This is the first blog post in a series of *real world* self-care by home educators, not the world of online SuperMums. We hope to show that you will be able to find a way to take care of yourself while you educate your children, you just have to find the things that work for you.
I’ve just been talked at for the last two hours by my 11 year old. My ears are hurting, and I’m exhausted. In desperation I’m sending her outside for an hour with her sister to give myself some peace and (relative) quiet. Which brings me to writing this post about what it is I do for personal care. I’m not quite so perfect as the writers of some of the blog posts around the net, and our life is very ‘real’.
We are extremely busy. We are out six days of the week at something, or many things. And we homeschool. Life can get a little crazy – we don’t spend as much time with friends as I would like, and the kids don’t have enough time being home and ‘just’ playing. I usually make it to the evenings exhausted and ready for bed. Which is typically when the 11 year old wants to talk and keeps popping her head in every 15 minutes to tell me something else she has just read.
We all do have ‘something’ that we like to do. Sometimes it gets a bit lost in raising children, homeschooling, and trying to run a household. Sometimes our lives are messy and we think we’re the only ones going half-crazy in the busy-ness of life. I find just having some stuff that I do when I’m overwhelmed or stressed or exhausted helps me to remember who I am.
My idea of heaven is gaming.
I’ve been a girl gamer since I was a child and my mother would take me to play the original space invaders at the arcade. In my early 20’s I would have 24 hour gaming marathons with friends. I don’t have the time or energy for such long hours anymore, and as my 11 year old once said, after a gaming session that ended at 2am and wiped me out for the next day – “MUM!! You think you’re a teenager, but you’re not!!” Still, my idea of heaven is a prolonged period of time where I conquer a make believe world.
One night a week is MINE.
I watch very little television. But when I do watch something, I follow it faithfully. I’m a bit of a fangirl. (Google that for the uninitiated). So, one night a week, both kids are packed off to bed (probably early) with strict instructions to only come get me if someone pukes or there is a fire.
Having a social homeschool group.
This one is just as much for us parents as for the kids. There are no activities I have to plan or supervise or help with, just lots of laughter and talk with ladies who have become my friends, while the kids all run off to play. This group is worth more than gold!
Eat the crap food.
You know what? Sometimes I just crave that snickers bar. Sometimes I am desperate for cheese and crackers and grapes – with a fizzy drink. Nothing better than sitting down to watch my latest fangirl show with a bowl of ice cream and a Baileys! And I’m willing to bet it’s the same for some of you. My friend from the above social group knows I can’t pass up Chocolate Chip Biccies, so often brings them with her, bless her little cotton socks.
Yes, I intentionally go ‘no contact’.
I’m an introvert, although you wouldn’t probably know it by talking to me. What that means is I can be a clever and witty conversationalist, but come the end of the day, I have to recharge with silence. We have no answer phone on our landline. I don’t want to come home and have to return 13 phone calls. Some days I come home, turn my mobile on silent, and hide in the house, avoiding all forms of communication with the outside world. I need that to be able to continue to function – and to make some effort at listening to the 11 year old when she’s been talking non-stop for 2 hours.
Chilling out is necessary.
I just have to take time to stop, breathe, and chill. We only get one full day a week at home. This day is sacred. We don’t go anywhere. This is the day WE. DO. NOTHING. The kids play, and I get to just hang out and do whatever I want. I still get talked at by the 11 year old, but there is something about spending a whole day in my pjs, on the couch, on the deck in the sun, whatever, that is hugely relaxing. I have to have this day every week just like I have to have air to breathe.
I hope, if nothing else, that you see me as a real person, one who doesn’t eat my greens to feel better, or who has nightly foot spas (now, there is an idea! Lol). I don’t get to do everything on my list every week, but it’s a good week if I can manage some of it. And I’m a much calmer mother if I’ve had a bit of quiet time somewhere in the last 24 hours, no doubt to the great relief of my children!