I am a homeschooling mother of four young children, but sometimes I feel more like a juggler in the circus. My days are spent trying to juggle myriads of responsibilities—laundry, cleaning, cooking, teaching, grading, planning, shopping, driving, and so on. Who has time for rest and downtime? It’s my job to make sure no responsibilities get dropped.
But not even an expert juggler can juggle forever. The stress of constant activity will surely lead to disaster. And it’s the same for us. Homeschool life can leave us feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually burned out. Sometimes we need to set aside our normal flurry of activities and just rest. We homeschool moms need some downtime. How do we get it? Here are some ideas.
Make Downtime a Part of Your Routine
Homeschool moms are not the only ones who will benefit from a break from the demands of a homeschool day. Our kids need some time away from the books as well. In my homeschool, we always take a midmorning break (around 9:30) to have a snack and get some energy out. If the weather is nice—and sometimes even when it isn’t—we go outside and take a short walk or play a few minutes on a nearby playground. The exercise and fresh air helps my kids’ concentration levels and helps me manage the stress of the day.
Teach Your Kids to Rest
Only one of my children still naps during the day, but all of them have some quiet or rest time. During that hours or so they are supposed to work independently on quiet activities (coloring, writing, sewing, reading, etc.). This gives me some space to pick up a book of my own or work on a creative project, and it gives my kids the opportunity to pursue some of their own interests.
Intentionally Put Aside Your Work
After my kids go to bed, I often move into high gear; after all, these after-bedtime hours are usually the most productive hours of the day. I do get a lot done in the evening. But there comes a point when I must say “enough” and put the work aside. I need some time to decompress. And I need sufficient sleep.
In the middle of this very busy season of life, it’s often hard to take a break and claim some downtime. You may feel guilty doing it. But consider what Ruth Chou Simons writes in her book Gracelaced:
If you feel worn out, friend, it’s a pretty good indication that our infinite God made you finite for a purpose. He is reminding you that resting isn’t just a good idea; it’s His example and standard for us. Our all-powerful God does not grow weary, and yet He chose to rest on the seventh day of creation. (p. 52)
So, homeschool mom, stop and take a deep breath. You were not created to do everything. You were created to rest in the only One Who can. So enjoy the freedom to rest.