Burnout. Ever been there? If you're a homeschooling parent, then I bet you have. I know that it's true of me. This year, it actually hit earlier than I would have expected. Our school year began at the end of August, and by October, I was exhausted and so ready for the holidays, which meant some time off.
So many of those days consisted of me just surviving the day, and I couldn't wait for the end of the week. How was it, I often wondered, that, although I was home all day, that often it was all I could do to get our lessons finished, do a bit of housework, and get the kids to dance lessons, bible studies, and Awana.
Well, the closer that we came to the holiday season, the more desperate I felt. Something had to change, and fast. I took some time to evaluate our week, the workload, and our extracurricular activities. It really didn't take long to pinpoint the main source of my stress.
I had been in charge of childcare for a weekly bible study at our church, which included preparing a bible lesson, snacks, music, etc.. I am also a cubbie leader for our Awana program.
As I took a close look at my week, I saw how it was simply too much. I frequently cut short our school lessons in order to get the work done for those other committments. Most days seemed to be a race, and I was wondering what it was all for.
After much praying, tears, and counsel from my husband and friends, I knew what I had to do. It was time to cut out some of the extra stuff. And you know what? As soon as I did, what a difference!
This was the school day as it should be. So much more relaxing, we're now taking the extra time we need or want to, when necessary. I realized that you can have too much of a good thing, and that just because you have a gift in a particular area, doesn't mean that you should do it. First priority needs to be your family!
So, that has helped out a great deal, but there are still those periods during the year that seem to bring on the blahs. Typically for me, that happens come January, when the festivities have passed, and the long cold days of winter loom ahead. This January though, it hasn't hit me so much, in part I think, because of a word I received from a bible study on CD.
The speaker was admonishing us not to wish away our days- I can't wait 'til the kids get to this milestone, if we can just get to summer, can't wait wait until the kids are older and we're past this problem, etc.. It made me realize that we can forget to embrace the moment, and yes, sometimes that's really difficult, but, good or bad, this too shall pass.
All that to say that this winter, I've been trying to enjoy the season more. The sledding, the hot cocoa, the beauty of a single snowflake, warm fuzzy blankets. Occasionally, I still find myself in the doldrums, and then we try to shake things up a little.
Over the past couple of weeks, we've decorated and planted spring flowers in pots, added some new materials to our school day, and have tried out some new recipes and cooking projects. Last week, we took a little field trip to a couple of pet stores that we haven't been to. It was a small thing that surprisingly, gave us a needed boost in our moods.
In all of this, I'm trying to be mindful that these days with my children are fleeting. As someone has said, the days are long, but the years are short. So, I want to do my best to live each day to the fullest with an eye on eternity.
I hope this leaves you encouraged and perhaps a little lighter in your spirit. Our task is often challenging, but remember, you are not alone!