7 Ways to Not Lose Yourself as a Homeschool Mom

Moms often suffer from burnout and losing their identity in their role. It’s literally a thing. I remember when my oldest was a baby, I had the realization that I was no longer Susan, but “Tru’s mom.” It’s funny until it’s not. If you’re a stay at home moms of little ones and homeschool moms, you’re at higher risk to lose yourself. I suspect this is because for both of these types of moms care, education and general “momming” is a round the clock job.

Don’t lose yourself or fall into burnout.

It’s so important to take care of yourself before burnout hits. If you’ve already felt the stress of burnout or looked in the mirror only to define yourself as a single dimension human whose very existence is solely a homeschooling mother, help is on the way! It’s so important to take care of yourself so you can show up as the best version of yourself in your homeschool, for your family and for yourself. As moms, it’s too easy to deprioritize ourselves, but as moms AND educators, we NEED to prioritize our spiritual, physical and emotional/mental health. Here are 7 ways to prevent burnout and not lose yourself as a homeschool mom.

1- Self Care

Self care has been a bit of a buzz word the last few years, but it really is important to do something that doesn’t revolve around your kids. This is the concept of putting on your oxygen mask first. One of the most vital things every parent should do is implement spiritual disciplines first thing in the morning. I challenge you to get up just one hour before your kids to spend time in “Be Still” time (prayerful meditation based on Ps. 46:10) and scripture study. Connect with your Creator before you do anything else. This one habit will completely change your outlook and response to your kids. In fact, take the 28 day challenge to spend 15 minutes every morning in quiet reflection and connection with God. Here’s a recording that will help you get started: Guided Meditation

Another aspect of self care is finding one simple way to show yourself kindness each day. One of my favorite “me time” things to do is to tuck the kids into bed early and cuddle up on the couch with my favorite cozy blanket, hot drink and a good book. It’s simple and free and that’s the kind of nerdy stuff that fills my cup. Maybe for you it’s a bubble bath or Netflix. Whatever it is, make time to do something caring for yourself at least once each day. 

2- Let go of Perfection

As much as the idea of perfection has been debunked in recent years, it still seems to be an issue. If not, we wouldn’t have to talk about it so much, right?! You’re not perfect. No one expects you to be. I’m certainly not perfect. If you came over to my house right now, you’d be greeted by toys sprinkled on the living room floor, dishes in the kitchen sink and a basket of laundry that needs to be folded and put away (I’d probably thrust it into my bedroom before you walk in, but you get the idea). 

No one hits the perfection bullseye every time

The truth is we’re all learning and growing. No one has a perfect house, life, husband, body, kids, (fill in the blank). We all have areas we’re working on, be it anger, unrealistic expectations or a few extra pounds. And while we all knowingly nod in agreement, we still try to pretend with each other. And I’m here to say, let’s stop that. Let’s be kinder to ourselves and remember that how we talk to ourselves matters. This book could be read or listened to on repeat! Present over Perfect

3- Throw out Comparison

This trap is very similar to the previous. And women especially fall for it! We find something our friend has/does that we wish we had or were better at. I wish my house was as big and beautiful as Debbie’s. If only my husband was as kind as Suzie’s. Why don’t my kids act like Betty’s? How does Jessica seem to drop the baby weight almost immediately after childbirth?! Not FAIR! As you may have noticed, we most often put ourselves on the losing side of comparison. We compare others’ highlight reels to our blooper reels. It’s not only unrealistic, smacking of that nasty perfectionism plague, but it also is unfair. Whatever our friends share on social media is only part of the story. We can’t compete with the Joneses because we don’t see inside their life 24/7. 

Which is better? Or is it just a matter of preference?

To aid with the deconstruction of comparison, we should all try our best not to boast or brag. When we go on about only the good things little Billy is doing, it sends the wrong message. I know we’re all proud of our kids, but especially in the homeschool community, we need to be honest and realistic about our kids and lives. Other women’s self worth is at stake! Billy might be doing well in math and that’s worth mentioning, but let’s also share how last week he got a lego stuck in his nose. #keepitreal

Here’s another book to curl up with: Wild & Free

4- Pick your Major and minor

No one. And I mean NO ONE can do it all. That’s a lie from the pit of HELL! Seriously. So if no one can do it all, then we must prioritize our time. That’s the one finite resource we can’t regain. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. So let’s get real about what we actually have time for. 

Tradesmen have a saying, “Cheap. Fast. Quality. You can pick only 2.” The same concept applies to us homeschool moms. If we want cheap, home cooked meals, they may not be super healthy. You want take out that’s super healthy? It won’t be inexpensive. If we choose to spend time in one area, we have inadvertently said “no” to another activity. 

I am often having to revisit this concept. I want to do it all. At the same time. With excellence. But I only have 24 hours. So which is more important: clean house, quality time with the kids, or a full social calendar. Pick 2. *Touché!

Check out this post on Time Management.

5- Develop a Hobby

“What do you like to do for fun?” My mind froze, drawing a complete blank when the kind lady asked the question. It scrambled for an answer. Something not involving homeschool or the kids’ activities or church. Who has time for hobbies?! My days are full of teaching kids and feeding kids and raising kids. 

Nothing screams “lost in my kids” like I don’t have any hobbies or interests outside of kids. Maybe there’s a hobby you used to love, but with the busyness of homeschooling, it’s fallen by the wayside. Pick it back up! Make time for you to do something that brings you joy. If you’re still totally drawing a blank, here are a few ideas: 

  • Crocheting
  • Gardening
  • Macrame
  • Creative writing
  • Hiking
  • Sewing
  • Photography
  • Fishing
  • Scrapbooking
  • Playing an instrument
  • Running/Working out
  • Painting
  • Pottery

6- Learn Something New

Learning something new keeps your mind sharp AND it gives you something interesting to talk about. Maybe that’s a new hobby. Maybe it’s digging into a topic of interest. I have a friend that enjoys taking a weekly class on the Torah. My husband and I recently started listening to a podcast that teaches biblical hermeneutics. It’s fascinating to learn how to deep dive into scripture and pull out treasures that are waiting to be discovered. Maybe you’d like to take a class on cake decorating or how to make wreaths for the holidays. Or maybe you’d like to learn about natural health remedies or foraging for healing herbs (no? Just me?) The point is learning something new just for yourself can be a great way to not lose yourself in motherhood.

7- Date Your Spouse

If you’re in a committed relationship, it’s so important to make time for each other. In seasons with little kids, babies and homeschooling, it’s even more important to make intentional time for your relationship. It might be tucking the kids in early for alone time or sneaking out early in the morning for a walk around the neighborhood. If you have babies, it may require getting a sitter. Either way it needs to be a priority. We have to put it on the calendar in our house otherwise it won’t happen. More on Time Management here. And when you go on dates with your spouse, make sure the kids aren’t the only thing you talk about. Numbers 1, 5 & 6 above should help with that! 😉 

BONUS- Find Your Tribe

I might’ve saved the best for last. This is possibly the most crucial thing you can do to prevent burnout and not lose yourself as a homeschool mom. Find your people. Find them before you even start the journey if you can. The homeschool community is as vast and diverse as any I’ve ever seen. You’ll find crunchy moms, former lawyers, teachers and nurses, old school and new school, hippies and all digital moms, outdoorsy and indoorsy homeschoolers, Christians to Athiests and everything in between. You’ll even find a few dads who stay at home while their wives bring in the income. Shout out to my Mr. Mom brothers! 

The point is, you need to find other homeschoolers that you gel with. It can feel like an isolated, lonely road without them. Homeschooling without field trips, co-ops and friends can get a bit reclusive. It’s so important for you and your kids to make other homeschool friends that get it. Plan a trip to the park, library or a museum during public school hours. We try to do something once a week with homeschool friends whether that’s co-op or a field trip or a hike. There’s definitely a balance! You are welcome to join my online homeschool support community of amazing mamas who are passionate about inspiring their children with a love of learning. Click here to check it out!

So there you have it, 7 (well, really 8) ways to avoid burnout and not lose yourself as a homeschool mom. You matter, mama (and homeschool dads, too)! What is one thing you will implement this week so you can show up as your best self? Share in the comments!

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