Mom, Are You Missing From The Schedule?
You make time for math and language arts and science and history and field trips and housekeeping and meal making and your husband and your church and your business and your neighbors…but what about you? Do you regularly take time to rest and indulge your own interests and passions? If not, you aren’t just hurting yourself.
Confessions of a Selfish Mom
I’ve regularly taken time to play tennis, scrapbook, write, travel to speak at events, spend time with girlfriends, and vacation alone with my husband since I started homeschooling my six children 13 years ago. Some people may think I’m selfish, but I don’t care! I don’t feel guilty because I know I can’t continue to do what I do without time for me. I tried being a mommy martyr in the early years and it made me crazy.
I left my career as a Christian psychologist to stay home and care for my first child when God made that calling clear. When I quit my job, I figured I had forfeited my right to time for myself. After all, I was no longer contributing to our family income. By quitting my job, I cut off contact with my co-workers and had no close friends or family in the area to make up for it. I became depressed very quickly. I knew I had to make a change.
With encouragement from family, I started a moms’ Bible study with acquaintances from church. The group became a lifeline for me. We had time in the Word, time to pray, and plenty of time to play with the kids and without them. These moms not only provided social support, but modeled the importance of having time away from day-to-day demands.
Why Taking Time Away is Crucial
As a Christian counselor, I reminded clients that rest is a biblical concept. Jesus often withdrew to spend time alone with God, with one person, or with a small group. It’s true that He didn’t have hobbies like you and I have, but that’s because He’s God! Just to be clear—you and I aren’t. Hobbies are a way we can connect with God and with others, fulfilling the greatest commandments. Time alone with the Lord, with our husband, or good friends renews our strength so we can continue to do the important work we’re called to do. Taking the time prevents emotional and physical disorders that can bring your homeschooling to a halt. For more on this, read 16 Mistakes Weary Homeschool Moms Make.
Taking time away is important for your well-being, but it’s important for another reason you may not have considered: people are watching you. Your daughter is watching you, determining what it means to be a homeschooling mom. Is she getting a healthy picture? Your son is watching you, deciding what to expect of his own wife one day. Are his expectations realistic? Your homeschool friends are watching you and evaluating themselves in comparison. Are you giving them permission to rest? Other mothers are watching you and are asking themselves if having more children or homeschooling would be a good choice for them. What will their answer be based on how you’re living?
How to Put Yourself on the Schedule
If you’ve decided you need to put yourself on the schedule, I applaud you. Here are some ideas for how to do that.
Start or join a Bible study or play group. Groups that provide child care are a wonderful opportunity for you to have whine-free time away. Play groups are an excellent way of building friendships for you and your kids.
Arrange for child care. Whether you exchange care responsibilities with a friend, hire a teen, or ask a family member for a break, this option is most effective if you have it on the schedule. Use the time for yourself or for your marriage.
Commit to a hobby schedule. Playing tennis was easy to make time for when I joined a league. Scrapbooking wasn’t as easy. Now I have scheduled time with my daughter and girlfriend that renews me every week. If you’re at home working on your hobby, make sure your family knows you aren’t available unless there’s a lot of blood!
Plan for daily alone time. I have time alone before the kids wake up that I use for devotions, exercise, and writing. Other moms have early risers and need to have their time in the evenings. The younger your kids are, the harder it is to have this time consistently. You might need to ask your husband to give you time when he is home, and you might even need to leave the house!
Have a regular vacation with your husband. You may not be able to afford to leave home. That’s okay! Talk with friends, family, and your faith family about providing care for your children even for a night. I have had family members and fellow homeschool families care for my children so my husband and I could have time together. We are so thankful for this! Even if it seems impossible, pray and God can make a way.
Do you have other ideas for putting yourself on the schedule?
Dr. Melanie Wilson is a psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six (ages 7 to 16). With her passion for having fun with her family, homeschooling, speaking, playing tennis, and scrapbooking, Melanie has had to learn to be organized. She’s developed a free meal planning ebook for subscribers to her blog, Psychowith6, where she shares other sanity-saving ideas for homeschoolers.