There’s a particular brand of anxiety that grips us. This is for the anxious homeschool mom.
I woke up early this morning (more like the middle of the night).
My heart was pounding. My mind was racing.
Are the kids getting enough exercise?
What are we going to do about homeschool classes next year?
What if he doesn’t learn to read?
(3:30 in the morning is clearly the time one should be asking these, and so many other questions.)
I took a few deep breaths. I said a prayer. I tried to think about other, more calming things, like the laundry piled up in the garage and my to-do list for the day (so not helpful).
At 4:00 AM, my son woke up and called for me.
He was anxious about the dark, about his dog, and about the money he wanted to save for a new lizard.
The anxiety runs deep in these parts…
This week, I am committed to writing all about having a more anxiety-free homeschool. Every day for five days, I am sharing a little bit about how we can work to reduce stress in our home and in our learning.
Today, day one of this series, is all about mom. Here’s why.
If I am anxious in our days and in our learning, my already anxiety-prone loved ones are also anxious in our days and in our learning.
They may also be anxious on the days when I am not, but there is almost no chance of my boys having a fun, calm day if I am unable to deal with my own fears, stress and anxiety.
Anxiety and Homeschooling
In my experience, there are three ways that anxiety can take down a homeschool mom.
1. Fear of Homeschool Failure
2. Time of the Month, Hormonal Stress
3. Biochemical Anxiety
Maybe you can only identify with the time of the month stress or the fears of failing.
Maybe you are like me, and may experience all three, sometimes all at once, as you homeschool your precious ones.
No matter what your particular brand of anxiety, I do think it is useful and productive to not only talk about it openly, but share ideas that may help other homeschool moms.
For The Anxious Homeschool Mom
I could give you the “You need to put on your oxygen mask first” talk that we hear on every plane flight and every single old episode of Oprah, but I won’t.
I know you’ve already heard it. Self-care matters and is essential for your own well-being and that of your family.
I don’t think any of us disagree. It’s the actual how to make it happen in the midst of all the crazy that life throws at us everyday that gets in the way.
I wish I had a good answer. I wish I was a better example of how to do this. I wish I had “10 Tips To Take Better Care Of Yourself.”
This is what I have to offer.
You are a person too.
You deserve all the same attention and care that you also give to your family.
It’s OK to teach your children (and maybe even your husband) that this is something that matters in life. We take care of ourselves first so that we are not raging lunatics or depressed, checked out shells of what we used to be.
There is no shame in getting help if the anxiety is overwhelming you. Therapies and medications exist for a reason and can provide miraculous relief.
There is no shame in taking a week off of school because your hormones are raging (do not get me started about what happens at age 43 ladies) and everyone needs a little time and space.
If you have no help, no respite, no one to step in, please know you are not alone. It is very difficult to find help, especially if you have children with differences and special needs. Talk to your child’s teachers or therapists. Ask them if they know anyone. I did and although our CBT did not have a recommendation, she started having me leave at the beginning of every appointment and then brought my son out to me at the end. 45 minutes in the car, alone and in silence, often eating a little bit of chocolate, is like an afternoon at the spa for my mind.
Most importantly, give yourself the same grace you would give any other mom.
Today, do something, anything, just for you.
A cup of coffee in the bathroom, door locked, with a book is a favorite of mine. (There always interruptions, but I am not ashamed to admit that I can fake stomach problems like an award winning actress)
Call a friend.
Turn on the TV and let the kids watch whatever while you take a quick nap, or shower, or go the bathroom alone (see above).
Tell your husband you need Saturday afternoon to yourself.
Whatever energy you would put into making something happen for your kids, I want you to expend a bit of that same energy on you.
You’re worth it.
You are, after all, someone’s mom.
This post is part of an ongoing series about anxiety free homeschooling. All week long, we are looking at ways to reduce stress and create a more anxiety free homeschool.
Please check back tomorrow for more on how to easily create a routine that helps decrease the anxiety in our homeschools.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.