If you’ve recently become your child’s new teacher, life has changed very quickly this past week. It's crazy how quickly things can change!
Last week I scrambled to put together a home school schedule to keep my boys engaged while trying to keep up with work, tasks and my good habits… it didn’t go as peacefully and smoothly as I envisioned. Honestly, lots of things didn’t get done and it left me feeling kind of stressed about how I was going to pull this off.
As I’ve looked back at this week I came up with a couple of recommendations and truths to help me find my new groove. These were basically reminders for myself, but I thought they were worth sharing since many of you are moms in the same situation as me.
EAT FOOD. I know it’s obvious. BUT ARE YOU EATING ENOUGH REAL FOOD (not junk & snacks)?! It’s easy to forget about yourself when your busy taking care of the kids AND trying to get things done. Trust me, this week I’ve had many days of skipping meals - surviving on @simplemills crackers and apples - while caring for the boys and trying to keep up with my tasks. BUT it NEVER works to my advantage. Skipping meals drains my energy and my mood, making it a lot harder for me to be efficient, happy and patient (three things that I need to be while balancing homeschooling and working from home.)
GET SOME SLEEP. We know that when our kids don’t get enough sleep, they are cranky. The same is true for us. No matter what your age, your body needs sleep to function optimally. I’ve definitely had too many late nights this week, staying up late to get the things done. But it’s left me cranky and easily agitated, definitely not worth it.
DRINK WATER. Early symptoms of dehydration can include irritability, tiredness, headache, dizziness… um, NO THANKS!
Truth: Taking care of these basic physical needs reduces your stress, increases your energy, improves your mood and equips you to handle all the things that life throws your way…
GIVE MYSELF SOME GRACE
Truth: If you’re schedule has changed (i.e. you are now your kid’s teacher) and you now have less time to spend on work and tasks, you probably won’t get all the things done - And THAT’S OK! Remember, your worth is not based on how many things you get done (your worth is rooted simply in being a child of God!). Realize that it will take time to adjust to your new rhythm of life. Give yourself some grace to readjust. It’s OK to let the laundry and email wait.
CONNECT WITH GOD IN MY EVERYDAY MOMENTS
Truth: Connecting with God doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair. God cherishes every attempt we make to reach out and connect with Him. This school year I’ve had plenty of (quiet) time to devout to praying, studying the word and connecting with God. Nurturing my relationship with God has been monumental in my personal journey; It’s grounded me in love and truth, helped me to be more patient, kinder and compassionate, helped me become a better wife, mother and friend. But with the kids home and me taking on the job of teacher, my personal quiet time is basically non-existent. For me, it’s so important to continuing to grow my relationship with God. While time is limited, I’m focusing on intentionally inviting God into my everyday moments: worshiping while I’m doing the dishes, praying with my boys throughout the day, family devotions over breakfast, talking about the ‘things of God’. These little moments can have a big impact.
CONNECT WITH MY BOYS WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS
Truth: Kids thrive when they have positive attention and connection. Sometimes I mistake ‘being with my kids’ as ‘connecting with my kids’. (Afterall, if I was with them all day I must have connected with them, right?!) This week I spent lots of time in the house with my kids. We went over school work. We did crafts and experiments and played. But for much of that time I was distracted. I was distracted with what’s going on in our country, with social media and tasks that need to be done. Although I was physically with my boys, for much of the time, I wasn’t truly connecting. I’ve been known to fall into this trap, so I’ve learned to be very intentional about spending undistracted time with my family. I’ve found that the boys’ behavior and attitudes are greatly improved when I make it a point to give them my full attention and truly engage with them throughout the day. When I take moments to connect with them (without distractions) they feel loved and understood. Even just 5 or 10 minutes of quality time can bring about positive change! (No number of folded laundry baskets could outweigh that goodness!)
ITS OK TO LET My KIDS HAVE EXTRA SCREEN TIME AS I ADJUST MY SCHEDULE
Truth: Letting your kids watch TV does not make you a bad Mom… Ok, I’m not sure how many Moms this really speaks to, but this one certainly speaks to me! I’ve always had a dysfunctional relationship with screens: I love them because they keep my kids distracted, making it easier for me to get things done. I hate them because they keep my kids distracted from real life and I much rather them play with toys, do a craft, read a book or basically anything else (except keep me from getting the thing done lol.)
But this week I had to re-accept the truth that letting my kids use screens doesn’t make me a bad mom. Of course, my goal is to be engaged with my kids throughout the day and limit screen time. But I can’t rank my ‘performance’ as a mom based on how much screen time my kids have (in fact I shouldn’t be ‘ranking’ myself at all!) Sometimes I need to compromise… If a little extra screen time gives me some breathing room while I try to figure out a new rhythm of life, that’s a win.
DANCE EVERY DAY:
Truth: Dancing reduces anxiety and stress and improves coping ability and overall sense of well-being. DANCE PARTY?! YES PLEASE! Dancing is a great way to have fun with your kids. It creates a fun atmosphere, improves your energy and is a great way to get some exercise. This week when we needed a break, we cranked up the techno music (my boys are into techno right now) and we danced it out. I was amazed at how much better I felt instantly! I might not have been able to get my normal work outs in, but this was a great replacement and super fun!
When time is sparse it’s important to know your priorities and know God’s priorities for your life. It helps to keep you focused and spend your time in a way that brings life and goodness. I know God doesn’t want me stressed out and striving. So, I’m taking it one step at a time and focusing on my basics: nurturing my relationships with God and with my family, nourishing my body and walking in love (or dancing in love). Of course, my goal is to get other things done too (first on my list is keeping up with homeschooling!). But I know if I focus on the basics and build a strong foundation first, the other things will come more easily.
How is your homeschooling experience going so far? What’s worked for you this week? I’d love to hear tips from other Moms!