Last week a thoughtful lady responded to my post - "Burned Out? How About a Refresh?" I asked her if I could share her wisdom with you and she agreed. I am grateful for her introspection, and I think you will be, too.
Exhaustion is a real issue when you homeschool your children, especially if you have a large family with many age groups to minister to. I think your post is a good one and would love to see how other mothers/teachers deal with this issue!
For me, I have had to realize that I am just as important as my children. That might seem like something we should automatically know, but it isn't for all of us. As mothers we give, give, give with everyone taking and not realizing that if mom doesn't get something back as well, she will be running past empty. I 'ran' many years on fumes, look back, and can't believe I put myself through that or that I have come out on the other side.
These are some of the things that I have begun to do for myself:
1. When my day starts to unravel or get hectic I fix myself a cup of tea:) It has become a ritual that I really look forward to. It doesn't matter what is going on, if I need a break, then I allow myself this cup of tea. I let go of the problems/hassles for the time it takes to make it and drink it. I guess you could say it is my 'pause' button in an otherwise non-stop day. Depending on the intensity of the day will determine how many cups of tea I have:)
2. If the school day has proven to be a challenge then I will sometimes forget about the house for a spell and pick up a good book. I LOVE to read, but as the mother of 7 children I don't always get a lot of time to indulge. By allowing myself to forget about cleaning for an hour and lose myself in a good book, I refuel for a spell.
3. I have started to see the Dr. (and a counselor when needed). I always made sure that my children had their check-ups and dental visits, but I never scheduled any for myself. That is changing, especially now that I am over 40, and I have seen the wisdom in taking care of myself.
4. I try to visit with a good friend once a week in the evening (after husband is home and can care for the little ones). Lately our schedules have conflicted, and I have had sick children, but it is still something that we try to maintain. It has been lovely to just talk to another adult:), to share our lives with each other, and try to encourage each along this journey called life that we all are on.
5. Once a year, usually in the heart of winter (we have very long winters where we live) I go to a hotel for five days and nights, all by myself! I did it for the first time this year and it was amazing. Unfortunately, it took me almost all five days to get relaxed:( I suffered through a lot of guilt for leaving my children that long, but just seeing how much better I felt after wards makes me realize this is a necessity. I don't go to a fancy hotel, in fact, it was the cheapest in town:). The idea is to go and relax, not stress about the cost.
6. When I purchase homeschool materials for the children I remember myself as well. I find two-three books that I think will really minister to me in that year, and I purchase them. Each year is different, depending on what I am dealing with that year, but I have let go of all guilt with spending this bit on myself.