Self-care isn’t easy. It takes time and commitment. What rejuvenates one mom may not rejuvenate another, so we offer the following tips to start you thinking and hopefully planning how you are going to take care of yourself.
Dear Homeschool Mom,
Are you taking care of yourself?
I gently asked that question recently to a struggling mom. We had talked about the educational things – math strategies, etc. – but as we talked I could hear the weariness and discouragement in her voice. And when I asked the question, her words were choked: “No,” she answered through the tears. She was not taking care of herself, and she was not in good shape. This mama was in desperate need of taking some “Me Time.”
I write this blog for her and many like her (maybe including you) who have resolved to keep going and not come up for air until everyone has graduated. Responsible, committed, hard-working moms like yourself may need to apply the advice heard on passenger flights: “If the cabin loses pressure and the oxygen masks deploy, put your own on before assisting others.” The idea is, “You can’t take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself.”
Self-Care Tips for Homeschool Moms
Take naps at the same time as your children and let everything else just wait. Wait?? Yes. It will wait. A fun idea to make your nap even more treat-like is to change your pillowcase and spray a bit of lavender or eucalyptus essential oil onto your pillow.
Or how about this? Schedule a quiet time for you and your children every day with audio stories. Tell them they don’t need to sleep, but they do have to rest for an hour while everyone listens to audio stories. Often you will find that while listening they drift off to sleep, which both extends your time and refreshes them. Make this hour your quiet time, also. Shut off your phone and answering machine, close the curtains, and spend this time in whatever way refreshes you.
Take simple small steps towards health that you find realistic and enjoyable. Start the day with five minutes of stretches and jumping jacks, or turn on some music and walk, march, or jog in place. Integrate physical activities you enjoy into time spent with your children. This summer our family learned the new sport of pickleball. So fun!
Take a hot bath. Add flower petals, Epsom salt, or bubble bath. Turn on your favorite mellow music. Light some candles. Stay in the tub so long you wrinkle and raisin.
Give yourself a mani or pedi. Add a few drops of essential oil and body wash to a pretty bowl of warm water and soak your extremities while you watch a favorite episode of something or listen to a podcast.
Be kind to yourself. Many of us have learned to bully ourselves. When you notice you are bullying yourself, take a step back and ask, “If my best friend or my spouse or my child were in this same situation, how would I treat them?” Now, treat yourself with that same kindness.
Take the pressure off. Take an inventory of what you are expecting of yourself – your parenting responsibilities and goals, your responsibilities in running your household, your relationship commitments, your personal goals. If you are expecting too much, then it is time to take the pressure off. Are there goals you can put on hold? Expectations you can simply drop? Responsibilities you can outsource? Tasks you could do in an easier way?
Perhaps these few thoughts can help or maybe trigger your own on how to care for yourself. The important thing is to do it. Realize that taking care of yourself is essential to your well-being and the happy functioning of your family. So start today. Take those first steps. Come up for air.