Posted by : Karen Thursday, May 16, 2013

That's a pretty ominous way to title a post after not having written for over three months don't you think?!

I've just gone through an intense little season, and have been writing this very post in my head over the last week. I wanted to write and to share because, well, there are too few posts out there on the real challenges homeschooling mothers face. There are endless blogs depicting amazing school days and incredible learning opportunities - well, here's one showing you the nitty gritty,  the raw nuts and bolts.

About two weeks ago, I began to crack. And then spent an entire weekend in floods of tears, unable really to make any coherent kind of sense to anyone around me. Drained. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Depleted Filled with a desire to destroy my computer. uh huh. It's all true. That's how I felt. And so I took a week off - yip, I closed down school, told my kids we were on holiday, and I began to think, to ponder, to pray, to question, to ask, to reconsider.... (my ideal would be to do this sans kids...if we're being completely honest - see, the real nitty gritty!).

Where the Burnout Began:
  1. I am a very self sufficient person - I am my own motivator, and am very driven and every now and again I can end up driving myself too hard for too long. I realized that for months I have been relying on my own strength...digging my own cisterns instead of drinking deep of that Life giving water....
  2. I haven't been guarding my time wisely -  personal exercise time, which is essential to my sanity and self esteem had been taken over my all kinds of other errands and things. (I'm struggling to get back into the routine of early morning gym trips this winter, in spite of supposed strong self discipline!) In fact, personal any kind of time...what is that? Such a strange concept the more I thought about it!
  3. I have been trying to compensate for the comparisons I was making. The best part of junior school for both my husband and I was the interaction we had with our friends, and break time. As my children are not in that system (two of the three), I have found myself compensating by creating playdates, at my house, almost every day of the week. The result? Exhaustion!
  4. At the end of last year, I realized with horror that I'd dropped a few balls with my children - namely spelling, and handwriting. Desiring to make that up this year meant that I was focusing on the "skills' - the dsicplined studies exclusively instead of balancing it with the inspirational stuff - not only was I  bored, but it was such drudgery! The pendulum had now swung, but in the opposite direction!

 Battling the Burnout:
So...I began to do battle. Thankfully I have a supportive husband who patiently stood by waiting for my emotional outbursts to subside, and my kids were very gracious even though their world did seem a bit strained with mom going through all this. This is where I'm taking action:

  1.  I have to find shelter in my God, I have to seek him as a refuge, and I have to keep drawing back to him more regularly, more purposefully than I have been
  2. I can't do any of this without managing my time even more carefully. I need to whittle away the things that ransom my time in the Age of Distraction - for me it's FB, endless emails, and rabbit trails I follow whilst researching. And so once again, I've eliminated the few feeds I've been subscribed too (and this after my previous decluttering!). I've started checking FB fewer times in the week - and I'm aiming to get to every two or three days! I have to be strict with time for myself - exercise cannot be negotiated, even if it means the exclusion of my children's playdates. If I can drop them off whilst I gym, great, but if they want to have playdates here during that time, it cannot happen. And this needs to be balanced too. Some mornings, I'm going to have to get up early. That's it. Bottom line.
  3. Comparison, the thief of all joy! I have chosen a different path, a different system, and it is going to look completely different to what my school life looked like. Their social lives are important, my children's  happiness is important...but it's all about balance.
  4. I need to be strict with time for school - there's a start time, a time for disciplined studies, and a time for inspirational studies. And if my kids cannot reach reasonable goals in certain time slots, then they need to finish it for 'homework' on their own time. I want to spend time on the "fun" stuff! I've also whittled down our school - I hated all the boxes we were trying to tick, and so write now, we're focusing on Handwriting and Spelling and Reading in our disciplined studies. For inspirational studies, I've taken themes out of Sonlight's Core C, and we're treating them like Unit studies. More on that another day. Chete. (That's Shona for that's all, that's enough!).

And so here's where I'm at: making changes, carving out different ways of doing things, saying no in order to say yes! But, there are some things I still need answers for:
  • I need to make time to be "re-created". I'm not getting all funny on you, but recreation means that - to be re-created, to be made whole, new. So what is it that leaves me feeling fuller, and more me and more inspired? That's what I need to discover.
  • I'm hesitant to write this as there can be so many ways this is  interpreted - and so many women do seem to be able to do this - but you know me, I'm intense, all or nothing...I've found myself mournful in a way. I can see the big picture, truly I can, and I know I'm building cathedrals and all that. But If I'm honest, I'm going to admit that I'd love a week, a month, hang even a day just all to myself. I'd love to learn how to do things now. I catch myself thinking, oh, that would be lovely to do, it'll have to wait till the kids leave home. I don't want to put my life on hold for the next 15 years, and then start doing all the things I want to do. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure what all those things are...I just know I want some *permission* perhaps to live a little more. I do love my kids, truly I do. But right now, this is how I am feeling!
And so, there you have it - a real inside story for y'all.

4 Responses so far.

  1. My dear dear friend. God has been so gracious in giving you to me as such a friend in such a time as this. Your heart is so honest and transparent. Thank you for this post and our chats around this post. Thank you for sharing. Your honesty encourages a whole stack of women currently in the trenches and feeling like they are alone. They are not. You are not. Big big big hugs! Chat tomorrow :-)

  2. Real is good. Be kind to yourself :)

  3. Karen says:

    Thanks ladies. Have been blown away Taryn, as you said, at how many women are here right now. O God. Help us all!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey you!

    This post completely resonates with me as you would know. I've been dealing and wrestling with the same questions and doubts and it's a good thing! It makes us move forward, learn, grow and mature in so many ways.
    Indeed you are not alone (Didn't Michael Jackson sing something like that?). Keep searching and investigating and let's keep on chatting about it!!
    Much love :-)

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