Friday, April 10, 2015

Real Life Homeschool - When You're Exhausted

I should have posted this already. I meant to. But after the week we've had (which included a sheriff deputy banging on our door at 5:20 am today, to tell us we had another fire) I've been brain dead. The good news is my boys were awake early thanks to the banging and excitement, and they got their school done early because of it. Everyone did!

The bad news is I took a nap this afternoon. I took my review book to bed and read until I couldn't anymore. Then I tried to sleep, but my 2 year old son was doing somersaults over me. He finally stopped and I got an hour's nap ... and woke up to a very messy living room. Of course, I have older kids who can keep an eye on things when I nap now ... but I haven't always.

When my kids were all little, I sometimes turned on PBS or Veggie Tales movies in the afternoon, laid on the couch and dozed while they played around me. If you're a mom, you know that not-quite-asleep haze that moms get in when they're trying to nap but they're also keeping an ear on the kids. I've been there so many days over my 19 years of motherhood, usually to awaken feeling worse than I did when I laid down.

Now the kids are playing outside, the 2 year old is napping, ham and beans are simmering on the stove, and I'll try to get this post written before I clean up the living room.

Every Mom knows what it is to be exhausted. Sometimes we push ourselves so hard, trying to do more than we possibly can. Sometimes the family just gets inundated with illnesses that rob us of sleep and wear down our immune systems. Sometimes emotional anxiety and turmoil creates its own suffocating exhaustion. We push on, not taking care of ourselves, until we are falling apart emotionally.

My husband has figured this out. He used to wait until I was just a wreck, having an emotional melt-down, and then tell me to "Go to bed!" I'd usually huff away upset that he thought the problem was me. Except he was right, and things always looked better the next day. And the parts that hadn't changed, were much more manageable when I was rested.

Now he tries to stay on top of things more. He is always urging me to get my rest. He knows I can not push myself as I used to. I suppose the fact that I now take daily medication for high blood pressure and anxiety were wake up calls for both of us. Or maybe he feels his own need for sleep more now that we're both over 40, and wants us both to take care of ourselves.

I just want to say "You are not alone! It's okay to admit you're tired. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to let yourself rest."

  • Take a mental health day, and pop in some educational dvds. Let the kids watch a documentary or an educational cartoon. Some of our favorites are Magic School Bus, Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego?, and Liberty Kids. You can buy the whole set inexpensively on Amazon.
  • Ask your husband to put the kids to bed, and put yourself to bed first. It's okay to let your husband know you need this help, that you really need to rest.
  •  Sleep in. If the kids wake up and come to you, let them snuggle in and fall asleep again. The schedule can wait. School will be there a little later. Just rest.
  • Take a Sunday nap while your husband does something with the kids. Let him take them to the park, or let him watch a movie with them. 

You have a lot of responsibility on your plate. You have little ones depending on you for everything. Their education depends on you. Your husband depends on you. Sometimes you have to just let go of the schedule and the lesson plan and take care of yourself.

It will be okay. You can go a week or two longer into the summer if you have to. You can even skip the last few lessons in your math book! (It took me awhile to get over feeling guilty for this.)

It will be okay. I promise. So go ahead, get some rest! Your kids (and your husband) will thank you for it. Because a rested Mommy is a happy Mommy, and a happy Mommy makes a happy family.

April E.

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