The Overwhelm. Too much to do, too little time.
When I speak to mothers, often their “to-do” list is long, their presence has a harried energy, and they are concerned that they cannot “get it all done.”
They want to do it all, and they want to do it all perfectly.
This is common in mothers in general, but also very common in homeschooling mothers. I think the biggest overwhelm I hear experienced homeschooling mothers mention is lack of time to do things outside of homeschooling because there is no separation from the children. Often the list of things to do outside of homeschooling is long – like trying to clean a house when you live in it many hours a day or when you are on the go a lot more with older children, trying to get errands done, trying so hard to do everything when teaching children really takes up the entire day.
A few things that many mothers (and myself) seem to find helpful:
1. Always think people before things, but also child- inclusive and not child-centered. Your children’s needs and connection should always come before cleaning or errands or anything else. However, you should also be working toward creating stable rhythms and routines to your work in which your children can be involved and included.
2. Writing a to-do list can be helpful for some mothers. If you have lots of things swirling around in your head, sometimes writing it all down does make it seem better because you can prioritize and realize it all does not need to be done today.
3. Garner a support system. We love to pretend we can do it all by ourselves, but most of us really can’t. Who is your support system? How do other family members help? Who can help you with your children at times when you really need it? Who do you really trust with your children? It is so important to have someone, whether this is a family friend, a neighbor, or extended family.
4. Boost yourself up! Make sure YOU are on the list of things to get done, and that you put your own health on the list. Without you being healthy, nothing else is going to happen. This includes sleep, good nutrition, exercise, taking care of your mental health, and laughing!
5. Plan ahead. Life is so much easier with meal plans, crockpots, double batch cooking, cleaning and decluttering in a rhythmic way because then you don’t have to clean for ten hours to catch up, planning ahead for school and making sure you have the supplies you need gathered.
6. For homeschooling mothers and mothers of small children, you may have to prioritize greatly. You really can’t do the job of five mothers, you can only do the job of one mother. There are seasons to life, and homeschooling is often a long season that involves choices.
What are ways that help you tackle the overwhelm?
Thank you, I really love this post! One thing that I have found super helpful is related to keeping a to-do list. I’ve always kept a list, but I noticed that if a list went unfinished for days on end, it would really stress me out. Now, at the end of each day, I sit down and cross everything off, including the stuff I didn’t finish. As I go through, I notice occasional things that don’t need to be on there. Other things, I write on a new list with TOMORROW’s date at the top (or another, later date, if appropriate). In a way it’s just shuffling words around, yes; but I have found it to be very cathartic. I am saying, with my hands, that I am done with today; I am putting today to rest. Everything I needed to do got done today. These are the things that I hope to do tomorrow.
Yes, I think if the “to-do” list can be looked at more as a list of possibilities, of choices to be made in freedom, then things are much better.
In January I started planning our weekly meals on a Monday morning. At the same time, I order groceries online, to be delivered the following day. The girls love it when the ‘shopping van man’ arrives, and they rush to help sort and put things away. We never have to drive out to the supermarket!
Furthermore, I have been keeping the weekly meal plan in a book, watching it grow with seasonal ideas. Here is the bit I am really excited about:
Next year I’m going back to page 1 and just repeating the entire year!! And maybe again, the year after! In fact, maybe I won’t have to sit down and plan meals ever again! Hurrah!!
I love this!! I plan our meals and shopping every week too, but I toss the menu and list every week. I’m totally going to try to save them for next year!
Each “season” I plan a month of meals (generally leaving a few spots open for leftovers) and I repeat that meal plan for a few months. Then I readjust for the next season (soups in the fall and winter switch for grilling in the summer.) It’s nice to have something preplanned and not have to decide that day what to cook.
Thank you Carrie, this post came again in a timely manner!
Oh, we all struggle with this so much! This is a great list, especially #4 “boost yourself up” I think we underestimate how much energy we need to do our job as homeschooling mothers, and we have to refuel to have enough energy! Thanks Carrie. 🙂