I’m the type of person that, if I can do it myself, I will. Especially if it helps me save a penny or two! I prefer to buy block cheese and grate it myself rather than buy the shredded packs. I refuse to buy those little individualized oatmeal packs but prefer to make a large batch on the stove and let my kids add their own brown sugar, honey or peanut butter. Rather than paying extra for the packaging, I’d rather spend a few extra minutes and do it myself.
I approach homeschooling the same way. Rather than paying the extra money to send my kids to a private school, as nice it sounds at times, I choose to take on a few extra roles myself. It might seem overwhelming, but in the end, I love the opportunity to be able to home educate and would not trade it for the world.
When your world is spinning and it seems like your day is out of control, take a moment to pause. Take a look at the reality of your situation. You are not “just” a stay-at-home mom. You are so much more than that, and you need to recognize it and come to terms with it. Once you do, you might not be so hard on yourself. You might not expect more of yourself than you should. You have much responsibility placed on you and you should never take it lightly.
Who exactly are you?
In addition to being a mother and a wife you might consider yourself a:
Teacher: Yes, I’ll state the obvious here but this job is no small one. Not only do you instruct your children but you have to plan, plan and plan some more. Even if you have an entirely flexible approach, there is still an element of planning involved. And this takes time. Whether it’s figuring out which curriculum to use, which co-op to join or which lapbook to print out, there is time that needs to be set aside to assess and organize.
Cook: It is not the simple fact that you need to provide your children with meals each day but the fact that you want to keep them healthy, alert and strong. Maybe you have to put in the extra time to make gluten free meals, or dairy free meals for one or all of your kids due to dietary restrictions. However much or little you put into each meal isn’t the focus here but rather the very fact that it has to be done. It is our job and it takes planning and it takes time. For me, it is simply not practical to stop our schoolwork in the middle of the morning to go out and “run to the store” for a few things. Sure, I have had to do it a few times, but it certainly is not a habit that I can afford to get into on a regular basis. I prefer to plan ahead of time so I do not need to do this.
Janitor: Sigh. Sometimes I wish I could just hire a maid. Again, not practical. Of course as my children get older they have their assigned jobs but as we all know, we still have to delegate, organize and clean, clean, clean. I know that since I’ve started homeschooling, I’ve let certain chores slide at times but there are some duties that do need to be taken care of day in and day out, no questions asked. This can become redundant but we need to remember that we are serving our family, our husband and ultimately the Lord when we are faithful in these little things.
Chauffeur: Music practice, sports, camps, the list goes on. I personally try not to sign my kids up for too many activities since I know my limitations, but I do know that many moms feel like a chauffeur at times. This can become overwhelming but if you come to terms with the reality of it and remind yourself why you are doing it, (socialization, education, etc.) then it is easier to take a deep breath and just go with it.
Nurse: Most homeschool moms are home alone a majority of the day with their kids. Some families do have the dads around but some do not. When those of us who do not have to face one of our children’s injuries, we often are alone. We have to be quick, alert and educated to know how to handle the situation by ourselves. At what point do we go to the doctor or ER? What can I do here at home by myself to care for this child? Whether you have taken a first aid course, received training in nursing or have studied up on natural herbal remedies, this is an important role to be prepared to perform when at home with children all day long!
Once we see the reality of all that is expected of us, we need to be reminded that it is okay to ask our husbands for some help once in awhile. It’s okay to ask them to watch the kids while we go out one night, alone for a couple of hours or to take a nap on a Sunday afternoon. We have a lot on our plates. Do it joyfully and in the right spirit but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you start to feel burnt out!