There’s one word I want to talk about; TIME.
It is a word full of contradictions and emotions for me at the minute. And it’s something I’m really struggling with.
Since home educating we have more time. Time to be together, time to bond, time to pursue our interests and passions, time to be in nature, and time to enjoy childhood.
The gift of time is a wondrous thing and this path has allowed me to cherish the slow days with our children. It has given our children time to enjoy their childhood, to be free.
But home education has also stolen time. Time for me. Time to be more than just a mummy, a facilitator. Time to be myself. This is the toughest part of being a home educating parent.
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” ~ Eleanor Brownn
Looking back I feel like I had way more time to myself in the dark days before homeschooling.
When I was working full time we had a set routine, every day was the same, specific hours laid out for the week ahead. School run, work, school run, clubs, dinner, homework, bedtime, chores, tv with hubby, bed. Before waking the next day to do the same thing. Weekends were a frantic scramble to fit in visiting family, birthday parties, food shopping, and more housework. But this mind-numbing routine meant I had time to myself (even if it was just at work). Time to myself is rarer than a four-leaved clover for me at the moment! Looking back, I was so miserable in the school/work hamster wheel, rolling from one year to the next, everything the same, feeling so disconnected from my children.
I feel so thankful every day for the freedom and time home education gives us, and the slow pace of our lives now that allows us to have adventures and cements our close family bonds.
But I would but lying to myself if I said I do not miss having time for me.
As unschoolers the girls choose how they spend their days, often this means my role is full on immersed with them in their learning and play and taking them for days out. Any free time is spent staying on top of the household stuff. Then working in the evenings, and trying to cram in some time with my husband in between.
I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Motherhood is the toughest, yet most fulfilling job in the world. But if we’re not looking after ourselves we’re going to struggle to be on top form to look after everyone else.
I have terrible insomnia as I run through mental checklists all night long of things that need to be completed. I snack on sweet snacks that are full of crap because I need the energy to just get through, and I get frustrated with the girls more often than I should.
I created this blog to document home education from a mum’s point of view and I think that this topic is such a vital discussion point. I’m a positive person and I’m always looking for ways to make stuff better, so from now on I’m going to make sure I get my time.
I’m gifting myself 2 hours every week to just be alone. No phone, no work, no children, no husband. Just me and a book, or a bath, or a class, or I might find a new hobby. I haven’t fully decided yet how I will spend my 2 hours (maybe I’ll just take a long nap!!!) but I know that I have to commit to them.
Because if I neglect my wellbeing, ultimately I am neglecting the girl’s wellbeing. And that just ain’t gonna happen.
“Much of your strength as a woman can come from the resolve to replenish and fill your own well and essence first, before taking care of others.” ~ Miranda J. Barrett
So, who’s with me in pledging to spend more time looking after number one?