Maybe you’re frazzled.
Maybe you’re on your last smile for the day and maybe the dishes are dirty and you’re wondering if you can get by without making lunch today.
Maybe it’s been a long morning, long month or a long year.
Maybe you just feel like you need a biscuit. A self-care biscuit.
So, you honor that feeling. You grab the ingredients for your favorite biscuits. You carefully measure the ingredients and add them to the last clean mixing bowl. You stir slowly and simply focus on the art of making biscuits.
You slice an apple for a kid and savor the sweet-tart bite of a Honeycrisp. You warm up a bowl of savory spicy soup. The toaster oven pings and the biscuits are ready. You don’t wait for them to cool and you slather on all the real butter, watching it slowly drip down the side of the biscuit.
The blissful quiet ends and the kids circle around for all the food. Maybe you leave the dirty dishes. Maybe you smile to yourself because instead of thinking that making biscuits on Monday in the middle of the day is a bad idea, you made them because YOU want them. And that is enough. Because maybe you're in the middle of a really hard season of life right now.
And maybe you are actually me.
When Everything Feels Difficult, Take the Break You Need
I like to do all the things. I sometimes think if I’m doing ALL THE THINGS and I am ALL THE KINDS OF BUSY, that I’m doing something right. That I’m giving my all for my family or the homeschool group or my job or my friends.
I have been known to tell myself that everything is just fine. It’s just been a difficult day. Or, this kid is just having an off day. We can push through because it’s fine.
But what happens when the day turns into a week, or a month, or a year?
What if things aren’t, in fact, fine?
When homeschooling and life get tough, the tough take a break. And that break can be for as long as you need it to be.
The tough also make biscuits.
If you’re like me, this seems like an awesome idea but it also feels terrifying.
Maybe these questions run through your brain:
- What if we don’t do math for a month?
- What if my kid is only learning via YouTube and board games?
- What if we eat frozen burritos every day for lunch?
- What if I need a nap?
- What if we skip co-op for a while?
Maybe I am sharing this because I need to take my own advice. Maybe you’re feeling tapped out or alone or you’re afraid of the spinning plates crashing down in a pile around you. You don’t need more messes to clean up. Also, you’ve run out of paper plates.
Let's take a step back or down or away and lots of deep breaths. We cannot magically wave away all the homeschooling or life challenges, but we don't have to go it alone and we definitely can give ourselves grace. Pushing through a particularly challenging season with blinders on and no pause button is not healthy.
And friend, you need to take care of your health. Let's talk about three ways we can reset when we're faced with difficult seasons.
3 Steps to Reset When Homeschooling and Life Get Tough
The beauty of homeschooling is that we can be flexible. Yes, I know you might have a beautiful color-coded schedule set up. Yes, I know you have outside commitments and classes and sports and music lessons. I do too. And while I want my kids to enjoy the benefits of homeschooling and the flexibility, I also know that breathing room and downtime is crucial when the stress is high.
- Hold a family meeting. Our family has experienced several seasons of high stress in the last four years. Two moves, major health issues, and more. While homeschooling through these difficult times was challenging, what helped us was holding family meetings. Sometimes several a week to set and reset expectations. As our children have grown, the meetings have taken on a different dynamic. Even if people are living under the same roof and spending lots of time together, communication can be strained. Everyone might be tired or not feeling well or someone's feelings are hurt. Maybe a life change has turned things upside down. Regroup and reset with a family meeting. Check out this helpful blog post with some great ideas on how to have a successful family meeting.
- Cut back, say "No" graciously, and make room for white space. Are you having a hard time juggling too many outside obligations? I feel you, friend. There were some days it took all my energy to just warm up meals and read a chapter and help clean up LEGO® bricks. In one recent season, we went from a very active and busy schedule with friends and co-op and sports to a move that placed us in a neighborhood with few children, no homeschool community, and two children with health issues and more doctor and therapy appointments then I could count. I had to be intentional with where I spent my energy. It was hard for my kids to have all this together time, but it was needed. I said no to church volunteering. I said no to trips. I said no to anything that would expend more energy than I had. White space in our weeks was also important. Several days a week were packed with appointments. I had to leave a few days with nothing on the schedule. We needed to be at home resting or getting some homeschool work done. Often, we'd take a trip down to grandma's and grandpa's house so that I could take a break and the kids could get loved on by their amazing grandparents. If you're struggling with white space, I highly recommend this podcast episode from Everyday Motherhood.
- Schedule 5-10 minutes in your day just for you. Maybe having five to ten minutes a day sounds like a trip to the spa. Maybe it seems impossible. Hear me out. You NEED to schedule downtime for yourself in your days. This is especially important during challenging times. You cannot and should not sacrifice your health and wellness. As part of your family meeting, set up some guidelines with your family. Let them know when you'll be taking breaks during the day or weeks. Ask for help from them. Reach out to a friend. Get yourself outside to breathe fresh air. Buy your favorite tea and get your favorite mug and sit and enjoy the tea while it's hot. The first time. Not hot because you've microwaved it 12 times. When ten minutes feel good, increase the time. Carve out an hour here and there. A half-day. Get creative. You deserve it.
And now, back to the biscuits.
Maybe your self-care is cookies or a hot cup of tea and a hidden piece of chocolate or a juicy orange or a sweet plum instead of biscuits. Perhaps it's taking a walk alone, sneaking outside to call or text a friend or take a hot shower at 3:26 PM on a Thursday. Maybe this is the anchor in your day or just for this hour. And maybe biscuits can be self-care.