What a fall, y’all. 😦 I have gone through periods in our 10 years of homeschooling (2007, six year old kindergarten year to tenth grade this year), where life has been overflowing (more on that term below!). This particular autumn, which has brought serious terminal illness and illness with long-term recovery to family members and emergency surgery for our daugher’s horse with a super long recovery period to come, has landed our family back into the overflowing zone. It has been an emotionally and physically taxing time of emergency drives, plane flights, and hospital visits. It is really difficult to homeschool upper grades and high school on top of everything else. There hasn’t been much of a rhythm this month as I wait and see what each day brings. There is no pity in this at this point; it is just life and it is just part of homeschooling long enough.
I truly believe that if you homeschool for a long enough period of time, you just are going to face times when life is overwhelming. I like to re-frame this thought as “overflowing.” For some reason that just sounds more positive! Overflow is just the reality. If you haven’t ever hit that due to pregnancy, birth, illness, the overwhelming needs of one child compared to the others, family illness, terminal illness, finanical troubles, divorce or more, that is so wonderful and amazing! But I think many homeschooling mothers do go through this at one point or another. Some of us have more bad years in a row than others. But, the great thing about going through struggles many times is that you know that you will make it out onto the other side of it. You know there isn’t much to hold you down because you have simply been there, done that, and not only survived, but flourished.
There aren’t any easy answers as the situations are all so individualized. I think the main way I get through, honestly, is to be honest. My husband is in tune with me, even if he doesn’t handle the stress the same way. I will tell people outright I am having a hard time. I will lean on my friends to hear me and just let me vent. I will ask for help and take that meal. I am absolutely much better about it now, in my late 40s, than I was in my 20s and 30s. I absolutely know my limitations now and when I am hitting the wall and am so grateful for community.
Sometimes there really isn’t copious time for self-care during these crisis spots but even snatching a few minutes to sit down and relax, take a bath, etc can really be helpful. I am lining up a some self-care things for when I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am not spending hours in a car dealing with emergencies. The other thing I have noticed for myself is that there are certain times of the day I feel more discouraged or overwhelmed, and to try to build in some self-care things around those times. For some people, this might be at night. For me, it seems to be in the morning after waking up and thinking about the day that lies ahead.
So, in honor of this dubious season of seasoning, I have rounded up a few back posts about dealing with life that might resonate with where you are now.
Chronic anger and overwhelm with children under the age of 9
Surviving Bedrest and Being Homebound With Medically Fragile Children
Social Isolation for the Stay-At-Home Mother
I HATE The Mother That I Am
The Overwhelming Year and The Antidote To The Overwhelming Year
The sun is shining and it is a glorious day! May we all shine bright in the darkness.