Homeschool Mom Self-Care
Guest Blog by Rebecca Miller
In the last few years, self-care has become an internet buzz-word. The word itself tends to conjure visions of bubble baths, manicures and spa days. Oftentimes, self-care seems like just another chore on an endless list of jobs that exhausted mothers are expected to complete. We can feel added pressure to make sure we are fitting in yet one more thing. As homeschool mamas, we have so much on our plates. After taking care of our household, our children and our jobs. So how can we be expected to prioritize a pedicure? But what if self-care, as in real self-care, doesn’t look like that at all? What does self-care look like as a homeschool mom?
What is Self Care?
Self-care is something all of us practice daily, or at least we should practice daily. Self-care includes brushing our teeth, fuelling our bodies with food and water. And believe it or not, even paying bills can be a form of self-care. Essentially, self-care is taking care of your whole self. You whole self including, physically, emotionally, socially, practically and spiritually. When all areas of our lives are in balance, it helps us have a general sense of wellness. Alternatively, when one or more of these areas is lacking, we can often feel rundown, tired, stressed or depressed. These feelings are ones that you want to avoid, which is why homeschool mom self-care is especially important.
What Self-Care is Not
Self-care is not just about pampering yourself. Because even things that feel awkward and uncomfortable can be forms of self-care. For example: Setting boundaries, washing dishes, and even having a difficult conversation can be considered self-care. Because these will benefit you in the future, despite the fact that they are not enjoyable in the moment.
Contrary to popular belief, the term “Self-Care” doesn’t mean selfish. As a parent, it can be extremely difficult and guilt-inducing to practice self-care in the beginning. For people who have been raised to be people pleasers, it can feel uncomfortable and strange to put themselves first. I have personally felt the “mom guilt” creep in when I have taken much needed time for myself to recharge.
Self-care does not have to cost money.
There are plenty of activities that can fill your bucket without affecting your wallet.
If you are just starting your self-care regimen. And are finding it difficult to put yourself first, you are not alone. A helpful tip for keeping guilt at bay, is to reframe your self-care in a way that benefits your children. For me, I know that I have much more patience when I am well-rested. So I tell myself “this nap will benefit the kids, because I will have more patience when I am not tired.” When I know that my actions are benefitting my kids, it can help quiet that inner critic. Which makes homeschool mom self-care so much more obtainable.
Why is Homeschool Mom Self-Care Important?
Self-Care is important for everyone, especially during the uncertain times we are facing during the pandemic. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 38% of Canadians say their mental health has declined due to Covid-19. Reports of anxiety and depression have risen in both children and their parents during the pandemic.
Self-care is about taking care of your health so you can be the best version of yourself. It also helps you be the best parent you can be for your kids. The fact is, parents who are well-rested and have full buckets, have more and tend to be more optimistic than those who are tired, stressed and emotionally depleted.
Is it selfish?
While it may feel selfish to take time for yourself. It’s especially important, because showing our kids that we are prioritizing our health, can help them grow into adults that will do the same. We already know that kids tend to mimic what we do, rather than what we say. Therefore if we are constantly neglect ourselves, while telling our kids that they need to make healthy choices, they are likely to think, “well mom doesn’t do that, why should I?”
However, when our kids see us taking time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea or read a book, they begin to think “Ok, this is what mom does to recharge.” This is especially true when we include our kids in the conversation. Because even young children can understand when you say, “Mama is really tired right now. I am going to lay here on the couch while you watch your show. I am resting my body so I can have more energy to play with you later!” And while little ones may not catch on right away, in time they will begin to normalize self-care as well.
When I was growing up.
When I was growing up, I remember how hard my mom worked keeping the house tidy, making meals and taking care of the household. I don’t remember her taking time to relax or care for herself. When I became a Mom, that image stuck with me, and I felt that I needed to be that way as well. Unfortunately, as many of us find out, when I neglected myself, I had little to give anyone else. Can you relate?
It took years for me to get over this false idea that I needed to put myself last. It really is something that so many of us are conditioned to believe is true. Once you can put down those ideas, you will find it easier to practice self-care.
Let me tell you a story
Last year I was working a lot at my job as a support worker. I was trying desperately to stockpile funds for Christmas, so I was taking on lots of extra shifts. I knew from experience that it was going to be hard on me mentally, so I made sure to schedule time to refill my bucket.
One day I came home from work to find that my oldest daughter had taken every single article of clothing out of her closet and thrown it around her room. There were clothes and toys everywhere. In my line of work, they teach us that all behaviour is communication. So I knew that my daughter was trying to communicate with me. My initial instinct was to get upset about the huge mess, but because my bucket was full, I was able to approach the situation in a much different way.
So, instead of reacting with anger, I was able to step back and realize my daughter needed something from me. And this was her way of telling me that she did. I asked my daughter, “What’s up, kiddo?” and invited her to help me reorganize her closet as we talked.
Remaining calm changed the situation.
I am not sharing this story because I want a pat on the back. Alternatively, I’m sharing this story because the truth is, if I hadn’t prioritized self-care, my reaction would have likely been very different. I don’t think I could have remained calm and thoughtful if I was at the end of my rope. Through sharing this story, I want you to know that by putting yourself first sometimes, you are also doing what is best for your family. Homeschool mom self-care is so important.
Finding Time for Homeschool Mom Self-Care.
Treating self-care as a priority is key. Some homeschool moms wake up before their kids so they can have 10-15 minutes of quiet time as they drink their coffee. Other homeschool moms stay up after their kids go to bed for the very same reason.
Another option, depending on the ages of your children, is to tell them that you will be busy for a certain amount of time and they need to work on their schoolwork or activities independently. During this set time you can go for a walk, have a shower, or do whatever self-care activity you’d like. As long as it fills your bucket.
You can also practice self-care in the same room as your children. While your children are in the living room watching a movie, or playing with their toys, you can have your earbuds in while you sit with them, and listen to your favourite podcast!
Scheduling self-care activities and treating them with the same importance as any other appointment, can really help as well. I have started blocking off times on the calendar for self-care so I don’t forget. The harsh reality is that we tend to find time for things that are a priority. When we say “I don’t have time” it simply means it is not a big enough priority.
Therefore, putting self-care on the calendar is one way to make it part of your daily routine. Additionally, another way is to set reminders on your phone, to remind you that it’s time to take care of yourself. And you could also set an intention each morning to practice one (or more) self-care activities, depending on what you feel like doing that day. Let’s face it, some days organizing the closet feels more like a chore than self-care!
Where Do I Start With Homeschool Mom Self-Care?
The type of activities you choose as self-care will be entirely up to you. Based on your individual tastes and things that you enjoy. It’s really important not to judge your choices. If watching a silly video because it makes you feel good is self-care for you, then do that! No one is allowed to judge your form of self-care. Are you looking for ideas for homeschool mom self-care?
Here are some examples of homeschool mom self-care activities that don’t cost anything.
Self care examples:
- Speak with a therapist
- Talk to a friend
- Go for a walk
- Make healthy food choices
- Take some alone time
- Have a hot shower
- Spend time in nature
- Spend time with pets
- Move your body in a joyful way
- Snuggle with your kids or significant other
- Sit by the water
- Have a cup of tea
- Listen to an uplifting podcast
- Plan a real or imagined future trip
- Look at funny memes
- Go for a drive
- Make a vision board
Important Reminder: Self-care doesn’t have to cost money and it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Whatever it is that makes you feel energized, joyful and healthy is your self-care. I’d love to hear your self-care ideas and strategies. And I want to encourage you that you’ve got this, Mama.
About Rebecca Miller:
Rebecca Miller is a seasoned homeschool mom of four children. She has a beautiful passion for delight driven, heart based learning. Rebecca’s goal is to inspire other home educating parents. While creating and fostering a supportive and inclusive community. We are so thankful for her contributions to the Schoolio Guest Blogs!
You can learn more about Rebecca and Heart Based Homeschoolers on her website: www.heartbasedhomeschoolers.ca
Read more guest blogs by Rebecca Miller:
Important Lessons Learned From Helping around The House
“Learning is happening all around us, all the time. Even when we are not following a curriculum, or sitting at a desk with a workbook, educational opportunities arise every day. One of the most common areas that children learn through experience is in the area of housework. There are many important lessons learned from helping around the house. When children are allowed and encouraged to help out around the house (ie. Cooking, laundry, sweeping floors) they learn many skills that they will take into adulthood.” Read Important Lessons Learned From Helping Around the House.
How Do You Homeschool With a Toddler?
“Are you wondering if it’s even possible to homeschool multiple children of different ages? How can you possibly teach your 10-year-old math while your preschooler is asking for snacks every five minutes? How on Earth can you practice reading with your 12-year-old while your toddler is climbing on your lap? How do you keep your toddler busy during homeschool?” Read How Do You Homeschool With a Toddler?