.
Will you make time for yourself?
These are just a few things that I am currently doing to make time for myself. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t feel guilty, but it is getting easier. Just remember that you matter, doing things that bring you joy outside of being a homeschooling mom matters. You got this!