Looking at the Mom in front of me, I noted her appearance as weary, stressed out, and frazzled. She was unable to plan the next week’s assignments and dreading the drive to another co-op function. The thought of changing out of her p.j.s was just overwhelming.
This mom was exhibiting some of the classic signs of homeschool burnout.
Since spending many hours talking and praying with moms facing burnout, I know the symptoms all too well. And, for the past 13 years I have guarded my “home educating territory” fiercely against it.
Equipped with this knowledge made my next revelation all the more shocking.
That Mom I was looking at was ME!
There. I said it. IT WAS ME! I was looking at my very own reflection!
Those eyes were tired, those shoulders weighed down, those eyebrows drawn into a tight frown.
How did I get here?
Burnout occurs for a myriad of reasons: not enough support, a difficult child, unstable living conditions, poor health, hectic lifestyle. The list goes on.
I began to assess our life. What was it? What was at the root of this burnout?
I realized that the root was simplicity. I needed a simpler life. But what exactly was that?
It was time to set it all aside for a time of prayer. God understood my need and what the answer looked like.
“Lord, what is simple? What does a simple life look like?”
I believe the simple life is full of joy. Not a crazed, over the top, yelling from the roof tops kind of happiness but a deep down contentment in spite of circumstances.
“Things” and situations can rob us of this joy and in retrospect, I had been robbed, raided and turned inside out!
Sitting down, I made a list of things that are joy stealers…
- Papers, papers, papers
- Excess Processed Food
- Excess caffeine
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of sunshine
- Disturbed sleep
- Too much media
- Paying bills
- Too much noise
- Not enough time alone
Surprisingly, nothing related directly to homeschooling was on this list! Hmmm… somethings were going right! We would continue on the homeschool journey and that was a “joy adder”!
Some of the items I was just going to have to “bit the bullet” and handle – like bill paying. I was very pleased to see that the majority of my “stealers” were things I had a degree of control over.
I knew that unraveling this ball of mess was still going to take some time. But I also knew where I needed to start… and that was learning how to play the game differently!
In the months since I wrote this down on paper, I HAVE learned to play the game differently. Same scenarios, however my response has changed.
Instead of allowing negativity to take hold and weigh me down, I reach out for prayer and take to the outdoors and exercise.
Instead of buying yet another organizing gadget, I purge clutter on a regular basis.
Instead of waiting for my house to be quiet, I go to sleep earlier – sometimes wearing ear plugs to ensure a solid night’s sleep.
Instead of doing it all, I directly delegate and forgo micro managing.
Instead of agonizing, I let go of that which is beyond my control.
Since doing these things, I am much more able to handle the bumps in the road that in reality are just temporary disturbances in the light of eternity!
Check out a wide variety of homeschool resources at Rainbow Resource Center.